The Frog Prince (Story)

"The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry" (German: Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich, literally "The Frog King or the Iron Heinrich") 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.[1] In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess's pillow.

Similar folktales

It is Aarne-Thompson type 440.[2] Other folktales similar to the Frog Prince are:

  1. "The Frog Prince". The first English translation of the above tale. Edgar Taylor, the translator, not only changed the title, but altered the ending in a substantial and interesting manner.
  2. "The Wonderful Frog" (W. Henry Jones and Lewis L. Kropf, Hungary).
  3. "The Tale of the Queen Who Sought a Drink From a Certain Well" (J. F. Campbell, Scotland).
  4. "The Well of the World's End"
  5. "The Paddo" (Robert Chambers, Scotland).
  6. "The Maiden and the Frog" (James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, England).
  7. "The Kind Stepdaughter and the Frog" (W. Henry Jones and Lewis L. Kropf, England).
  8. "The Frog Prince" (H. Parker, Sri Lanka).
  9. "A Frog for a Husband" (William Elliot Griffis, Korea).
  10. "The Toad Bridegroom" (Zong In-Sob, Korea).

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 those who seek true love. Heiner states that it is unclear when this element was added to the story. Maria Tatar's The Annotated Brothers Grimm merely attributes it to "American versions of the story", without becoming more specific. Also, the Frog Prince is the true identity of King Harold in the films Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third.

Modern interpretations

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.

A Muppet version of the tale aired as a television special in 1971. but with a different plot.

The Frog Prince was one of the fairy tales featured in Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics under its Grimm Masterpiece Theater season.

In the second episode of Adventures from the Book of Virtues, Plato the Bison and Annie try to convince their friend Zach to tell his father the truth by telling him three stories, including one about “The Frog Prince.” In this version, the title character was transformed into a frog for lying and breaking his promise.

Many retellings try to soften the princess's character. Many film adaptions create two female leads, such as the Cannon film version The Frog Prince (1986) starring Aileen Quinn, Helen Hunt and John Paragon.[3]

The 1993 video game Superfrog is based on the Frog Prince story, to the point of the main character being a prince transformed into a frog.

Peter Gabriel's song, Kiss That Frog, from his 1992 album Us, is a reference to The Frog Prince. Template:Or

The E.D. Baker novel The Frog Princess (2002) gives a twist to the traditional tale by transforming the heroine into a frog when she kisses the frog prince - the Walt Disney Pictures animated film The Princess and the Frog (2009) is inspired by this version of the story.

The King from Shrek 2 [4] (2004) has an origin based on the Frog Prince story, as does Flycatcher from Fables.

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.

A chamber opera for children based upon The Frog Prince was recently written by Jacob A. Greenberg for Brown Opera Productions and the Providence Athenaeum.

Jean Johnson in her Bedtime Stories (a collection of erotic fairy tales) retells the story of Princess Gisette, who accidentally dropped her golden dildo into a muddy river, and the enchanted frog Prince Henrik, who offers her help with retrieving it in exchange for her helping him break his enchantement by allowing him to bring her to a climax. In the end, the fairy who enchanted him appears and he learns that he had misinterpreted the words of the curse, meaning that a mere kiss would break the spell.[5]

Auburn and the Frog Prince, an American animated film whose production has been shelved, is loosely based upon the tale.[6] The Production Studio who created the story uses a Frog Prince as their logo, as the feature was one of their first original endeavors.[7]

See also

Children's literature portal



External links

  • Nice English version
  • Fairyland Illustrated Frog Prince
  • SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages: The Annotated Frog King
  • Frog Kings: Folktales about Slimy Suitorss
  • Elizabeth Barrette, "Frog Prince" (e-text)
  • "Frog Prince 1978 Russian Cartoon"
  • Archived audio recording of The Frog Prince, recorded as part of an ArtsSmarts educational project
  •, presents the Frog Prince for kids
  • Auburn and the Frog Prince Storyboard Video
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