The Frog King, or Iron Henry

In my previous Grimm’s Fairy Tales post I listed some works that were adapted for kids by Disney.  Last night while reading I completely forgot that Disney’s Princess and The Frog was also a Grimm tale, known as The Frog King, or Iron Henry.

When first remembering the story of the Princess and The Frog everyone’s first thought is the kiss.  However, much to my discovery there was no kiss involved.  Any remote contact between the princess and the frog is only by the princess’ hands.  There was no adoration for the frog either.  If anything the princess was a little brat. HAHA!  I mean, I find this hilarious! The princess cons the frog into getting her toy that fell in the well.  The frog only asks that he be treated the same as the princess and be with her.

The climax of the “originally-thought” story was when the frog turned into the prince.  Now, this does happen but it happens not by a kiss but by the princess throwing the frog across the room and into a wall!  How that triggered his rescue I will never know.

The Princess:  The youngest and most beautiful of the king’s daughters.  I found it kind of odd that the princess was a small child.  Most adaptions make the princess older, like “hey-it’s-okay-to-marry-her-she’s-legal.”  It was never clarified through time or saying that the princess was of a wedded age (even in older, older times, like 15).   She hated the frog when he called her out on her promise and continued to hate him as far as the reader knows.  Her father decreed that she marry the frog man and be his companion.

The Frog: A man bewitched as a frog, for apparently no reason, was only able to be released from his curse by the princess.  Once he is transformed he turns back into a prince, la-de-da we know.  And of course he wants to wed the princess the next day.  Then the story takes an interesting turn….

Henry:  Grimm adds another character that raises another theme.  As the story comes to an end and the restored prince and his princess bride ride off into the sunset in his carriage the story skips the romantic happily ever after and focuses on a young faithful servant who was so distraught of his master’s “froggy” anatomy that his heart is encased in iron.  Worried that his heart would fall apart he cages it however, from his joy at his master’s return his heart breaks that cage.  THE END!

I find this interesting from a Literary standpoint.  The princess plays no major role other than breaking the curse.  After that she becomes irrelevant.  Morally the princess raises the awareness of following through with your word.  However, I want to focus more on Henry.  Who is Henry? Where did he come from?  Why is he there?   Every writer adds something in the story for some reason.

I have my theory that it could be loyal love for his master and his happiness.  However, the iron cage which he jails his heart is a very interesting image and to be honest I’m getting a Poe vibe like the Tell Tale Heart.  The image of a caged heart alone is significant.  Reality wise, a human’s heart is in fact in a rib cage.  But I am picturing some medieval type thing.  The bigger picture, I believe is sadness, though as painful as it is, is never stronger than happiness.

So Disney Vs. Grimm.  I have to say that I love the Disney adaption.  It is a cute movie and has the classic animation like Disney’s originals.  However, I also love Grimm’s it is different and steps outside of that romance norm and focuses on another aspect of human life.  And I am sap for nonconformity!

“In old times when wishing still helped one…”

The Grimm’s Fairy Tales

For those of you who do not know, many children’s movies are based on old fairy tales.  Disney has created several films based of the Grimm’s collections.  Some stories include: The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.  Though Disney has made them fun, full of songs, and ending with “happily ever after” the original stories are not so kid friendly.  For example, The Little Mermaid ends with pain and death for the beloved princess.  Specifically, the Prince marries another girl and Ariel must suffer then is turned into sea foam.

What I find more interesting is why these stories were initially changed?  I understand that when making a cartoon it should probably be child appropriate.  However, the stories were originally meant for kids.  Like other tales, all had some moral.  The darkness that Grimm adds brings the story an interesting twist.  Today’s “artist” that is closest to that Grimm feel is Tim Burton.  I don’t know why but I enjoy that Gothic element.

In the future I will cover some of the Grimm’s tales and challenge the dark side.