The Frog Prince (sometimes also named The Frog King) is a well-known fairy tale from the collection of Brothers Grimm. In fact, it was the very first fairy tale in the first version of their book which is now considered as one of the cornerstones of western civilization.
The main theme of the story is the importance of a given word. The princess had lost a golden ball. She promised to frog whatever he wanted if he can help her. But when she got the ball she didn't care about her promises anymore. She actually believed her promise to a frog doesn't really count as an obligation. Why?
Well - she is a princess, isn't she? And he is just a small unimportant frog, right?
A frog is a pretty common character in fairy tales and is often associated with fertility (think about the beginning of The Sleeping Beauty where the frog foretells the queen about the child) what can be traced thousand years ago to ancient civilizations.
In Egypt, for instance, the frogs were related to floods of Nile which were a necessary condition for sowing and later harvesting grain. Frogs are also associated with fortune and good luck but in some cases with witchcraft and can be treated as bad omens.
Here are some more interesting facts about Frog Prince:
1. In earlier versions the frog slept in princesses bed as she agreed at the pond but in later versions, even a mention of a bed was cleared out of the story because Grimm’s didn’t like the idea of an unmarried couple in bed.
2. In traditional versions of The Frog Prince, there was no kissing of the frog. Princess was so angry she threw a frog at the wall and then transformation to prince happens. Violent? Maybe, but we can find a Scottish version titled The Well of the World’s End, where transformation happens when the girl (not a princess) cuts the frog’s head!
3. There are also several versions where prince marries the frog and then the frog changes to a princess. We can easily find them in Italian, Greek and Russian fairy tale tradition.
And one more interesting thing: the expression ‘having a frog in a throat’ comes from the real medical treatment of sore throats in Middle Age when doctors believed a frog in patient’s mouth can absorb his illness. It is luckily not practiced anymore and we don’t have data how many frogs or patients died because of this scientifically ungrounded believe.
I bet you didn’t know all that!