The Frog Prince (story)

The Frog King or Iron Heinrich (German: "Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich"), also known as The Frog Prince, is a fairy tale, best known through the Brothers Grimm's written version; traditionally it is the first story in their collection. In the tale, a spoiled princess reluctantly befriends a frog (possibly meeting him after dropping a gold ball into his pond), who magically transforms into a handsome prince. Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story, the frog's spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust. [Heidi Anne Heiner," [ The Annotated Frog King] "] In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess's pillow.

It is Aarne-Thompson type 440. Others of this type include the Scottish "The Tale of the Queen Who Sought a Drink From a Certain Well" and the English "The Well of the World's End". [Heidi Anne Heiner, " [ Tales Similar to Frog King] "] The Grimms themselves picked out "The Well of the World's End" as a variant. [Maria Tatar, "The Annotated Brothers Grimm", p 4 ISBN 0-393-05848-4]


The violent act of the princess, throwing the frog against the wall, is a common folkloric trait of undoing shapeshifting magic, and not even the most violent; in "The Tale of the Queen Who Sought a Drink From a Certain Well" and the English "The Well of the World's End", the heroine must behead the frog to transform it to a prince. [Maria Tatar, "The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales", p174-5, ISBN 0-691-06722-8]

The story in popular culture

A popular phrase related to this story is, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince." It is used to encourage females who have romance troubles. It is unclear where the motif comes from. Maria Tatar's "The Annotated Brothers Grimm" merely attributes it to "American versions of the story", without becoming more specific. Heiner states that it is unclear when this element was added to the story.

A version of this character exists in the "Fables" comic book; he is named Ambrose, though he is also known as "Flycatcher." He is first seen as the quasi-permanent janitor of the main building of the New York City Fabletown, the Woodland Apartments. He has this job because he is always on community service for the offense of eating flies---this violates Fabletown law because it might draw the attention of the "mundys" (non-Fables) to the presence of the Fables among them. The book "1001 Nights of Snowfall" retells the familiar tale about his curse and how a kiss from a beautiful princess restored his humanity (though he would uncontrollably turn back into a frog during moments of extreme stress, a kiss could always reverse the spell). Prince Ambrose did not live "happily ever after," however; his wife and children were killed by the invading forces of a villain known as the Adversary. Ambrose, trapped in the form of a frog, could only watch helplessly. Ambrose eventually returned to human form, but he repressed all memories of his family's death. Believing them to be merely "lost," Ambrose journeyed to the "mundyworld" hoping to find them.

1950's American TV comic Ernie Kovacs, as his character Pierre Ragout, told this story on his show one night. He employed the version of frog spending the night on the princess' pillow and the princess waking up the next morning "to find a handsome prince lying in her bed". He then concluded with the punch-line, "And you know something, boys and girls? To this very day, her parents don't believe a word of it."

A Frog Prince appears in the "Discworld" novel "Witches Abroad" by Terry Pratchett; however he is a frog that has been turned into a human, rather than a human rescued from a spell. A later Discworld novel, "Wee Free Men", features a man who was turned into a toad but, for most of the book, cannot remember what his human identity was.

Robin McKinley also wrote a short story, collected in "The Door in the Hedge", retelling the tale of the frog prince. Here the princess was not a spoiled brat and she dropped a cursed pearl necklace, rather than a golden ball, into the pond.

A variation of this tale appeared in a 1999 commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios, wherein Buzzbee tried to get the redheaded princess to forsake kissing the Frog Prince for the cereal.

Castlemaine XXXX (a beer) also used the frog prince theme in an advertisement. Here an Australian girl kisses a frog who turns into a handsome sheepshearer. He then kisses the girl and she turns into a cool beer.

Capital One made a commercial where a princess kisses a frog, who turns into a ferret that recites legal jargon for reasons why he didn't turn into a prince. After subsequent kissings, the ferret turns into an orangutan, then an ugly centaur.

In "Shrek 2", it is revealed that King Harold himself was at one time the Frog Prince.

In the manga "Ludwig Revolution", Ludwig tries on a magic puppet but cannot remove it. Dorothea explains that the only way it will come off is if he willingly kisses the first woman who saw him. However, his task is made difficult by the fact that everyone who sees him sees a frog.

On the soap opera "Passions", he is Tabitha's great-grandfather.

In the novel "The Fairy Godmother" by Mercedes Lackey there is a prince who was a frog prince for so long that his kingdom passed into a collateral line. Not only does he lose his kingdom, he is kissed by a six-year-old princess who kisses every bird and beast she comes upon. He ends up as a broody poet, and eventually marries a faux evil sorceress.

A comedic version of this tale has the story set in France and when the princess brings the frog home, he says he is hungry so she takes him down to the kitchen. Later, at dinner one of the princess's sisters asks her what she is eating and she replies "Frog's Legs".

The Frog Prince also appears in a "Dentyne Ice" commercial. Before he gets kissed by a beautiful girl he chews a piece of gum, with the song "Stuttering" by the Ben's Brothers in the background.

The family film "The Swan Princess" features a frog named Jean-Bob, who's under the delusion that he is a prince under a spell.

In the 2006 Super Sentai series "Mahou Sentai Magiranger", the introduction of the sixth hero, Hikaru/MagiShine, is based on the Frog Prince, with him as the cursed frog and Urara Ozu/MagiBlue is the counterpart of the princess who has a fear of frogs and yet is the only one who can hear his plea for her to kiss him to which she does after saving her life. Late in the series do the two finally marry.

Juliet Marillier's fantasy book "Wildwood Dancing" adapts The Frog Prince to another Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, in which the frog is Gogu, the beloved friend and confidant of Jena, the central female character of the book. The frog's human form is her cousin Costi, who everyone thinks drowned when both Jena and Costi where younger.

Jungian analysis of this story

The second version of the story serves as a good example for Jungian literature analysis. According to Carl Jung's analysis, the story presents an initiation process of a young female psyche. Fairy tale, in Jungian analysis, is a rich source of archetypes and it can be analyzed as a dream. The Id character in this story is the young princess. Being a virgin, she does not yet appreciate the attraction from male and views her rude and dirty male companions as animals, more specifically, frogs. The golden ball represents her Self, which is lost in the well in the woods. Here both the well and the woods represent her unconsciousness. During her process of searching for her Self, she met a frog, who was actually a man. The frog helped her and wanted to drink from her cup and eat from her plate, which represent his desire of kissing her. To sleep on her bed represents the intimacy between husband and wife. As the virgin princess violently threw the frog against the wall in disgust, she suddenly came to realize the masculinity inside her unconscious Self. Upon this realization, the frog returns to the real image of a man or in this case, a prince with kind eyes. The princess is now a matured woman ready for marriage.

Modern Interpretations

A musical version of "The Frog Prince", written by Dieter Stegmann and Alexander S. Bermange was presented at the Amphitheater Park Schloss Philippsruhe, Hanau, Germany as part of the Brothers Grimm Festival in 2005.

"Mickey's Young Readers Library" featured a version titled "Donald and the Frog". In this adaptation, Donald Duck loses one of his oars during a rowboat race and promises to give his trophy to a frog who retrieves it for him.

ee also

*The Frog Princess


*"The Prince of the Pond, Jimmy the Pickpocket of the Palace, Gracie the Pixie of the Puddle", a trilogy by Donna Jo Napoli
*"The Frog Princess". a novel by E.D. Baker


External links

* [ Fairyland Illustrated Frog Prince]
* [ SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages: The Annotated Frog King]
* [ Frog Kings: Folktales about Slimy Suitors]
* [ The Frog Prince] at [ Story Resources]
* [ Elizabeth Barrette, "Frog Prince"] (e-text)

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