A Fairy Tale–Old & New versions…


A Fairy Tale-Old and New Versions 


During my early school days I was fond of reading fairy tales. One of my favorites was about ” The Frog Prince ” written by Brothers Grimm. My children have also read it and we have also seen it enacted on stage by school children. Now you will ask me, what is the purpose of narrating this story today ? Well I will tell you that at the end of the story. For those of you on this forum, who are now older or nearly as old as me, here is the story: 
One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, and went out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came to a cool spring of water with a rose in the middle of it, she sat herself down to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was her favorite plaything; and she was always tossing it up into the air, and catching it again as it fell. After a time she threw it up so high that she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled along on the ground, until at last it fell down into the spring. The princess looked into the spring after her ball, but it was very deep, so deep that she could not see the bottom of it. She began to cry, and said, ‘Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the world.’ Whilst she was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, and said, ‘Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?’  ‘Alas!’ said she, ‘what can you do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into the spring.’ The frog said, ‘I do not want your pearls, and jewels, and fine clothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off your golden plate, and sleep on your bed, I will bring you your ball again.‘  ‘What nonsense,’ thought the princess, ‘this silly frog is talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me, though he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tell him he shall have what he asks.’ So she said to the frog, ‘Well, if you will bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.’ Then the frog put his head down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while he came up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the edge of the spring. As soon as the young princess saw her ball, she ran to pick it up; and she was so overjoyed to have it in her hand again, that she never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as she could. The frog called after her, ‘Stay, princess, and take me with you as you said.’  But she did not stop to hear a word. The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she heard a strange noise – tap, tap – plash, plash – as if something was coming up the marble staircase, and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock at the door, and a little voice cried out and said: 


‘Open the door, my princess dear,


Open the door to thy true love here!


And mind the words that thou and I said


By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.’


Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she saw the frog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she was sadly frightened, and shutting the door as fast as she could came back to her seat. The king, her father, seeing that something had frightened her, asked her what was the matter.’ There is a nasty frog,’ said she, ‘at the door,that lifted my ball for me out of the spring this morning. I told him that he should live with me here, thinking that he could never get out of the spring; but there he is at the door, and he wants to come in.’  While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said: 
‘Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.’


Then the king said to the young princess, ‘As you have given your word you must keep it; so go and let him in.’ She did so, and the frog hopped into the room, and then straight on – tap, tap – plash, plash – from the bottom of the room to the top, till he came up close to the table where the princess sat. ‘Pray lift me upon chair,’ said he to the princess, ‘and let me sit next to you.’ As soon as she had done this, the frog said, ‘Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.’ This she did, and when he had eaten as much as he could, he said, ‘Now I am tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.’ And the princess, though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put him upon the pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long. As soon as it was light the frog jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house.’ Now, then,’ thought the princess, ‘at last he is gone, and I shall be troubled with him no more.’ But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the same tapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said: 


‘Open the door, my princess dear,


Open the door to thy true love here!


And mind the words that thou and I said


By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.’


And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept upon her pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night he did the same. But when the princess awoke on the following morning she was astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome prince, gazing on her with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen and standing at the head of her bed. He told her that he had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, who had changed him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to abide till some princess should take him out of the spring, and let him eat from her plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights. ‘You,’ said the prince, ‘have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for but that you should go with me into my father’s kingdom, where I will marry you, and love you as long as you live.’ The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying ‘Yes’ to all this; and as they spoke a brightly colored coach drove up, with eight beautiful horses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; and behind the coach rode the prince’s servant, faithful Heinrich, who had bewailed the misfortunes of his dear master during his enchantment so long and so bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst.


They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach with eight horses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for the prince’s kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily a great many years. 


Indeed, a lovely story with a happy ending and of course with the usual moral attached to it. Isn’t it?


Now to answer your question posed at the beginning of this story. Yes, times have changed. Peoples’ values have changed, perceptions have changed. 


Let us suppose this story is re-written in today’s times. Here is a version I could arrive at when I discussed the matter with a few of my MBA students with convent school backgrounds and who were familiar with the story. 


I am skipping the very long narrative as in the original story and will give only the gist of the new version:   


A young girl was out for a walk. As she passed a pond, a frog jumped out and said, “I was once a handsome young prince. Kiss me and…” “What will I get?” asked the girl. “I promise to marry you,” croaked the frog. So the girl took the frog to a lab and attached him to a lie detector machine. “Now repeat your promise.” “I will marry you,” the frog said, and the machine showed that he was indeed telling the truth. So the girl gave him a kiss and she too was instantly transformed into a frog. The male frog kept his promise and married her. 


Now tell me – did you like the original version or this new version? Or say, why don’t you use your creative instincts and try out another funnier version relevant to the modern times? I am sure you will come out with more twists to this tale.


I shall be waiting for your responses..


All the best, and yes, keep smiling…...!! 



    


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6 Responses
  1. rajaram says:

    1) The princess, a BSc Student, took the dissection kit in the laboratory, cut the frog and took out its heart, which spoke, “I still love you and wish to marry you.
    (2) The princess, a medical student, gave the frog a powerful drug that turned its body blue. Foam came from its mouth and it said, “In fact I am a prince. If you save me now, I will marry you, otherwise in the next birth atleast.”
    (3) The princess, an advocate, argued, “Oh my Lord, how can a frog be a prince. There is no evidence that it is human. The frog in the witness box said, “By a curse I am turned as a frog. If you kiss me, the curse will be released and I will marry you.”
    As a trial, the princess kissed the frog.. What a surprise! It became a prince and she married him in front of the sitting Judge.
    Is this enough or you want me to fabricate some more boredom to tire you out?

    Rajaram Ramachandran, Juhu, Mumbai
    Sep 16, 2010

  2. dr pooja g bhuyar says:

    Interesting one, I remember a joke my father used to tell us in our English class. When you see a frog you are half dead, when you see it jumping, you are 3/4th dead, when it jumps on you, it jumps on a dead body. A frog was so scary then and even now its the same with me. Hope you liked it. Regards.

    Dr Pooja G Bhuyar, Bijapur
    Sep 16, 2010

  3. J S Broca says:

    Dear Rajaram ji,many thanks for your witty and hilarious responses. I enjoyed these fresh perspectives, too.

    Dear Pooja, I liked your dig on my frog. You said it enchantingly. I hope you meet your frog- I mean your prince soon…

    JS Broca, New Delhi
    Sep 16, 2010

  4. safiyyah says:

    I liked both your versions, Broca sir. Enjoyed reading them. Regards.

    Safiyyah, UK
    Sep 16, 2010

  5. I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  6. whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Keep up the good work!

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