Saturday, April 6, 2013
F is for the Frog Princess
Today's princess is brought to you from Russia.
1. Princess turned into a frog as a curse. Right? Right.
2. Prince looking for a wife, in a very particular way: he and his brothers shoot out arrows, and whoever brings them back will be their bride. Kind of wasteful and dangerous, but this is fairy tale land, so two arrows are brought back by rich girls, and the youngest prince's is retrieved by the frog. Oops.
Princess Frog can shed her skin. She only does that when no one is looking, and does work to prove that she is a worthy wife (yes, he married the frog before he knew it was a princess!). But once her husband finds out and burns the skin, she flees home, and prince charming has to go out and brave the road and Baba Yaga (and her sisters) to find her again.
The picture above depicts the part of the tale where the frog princess dances in front of the king's court. By shaking her sleeves she conjures up birds and ponds and trees and all kinds of wonderful images that disappear once she is done. She is obviously no ordinary cursed princess; she is a cursed princess with magical powers. Daytime frog, nighttime sorceress.
This folktale exists in many versions around the world (sometimes with a cat, a mouse, a hedgehog, and other fascinating creatures involved). It belongs to the folktale type AT 402 - Supernatural bride.