The Frog King, or Iron Henry

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Part 208 of total 208 stories in the book Grimm's Fairy Tales.
  1. The Golden Key
  2. The Boots of Buffalo-Leather
  3. The Grave-Mound
  4. The Crumbs on the Table
  5. The Heavenly Wedding
  6. The Aged Mother
  7. Our Lady’s Little Glass
  8. God’s Food
  9. The Peasant and the Devil
  10. The Hare and the Hedgehog
  11. The Nail
  12. The Giant and the Tailor
  13. The Little Folks’ Presents
  14. Master Pfriem
  15. Death’s Messengers
  16. The Duration of Life
  17. The Moon
  18. The Owl
  19. The Bittern and the Hoopoe
  20. The Sole
  21. Sharing Joy and Sorrow
  22. Lean Lisa
  23. The Peasant in Heaven
  24. The Wise Servant
  25. A Riddling Tale
  26. The Ditmarsch Tale of Wonders
  27. The Story of Schlauraffen Land
  28. Odds and Ends
  29. The Old Beggar-Woman
  30. The Beam
  31. The Lord’s Animals and the Devil’s
  32. The Fox and the Horse
  33. The Lazy Spinner
  34. The Three Apprentices
  35. The Seven Swabians
  36. The Three Army-Surgeons
  37. The Flail from Heaven
  38. The Jew Among Thorns
  39. Doctor Knowall
  40. Old Hildebrand
  41. The Poor Man and the Rich Man
  42. The Fox and the Geese
  43. Gambling Hansel
  44. The Death of the Little Hen
  45. Clever Grethel
  46. The Fox and the Cat
  47. The Wolf and the Fox
  48. The Wolf and the Man
  49. Jorinda and Joringel
  50. The Little Peasant
  51. Frederick and Catherine
  52. The Dog and the Sparrow
  53. Herr Korbes
  54. The Elves And The Shoemaker
  55. The Wedding of Mrs. Fox
  56. The Tailor in Heaven
  57. The Louse and the Flea
  58. The Bremen Town-Musicians
  59. The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
  60. The Fisherman and His Wife
  61. The Pack of Ragamuffins
  62. Cat and Mouse in Partnership
  63. The Hazel-Branch
  64. The Wonderful Musician
  65. The Three Green Twigs
  66. Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven
  67. The Rose
  68. The Twelve Apostles
  69. St. Joseph in the Forest
  70. Maid Maleen
  71. The Crystal Ball
  72. Old Rinkrank
  73. The Ear of Corn
  74. The Drummer
  75. The Master Thief
  76. The Sea Hare
  77. The Spindle, The Shuttle, and The Needle
  78. The True Sweetheart
  79. The Poor Boy in the Grave
  80. The Nix of the Mill-Pond
  81. Eve’s Various Children
  82. The Goose Girl at the Well
  83. The Hut in the Forest
  84. Strong Hans
  85. The Griffin
  86. Lazy Harry
  87. The Glass Coffin
  88. Snow-White and Rose-Red
  89. The Sparrow and His Four Children
  90. Brides On Their Trial
  91. The Stolen Farthings
  92. The Star Money
  93. The Shepherd Boy
  94. The Three Sluggards
  95. The Old Man Made Young Again
  96. The Turnip
  97. The Ungrateful Son
  98. The Donkey
  99. Going A-Travelling
  100. Simeli Mountain
  101. The Lambkin and the Little Fish
  102. Domestic Servants
  103. The Maid of Brakel
  104. Knoist and His Three Sons
  105. The Three Black Princesses
  106. Iron John
  107. The White Bride and the Black One
  108. The Six Servants
  109. The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces
  110. Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie
  111. One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes
  112. The Four Skillful Brothers
  113. The Iron Stove
  114. Ferdinand the Faithful
  115. The Devil and His Grandmother
  116. The Three Brothers
  117. The Old Woman in the Wood
  118. Donkey Cabbages
  119. The King’s Son Who Feared Nothing
  120. The Willful Child
  121. The Blue Light
  122. The Bright Sun Brings It to Light
  123. The Cunning Little Tailor
  124. The Two Kings’ Children
  125. The Skillful Huntsman
  126. The Shroud
  127. Hans the Hedgehog
  128. The Two Travelers
  129. The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat
  130. Stories About Snakes
  131. Wise Folks
  132. Sweet Porridge
  133. The Willow-Wren and the Bear
  134. Bearskin
  135. The Devil’s Sooty Brother
  136. The Spirit in the Bottle
  137. The Water of Life
  138. The Three Little Birds
  139. The Peasant’s Wise Daughter
  140. The Raven
  141. The King of the Golden Mountain
  142. The Elves
  143. The Goose Girl
  144. The Young Giant
  145. The Singing, Soaring Lark
  146. The Gold-Children
  147. Hans Married
  148. Hans in Luck
  149. Brother Lustig
  150. The Water-Nix
  151. The Old Man and His Grandson
  152. The Pink
  153. Gossip Wolf and the Fox
  154. How Six Men Got On in the World
  155. The Three Sons of Fortune
  156. The Thief and His Master
  157. The Twelve Huntsmen
  158. The Hare’s Bride
  159. Allerleirauh
  160. The Golden Goose
  161. The Three Feathers
  162. The Queen Bee
  163. The Two Brothers
  164. The Golden Bird
  165. Sweetheart Roland
  166. Rumpelstiltskin
  167. The Knapsack, The Hat, and The Horn
  168. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  169. King Thrushbeard
  170. Fundevogel
  171. Little Briar-Rose
  172. The Six Swans
  173. Old Sultan
  174. The Juniper-Tree
  175. Fitcher’s Bird
  176. Thumbling as Journeyman
  177. Godfather’s Death
  178. Frau Trude
  179. The Godfather
  180. The Robber Bridegroom
  181. Thumbling
  182. The Wishing-Table, The Gold-Ass, and The Cudgel in the Sack
  183. Clever Elsie
  184. The Three Languages
  185. Clever Hans
  186. The Girl Without Hands
  187. The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs
  188. The Singing Bone
  189. Little Red-Cap
  190. The Seven Ravens
  191. Mother Holle
  192. The Riddle
  193. Cinderella
  194. The Valiant Little Tailor
  195. The White Snake
  196. The Three Snake-Leaves
  197. Hansel and Grethel
  198. The Three Spinners
  199. The Three Little Men in the Wood
  200. Rapunzel
  201. Brother and Sister
  202. The Twelve Brothers
  203. The Good Bargain
  204. Faithful John
  205. The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids
  206. A Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was
  207. Our Lady’s Child
  208. The Frog King, or Iron Henry

In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face. Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very warm, the king’s child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she thus lamented someone said to her, “What ails you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”

She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water. “Ah, old water-splasher, is it you,” she said, “I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well.” “Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your plaything up again?” “Whatever you will have, dear frog,” said she, “My clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing.” The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up again.”

“Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring me my ball back again.” But she thought, “How the silly frog does talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and croak. He can be no companion to any human being.”

But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the water and sank down; and in a short while came swimmming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The king’s daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But what did it avail him to scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was forced to go back into his well again.

Page 2

The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.” She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry you away?” “Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting frog.”

“What does a frog want with you?” “Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not know what you said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well. Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”

Then said the king, “That which you have promised must you perform. Go and let him in.” She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and cried, “Lift me up beside you.” She delayed, until at last the king commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.” She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her. At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”

The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed. But the king grew angry and said, “He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by you.” So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as you, lift me up or I will tell your father.” At this she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she. But when he fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful eyes. He by her father’s will was now her dear companion and husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.

Page 3

Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind stood the young king’s servant Faithful Henry. Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to conduct the young king into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way the king’s son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.” “No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the well.” Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, and each time the king’s son thought the carriage was breaking, but it was only the bands which were springing from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and was happy.

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