Morality Tale Type: What Not To Do
The first thing you need to know about this story is that this is not the title. Nope. The title is Iron Henry. Now, you may be asking, “Who is Henry?” And you may be thinking, oh, of course, the frog prince must be named Henry.
Nope. Dude doesn’t even show up until the last couple paragraphs. So hang tight; we’ll get there.
Actually, we’ll there pretty fast, because what is there to say that you don’t know already? Princess drops a ball in the water, frog goes to get it—wait. I’ve got this. There is stuff to say.
A ball? Either this girl is involved in the sort of extracurriculars most princesses avoid, or she’s pretty young. So, option 1: we’ve got a chick who plays softball or football or something , doesn’t know how to swim, and is generally creeped out by things that do. Or, option two: little girl drops her favorite toy in the well.
Given that her activity was described, specifically, as tossing the ball up and catching it, I’m putting my money on option two. Plus, I feel like a little girl would be less freaked out than a lady if a frog started talking.
On the other hand, I also feel like a little girl would be less grossed out by the frog than the lady would. Whatever. All I’m saying is, if the chick’s favorite activity is playing catch with herself, she takes a talking amphibian in stride, and she cries over a lost toy, maybe we shouldn’t expect her to be totally on top of the wise decisions.
This is, by the way, not about me rearranging the story so yet another charming prince is a pedophile, okay? We’ve got plenty of that out in the open—I’m not about to go looking for it. This is about attempting to explain the princess’s indisputably horrible behavior. Either way, we can’t win this one. Either she’s a little kid, or she’s a vicious murderer, so pick your poison, I guess.
Back to the story. Girl promises to hang with frog dude if he gets the ball, she runs off as soon as she has it back, and he shows up at the palace and tattles on her. The king, also unfazed by the talking frog, tells her she’d better keep her promises, with the scolding further cementing my child theory. Girl deals with frog until bedtime, and here’s where things get interesting again. (Oh my goodness, I was so wrong about having nothing to say.)
She’s afraid of the frog sleeping in her bed. Five years ago, I would have thought yeah, duh, he’s all wet and boggy and stuff, and what if she rolls over in her sleep and crushes him? Guys, I have done way too much research in college to be that innocent. Does the frog actually intend to just sleep in the bed? I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting he doesn’t.
His intentions here are really important, because the next thing that happens is that she picks him up and flings him at the wall. And he’s a frog, so, you know, splat.
If this was her defense against a particularly cringe-worthy come-on, I’m gonna go ahead and say she’s in the clear here. However, if the blatantly attempted homicide was just ‘cuz he was getting on her nerves, dude, what the heck? You’re the princess. The princess doesn’t kill people.
And in a move that rivals Sleeping Beauty level wtf, the impact jolts him right out of enchantment, or something, and suddenly instead of frog goop, we’ve got a hot prince proposing to our murder girl. I mean, if that’s really what you want in a relationship, man. Your funeral. Maybe literally.
(Sidenote: What were the terms of his spell? You can only be a prince again when you’ve pissed someone off so much she wants you dead? There is no kiss here, people. There is only murder. Someone remind me to come back to this when I do the Lindworm series—I’m just noticing some interesting parallels, although I don’t know what to make of them yet.)
Of course the girl agrees to marry the guy she just attacked in a fit of homicidal rage, because that’s how fairy tales work. And now we finally, finally get around to Iron Henry.
Dude’s a servant of the prince, and he’s been pretty bummed about the whole frog thing. Not even because of his paycheck. He had to get three iron bands put in around his heart, to keep it from breaking over the whole mess.
But now his prince is back and he’s getting married, and Henry’s so happy those bands just snap right off. So Iron Henry really loves his king, is what I’m getting here. I mean, we’re talking literal heart-breakage. He had to get preventative surgery.
If this was a popular story, in the here and now, you know they’d ship it hard. I can already see the fanart. And let me tell you, Iron Man frenching a frog? Not the prettiest picture.
Girls, don’t make promises you can’t keep, and remember, murder is not the answer. Guys, don’t marry someone who tried to kill you, and stay out of other people’s beds. And if anyone’s in the market for heart surgery, hit up Henry for some tips.