Multilingual Folk Tale Database

Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich (Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm)

The Frog-King, or Iron Henry Frøkongen eller Jernhenrik
Margaret Hunt unknown author
English Danish

In old times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face. Close by the King's castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very warm, the King's child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was dull she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favourite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess's golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The King's daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. On this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she thus lamented, some one said to her, "What ails thee, King's daughter? Thou weepest so that even a stone would show pity." She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its thick, ugly head from the water. "Ah! old water-splasher, is it thou?" said she; "I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well."

"Be quiet, and do not weep," answered the frog, "I can help thee, but what wilt thou give me if I bring thy plaything up again?" "Whatever thou wilt have, dear frog," said she "my clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing."

The frog answered, "I do not care for thy clothes, thy pearls and jewels, or thy golden crown, but if thou wilt love me and let me be thy companion and play-fellow, and sit by thee at thy little table, and eat off thy little golden plate, and drink out of thy little cup, and sleep in thy little bed if thou wilt promise me this I will go down below, and bring thee thy golden ball up again."

"Oh, yes," said she, "I promise thee all thou wishest, if thou wilt but bring me my ball back again." She, however, thought, "How the silly frog does talk! He lives in the water with the other frogs and croaks, and can be no companion to any human being!"

But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the water and sank down, and in a short time came swimming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The King's daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it. "Wait, wait," said the frog, "Take me with thee. I can't run as thou canst." But what did it avail him to scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could? She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was forced to go back into his well again.

The next day when she had seated herself at table with the King and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, "Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me." She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The King saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, "My child, what art thou so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry thee away?" "Ah, no," replied she, "it is no giant, but a disgusting frog."

"What does the frog want with thee?" "Ah, dear father, yesterday when I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so the frog brought it out again for me, and because he insisted so on it, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water! And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me."

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried,

"Princess! youngest princess!
Open the door for me!
Dost thou not know what thou saidst to me
Yesterday by the cool waters of the fountain?
Princess, youngest princess!
Open the door for me!"

Then said the King, "That which thou hast promised must thou perform. Go and let him in." She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat still and cried, "Lift me up beside thee." She delayed, until at last the King commanded her to do it. When the frog was once on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, "Now, push thy little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together." She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her. At length he said, "I have eaten and am satisfied; now I am tired, carry me into thy little room and make thy little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep."

The King's daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed. But the King grew angry and said, "He who helped thee when thou wert in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by thee." So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner. But when she was in bed he crept to her and said, "I am tired, I want to sleep as well as thou, lift me up or I will tell thy father." Then she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. "Now, thou wilt be quiet, odious frog," said she. But when he fell down he was no frog but a king's son with beautiful kind eyes. He by her father's will was now her dear companion and husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom. Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind stood the young King's servant faithful Henry. Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief andsadness. The carriage was to conduct the young King into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way, the King's son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. So he turned round and cried, "Henry, the carriage is breaking."

"No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the well." Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, and each time the King's son thought the carriage was breaking; but it was only the bands which were springing from the heart of faithful Henry because his master was set free and was happy.

I gamle dage, dengang man kunne få sine ønsker opfyldt, levede der en konge, som havde en datter, der var så dejlig, at selv solen, der dog har set så meget kønt, undredes, hver gang den skinnede på hende. I nærheden af slottet lå der en stor, mørk skov, og der inde var der en brønd under en gammel lind. Når det var meget varmt, gik kongedatteren ud i skoven og satte sig ved vandet, og når hun kedede sig, spillede hun bold med en guldkugle, som var hendes kæreste legetøj.

En dag skete der det uheld, at hun ikke greb kuglen igen. Den rullede væk fra hende lige ud i vandet. Hun fulgte den med øjnene, men den forsvandt, og brønden var så dyb, at man slet ikke kunne se bunden. Hun gav sig til at græde, højere og højere, og var meget fortvivlet. På en gang hørte hun en stemme: "Hvad er der dog i vejen, lille prinsesse, du græder jo, så det kunne røre en sten." Da hun vendte sig om, så hun en frø, som stak sit ækle, tykke hoved op af vandet. "Å er det dig, gamle vandhund," sagde hun, "jeg græder, fordi min guldkugle er faldet i brønden." - "Vær bare rolig," sagde frøen, "jeg skal nok hjælpe dig. Hvad får jeg, når jeg skaffer dig dit legetøj igen?" - "Alt, hvad du vil," svarede kongedatteren, "mine klæder, mine perler og mine ædelstene, og hvis du bryder dig om det, må du også gerne få min guldkrone." - "Mange tak," sagde frøen, "alt det bryder jeg mig ikke om. Men vil du love mig at holde af mig og lege med mig og lade mig sidde ved siden af dig ved bordet og spise af din tallerken og drikke af dit bæger og sove hos dig i din seng, så skal jeg dykke ned og hente din guldkugle." - "Jeg lover dig det alt sammen, når du blot vil hente min kugle," svarede hun. Men ved sig selv tænkte hun: Sikken en tosset frø! Den kan da ikke være min legekammerat. Den må nok pænt blive nede hos de andre frøer og kvække.

Frøen dykkede nu ned og kom lidt efter op igen med kuglen i munden. Den lagde den i græsset, og kongedatteren tog den henrykt og løb af sted med den. "Vent lidt," råbte frøen, "tag mig med. Jeg kan ikke løbe så hurtigt som du." Men det nyttede ikke, at den kvækkede så højt, den kunne. Hun hørte det ikke, men skyndte sig hjem og havde snart glemt den stakkels, grimme frø.

Næste dag, da den lille prinsesse og kongen og hele hoffet sad og spiste til middag, hørte hun noget, der kom op ad marmortrappen, plask, plask. Så blev der banket på døren, og en stemme råbte: "Luk op, lille prinsesse." Hun gik hen for at se, hvem det var, og da hun lukkede op, sad frøen udenfor. Hun smækkede døren i og satte sig hen til bordet igen, men hun var slet ikke rigtig glad. Kongen kunne nok se, at der var noget i vejen med hende og spørge: "Hvad er det, du sidder og er bange for? Står der en kæmpe derude og vil tage dig?" - "Nej, det er ingen kæmpe," svarede hun, "det er en væmmelig frø." - "Men hvad vil den dog?" - "Å far, da jeg i går sad ude ved brønden og spillede bold, faldt kuglen i vandet. Så græd jeg, og frøen hentede den til mig, og så måtte jeg love den, at den skulle være min legekammerat. Men jeg var rigtig nok sikker på, at den ikke kunne komme op af vandet. Nu står den derude og vil ind." Imidlertid bankede frøen nok en gang og råbte:

"Lille prinsesse
luk døren op,
jeg står herude og venter.
Den løn, du mig loved
ved brønden i går,
kommer jeg
nu og henter."

Da sagde kongen: "Hvad du har lovet, skal du holde. Gå straks hen og luk op." Hun gjorde, som han sagde, og frøen kom ind og hoppede lige i hælene på hende hen til hendes stol. "Løft mig op," sagde den. Prinsessen gjorde det, men ikke før kongen sagde, hun skulle. Da frøen først var kommet op på stolen, ville den op på bordet, og da den var kommet derop, sagde den: "Skyd så din guldtallerken hen til mig, så spiser vi sammen." Hun gjorde det, men man kunne nok se, at hun ikke holdt af det. Frøen lod sig maden smage, men hver mundfuld blev siddende hende i halsen. "Nu er jeg træt," sagde den, da den havde spist, "bær mig nu ind i din stue, så lægger vi os til at sove i din silkeseng." Hun begyndte at græde, for hun var bange for den kolde frø, og turde ikke røre ved den, og nu skulle den ligge i hendes hvide, bløde seng! Men kongen blev vred og sagde: "Du skal ikke bagefter foragte den, der hjalp dig i din nød." Hun tog den så med to fingre og satte den i en krog inde i sin stue. Da hun havde lagt sig i sin seng, kom den kravlende og sagde: "Jeg er træt, jeg vil sove lige så godt som du. Hvis du ikke tager mig op til dig, siger jeg det til din far." Så blev kongedatteren for alvor vred, tog frøen og kastede den af alle kræfter mod væggen: "Nu kan du vel få hvilet dig nok, din væmmelige frø," råbte hun.

Men i det samme blev hun helt forskrækket, for i stedet for frøen stod der en kongesøn med kønne, gode øjne og så på hende. Han fortalte, at en ond heks havde forvandlet ham til en frø, og kongedatteren var den eneste, der kunne frelse ham. Hun løb efter sin far, og da han havde hørt historien, bestemte han, at kongesønnen skulle giftes med prinsessen. Så gik de i seng, og da solen næste morgen vækkede dem, holdt der en vogn, forspændt med otte hvide heste. De havde hvide strudsfjer på hovedet og var spændt fast med guldkæder. Bagpå stod vognen den tro Henrik, den unge konges tjener. Han havde været så bedrøvet, fordi hans herre var forhekset til en frø, at han havde lagt tre jernbånd om sit hjerte, for ikke at det skulle briste af sorg. Den tro Henrik løftede nu kongesønnen og prinsessen ind i vognen, og stillede sig bagved dem, og hans hjerte svulmede af glæde over, at hans herre var frelst.

Da de havde kørt et stykke, hørte kongesønnen, at der var noget bagved ham, der knagede, som om det gik itu. Han vendte sig om og sagde: "Hørte du Henrik, aksen brast?"

"Nej, herre, vognen går støt og fast,
det var kun det bånd, jeg bar om mit hjerte,
at ikke det skulle briste af smerte,
da I måtte friste et kummerligt liv
hos frøer og tudser blandt tang og siv."

To gange endnu hørte kongesønnen noget, der knagede, og begge gange troede han, at vognen gik itu. Men det var kun jernbåndene om den tro Henriks hjerte, der sprang, fordi hans bryst var fyldt af lykke over, at hans herre var frelst.

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