A kiss will decide the fate of a prince, a princess, and two kingdoms. This time-honored tale as never before told. If you liked the Brothers Grimm story, you'll love the novella. Rediscover the enchanting tale of "The Frog Prince" today!
Award-winning author Mike Klaassen began writing fiction when his sons were teenagers. His first two books were young-adult action-adventure novels influenced by his experience as a Kansas farm boy and as a Scoutmaster. A visit to the site of the Battle for New Orleans led Mike to write Backlash: A War of 1812 Novel, featuring five young Americans in the fight of their life. Ongoing research encouraged Mike to write books about the craft of writing fiction. The use of folktales as examples in his nonfiction books inspired him to begin Klaassen's Classic Folktales, a collection of ancient stories retold as novellas.
From the perspective of a small creature like a frog, the world must offer strange and terrifying obstacles.
The Frog Prince
A week later, he spotted the bridge ahead of him, and the next day he climbed the embankment of the road crossing the bridge. He had been to the bridge several times with his father, always on horseback or in a coach. The memory of such times caused him to think of Wibke, and that rekindled his resolve to find her and punish her for all the indignities she had caused him.
He recalled that his father had explained that the road had been built by Gerit's great-grandfather, and that it provided many benefits to the kingdom. The road allowed farmers to get perishable produce to the market in the castle before spoilage occurred. Merchants and peddlers could more easily traverse the kingdom, offering their wares from far and wide to the inhabitants. The road represented a means of protection, allowing his father's soldiers to move quickly, if necessary, to defend the kingdom from invaders.
Gerit recalled his father telling him that maintenance of the road had been a challenge until he began the practice of requiring able-bodied men living nearby to work one day each month repairing and improving the road. Security along the road was often a problem, so King Egon established regular armed patrols from the castle to discourage bandits and marauders.
His father was always yapping about such tedious topics. Gerit knew his father was trying to teach him to be a responsible ruler someday, but really, how hard could it be? As the king, he could snap his fingers, and people would scramble to do his bidding.
Gerit sighed. The sooner he could get the spell lifted, the sooner he could return to his life as a young prince. His attention returned to his current situation. Near the bridge, the tree-lined road wound down a hill to the river. On the far side of the bridge, the terrain stretched wide and flat. In the distance to the northeast, Gerit could see a tower atop Castle Hohenhagen. He figured that he could get there in a couple of days.
Gerit studied the bridge with mixed emotions. The bridge was topped with wooden planks but without even a railing along its sides. The simple construction meant there was no shelter to conceal predators lying in wait for him, but it also meant that he had no place to hide in case of danger.
After looking carefully in every direction, he took a deep breath and hopped onto the bridge. Setting a brisk pace, he barely stopped between jumps.
Halfway across the bridge, he felt a vibration through the wooden planks. He froze.
The vibration grew more intense, and he heard a rhythmic sound that he recognized as that of horses galloping. On the road behind him, a cavalry unit of a dozen horses and riders wound down the hill. Gerit's heart pounded, but he forced himself to stay calm.
He hopped to the edge of the bridge and sat quietly, making himself as flat against the planks as he could manage.
As the horses drew closer, the vibration increased, and the rumble grew louder. They reached the end of the bridge, and the noise increased to a thunderous roar. The planks bucked under Gerit and bounced him so that he lost his footing on the planks and slid sideways toward the edge of the bridge.
He imagined himself falling into the river, where he would likely be swallowed whole by a big fish attracted to the sound of his splash.
Rather than falling to an almost certain death in the river, he scrambled a little closer to the middle of the roadway. Time seemed to slow as the horses approached. A hoof hammered the plank next to him, and he bounced from the roadway. He barely dropped back to the planks when another hoof pounded down, bouncing him even higher and flipping him onto his back. He scrambled back to his feet. Hooves thundered on the planks all around him. Panicking, he jumped this way and then that, as dozens of hooves rained down all around him.
Then, as suddenly as the galloping horses appeared, they crossed the bridge and disappeared down the road.
Gerit sat quietly for a moment, realizing that he had come close to a grisly ending. He waited for his breathing and his heart rate to return to normal, and then he carefully looked both ways.