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The frog princess

There was once a king, who was very old; but he had three grown-up sons. So he called them to him, and said:

"My dear sons, I am very old, and the cares of government press heavily upon me. I must therefore give them over to one of you. But as it is the law among us, that no unmarried prince may be King, I wish you all to get married, and whoever chooses the best wife shall be my successor."

So they determined each to go a different way, and settled it thus. They went to the top of a very high tower, and each one at a given signal shot an arrow in a different direction to the others. Wherever their arrows fell they were to go in search of their future wives.

The eldest prince's arrow fell on a palace in the city, where lived a senator, who had a beautiful daughter; so he went there, and married her.

The second prince's arrow struck upon a country-house, where a very pretty young lady, the daughter of a rich gentleman, was sitting; so he went there, and proposed to her, and they were married.

But the youngest prince's arrow shot through a green wood, and fell into a lake. He saw his arrow floating among the reeds, and a frog sitting thereon, looking fixedly at him.

But the marshy ground was so unsafe that he could not venture upon it; so he sat down in despair.

"What is the matter, prince?" asked the frog.

"What is the matter? Why, I cannot reach that arrow on which you are sitting."

"Take me for your wife, and I will give it to you."

"But how can you be my wife, little frog?"

"That is just what has got to be. You know that you shot your arrow from the tower, thinking that where it fell, you would find a loving wife; so you will have her in me."

"You are very wise, I see, little frog. But tell me, how can I marry you, or introduce you to my father? And what will the world say?"

"Take me home with you, and let nobody see me. Tell them that you have married an Eastern lady, who must not be seen by any man, except her husband, nor even by another woman."

The prince considered a little.

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