The Maiden and the Frog

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Maiden and Frog
The world seems to be full of stories about young girls who help frogs who then turn out to be princes. The Brothers Grimm wrote the famous "Frog Prince" but this version is by by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps (1820-1829).

As a special bonus, you will hear Natasha sing. And while we are mentioning Natasha, you might like to read some news about her.

Read by Natasha. Duration 11 minutes.

You can find more variations on the the Frog Prince story at D.L. Ashliman's site.

Many years ago there lived on the brow of a mountain, in the north of England, an old woman and her daughter. They were very poor, and had to work very hard for their living, and the old woman's temper was not very good, so that the young girl, who was very beautiful, led but an ill life with her.

The girl did all the hardest work, for her mother scratched a living by going around the neighbourhood selling small things, and when she came home in the afternoon, she was tiered and not able to do much more. Nearly all the housework fell to the daughter. Her most tiresome duty was to fetch the water from a well on the other side of the hill, there being no river or spring near their own cottage.

It happened one morning that the daughter had the misfortune, when going to the well, to fall and break the only large pot they owned, and having nothing else that she could use to carry water, she had to go home without any. When her mother came home, she was very thirsty, and the girl, though trembling because of her ill luck, had to tell the old woman that there was no water for her to drink.

The old woman was furiously angry, and pointed to a sieve which happened to be on the table, and told her to go at once to the well and bring her some water in that, or never again to show her face in the cottage.

The young girl, frightened almost out of her wits by her mother's fury, speedily took the sieve, and though she thought that it was a hopeless task to try and fetch water using a sieve full of holes, she hurried off to the well as if in a dream. When she arrived there, she began to think over the terrible situation, and how impossible it would be for her to survive on her own, and in deepest despair, she fell down by the side of the well and sobbed.

After a while, a frog hopped out of the well and asked her why she was crying so bitterly. She was somewhat surprised at this, but not being the least frightened, told him the whole story, and that she was crying because she could not carry away water in the sieve.

"Is that all?" said the frog; "cheer up, my hinny! for if you will only let me sleep with you for two nights, and then chop off my head, I will tell you how to do it."

The maiden thought that the silly frog was talking nonsense, but she was too unhappy to waste time arguing with him, and promised to do what he asked. The frog then instructed her in the following words:

Stop with moss
And daub with clay;
And that will carry
The water away.

Having said this, he dived immediately under the water, and the girl, realised that what he had said made perfect sense. She went around and picked up some moss and clay, and used them to fill up the holes in the sieve. She then filled the sieve with water and hurried home, not thinking much of her promise to the frog. By the time she reached home, the old woman's temper had calmed down, but as they were eating their poor supper very quietly, what should they hear but the splashing and croaking of a frog near the door, and shortly afterwards the daughter recognized the voice of the frog of the well singing:

Open the door, my hinny, my heart,
Open the door, my own darling, my belle;
Remember the promise you made to me
In the meadow beside the wishing well.

She was now dreadfully frightened, and hurriedly explained what had happened to her mother, who was also so much alarmed at the situation. They both thought it best to let this remarkable frog come in side, for they feared that he might cast some nasty spell on them otherwise. When the door was opened, the frog leaped into the room, singing:

Go wi' me to bed, my hinny, my heart,
Go wi' me to bed, my darling, my belle;
Remember the promise you made to me,
In the meadow beside the wishing well.

The young girl did as he asked , although as may be readily supposed, she did not much relish such a bedfellow. The next day, the frog was very quiet, and evidently enjoyed the food they placed before him for breakfast, the purest milk and the finest bread they could find. In fact, neither the old woman nor her daughter spared any pains to make the frog comfortable. That night, immediately supper was finished, the frog again sang:

Go wi' me to bed, my hinny, my heart,
Go wi' me to bed, my darling, my belle;
Remember the promise you made to me,
In the meadow beside the wishing well.

She again allowed the frog to share her couch, and in the morning, as soon as she was dressed, he jumped towards her, singing:

Chop off my head, my hinny, my heart,
Chop off my head, my darling, my belle;
Remember the promise you made to me,
In the meadow beside the wishing well.

So the young girl did as he asked, and no sooner had she chopped off his head than in the place of the frog, there stood by her side the handsomest prince in the world, who had long been transformed by a magician, and who could never have recovered his natural shape until a beautiful maiden had agreed, of her own accord, to make him her bedfellow for two nights. The joy of both was complete; the girl and the prince were shortly afterwards married, and lived for many years in the enjoyment of every happiness.