The Kiss

Written for the Thousand Cats LiveJournal community, December 1, 2009

“Wait, wait!” said the frog, as the princess turned away. “Upon my honour, I am notmaking this up!”

“I wasn’t aware frogs were known for their honour,” the princess replied, glancing up once more from her book. “Isn’t it a peculiarly human notion?”

“Upon my honour as a prince!” the frog snapped indignantly, drawing himself up to his full three-inch height.

“That is an instance of circular logic,” she replied. “You expect me to believe that you are an enchanted prince, and your proof for this claim rests on your honour as a prince?”

“Well...” The frog seemed momentarily at a loss for words. “At any rate, you’ve nothing to lose by trying.”

“I certainly do,” she replied. “My dignity, for one. And having to kiss someone, or something, that I would prefer not to could also be considered a loss of autonomy. Both of them rather important qualities in someone who is eventually going to rule a small nation, I’m told.”

“But if you kiss me, I’ll become a prince! And then we can be married and you can rule at my side!”

“And why, exactly, would I want to marry someone I’ve only just met? Even granting for the sake of argument that you were telling the truth about all this. And since I’m already heir to a kingdom, I don’t need to marry you to rule one.”

“But... But...” The frog was clearly racking its tiny brain to come up with more reasons. “You must kiss me, because I am under an evil enchantment, and only the kiss of a princess will break it! So if you wish to show yourself to be a just and compassionate future queen, you must rescue me from this dreadful curse! It is the only kind and decent thing to do!”

The princess sighed, and closed her book. “Justice and compassion are relative, but I am getting the distinct impression that I am going to have to kiss you just to shut you up so that I can read in peace. Well, come on. Let’s get this over with.”

The frog hopped up onto her lap, and she lifted him in one hand, rolled her eyes with a look that clearly said I must be crazy for doing this, and bestowed a reluctant kiss on the top of his head.

There was a flash of green light, and the unmistakable crackle of magic filled the air. And where there had been a princess and a frog, there now stood... Two frogs.

One began to hop about gleefully, crying out “Yes! It worked! It worked! The spell is broken!”

The other, sounding distinctly unimpressed with this state of affairs, replied “I hate to draw your attention to this, but you are, in fact, still a frog. And so am I, now. It would appear something went a bit awry with your disenchantment.”

“Oh, no!” exclaimed the first frog. “This is exactly what was supposed to happen! I am the prince of frogs, and I was under a terrible enchantment which prevented any female frog from mating with me. The curse meant that I could only find a bride from among the ranks of human maidens of royal blood. But now that I have you, all shall be well! We can marry, and rule the frog kingdom together!”

“I see,” said the other, in tones that might have frozen the nearby pond. “Did it ever occur to you that—“ she paused, glancing upward suddenly, then continued in much brighter tones “Oh, never mind—I suppose there’s nothing to do but make the best of it. A kingdom is a kingdom, after all. Just let me freshen up a bit first, before I meet your people.” With that, she jumped into the pond.

“Oh, I’m so glad you see it that way!” the frog prince enthused. “I was worried you might be a bit cross over the whole transformation thing, but I just knew you were a kind and decent—“ He never got to finish that sentence, as the heron she had seen approaching chose that precise moment to snap him up in its beak. The frog nation would simply have to find a new prince, or perhaps become a democratic republic instead.

 

“And so you see,” explained the frog, “I am under a terrible enchantment. Only your kiss can restore me to my true form as a princess.”

The prince still looked dubious, but she could tell he was weakening. A little more persuasion, and he was bound to give in.

Of course, she had no idea if it would actually work, or if it would turn him into a frog, or simply result in nothing but damp lips and an unpleasantly amphibious aftertaste for the prince. But she had nothing to lose by trying. And honour was, after all, a peculiarly human notion.

Based on a piece of random text drawn from a spam e-mail: “Wait, wait, said the frog.”

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