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Interpertation of The Frog King
One of the most redone stories of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales this piece of folklore is very different from what most who have never read the original would imagine. It begins as most people think with a spoiled princess loosing a ball of gold in a well. This princess then promises a frog the right to eat from her plate, drink from her cup, and share her bed if he gets the ball for her. Being spoiled and not much caring for promises the princess abandons the frog the moment the ball is retrieved.
The frog must go to the girl’s palace to get what she promised however even then she is nasty to him and only fulfills her promises because her father the king forces her too. There are two points here that are interesting; one is the way in which they attempt to make the princesses life very lavish, mentioning her ball of gold, her plate of gold and more. Second is the fact that her king who seems to indulge her with great wealth does not indulge her desire to avoid keeping a promise she never meant too. The stories message up to this point is very clear, it is that one must keep their promises no matter how wealthy and spoiled they become. This message as good as it is becomes confused as the story continues, for the princess continues to be nasty to the frog, who continues to bear this nastiness, hanging around despite it.
The frog in some ways seems to wish to get revenge on her, making her allow him on her bed, “or I will tell your father” as he says. However she rather then allowing this decides to take up the frog and throw him against the wall. It is this act of violence which cures the frog rather then any act of love. More then violence this is the act of a spoiled child, a malicious and deceitful girl who believes that she can get whatever she wants, that she does not have to keep promises made. For this action she is rewarded with a loving and faithful king, for when she attempts to kill the frog he turns into a king. Rather then despising her for being spoiled or for her lies the frog now king loves and marries the girl. The joy of this event is shown at the end by the king’s servant who’s heart swells with joy so much that it breaks apart bands of iron.
So what are we to take from such a turn of events? Why should the princess be rewarded for her cruelty and vindictive nature, for attempting to commit murder on what she is indebted to? And why should he still lover her after this attempted murder? First one should note that this story is very much the opposite of what many feminists think fairy tales are, for it is about a man who loves a girl who does not deserve him. It tells men that the girl for them will likely be spoiled but they are to love her anyways. It further tells girls that the man they marry may be slimy and full of nasty habits they may not like but if they stand up for themselves then he will become a king. In the case of this story that act of standing up for herself was an attempted murder, and so the question one should have at the end of this story is why should these two have gotten together in the first place? Shouldn’t they have gotten with ones they would get along with? The answer is simply that at the time this was not always possible, that kings, princesses, and indeed all people where often married to one they barely knew by arrangement. It therefore became necessary to put up with ones spouse or attempt to force change, in order for love to blossom.