This is for scribble_my name who prompted: The Frog Prince/rose.
A Royal Encounter
When the prince-turned-frog heard that the youngest princess of the kingdom had lost an heirloom brooch shaped like a rose in the Upper Gardens, he hopped over to them immediately.
It took all night, but by dawn the amphibious royal had the brooch in his webbed front feet.
Whew, he thought. This time it’ll work out.
He ticked off his return-to-human-form checklist:
Step One: Find precious object (done).
Step Two: Return object in exchange for kiss from princess.
Step Three: Return to original form and stay far away from water and witches forevermore.
Step Four (bonus): Marry said princess, if willing, sufficiently attractive, and pleasant.
Pleasant was not optional. He’d learned that from the promise-breaker who’d taken him by a hind leg and thrown him down the corridor. The frog’s eyes bulged even more at the disagreeable memory.
He waited in the bushes until he heard the click of a latch and the squeak of hinges. Skirts rustled and feet pattered across the grass. A cool feminine voice said, firmly, “Now, Princess, your father said you must look for your brooch yourself first.”
The only response was a loud sniffle. The prince struck a line through step four.
“How about in these bushes here?” suggested the first voice.
That’s my cue! The prince hopped out of his hiding place, brooch in his wide mouth, and laid it at the tiny feet and pink slippers of the girl who approached.
He opened his mouth to make his speech and extract his promise, but never got that far. Small plump hands seized and held him. “Froggy!”
The transformed prince looked up into the round face of a little girl. Her eyes were blue, her ringlets gold. There was a smudge of jam on her chin.
He started to say, “Let me go!” but all that came out was strangled croak.
A tall woman swept across the grass. “What is it, Valencia?” Her shadow fell over them as she stooped.
“Froggy!” Valencia lifted the squirming amphibian up for her companion’s examination. “Keep froggy? Please, Nursie?”
“I’m your governess, not your nurse, child,” murmured the woman.
Say no. You don’t want a dirty, slimy creature in the schoolroom, do you? The frog prince had inexplicably lost his human voice. He looked beseechingly up at the governess.
Straight into the laughing, malicious purple eyes of the witch who had cursed him. “Oh, why not? Looks like he found your brooch for you.” The governess-witch picked it up from where it lay shining and forgotten in the dewy grass. “We had better repay him with some hospitality of our own.”
“Hooray!” cheered Valencia.
The witch turned and said lightly over her shoulder. “And if we get tired of him, we can always dissect him for natural history.” Chuckling, she strode away.
The frog prince quaked and Valencia’s hands tightened around him. He looked up to find a stubborn look on the princess’ face.
“No,” she said in a small, decided voice that no one else could hear. “Mine.”
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