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, that rose in the midst of it, she sat herself
down to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was
her favourite 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 upon the ground, till 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. Then
she began to bewail her loss, 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 want not 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 upon 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 he 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 gay 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.