Multilingual Folk Tale Database


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

El Rey Rana o Enrique el Férreo The Frog-King, or Iron Henry
unknown author Margaret Hunt
Spanish English

En aquellos remotos tiempos, en que bastaba desear una cosa para tenerla, vivía un rey que tenía unas hijas lindísimas, especialmente la menor, la cual era tan hermosa que hasta el sol, que tantas cosas había visto, se maravillaba cada vez que sus rayos se posaban en el rostro de la muchacha. Junto al palacio real extendíase un bosque grande y oscuro, y en él, bajo un viejo tilo, fluía un manantial. En las horas de más calor, la princesita solía ir al bosque y sentarse a la orilla de la fuente. Cuando se aburría, poníase a jugar con una pelota de oro, arrojándola al aire y recogiéndola, con la mano, al caer; era su juguete favorito.

Ocurrió una vez que la pelota, en lugar de caer en la manita que la niña tenía levantada, hízolo en el suelo y, rodando, fue a parar dentro del agua. La princesita la siguió con la mirada, pero la pelota desapareció, pues el manantial era tan profundo, tan profundo, que no se podía ver su fondo. La niña se echó a llorar; y lo hacía cada vez más fuerte, sin poder consolarse, cuando, en medio de sus lamentaciones, oyó una voz que decía: "¿Qué te ocurre, princesita? ¡Lloras como para ablandar las piedras!" La niña miró en torno suyo, buscando la procedencia de aquella voz, y descubrió una rana que asomaba su gruesa y fea cabezota por la superficie del agua. "¡Ah!, ¿eres tú, viejo chapoteador?" dijo, "pues lloro por mi pelota de oro, que se me cayó en la fuente." - "Cálmate y no llores más," replicó la rana, "yo puedo arreglarlo. Pero, ¿qué me darás si te devuelvo tu juguete?" - "Lo que quieras, mi buena rana," respondió la niña, "mis vestidos, mis perlas y piedras preciosas; hasta la corona de oro que llevo." Mas la rana contestó: "No me interesan tus vestidos, ni tus perlas y piedras preciosas, ni tu corona de oro; pero si estás dispuesta a quererme, si me aceptas por tu amiga y compañera de juegos; si dejas que me siente a la mesa a tu lado y coma de tu platito de oro y beba de tu vasito y duerma en tu camita; si me prometes todo esto, bajaré al fondo y te traeré la pelota de oro." – "¡Oh, sí!" exclamó ella, "te prometo cuanto quieras con tal que me devuelvas la pelota." Mas pensaba para sus adentros: ¡Qué tonterías se le ocurren a este animalejo! Tiene que estarse en el agua con sus semejantes, croa que te croa. ¿Cómo puede ser compañera de las personas?

Obtenida la promesa, la rana se zambulló en el agua, y al poco rato volvió a salir, nadando a grandes zancadas, con la pelota en la boca. Soltóla en la hierba, y la princesita, loca de alegría al ver nuevamente su hermoso juguete, lo recogió y echó a correr con él. "¡Aguarda, aguarda!" gritóle la rana, "llévame contigo; no puedo alcanzarte; no puedo correr tanto como tú!" Pero de nada le sirvió desgañitarse y gritar 'cro cro' con todas sus fuerzas. La niña, sin atender a sus gritos, seguía corriendo hacia el palacio, y no tardó en olvidarse de la pobre rana, la cual no tuvo más remedio que volver a zambullirse en su charca.

Al día siguiente, estando la princesita a la mesa junto con el Rey y todos los cortesanos, comiendo en su platito de oro, he aquí que plis, plas, plis, plas se oyó que algo subía fatigosamente las escaleras de mármol de palacio y, una vez arriba, llamaba a la puerta: "¡Princesita, la menor de las princesitas, ábreme!" Ella corrió a la puerta para ver quién llamaba y, al abrir, encontrase con la rana allí plantada. Cerró de un portazo y volviese a la mesa, llena de zozobra. Al observar el Rey cómo le latía el corazón, le dijo: "Hija mía, ¿de qué tienes miedo? ¿Acaso hay a la puerta algún gigante que quiere llevarte?" - "No," respondió ella, "no es un gigante, sino una rana asquerosa." - "Y ¿qué quiere de ti esa rana?" - "¡Ay, padre querido! Ayer estaba en el bosque jugando junto a la fuente, y se me cayó al agua la pelota de oro. Y mientras yo lloraba, la rana me la trajo. Yo le prometí, pues me lo exigió, que sería mi compañera; pero jamás pensé que pudiese alejarse de su charca. Ahora está ahí afuera y quiere entrar." Entretanto, llamaron por segunda vez y se oyó una voz que decía:

"¡Princesita, la más niña,
Ábreme!
¿No sabes lo que
Ayer me dijiste
Junto a la fresca fuente?
¡Princesita, la más niña,
Ábreme!"

Dijo entonces el Rey: "Lo que prometiste debes cumplirlo. Ve y ábrele la puerta." La niña fue a abrir, y la rana saltó dentro y la siguió hasta su silla. Al sentarse la princesa, la rana se plantó ante sus pies y le gritó: "¡Súbeme a tu silla!" La princesita vacilaba, pero el Rey le ordenó que lo hiciese. De la silla, el animalito quiso pasar a la mesa, y, ya acomodado en ella, dijo: "Ahora acércame tu platito de oro para que podamos comer juntas." La niña la complació, pero veíase a las claras que obedecía a regañadientes. La rana engullía muy a gusto, mientras a la princesa se le atragantaban todos los bocados. Finalmente, dijo la bestezuela: "¡Ay! Estoy ahíta y me siento cansada; llévame a tu cuartito y arregla tu camita de seda: dormiremos juntas." La princesita se echó a llorar; le repugnaba aquel bicho frío, que ni siquiera se atrevía a tocar; y he aquí que ahora se empeñaba en dormir en su cama. Pero el Rey, enojado, le dijo: "No debes despreciar a quien te ayudó cuando te encontrabas necesitada." Cogióla, pues, con dos dedos, llevóla arriba y la depositó en un rincón. Mas cuando ya se había acostado, acercóse la rana a saltitos y exclamó: "Estoy cansada y quiero dormir tan bien como tú; conque súbeme a tu cama, o se lo diré a tu padre." La princesita acabó la paciencia, cogió a la rana del suelo y, con toda su fuerza, la arrojó contra la pared: "¡Ahora descansarás, asquerosa!"

Pero en cuanto la rana cayó al suelo, dejó de ser rana, y convirtióse en un príncipe, un apuesto príncipe de bellos ojos y dulce mirada. Y el Rey lo aceptó como compañero y esposo de su hija. Contóle entonces que una bruja malvada lo había encantado, y que nadie sino ella podía desencantarlo y sacarlo de la charca; díjole que al día siguiente se marcharían a su reino. Durmiéron se, y a la mañana, al despertarlos el sol, llegó una carroza tirada por ocho caballos blancos, adornados con penachos de blancas plumas de avestruz y cadenas de oro. Detrás iba, de pie, el criado del joven Rey, el fiel Enrique. Este leal servidor había sentido tal pena al ver a su señor transformado en rana, que se mandó colocar tres aros de hierro en tomo al corazón para evitar que le estallase de dolor y de tristeza. La carroza debía conducir al joven Rey a su reino. El fiel Enrique acomodó en ella a la pareja y volvió a montar en el pescante posterior; no cabía en sí de gozo por la liberación de su señor.

Cuando ya habían recorrido una parte del camino, oyó el príncipe un estallido a su espalda, como si algo se rompiese. Volviéndose, dijo: "¡Enrique, que el coche estalla!"

"No, no es el coche lo que falla,
Es un aro de mi corazón,
Que ha estado lleno de aflicción
Mientras viviste en la fontana
Convertido en rana."

Por segunda y tercera vez oyóse aquel chasquido durante el camino, y siempre creyó el príncipe que la carroza se rompía; pero no eran sino los aros que saltaban del corazón del fiel Enrique al ver a su amo redimido y feliz.

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.



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