#FairytaleTuesday: The Frog King, or Iron Henry

[CW: animal abuse, issues of consent and coercion]

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index type 440: The Frog King

It is believed that this story dates back to at least 13th-century Germany.

**Edited to add: After a question was raised in the comments about the fact that the princess was rewarded for her behavior, I took to Twitter with my own questions. Someone made the very good point that perhaps this is essentially an allegory regarding a young woman who is being confronted with someone who will not recognize her boundaries and tries to continually force his way into her bed. He only becomes a prince, a “good” person, after she resorts to drastic measures. I should have considered that before, given that sex, usually wrapped in allegory and metaphor, is a big part of fairy tales. We see a princess with her golden ball and we think of a child but perhaps the real story is a young woman who went only so far and then tried to withdraw her consent and was made to believe that she could not, by both the frog and her father.

What I’m saying is that there are just a whole lot of layers when it comes to fairytales and folklore and we need to remember that when we read them. Nothing is surface-level with these stories, which is what makes them so fascinating.

The princess thought, “what nonsense the simple-minded frog is blabbering! He’s got to remain in his water. But perhaps he can get me my ball. So I’ll say yes to him.” And she said, “Yes, fair enough, but first fetch me the golden ball. I promise you everything.”

Anne Anderson, 1922
Warwick Goble, 1913
Charles Folkard, 1911

Work Cited:
Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

2 thoughts on “#FairytaleTuesday: The Frog King, or Iron Henry

  1. **Leaving my original reply but adding that I’ve edited the entry regarding this and the possible allegorical connotations within the story itself.**

    I know! There is absolutely no moral lesson here that I can see unless it’s the idea that girls should accept the man that wants them and that their father tells them to be nice to because maybe he’s secretly a prince? I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

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