Ours to LoveA Wicked Lovers novel featuring billionaire brothers
Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm
In the olden days, when wishing still worked, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful; but the youngest daughter was so lovely that even the sun, who has seen many things, was struck with wonder every time he shone on her face. Not far away from the king’s palace there was a deep dark forest, and under a lime tree in the forest there was a well. In the heat of the day the princess used to go into the forest and sit by the edge of the well, from which a marvellous coolness seemed to flow.
To pass the time she had a golden ball, which she used to throw up in the air and catch. It was her favourite game. Now one day it happened that she threw it a little carelessly, and she couldn’t catch it. Instead the ball rolled away from her and towards the well, and then it ran right over the edge and disappeared.
The princess ran after it, and looked down into the water; but it was so deep that she couldn’t see the ball. She couldn’t even see the bottom of the well.
She began to cry, and she cried louder and louder, inconsolably. But as she wept and sobbed, someone spoke to her. ‘What’s the matter, princess? You’re crying so bitterly, you’d move a stone to pity.’
She looked round to see where the voice was coming from, and saw a frog who’d stuck his big ugly head out of the water.
‘Oh, it’s you, you old splasher,’ she said. ‘I’m crying because my golden ball’s fallen into the water and it’s so deep and I can’t see it.’
‘Well, you can stop crying now,’ said the frog. ‘I can help you, but what will you give me if I fetch your ball for you?’
‘Whatever you want, frog! Anything! My clothes, my pearls, my jewels, even the golden crown I’m wearing.’
‘I don’t want your clothes, and your jewels and your golden crown are no good to me, but if you love me and take me as your companion and your playmate, if you let me sit next to you at the table and eat from your dish and drink from your cup and sleep in your bed, then I’ll dive down and bring up your golden ball.’
The princess thought, ‘What is this stupid frog saying? Whatever he thinks, he’ll have to stay in the water where he belongs. Perhaps he can get my ball.’ But of course she didn’t say that. Instead she said, ‘Yes, yes, I’ll promise you all of that if you just bring me my ball.’
As soon as the frog heard her say ‘Yes’, he put his head under the water and dived to the bottom. A moment later he came swimming back up with the ball in his mouth, and he threw it on to the grass.
The princess was so happy to see it that she snatched it up and ran off at once.
‘Wait, wait!’ called the frog. ‘Take me with you! I can’t hop as
fast as you can run!’
But she took no notice. She hurried home and forgot all about the poor frog, who had to go back down into his well. Next day the princess was sitting at table with her father the king and all the people of the court, and eating off her golden plate, when something came hopping up the marble steps: plip plop, plip plop. When it reached the top, it knocked at the door and called: ‘Princess! Youngest princess! Open the door for me!’
She ran to see who it was, and opened the door, and there was the frog.
Reprinted by arrangement with Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHER’S GRIMM by Philip Oullman.
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