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A Story for children age 4 to 6.
In olden times, when if you made a wish, it would always come true, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face. Close by the King's castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very warm, the King's child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was dull she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.
Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess's golden ball did
not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but on to
the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The King's daughter
followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep
that the bottom could not be seen. On this she began to cry, and cried
louder and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she was complaining
some one said to her, "What troubles you, King's daughter? You weep so
that even a stone would show pity.
" She looked round to the side from
whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its thick, ugly
head from the water. "Ah! old water-splasher, is it you?" said she;
"I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well."
"Be quiet, and do not weep," answered the frog, "I can help thee, but
what wilt you give me if I bring thy plaything up again?" "Whatever
you will have, dear frog," said she-"My clothes, my pearls and jewels,
and even the golden crown which I am wearing."
The frog answered, "I do not care for thy clothes, thy pearls and
jewels, or thy golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be
thy companion and play-fellow, and sit by thee at thy little table,
and eat off thy little golden plate, and drink out of thy little cup,
and sleep in thy little bed-if thou wilt promise me this I will go
down below, and bring thee thy golden ball up again."
"Oh yes," said she, "I promise thee all you wish, you will but
bring me my ball back again." She, however, thought, "How the silly
frog does talk! He lives in the water with the other frogs, and croaks,
and can be no companion to any human being!"