Stephanie Kasper

A Surprise for the Princess

Once upon a time in a pleasant land there lived a lovely princess named She-Who-Helps. Everything seemed hunky dory, but the princess had a strange compulsion. She felt an overwhelming desire to kiss enchanted frogs to break the spells they were held in and turn them back into handsome princes for other princesses to wed. Hmmm. Not a day went by without She-Who-Helps grabbing half a dozen or so frogs, giving them a smack on their froggy mouths  and jumping back as they sprang up as princes.

This is not a bad gig, thought the princess as she gargled with Listerine after a hard day of spell-breaking, but our pleasant land is getting a little overrun with out of work princes who have a tendency to hop when startled. Yet she believed it was her duty to rescue the poor enchanted princes who had been turned into frogs. Once in a while she even wondered who the heck had turned them into frogs anyway.

One Spring twilight, She-Who-Helps strolled along the edge of the royal pond enjoying the songs of the crickets, when she spied a small but debonair frog. She made a grab for it. The frog hopped away swiftly and hid, trembling slightly, under a squishy bit of algae. She-Who-Helps again reached for the amphibian, thinking, He is going to turn into one very short prince, yet it is my duty, after all, and some princesses prefer shorter guys.

“Please, your Highness,” said a tiny but masculine voice, “please don’t kiss me. I beg you.”

“Wha- what?” stammered the princess, her hand poised only a few inches from the frog.

“I beg you, do not kiss me.”

“But that’s what I do!” she exclaimed. “I am She-Who-Helps and my mission is to break the spells lo these many enchanted princes are under and turn them back into human form.”

The little frog clasped his wee front limbs together in a pleading gesture and shook his green head. He seemed infinitely sad. This made the princess sad, too, and she asked, “Why do you not wish to return to human form, brave Prince? Don’t you know you are in great danger from predators and serfs with big feet who come to the pond to catch minnows? Granted, you will be a diminutive prince, but a prince nevertheless, and potentially a fine husband for some lovely princess.”

“Oh dear,” he murmured, “it’s worse than I thought. How can I reveal the truth without damaging the self-esteem of this well-meaning gal?”

“I must insist that you speak up. Enchanted princes who mumble are my least favorite type.”

The pint-sized fellow bowed low and began to speak. “Oh, my dear, I have such a story to tell. You are going to get a chuckle out of this.” He glanced up at She-Who-Helps with a worried eye. “At least I think you’ll laugh. Maybe not. Well, please don’t hold it against me. Let me see, how shall I begin?”

The princess started tapping her foot impatiently, and the frog noticed that it was somewhat large and landing dangerously close to where he stood. He took one more huge froggy gulp and began to explain:
“OK. Here it is in a nutshell. And it actually did arrive in a nutshell, come to think of it. When you were born, all the witches, both good and bad, were invited to your christening.”

“Hold it,” interrupted the princess. “I’ve heard this one before. Was it a Grimm or an Andersen? The truth, my little green friend. Please.”

The frog sighed, “OK. The nutshell part is the truth. Your parents received a note in a nutshell. It said, ‘Your daughter will be a wonderful asset to society. She will be clever and kind, serious and saucy, gregarious and gullible.” He stopped.

“Yes? And?”

“And nothing. That’s all it said. It was merely a congratulations card delivered in a nutshell. There was no magical meaning to it. However, another message was sent on that day. It said, ‘Your daughter will have the power to transform beings into her heart’s desire.’ The trouble was that this message never arrived, so you are unaware of your abilities.”

“You mean...?”

“Yup. You’ve been changing poor innocent frogs into princes.”


“To put it mildly.”

“Well, can I kiss them back into their heart’s desire?” asked the princess, a tear forming in the corner of her eye. “I don’t want anyone to be unhappy, be they prince or frog.”

The frog pondered a while and then said, “Why not give it a whirl? If nothing else you’ll get to do some more kissing.”

And so the princess set about retransforming princes into frogs. She was careful to select only those princes who looked melancholy and a little green around the gills. Soon the kingdom was back in balance with just the right number of frogs and princes. And they even lived happily ever after, of course.  
And the moral of the story is:
Do-gooders need to look behind themselves once in a while, to see what’s been stirred up in their wake.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Stephanie Kasper.
Published on on 04/14/2012.


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