The Princess and the Frog
by Theodora Goss
I threw the ball into the water.
The frog came out and followed after,
bringing me the golden ball —
which I did not want at all, at all.
Princess, he said, let me eat at your table.
I fed him as well as I was able.
Princess, let me sleep on your pillow.
He crept as close as I would allow.
He said, a witch enchanted me.
I’m not what I seem, you see,
but a prince in the form of a lowly frog,
forced to live in that wretched bog
where I found and retrieved the golden ball
you had deliberately let fall.
Why did you discard your treasure?
I said, because it gave me no pleasure.
The heavy scepter and orb of state
hurt my arms with their golden weight.
The scepter still lies within the pool,
among the weeds. I don’t want to rule
this country or wage the endless war
my father started. I want more
than political and diplomatic lies.
He blinked his iridescent eyes.
Kiss me, he said. And I did, despite
my misgivings. It felt appropriate,
almost as though I could hear my fate
knocking on the castle gate.
Then he turned into a prince, and I
into a frog, instantaneously.
He took me down to the pool again,
away from the troubling world of men.
There I swim in the cool green water,
and the only things that seem to matter
are the sun as it filters into the green
or the patter of a summer rain
on the leaves of the floating water lilies.
The flashing blue of dragonflies,
the stork that is my nemesis.
Who would have thought a single kiss
could release me from the strife
attendant on a human life
and bring me to the cool green heart
of the world, where all enchantments start?
Where life is still a fairy tale,
and I’m the princess of the pool.
(The painting is The Princess and the Frog by William Robert Symonds.)