The Yellow Fairy Book HTML version
The Little Green Frog
In a part of the world whose name I forget lived once upon a time two kings,
called Peridor and Diamantino. They were cousins as well as neighbours, and
both were under the protection of the fairies; though it is only fair to say that the
fairies did not love them half so well as their wives did.
Now it often happens that as princes can generally manage to get their own way
it is harder for them to be good than it is for common people. So it was with
Peridor and Diamantino; but of the two, the fairies declared that Diamantino was
much the worst; indeed, he behaved so badly to his wife Aglantino, that the
fairies would not allow him to live any longer; and he died, leaving behind him a
little daughter. As she was an only child, of course this little girl was the heiress
of the kingdom, but, being still only a baby, her mother, the widow of Diamantino,
was proclaimed regent. The Queen-dowager was wise and good, and tried her
best to make her people happy. The only thing she had to vex her was the
absence of her daughter; for the fairies, for reasons of their own, determined to
bring up the little Princess Serpentine among themselves.
As to the other King, he was really fond of his wife, Queen Constance, but he
often grieved her by his thoughtless ways, and in order to punish him for his
carelessness, the fairies caused her to die quite suddenly. When she was gone
the King felt how much he had loved her, and his grief was so great (though he
never neglected his duties) that his subjects called him Peridor the Sorrowful. It
seems hardly possible that any man should live like Peridor for fifteen years
plunged in such depth of grief, and most likely he would have died too if it had
not been for the fairies.
The one comfort the poor King had was his son, Prince Saphir, who was only
three years old at the time of his mother's death, and great care was given to his
education. By the time he was fifteen Saphir had learnt everything that a prince
should know, and he was, besides, charming and agreeable.