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The most favourite present the Princess had ever received was a golden ball. It was made of such finely weaved gold that although it was heavy it wasn t so heavy that she couldn t play with it. And being a princess she had no concept of how valuable this golden ball was. Everywhere she went she carried this golden ball with her. She even sewed a pouch for it to go in with a strap that could fit across her shoulders. One of her servants had suggested she get the tailor to make it for her, but this princess knew how precious it was to sometimes pour your own time and love into something and she knew this golden ball was so very precious to her. Every day she played. Threw it high into the air, rolled it up hills so it would roll back, even learnt to spin it so it curved in the air. How beautiful it was when the light bounced of it as it spun round and round moving forward at such a speed that even the Princess wasn t sure how she could have such strength. One day she was by her lake. Well the lake that was in the grounds of the palace. And she was throwing the ball up and down in the air watching the sun catch it as she spun it. Each throw she tossed it higher and higher sometimes losing her balance trying to catch it and falling down. Once it almost hit her on the head. She wanted to see if she could throw it as high as the tree next to the lake. On the third go she could see it almost reaching the top and she was determined to make it soar above the highest branch on the her next go. She bent her knees, put the ball in her strongest hand, swung her arm back and jumped as she released it. She watched it go higher and higher and curve right over the highest branch. She had done it. But as she watched it come back she realised it was curving too much was heading right for the lake. Which is what it did. Plop it went into the dark waters and as she watched leaning as far as she could over the water, she watched it glistening as it sunk further and further down. She burst into tears. How was she going to get her golden ball back. Her tears rolled down her cheeks and fell one by one into the water. Whatsup? She heard the voice but as she looked round sharply she couldn t see anything at all. So she thought I m imaging it and turned back to look at her beautiful golden ball shining temptingly at her. Why are you crying so? This time she sat up. For sure this time it wasn t her imagination. There was a voice and it was outside of her head. She turned reluctantly from the ball and looked around. All she saw was a little frog. Sitting on one of the lily leaves. She almost continued looking around for the person, but some expression on the frogs face made her come a bit closer and stare. Staring is rude you know.
She saw the frogs lips move but she couldn t say anything. Don t you have a tongue then? Why yes! the Princess was rather taken aback by the rudeness let alone it coming from a frog, I ve never heard of a frog who can speak, so I just wasn t expecting it. That s all. There are many things that you probably don t know about. The Princess was getting a bit annoyed now. Of course that was true, but really all the books she read and all the questions she asked people, and all the private tutors she had meant that, for her age, she was actually quite knowledgeable. But then if you know a lot, you also know that you know so very little of what there is to know. Which meant, in effect, that she couldn t really answer such a true statement. So, she changed the subject. What s your name? she asked. Afterall if you a frog who can talk, you have surely named yourself. I am Prince Yankeenish the frog said, puffing up his chest as frogs do. Prince Yankeenish? I am a prince amongst frogs. He said, though she noted he said it with a sadness in his voice, but you still haven t answered my first question, why were you crying into the lake? I lost my golden ball.... Look the Princess pointed. I can get that for you , was the reply.
The Princess perked up and smiled broadly. But only if you give me your word and let me come and eat at your table, eat out of you bowl and sleep with you in your bed. What a strange request the Princess thought. Or rather she didn t really think. She just smiled and said If you bring me my ball you can have whatever you want. I m a Princess. I want what I have just asked for..... so do you promise to take me home with you and fulfil all my requests? Of course she said brushing the question aside, if you can really get me my ball. It s quite heavy for a small frog. He snuffed and gracefully leapt in the air and dived into the water. As he came up he threw the Ball at her and she caught it and happily ran off. Immediately forgetting her promise. That night at the dinner table as she was just about to start her delicious soup, one of the servants came in and whispered in the King s ear. He looked up at her. Is there something that happened today that you wish to tell me about?
The Princess paused, no I don t think so . She genuinely could not think of anything. Well. You have a guest who says that you promised him that he could come and sit with you at our table and eat from your bowl, and indeed, sleep in the same bed as you! The Princess went very red and stuttered a bit, But he was just a frog. A frog who helped you and to whom you promised these things? It was a question. The Princess nodded and bowed her head. Bring him in and set up a place next to our Princess. The King commanded. As the frog was brought in, the Princess shivered. Whereas he looked OK for a frog sitting by a lake, sat next to her on the table, he looked slimy and she could smell him. The frog simply smiled at her. And what s on the menu tonight he asked as he put his head over her bowl. It s a potato and onion soup she said I don t think frogs like that sort of thing Oh quite the opposite. It s my favourite. And the frog dipped his head in her soup and started slurping very loudly. The Princess felt quite disgusted and put her spoon down. She might have to share her bowl but she didn t have to eat it now that the frog was sucking up the soup from her own bowl. Then came the next course. And the next course. And each time the frog expressed delight and surprise at how each course was his favourite and how good it tasted. He didn t seem to mind that the Princess wasn t touching any of her food. The Princess was desperate for the meal to end and for her to rush up to her bedroom for some peace and quiet. When she felt she could, she asked if she could be excused. The King nodded his head and she jumped as quick as she could and started to almost run to the door. Then she heard a cough. It was almost imperceptible and yet she knew it was aimed at her. She stopped just at the door though she sorely wanted to keep running. She heard the cough again and turned. The frog was looking at her expectantly. And she remembered her promise, given so easily because she had wanted her golden ball so badly. She looked at her father who stared at her blankly. She knew he was an honourable man and the word of a royal Princess was the word of the King. She walked back slowly and put her hand out so the slimy creature could jump on to her hand. Which he did with a big grin on his face. He thanked the King and Queen for their hospitality and sat cold a clammy on her hand as she now walked more slowly out of the room and up to her bedroom. The Princess couldn t stand the idea of creature sleeping next to her on her beautiful pillow. But she had to do it. She d made a promise which she now had to uphold. Every day she would go out and play with her golden ball and forget about her promise though she stayed well away from the lake and for a few hours she would be happy.
Every night at dinner and after when the little frog still as cold as the water he came from jumped on her hand she had to hold down the revulsion she felt. On the seventh night as she lay the smiling frog on her pillow and looked into his eyes he said to her you are the most beautiful young woman I have ever met She looked back at him and the revulsion was so great that she picked up the little frog and threw him hard against her wall. He hit it hard and splattered and she closed her eyes as she saw his little body start to slide down the wall leaving blood and bits on her handmade wallpaper. Then she felt a hand on her hand. A warm hand and she swallowed opening her eyes slowly, looking through her eyelashes first. There was a man. A young man in front of her. A handsome young man. She looked past him to her bedroom door which was still locked and then to the place where she had thrown the frog. Though the marks remained on her wall she could see no sign of the frog. You ve broken the spell, my beautiful princess. The Princess was confused. Mainly because of the man s beautiful brown eyes staring at her with such love that it was surely making her knees go to jelly. Spell she whispered. I m Prince Yakeenish. The frog. He said his voice now quite flat. The frog? you ve broken the spell. What spell? I ve been trapped in the frog s body for over a year now and I needed a maiden to save me. The Princess was truly confused now. But I just threw you against the wall. You did exactly what you felt. The purity of truth is just that........... of course I might have preferred a kiss but it would only have worked if that is what you had truly felt. And the Princess nodded and smiled up at her wise Prince.
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