A Commoner for the Prince
You there! Yes you. You’re gawking at me as if I were a clown at the circus, or a piece of sculpture on display at the art gallery. I suppose you’re wondering how I became this Red-eyed Leaf Frog. My question exactly, only I keep coming up with the same answer: Born, born, born to be a frog—no, no, that can’t be true !
Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, I seem to think I could have been a real princess. All I needed was a handsome prince to kiss me, and Voila! I’ll become that beautiful princess. Yes, that must be it!
Unfortunately, those things only happen in storybooks. Wait a minute! Wasn’t it a princess who kissed a frog, which then turned into a handsome prince?
But I digress.
As I was saying, I suppose you’re wondering how I became a frog. That, my friend, is the sixty-four thousand dollar who-done-it question, for I’m sure I haven’t always been a frog, in spite of what my keeper wants me to believe. (Do forgive me if I seem to be repeating myself, but as I have said before, I really should be a princess but something terrible has happened.)
Here, sit beside me on this branch. Get comfy and I’ll tell you what I remember. Ribbit!
It all began the day the decree was heard: ‘Hear Ye! Hear Ye!’ was the cry! ‘A princess must be found for the prince! Come all Ye noble maidens, commoners and all, to the Ball at Castle Canhappen!’
And so it was that I attended the Ball in my finest green silk gown and T-strap ballroom shoes. Tall and elegant I stood in my strapless attire; my auburn hair piled cone-like atop my head; the smile on my face wider than a Rugby pitch. As it was the Christmas season, I had painted my nails (fingers and toes) bright red to contrast with my flowing green gown.
Not long after I arrived, the orchestra stroked out a Polka. The handsome Prince Von Charleston made a beeline for me.
“Shall we dance, m’lady”, said he with a bow.
“A Polka? Your Highness, I can’t.”
“’Tis nonsense, my dear, it’s simple, you’ll see. Hop, hop on one leg, spin turn, hop, hop on the next.”
We giggled and laughed, hop, hop, spin turn, hop, hop, what great fun. Halfway through the shuffle, the dancers were cleared. Von Charleston and I left to finish the swirl. When the last note was struck, we were cheek to cheek. Von Charleston bowed low. With a click of his heels, and kiss on my hand, he pulled away with reluctance. The onlookers applauded. I curtsied out of politeness. That’s when I saw her—Amelia-Anne Bucket. Ramrod straight she stood; her face similarly rigid; her eyes red with anger.
She was no princess, neither was I, but I found no joyous satisfaction in her devouring gaze. I could tell she was envious; the snap of her fingers was like a blast from a gun. Deafening silence permeated the room. The next thing I knew, I was eyeball to eyeball with Von Charleston’s highly polished shoe-tips!
Was I shot? I wondered. I felt no pain nor was there any evidence of a bloody wound! I did an awkward 360 rotation, in slow motion, glimpsing nothing but shoe-tips and hemlines positioned round the perimeter of the floor. I was confused. Nothing made sense, yet no mistaking, the floor was in close range of my lips, and an occasional ‘ribbit’ forced its way from my throat.
Smoldering charcoal! What gives? The wicked woman had turned me into a frog! When I tried to make a hasty retreat, I found it difficult to move because the pads of my toes kept sticking to the floor. Von Charleston reached down to pick me up, but Amelia-Anne got there first and snatched me away in one swift swoop. Her fingers curled around my body in a vice-like grip.
“How dare you flirt with my Prince?” said Miss Bucket, vengeance evident in her tone. “Hope you enjoy being a Red-eyed Leaf Frog, Miss Commoner Interruptus. Turning you into a frog wasn’t difficult with that hideous green frock of yours. Life as a frog is what you deserve. Here’s a brief summary of who you are now. Being one of many species of rain forest tree frogs, the adhesive toe pads on your front and hind legs will allow you to adhere to the underside of leaves and make it easy for you to crawl up the vertical surfaces of tree trunks and other surfaces in my garden. That’s the hand you chose to play tonight, Missy, and that’s your lot for your impertinence. Von Charleston is mine, and always will be. Now you’re no threat at all. Ha! Ha!”
The way she spewed facts about the Red-eyed Leaf Frog made me wonder if my present predicament was premeditated! Through the crack between her index and middle fingers, I tried to locate the Prince. There he was, looking nonplused; a mischievous glint darkened his eyes. Some gallant prince he turned out to be; leaving me in the grip of this demented woman. It was never my intention to come between him and his vixen, if that was the case!
And that’s the whole, sad story of how I was changed into a frog. So, here I cling to the underside of this leaf in Amelia-Anne’s homemade rain forest, waiting to be liberated, while she flits around Africa.
“Dear me, what can I do, my froggy friend?”
Ah! I hear the rumble of an approaching car. It’s Von Charleston…surely he knows the cow is away…!
Quick, help me to Amelia's boudoir, will you? Place me on her pearly while satin pillow. One kiss from the prince, and forever mine he’ll be. Or is it I who should first kiss the Prince? Nevertheless, what does it matter? Miss Bucket’s plot is about to back-fire!
Ha! Ha! Ribbit! Ha! Ha! Ha! So glad you dropped by! Merci! Gracias! Thank you!