How Prince Bertie Ran Away

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bullies bother Prince BertieAs everyone knows, before Prince Bertie was turned into a frog, he was a handsome prince. But did you know that before Bertie was a prince, he was a princeling, which is like a prince, only smaller?

Up until now, this story has been kept as a closely guarded secret, but we can now exclusively reveal how Bertie ran away from his home in the palace when he was still a small boy.

Policeman bundles Prince Bertie in to van

Read by Natasha. Duration 20 Minutes. Pictures by Sophie Green.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.

How Prince Bertie Ran Away from Home.


Hello. My name is Natasha, and His Royal Highness Prince Bertie the Frog has commanded me to tell you a storynory.

The other day, I was sitting by the pond, picking some daisies to make into a daisy chain, when I happened to overhear Prince Bertie the Frog talking to his friend, Tim the Tadpole.

As you probably know, before he was a frog, Bertie used to be a prince. Before that, he was a princeling — which is like a prince, only a bit smaller.

And Tim was asking him all the different adventures he had when he was a princeling.

“Okay, little Tim,” said Bertie. “Let me tell you the story of the day I ran away from home.”

And when I heard that, I put down my daisy chain, and pricked up my ears. Because I didn’t realise Bertie had run away from home, and it sounded really quite interesting.

So would you like to hear the story?

You would?

All right, let me see if I can remember.

When he was a small princeling, Bertie lived in the palace, with his little brother, Harry.

Harry was quite a small princeling too, even smaller than Bertie, and had red hair, and was very, very annoying.

One day, Bertie had a brand new toy fire truck. It was bright red, and had lots of bells and whistles. And, when Bertie wasn’t looking, Harry sneaked up, and broke its ladder off.

When the royal nanny came into the room, she said, “Oh, no. Who broke that new truck?”

“Bertie did,” said Harry in a weasel sort of a voice.

“Prince Bertie did no such thing,” said Bertie, talking about himself in same way that his father, the king, always spoke of himself, as if he was somebody else entirely.

“Did too,” said Harry.

“Did not,” said Bertie.

"Did, did, did,” screamed Harry, stamping his foot on the ground and bursting into tears.

And the royal nanny ordered Bertie to go to bed without any supper. Bertie was so surprised that he stood on the spot with his mouth open. He did not think that anybody had the right to order a princeling to go to bed before his bedtime, let alone without eating his supper.

“Right now!” Shouted the royal nanny, and she looked so fierce that he thought he had better do as she said.

As Bertie was lying in bed, he could see the sun shining through the curtains and hear Harry and the other princelings playing outside.

He was very, very cross. What made him particularly furious was that Nanny was allowing Harry to stay up later than usual, even though he was three years younger than Bertie. He was also very hungry because he hadn’t had anything to eat.

“I know,” he thought, “I will run away and found another kingdom. Then I’ll declare war on Harry’s kingdom, and he’ll be sorry he broke my fire truck and told nasty fibs about me.”

So he decided to escape from the palace. Later on, when it was dark, he made a rope out of sheets, and dropped it out of the window, and then started to climb down. He felt a bit nervous, because it was a long way, and he wondered if he should go back… But then he started sliding, and before he knew it, he was on the ground. He ran across the moonlit garden to a place in the palace fence where he knew one of the railings was missing. He squeezed through, and started to walk quickly down the road. The last time he had been out of the palace had been on the queen’s birthday, when they had ridden in a coach and horses and waved to all the people who cheered and hip-hip-hoorayed. Now nobody seemed to recognise him. “That’s because it’s dark,” thought Bertie, “and in any case they are not expecting to see a princeling at this time of night.”

He came to a big square that was full of traffic and moving lights advertising fizzy drinks, shiny fast cars, and boring things like banks and insurance companies. The pavement was so full of people out for the evening, that he could hardly move, but still nobody recognised him. He was starting to get tired, and was so hungry that he felt like he had a big hole in his tummy.

There were lots of shops, several cinemas, and even a branch of Stuart's Burger Bar. Now Bertie had heard all about Stuart's, and he knew that they had Stu-Burgers, Stu-Nuggets, and Stu-Chips. Best of all, every meal at Stuart's came with a free toy. But he had never set foot inside Stuart's because his mother, the queen, had forbidden him to do so. “You must learn, dear Bertie,” she used to say when they went past in their golden coach pulled by six white horses, “that princes don’t eat burgers. They make one fat and spotty, and cause constipation, and that wouldn't do for a royal, now would it?”

But it’s a well-known fact that the more you are forbidden to do something, the more you want to do it. So as he walked towards the burger bar, Bertie thought, “Princes need to try everything once. I’ll just pop in and have one burger, and besides, a free toy can’t hurt.”

Inside, there were bright lights and a play area. Best of all, you could get a mega-zappa laser gun as the free toy with your ‘Smiley Meal’.

“One Smiley Meal, with burger and chips and fizzy sugary water,” said Bertie when he reached the counter. “And a free toy, please!”

The woman behind the desk put the food on a plastic tray, then looked down at Bertie and said, “That will be 2.99.”

Bertie paused for a minute.

You see, he was a princeling, and everyone knew that one day he would grow up into a handsome prince, and eventually he would be a king, and so no one had ever asked him for money before.

“Oh, that’s alright,” said Bertie. “I don’t need to pay.”

“Everyone needs to pay,” said the lady sternly. “If you don’t pay, you don’t eat.”

“No really, I’m Prince Bertie,” he said. “You know me surely. I live in the palace.”

“And I’m Queen Lah-de-Dah,” said the lady, leaning forward. “You know, from the gutter.”

She looked around to all the other workers at Stuart's, and they all laughed.

“He says he’s a prince,” she mocked. “He says he doesn't have to pay.”

Bertie felt very small — even smaller than the two foot that he was when he was a princeling.

“Well, well,” he stuttered. “Maybe I could just have the free toy.”

“That’ll be 1.50,” said the lady.

“But it’s a FREE toy.”

“Free with a MEAL,” shrieked the lady. “You really are a trouble maker. Now hop off.”

At that very moment, the boy behind him in the queue gave Bertie a push. “Yeah, you’re a trouble maker, now buzz off.”

“I’m a prince,” said Bertie.

“Prince Stupid,” said the boy.

Outside on the pavement, a group of boys, all much bigger than Bertie, crowded around him and they all started shouting, “Prince Stupid, Prince Stupid, Prince Stupid.”

Bertie started to feel a bit scared, but all the same, he knew that as he really was a prince, he was supposed to be brave.

“If I had my prince's sword,” he said sternly, “I would cut your heads off.”

“Na-na-na-na-na,” said one of the gang who, to Bertie’s disgust, turned out to be a girl. Then she did something truly horrid: She spat in his face. If she had been a boy, Bertie would have bashed her on the nose, but he knew that princes weren’t supposed to hit girls, so he wiped the gob of his face and did his best to look royal.

“And you,” he said in a dignified manner, “are a very badly brought up girl.”

Just then one of the boys hit Bertie over the ear. Without thinking, Bertie punched the boy back, and even though his attacker was bigger than him, Bertie made his nose bleed. The horrid girl grabbed Bertie by the ear and started to twist it, and Bertie decided that this was too much, so even though she was a girl, he turned round and bit her arm. She screamed, but nobody heard, because just then a police siren sounded, and a white van pulled up. Six large policemen jumped out of the van, blowing whistles, waving truncheons, and saying, “What’s all this then?”

“Thank goodness you got here,” said Bertie. “Officers, arrest this gang for High Treason. They have just attacked His Royal Highness Prince Bertie - that’s me by the way, as I’m sure you know.

The girl shrieked, “Look I’m bleeding. That little monster just bit me!”

The boy who had hit Bertie said, “He jumped on me from behind and see what he did to my nose!”

And the woman from the burger bar said, “And on top of all that, he just tried to steal a free toy!”

Bertie protested that they were all telling terrible fibs, even worse than his brother, Prince Harry’s, but the largest of the policemen picked Bertie up by the collar, and said, “Right, you’re coming with me laddie,”

“To the palace,” said Bertie hopefully.

“You could call it a palace if you want,” said the policeman, roughly, “but we call it a jail.”

Bertie gulped. He was really, really sure that he did not want to go to the jail.

“I think I’d rather go to the palace, please,” said Bertie nervously.

The policeman laughed roughly. “I suppose all our visitors would rather go the palace, but you’re going to the jail.”

With that, he slung Bertie into the back of the white police van - in the same way that Bertie had seen the rubbish collectors throw garbage into the back of their truck. Inside the van, there was a big, ugly police dog, who looked at Bertie and growled. Bertie felt very nervous, and was starting to feel very sorry that he had run away. He was wishing he was back home again - even if Harry was very annoying.

“Here, Sarge,” said the policeman as they stepped into the police station. “We’ve got a little trouble maker here who’s been stealing free toys, hitting boys on the nose, and biting girls. Let’s put him in the cells and send him before the judge first thing tomorrow morning. I expect he’ll get at least six years behind bars for all his crimes.

“Oh, no, please,” said Bertie. “I promise to be good, and be nice to Harry, and, and, and… I’ll even tidy my room.”

“Enough of your lip, laddie,” said the policeman. “We’ll have no more of that nonsense about being a prince.”

He was about to throw Bertie in the jail.

Then suddenly, Bertie noticed a picture, hanging slightly lop-sided on the wall behind the counter, with cobwebs hanging from the corner of the frame. It showed the king and queen. Next to them the two little princelings, Bertie and Harry. “Look,” said Bertie quickly. “That’s me in the picture.”

The policeman was about to cuff Bertie around the ear, when he looked at the picture, and looked at Bertie. He looked again, and again, and slowly his expression changed. “Blimey, Sarge,” he said. Then, as he put Bertie down on the ground, he grovelled, “I’m truly sorry Your Royal Highness. I didn't know. Oh deary, deary me, What a silly mistake I've made. I suppose I’ll be drummed out of the force.”

“You’ll be lucky if I don’t order your head to be cut off,” said Bertie.

“Oh no, Sir. My wife wouldn't like that! She’s a great admirer of the royal family, truly she is. She always drinks her morning tea out of a royal souvenir mug for the anniversary of the king and queen!”

“Well I suppose,” said Bertie, “That I may grant you a royal pardon, on condition that you take me to Stuart's Burger Bar, and buy me a happy meal with a free mega-zappa laser gun.

And on the way back to Stuart’s Burger Bar, the police man was very friendly, and let Bertie sit in the front of the van, and even allowed him to turn on the siren and go “wah-wah-wah” all down the street, which Bertie thought was the best thing ever.

The policeman carried Bertie into Stuart's on his shoulders, and now everybody recognised him. The dinners began to cheer and shout, “Hurrah for the Royal Family!” And, “Long live Prince Bertie!” The woman behind the counter was rather afraid that Bertie might throw her into jail or even order her head to be cut off, but even she was forgiven when she brought an extra large Happy Meal to his table, with loads of tomato ketchup, and not one, but six mega Zappa laser guns.

By the time the policeman dropped him off at the palace, they were firm friends - so much so that the policeman helped him climb back up the drain pipe, so that nobody would ever know he had even been out for the night.

By the time he went to sleep, Bertie decided that he wouldn't leave the palace by himself again, no matter how annoying Harry became - not until he was a grown up anyway.

The next morning, the Royal Nanny brought Bertie breakfast in bed, with kippers and eggy soldiers and loads of jam. She thought he would be extra hungry because he had gone to be without any dinner. But Bertie turned over and said,

“No thanks, Nanny. I’m feeling just a little bit sick this morning.” He thought secretly to himself, “It can’t have been the fault of the the Stu-Burger. I must have had too much tomato ketchup.” So Bertie stayed in bed all morning, and didn’t go to school that day, but he felt alright by lunch time.

And that’s the Storynory of how Prince Bertie ran away from home.

Tim the Tadpole says he enjoyed it a lot… and that he’s not going to run away from the pond.