In olden times, when
wishing still did some good, there lived a king whose daughters were all
beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, who,
indeed, has seen so much, marveled every time it shone upon her face. In
the vicinity of the king's castle there was a large, dark forest, and in
this forest, beneath an old linden tree, there was a well. In the heat
of the day the princess would go out into the forest and sit on the edge
of the cool well. To pass the time she would take a golden ball, throw
it into the air, and then catch it. It was her favorite plaything.
Now one day it happened that the
princess's golden ball did not fall into her hands, that she held up
high, but instead it fell to the ground and rolled right into the water.
The princess followed it with her eyes, but the ball disappeared, and
the well was so deep that she could not see its bottom. Then she began
to cry. She cried louder and louder, and she could not console herself.
As she was thus lamenting,
someone called out to her, "What is the matter with you, princess? Your
crying would turn a stone to pity."
She looked around to see
where the voice was coming from and saw a frog, who had stuck his thick,
ugly head out of the water.(…)