Don’t hop to conclusions
Love in the Lily Pads
Ruin a Fairy Tale
Princess Aribella couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t the heat, although it was the middle of August and the night as humid as a sauna. It wasn’t the mosquitos, they couldn’t penetrate the fine mesh net surrounding her bed. It wasn’t the pea. The maids swept beneath every mattress and removed each one they found.
It was the frog. A bull frog croaking from midnight until dawn. A big fat bull frog — or so she imagined, for she never left the castle after sunset. But tonight she’d had enough. She pushed the net aside, dropped her feet on the floor and threw her gown around her shoulders. She didn’t even bother with slippers. She tiptoed down the stairs to the armory, grabbed her brother’s bow and quiver, and dashed into the dark.
She followed the croaking past the promenade, past the gardens, past the lawn and to the pond where she spotted the croaker, a big bull of a croaker with a throat beneath his jaw that swelled to the size of a punch bowl.
“Hubba Hubba,” the frog croaked.
She pulled her gown closed at the throat.
Aribella pushed the net aside, dropped her feet on the floor and threw her gown around her shoulders. She didn’t even bother with slippers. She tiptoed down the stairs to the armory, grabbed her brother’s bow and quiver, and dashed into the dark.
“You’re a looker, but you’d look even better if you let that gown drop to your ankles.”
She stomped her foot, which made little impression since she was barefoot and weighed eighty pounds. “How dare you!”
“I dare because I’m the frog prince. Once the eye of every girl in the kingdom, but cursed by an evil witch to be alone like this until kissed by a fair maiden who can look past my ugliness.”
The princess took pity on the frog and kneeled down to kiss him. Lightning struck, and she morphed into a frog. “But you said….”
The frog winked. A lascivious wink. “I said I wouldn’t be alone if you kissed me, not that I wouldn’t be a frog.”
From that night on, the prince and princess lived on a lily pad and croaked from midnight until dawn, leading to many sleepless nights in the castle.
Gone, but never forgotten. Don’t Miss
Wry noir author Phillip T. Stephens wrote Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell, the Indie Book Award winning Seeing Jesus, and the children’s book parody Furious George. Follow him at Phillip T Stephens.