Author's note: All those fairy tales. Kings promise their daughters' hands to whoever fulfils whatever tasks kings may set or find the missing princesses and thus get rewarded with their hand. I don't find it really fair; what if they and the princesses didn't want to marry? But that doesn't happen in fairy tales. They are always willing.
Until now, that is. Please enjoy my fairy tale!
Prince's Hand And Half of the Kingdom
Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time, sometime and somewhere, there was a great kingdom of England. That kingdom was ruled by a mighty king, King Kirkland. He was widely known for his braveness and wisdom, and the legend has it that as youth, when he had just come to inherit the throne of England, he had had a heart of a lion; righteous and good, yet merciless to his enemies. That is why he earned his moniker, Lionheart. And even after the years kept passing by and the King kept growing older, he was still respected by his people, and still called by the name he had gained in his younger days: King Lionheart.
There are hundreds of tales that could be told about King Lionheart, but this story isn't about him. You see, Lionheart had four sons, the three oldest of which had already left the King's castle to live in their owns. But the youngest, though already a young adult himself, still lived in his father's home, for he was his favourite son and was to inherit the throne after the King would pass away. His name was Arthur Kirkland, and he is the one who this tale is going to be about.
Prince Arthur was a young man, who resembled his father in many ways; he was brave and righteous, and he loved and was proud of his country with his whole heart. Like his father, he despised their neighbour kingdom – the kingdom of France – and its people, and he had also inherited his father's cynicism as well as his remarkable eyebrows that dominated his facial features.
But under those eyebrows were his eyes, bright green orbs that shined like emeralds and sparked with vividness. With those eyes, Prince Arthur was able to see the inhabitants of the world that were hidden from other people, and that was one of the reasons why the English people respected him; every English citizen knew that magical creatures existed, but among all the English, only one of their princes was able to see them.
Because it was general knowledge to all the English that supernatural things existed, it didn't really surprise our Prince when he, yet at his teen years, once met a frog that could speak.
The young Prince was just returning from a walk with his father that they had enjoyed in a forest, when at the gate of London, the capital of England, they saw a frog sitting and apparently waiting for something. As soon as the King Lionheart and Prince Arthur were close enough, the frog, green like the Prince's eyes, greeted the royalty with great politeness. Being the gentlemen that they were, the King and his son returned the greeting and inquired what the frog was doing at their gate. On hearing the question, the green creature turned its yellow eyes at the young Prince and spoke.
"I have heard, my Prince, that your bed is the softest in the whole land, and my humble wish is to experiment if the statement is true. What I ask is to sleep this following night beside you in your bed. I'm a mere poor frog, and nothing more do I ask from my miserable life."
Now, you might have guessed that our Prince was not really keen on the idea. He didn't see any reasons why he should grant the frog's wish, because firstly, he could tell the frog straight away that the statement it had heard was wrong, for his father was currently going through a phase that made him believe his son should know what it felt like to sleep without a mattress, like poor people had to. And secondly, well, the Prince was young and hadn't yet fully obtained the manners of a perfect gentleman he was to be. That's why he answered the way he did.
His father, rather naturally, did not approve his son's behaviour – he was a prince, not a selfish bandit!
"What kind of a fucking answer is that!" the King yelled at his son. "Clean your mouth; that's not a way to respond to anybody asking something from you!"
"It's a fucking frog, why the hell should I let it sleep in my bed?" Prince Arthur shot back with a temper equal to his father's, making the King regret some of the manners he had once raised his son with. The boy had obviously learned too well.
"It's a bloody frog, Arthur, not a Frenchman asking to share your bed, so where's the damn problem?" And really, with most Englishmen there would be no problem after hearing this winning argument.
"Maybe this frog isn't as slimy as Frenchmen, but that isn't much said!"
The frog, unsurprisingly, did not approve the way the Prince had talked about it, so it decided to teach the brat a lesson.
"Prince Arthur," it croaked, taken offence audible in its voice, "Because you didn't want to help a poor creature like me, I'll reveal you something of your future. One day you will have to marry a frog!"
"What!" both the father and the son exclaimed, and the father immediately started to scold his son. "Look now what you have done!"
"Eww, take your creepy spell back!" young Prince screamed in horror, but in response to that, the frog's yellowish lips merely stretched into a sly, evil smile. "This spell will evaporate only when that frog you are to marry kisses you without any knowledge of this curse and pressure from you or others, of his own free will that is."
But the frog, with a last, croaking laughter, had disappeared.
So this is how far in the past the roots of my tale lie. Now that it's described we can move onto the actual story.
And so, many years later...