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     Volume 1 Issue 8 | October 14, 2006 |


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The Frog Prince

Kabir Chowdhury

Once upon a time there lived a King who had a handsome young son. One day the young Prince went into a forest on a hunting expedition. Inside the forest the Prince saw a deer drinking water from a pool. No sooner did he see the deer than he took out his bow and arrow and shot at it. The arrow hit the deer squarely in the heart who gave a piteous shirek and fell dead. A hermit was sitting at that time near the pool deep in meditation. The deer's dying shriek disturbed his divine contemplation. He rose from his seat and went up to the deer only a find it dead and lifeless, sprawled on the ground with an arrow sticking out from its heart. He became extremely angry and cursed the Prince and said, "For the crime you have committed you will be turned into a frog and as a frog will you spend your life in this little pool of water."1

When the Prince heard the hermit curse him thus he grew pale with fear and dismay. He threw himself at the hermit's feet and begged for his forgiveness and charity. Softened by the importuning of the Prince the hermit said at last, "All right, you will again be turned into a man, but only when the warmth of fire will singe your skin and not before that." So saying the hermit went away leaving the Prince behind who was already a frog by then jumping about in the little forest pool.

The frog-prince lived in the pool. When he was hungry he caught little insects and ate them. Thus passed some days. And then one day it rained heavily. The whole area became flooded with water. The frog-prince left his little pool and went over to a big tank. Now he found his life in a more comfortable environment. He could see the faces of human beings who came to the tank to wash their hands and feet and to bathe. This was a source of great joy and happiness to him.

Now the King of that country had a beautiful daughter. Every morning she used to go to that big tank and personally feed the lovely fishes which lived in that tank.

One morning when the Princess was feeding the fishes thrusting her hand into the water her diamond ring suddenly slipped off her finger. The Princess tried very hard to find out her ring but all her efforts were in vain. She sat by the tank and wept. The King heard about it. He the Princess was not to be consoled. At last the King sent for the jeweller who made for the Princess another diamond ring exactly like the one she had before. But still the Princess continued to lament and weep. She wanted her old ring back. She would not go away from the bank of the tank unless she got her ring back. That was her unshakable vow.

Just then the frog-prince (to all who did not know his past history he was nothing but an ordinary frog) came up from under the water and said to the princes, "Listen, Princess, your ring is inside my stomack. I can give it back to you only on one condition. You must promise to marry me." The princess was so anxious to get back her diamond ring that she readily promised to marry him. The frog at once brought out the ring from his stomach through his mouth and gave it to the King's daughter.

When the princess got her ring she went back to the palace. Then she told her parents every thing. The King and the Queen were thunderstruck when they heard their daughter's story. What was to be done now? The princess was quite grown up. She had attained marriageable age. How could her parents now interfere in her affairs? If she wanted to marry a frog, well, she was free to do so. It was not proper for them to stop her or stand in her way. So the wedding took place and the frog came to live with the Princess as her husband.

The Frog-prince was quite happy in his present condition. Sometimes he sat on his golden bed and asked his wife to massage his feet softly. Sometimes he asked her to fan him briskly in order to drive away the sweltering heat.

But the King's daughter found all this very annoying. Nevertheless she had to do what her husband asked her to do. After all, this was her fate, or would she be the wife of a frog? She was far from being happy. And on top of this her friends teased her all the time. When they saw her they would suddently croak like a frog and make faces at her. This embittered her mind. The kindness and sympathy she had earlier felt for the frog was now completely gone. In fact she began to make plans to kill him.

She thought for a few days and at last hit upon a plan. She placed some smouldering saw-dust in an earthern pot and kept it quietly hidden under her bed. She thought that while jumping about the room the frog would at one time or another suddenly drop into the poet and burn to death.

Now this was what happened. The frog moved about the room softly jumping from one spot to another, While moving thus, he once came very close to the pot with the fire inside it. By the the time-span for the operation of the hermit's curse was nearly over. When the frog came very near the pot the heat of the fire singed his skin and, in the twinkling of an eye, the frog became a human being, a radiant Prince Charming.

The Princes was amazed and happy beyond words. Everybody rejoiced and there was great merrymaking in the palace and all over the land. A Bangladeshi fairy tale

Illustration by A. Muqtadir

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