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The Prince Who Turned Into a Toad: A Retelling of The Frog Prince

THE PRINCE WHO TURNED INTO A TOAD

A Retelling of The Frog Prince

Shelley Chappell

 

 

Copyright 2016 Shelley B Chappell

Shakespir Edition

All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents

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Read more middle grade fairy tales by Shelley Chappell

About the Author

 

 

1.

Once upon a time, long, long ago in a lovely kingdom, it was summer, and a brother and sister were arguing.

“But why can’t I come to your lessons anymore, Rupert?”

“You ask too many questions.” Rupert flicked his hair and stuck his nose into the air.

“But you don’t even like studying, and I—”

I am the one the tutor is hired for and I say you can’t come, so tough luck for you.”

Kate’s fists clenched. “Ooh, I wish—!”

“You wish you were me, don’t you? Ha! You wish you’d been born the Crown Prince.”

“Oh, don’t be stupid,” Kate said. But these days Rupert was stupid although he acted like a know-it-all. “I don’t want to be you,” Kate said. “I like being me. What I don’t like is your mean attitude. I wish you’d change it!”

Rupert said nothing. He just swept up the golden ball from their shared basket of toys and ran to the doorway, pausing only to poke out his tongue before he raced from the room.

Bump. Kate sat down on the nursery chair. Hard. She folded her arms over her chest and glared at the door. Up until recently, Rupert had been a good brother. They were twins, so they had always done everything together. It was true that their parents had employed Tutor Alfred for Rupert’s benefit, because Rupert was the prince and it wasn’t usually considered important to educate princesses, but because Kate was so interested in learning new things her parents had let her attend all of Rupert’s lessons. Rupert hadn’t minded then. But, at the beginning of spring, her parents had departed on a tour of their kingdom that was to last a year, and their cousin Garil had arrived to manage the royal palace while the king and queen were away.

Unfortunately, Cousin Garil was not much like Kate and Rupert’s father and over the spring many things had changed. The worst of these changes was in Rupert himself. Since Cousin Garil had arrived, Rupert had grown so naughty and bad-mannered that Kate hardly recognised him anymore. The problem was that he had been allowed to do anything he liked, and whenever he broke something or was rude or pushy, Cousin Garil simply smiled and shook his head and said fondly, “Boys will be boys”. He never gave Rupert a good telling off!

Kate he told off all the time.

“Kate! Come inside to dinner, and don’t let me see you tossing a ball around again. That’s uncomely behaviour, Kate.”

“Don’t run like that, Kate! A young lady should walk slowly and sedately — to the dinner table as to every occasion.”

“Kate! No, you cannot have a competition with Rupert to see who can eat the most meat and potatoes! Give her portion there to Rupert and bring her a salad, thank you, waiter.”

“No talking at the dinner table, Kate! Young ladies should be seen and not heard. But Rupert, how was your day?”

“You mean to tell me that Kate attends your lessons with you? Kate! You shouldn’t bother your brother with your presence when he is trying to learn. Your foolish questions will distract him from serious study. Besides, you shouldn’t attempt to tax your mind, young lady — you’ll make yourself ill.”

Cousin Garil was making her ill. At least, ill-tempered. Kate had continued to visit the schoolroom for some time after his pronouncement, because Rupert had agreed to keep it secret with her, just as he had secretly kept her some of his meaty bones at each meal, wrapped in his table napkins. But now Rupert had changed. He’d started to like the way things were under Cousin Garil. He liked feeling the biggest and the best and the boss of her. So now Kate had no parents and no meat and potatoes, no brother to play with — and no lessons as well!

Kate sighed but then she straightened her shoulders and made a decision. Having already learned how to read and write, she would simply have to teach herself everything else. She would go to the palace library and sneak away all the books she needed — for she particularly needed some books about nature. Before she had been banned from attending Rupert’s lessons, she had been working under their tutor’s guidance to catalogue all the bug and animal life around the palace grounds. You see, Kate wanted to be a scientist. Tutor Alfred, who was a wise young man from a kingdom far over the seas, had smiled and nodded when she announced her chosen career in the schoolroom several weeks before, but just yesterday Rupert had predictably told her, like a mouthpiece for Cousin Garil, “Girls can’t be scientists.”

“Why not?” she had asked sensibly.

“They just can’t. All the scientists are men.”

Kate had looked at Tutor Alfred and he had winked at her, so quickly that Rupert, who was sneering at Kate, didn’t see. Kate had pressed her lips together and hidden a smile. I will be a scientist, she had thought to herself then, and nothing anyone does can stop me.

So now she tiptoed to the palace library — quiet and sedate not because she was a young lady but because she was on a clandestine mission and couldn’t afford to be caught. Once inside, she quickly found the biology shelves and collected several books on pond life. Her plans for the rest of the day involved collecting specimens from the palace pond. But first, to get the books safely back to her rooms so she could refer to them later, once she had gathered her samples…

 

2.

Meanwhile, now that Kate wasn’t allowed to rollick around the palace and grounds with him, Rupert found that he had an awful lot of time on his hands, and that a lot of that time was awfully boring. After doing all the things he’d never been allowed to do when his parents were home, like sliding down the banisters, raiding the kitchens for tarts, and playing ball outside the chapel (accidentally breaking its window, just as had always been feared), he was at a loose end.

Cousin Garil was too busy to spend any time with him, and besides, when he poked his head inside the council chamber, as he would when his father was home and hard at work with his ministers, Cousin Garil wouldn’t invite him in like his father had and explain what was going on. No, he would shoo him out, telling him he was far too young to worry about important things yet and that he should be out riding and playing ball and doing other boyish things.

Rupert left the council chamber on this occasion with his hands thrust into his pockets and his head down. He kicked at the cobblestones. Doing boyish things wasn’t very much fun without Kate. He didn’t have anyone to play ball with and riding wasn’t as exciting when Kate wasn’t galloping along beside him, whooping and daring him to jump over hedges with her.

He ventured out past the courtyards, past the maze-like gardens, past the palace ponds, in search of something interesting, and shortly he came across a little cottage he had never seen before, at the edges of the palace lands, right beside the forest. It was late afternoon and he was thirsty, so he went to the well at the side of the cottage and drew up a bucket of good, clean water to slake his thirst. It was very quiet around the cottage. The wind was blowing through the trees nearby, but it was still where he stood, and all he could hear was the scratching of the chickens around the dirt yard and the scratching of a quill inside. So, somebody was around.

Rupert decided it was quite within his rights to see what his subjects were up to, so he wandered over to the cottage door and peered inside. There he saw a girl, or a girl’s back, rather. The girl had long brown hair tidied into a braid that fell all the way down her spine, past her dark blue dress and white apron ties, and she was sitting on a large wooden chair at a large kitchen table, writing.

Rupert felt a bit uncomfortable, watching the girl in her house while he stood unannounced in the doorway, so he half-shouted, “Hey there!”

The girl jerked and her hand knocked over the ink pot. “Oh no!” She jumped up and tried to blot the mess, then, when it was hopeless, turned and glared at Rupert. “Why’d you have to give me a fright like that?! You could’ve just knocked.”

Rupert felt his face go red, so he covered it up by strutting over to the table and looking at the mess. He peered at what she had been writing.

My name is Maisy O’Connell, the writing said. I am seven years old. So it went, repeating itself for several lines. The letters grew less wobbly the further down the page they appeared.

“What are you doing learning to write?” Rupert asked. “You’re as silly as my sister, wanting to learn boy’s things.”

“Writing’s not a boy’s thing,” Maisy protested.

“Is too. Boys can learn to write and read, but girls might get a fever of the brain if they try to think too hard.” He smirked. “That’s probably what’s wrong with my sister. She’s gone daft — she thinks she can be a scientist.” Scorn dripped from his words.

Maisy glowered at Rupert. “If anyone’s got a fever of the brain, it’s you!”

Rupert felt his face grow red again. He told himself his flushed cheeks were from anger, and he said, “You take that back! I am the Crown Prince!”

Maisy pressed her lips together, chewed for a moment, wiggled her nose, then looked down, clearing her throat. “Sorry, Prince,” she mumbled.

“What? I didn’t hear you!”

“I’m very sorry, Prince,” she said more loudly, staring into the air over the table rather than looking at him.

Rupert sniffed loudly. “So you should be. Now I order you to stop learning to read and write.”

“No! Me Mam told me I could learn.”

“Well, I’m the Prince, and I say you can’t.”

“Oooh.” She squinched her mouth shut and Rupert stomped closer and triumphantly snatched the quill out of her hand, closing the book she was writing in with a loud thump. Then he stuck out his tongue and walked away. Maisy shook with fury. She panted for a few seconds and then stood up on her chair and yelled, “You’re not a prince! You’re not! You’re just a big, ugly toad!”

Blimp. Bonk. A toad sat on the dirt floor of the cottage where a second before Rupert had stood. The little girl clapped both her hands over her mouth, her eyes wide. Rupert made a croak which sounded like a question and Maisy’s hands dropped away from her face. She was very pale. “Oh dear, oh dear.” She climbed down off the chair and approached him. “I’m very sorry, Mr. Prince. Me Mam told me I shouldn’t say things unless I mean them, but I didn’t know I could do that.” Rupert hopped backwards as she drew nearer. She held out her hand. “Come on. Come to me. I won’t hurt you.”

But the toad turned on its hind jumpers and fled out the door. There, it was disoriented. Everything was so huge. The sun was blinding, and the chickens, with their sharp beaks and claw-like feet, terrified its small green form. It hopped-ran for what felt like miles over the sparse ground, and then it saw a glimpse of water and sheltering grasses and reeds. With panting relief, it leaped into the pond and instantly felt better, as though it had arrived home. It drifted there for a while, and then it heaved itself onto the bank, where it sat, thinking, and fighting the temptation to eat the insects buzzing around it. Toads don’t usually think. But toads aren’t usually crown princes, even if crown princes might sometimes be toads.

 

3.

Just then, Kate was walking along the edges of the pond, looking for bugs and other fauna and flora to study for her project. She had already collected a variety of insects in a jar in her carry bag, but her eyes widened with delight when she spotted the pensive toad.

“Excellent!” she exclaimed. “Now, what kind of a frog are you?” she asked herself, peering at it carefully and thinking of what she knew about frogs, which wasn’t very much yet. “What are you called?”

“Rupert! Rupert!” it told her, but all she heard was “Ribbit! Ribbit!”

Kate was not a squeamish person, nor a cruel one. She liked wild things, so she was kind to the toad that she thought was a frog, kneeling and studying how it looked so that she would know more about these things and could look it up later in the books she had hidden in her room. She carefully drew a picture of the toad in her leather-bound notebook and wrote notes alongside, like: green from top to toe, and in brackets (toe?), while she peered closely at its limbs and considered whether they could even be called feet. After a moment, she returned to observing what was what, rather than pondering on things she didn’t yet have answers for. Big googly eyes, she noted. Sits very still. Does not appear interested in bugs or spiders.

“Rupert! Rupert!” it croaked again.

“Hmm,” she said, looking the toad over. She told it, “If I wasn’t a scientist, I might leave you to get eaten by the turtles in the lake.” That was something she knew about frogs, that they could be turtle chow, and she thought the frog’s eyes became even more googly after she had spoken. She giggled at the idea. “Since I’ve never seen a frog like you before, I think I’d better keep an eye on you.”

She reached for the frog and put it into her carry bag, then continued on her trek around the pond, adding several varieties of pond reeds and a lizard, which unfortunately jumped out and ran away when she wasn’t looking. It wasn’t as content to sit in the shadows of her carry bag as the frog appeared to be. Finally, she headed back up to the palace, carefully avoiding any area where she might bump into Cousin Garil. In her room, she took out her finds and laid them carefully on the dresser. She looked with some concern at the frog, which just sat there. She touched its forehead; it was cool.

“I wonder if you’re quite all right,” she mused. “You seem awfully placid for a frog. You haven’t tried to hop away once.”

She went to her bed (she had decided to keep the science books hidden under the mattress, which might make for some uncomfortable sleeping that evening) and pulled out the weighty tomes, plonking them onto her bedcovers and flicking through them to find an entry on frogs. She discovered that frogs were called amphibians, because they lived on both land and water, and she found that very interesting. She looked at lots of pictures of frogs, frequently looking over her shoulder at the one on her dresser, but she couldn’t recognise her frog at all. Finally she decided to focus on the insects instead, and spent several hours poring over the pages of a book, discovering countless fascinating facts about the bugs she had collected. Then it was dinnertime, so she put the frog in her water closet, so it could float around in her pitcher of water if it wished, and hurried down to dinner.

 

4.

Rupert did not come to dinner and Cousin Garil said, “What’s this? Growing boys never miss a meal. Kate, where is your brother?”

She looked at him in surprise since she thought she wasn’t meant to speak at the dinner table. “I don’t know,” she said. Frankly, she was preoccupied with eyeing Rupert’s pot pie, which looked far more delicious than her silverbeet salad, and she was wondering if Cousin Garil would notice if she swapped them around. Sadly concluding that he would, she munched on her greens and watched cautiously as Cousin Garil’s brows became increasingly thunderous at Rupert’s absence.

After dinner, the palace was turned upside down with the chambermaids and kitchen maids and all other sorts of maids looking for Rupert. Kate hurried up to her bedroom to hide her books again, in case her chambers were inspected as part of the search. When she came into the room, the frog was sitting on her dressing table, in front of her mirror, staring at itself.

“How did you get out here?” she asked, then wondered cheerfully, “What do you see in there?”

It turned its head her way. “Ribbit!” (Rupert!) it said, and if she hadn’t known that frogs don’t have expressive voices she would have thought it said it miserably.

She took it back into the water closet and told it to make sure to hide if anyone came in, because if Cousin Garil discovered she had a frog he was sure to kick up a fuss. She hid her insect jar and her plant samples under the mattress along with the books. The bed was beginning to get quite a bump in it, but she didn’t think that anyone looking for Rupert would notice that sort of thing.

When the palace was fully searched and Rupert still hadn’t been found, Cousin Garil enlisted the aid of all the grooms and butlers and stable-boys to search the palace grounds for him. Kate offered to help search, but Garil told her to keep quiet and stay calm. He left her behind, even though Kate was feeling calm and knew she could have helped, since she knew all of her and Rupert’s favourite playing and hiding spaces. However, since Rupert was gone and Cousin Garil was out with everybody else looking for him (except all the maids — they were chatting over a late dinner of pot pie), she was able to reclaim their golden ball, and she took it out into the courtyard to bounce and kick around.

She was doing this when a little freckly-faced girl came wandering into the courtyard, scanning the ground anxiously and calling out, “Here toady, toady, toady.”

Kate caught her ball and asked, “Can I help you?”

The little girl jumped and stared guiltily at Kate. “I dunno.”

“What are you doing here?” Kate asked kindly. “This is the palace courtyard. I’ve never seen you here before. Where do you live?”

“Um … I live with me Mam in the cottage by the forest.”

Kate was surprised, for she had heard about the woman who lived in that cottage. She was the Palace Witch. “What are you doing here?” Kate repeated. “Were you looking for something?”

The girl grimaced and nodded, looking down.

“What is it?” Kate asked. “Lots of people are out looking for my brother, Rupert, but I can’t help with that search so I might as well help you with yours.”

The girl stared at her wide-eyed. “Is … Is Rupert the prince? Are you the princess?”

Kate nodded. “I’m Kate. What’s your name?”

“I’m Maisy.” And suddenly Maisy was bawling at the top of her lungs, “I turned the prince into a toad, and now me Mam’s found out and I’m gonna be in so much trouble if he’s been eaten!”

Kate stared at her, open-mouthed. “You turned Rupert into a toad? You mean, that’s where he’s been all this time? Stuck in the shape of a toad?”

“Yes,” Maisy wailed. “I didn’t mean to do it. But he made me good and mad and it happened accidental-like, and then I let him hop away and now I don’t know where he is, or if he’s all right, and I feel so baaaaadddd!”

Kate smiled with the pleasure of making a scientific discovery. So THAT’s why that frog looks so different: it’s a TOAD. She patted Maisy on the shoulder. “Sssh, sssh. It’s okay. I think I know where he is.”

Maisy’s wailing cut off abruptly and she blinked and sniffed. “You do?”

“Well, I picked up an unusual amphibian this morning, and I must say, it has been acting in the most un-amphibian-like ways. Yes, this explains everything. Let’s go to my rooms and see if it’s him.”

Maisy was looking at her cautiously. “What’s an amphibibian?”

“It’s a scientific word for something which is either a frog OR a toad. And maybe some other things that live on the land and in the water, too.” She frowned. She hadn’t read all the rest of the definition in the biology book. She had better read over that again this evening, once all this was sorted out.

 

5.

Kate and Maisy sprinted up the stairs to Kate’s bedroom. Once there, they found the toad sitting back in front of the dresser mirror yet again, staring at itself. They both peered doubtfully down at it. “Is it him?” Kate asked.

Maisy chewed her lip consideringly. “Well… I didn’t get a real good look at him afore he hopped off.”

Kate mulled it over. “I know! We’ll do a scientific test. Will he still understand us, Maisy?”

“I dunno.”

“Well, we’ll try it. Rupert, if you’re the toad, croak once!”

Rupert, who had been following their every move with eager eyes, was so excited by this attempt to communicate with him that he accidentally croaked several times, then stopped and croaked once.

Kate frowned and looked at Maisy. “I don’t think it’s him.”

“Try again,” Maisy said. “Maybe it didn’t sink in real well. His brain is much smaller, now.”

The toad croaked once, indignantly. Kate turned her frown on it, scolding, “Not yet!” She breathed in deeply. “Okay. Rupert, if you’re the toad, croak once.”

The toad croaked once.

“How old are you?”

The toad croaked nine times.

“Hmm. How old am I?”

Another nine ribbits.

Kate looked to Maisy. “I don’t think any ordinary toad could count, so it must be him. How do we change him back?”

“I dunno. We got to get him to me Mam; she’ll know what to do.”

“Okay then. Rupert, jump into my pocket.” The toad just looked at her. Sighing, Kate picked him up in her hand and slipped him into her cloak. She supposed it would be a difficult jump for a toad that wasn’t used to being a toad.

She pursed her lips thoughtfully as she followed Maisy out of the room. “You know, I have to say, Rupert, even though you have only been an actual toad for a day, you have been behaving like a toad lately. I’m not at all surprised you turned into one. It probably would have happened even without Maisy, eventually, if you’d carried on that way, like natural evolution, like Tutor Alfred told us about last month. No wonder I didn’t recognize you. If you’d been turned into a toad last summer, I’d have known you right away, I’m sure.”

She opened her mouth to say more, but by then they were in the palace courtyard and Maisy dashed off, yelling back over her shoulder, “It’s not far!” Kate abandoned conversation and ran to catch up, pausing to catch her breath when she reached the trees at the edge of the forest. Huffing and puffing, she looked across at a cosy little house with its own little brick well. The toad in her swaying pocket let out one long mournful howl. They had reached the witch’s cottage.

 

6.

“Mam!” Maisy yelled, running towards the closed door of the cottage. “Mam! I’ve got the toa— the prince! Me and Princess Kate have got him!”

The door quickly opened and out popped an ordinary-looking face. It might have belonged to a serving maid, or a farmer’s wife, or the queen. Seeing Kate, the witch hurried out and said, with a slight bob of her head, “Good day, Princess. Where’s your brother?”

“He’s here in my pocket.”

“Well, pass him up.” She held out two capable hands and Kate reached into her pocket, closed her fingers around her squirming brother, and plonked him into the witch’s cupped palms. “Hello, there, Prince,” the witch said, bringing the toad up close to her face for a good look. “I’m sorry about what Maisy did. She’s just a witch-in-training.” She closed her fingers around the toad gently so he couldn’t hop away. “Come on inside, Princess Kate, Maisy. I’ll have to have a think about this.”

“You mean, you don’t know how to turn him back?” Kate worried.

“Nope, I’m not sure that I do, but we’ve all got brains. We’ll figure it out.”

Inside, she put the toad on the table and covered him with a bucket. He crouched there in the darkness as the women sat down and thought.

“Have you ever known a person to be turned into a toad before?” Kate asked, to start things off.

“Nope. There was that time I accidentally turned the town mayor into an ass but he changed back by himself when the townsfolk said his braying made more sense than his usual speeches and elected someone else. I’m not sure what to do for this one. Tell me again exactly what happened,” she ordered Maisy.

So Maisy told her story, and Kate, who was hearing it for the second time, huffed indignantly on her behalf and said, “Oh! Rupert’s become a right monster lately.”

“So you say he’d been acting like a toad?” Maisy’s mam noted.

“Well, yes,” Kate agreed.

“So if he stops thinking like a toad, he should stop being one,” she suggested.

Rupert ribbited, to let them know that hadn’t worked.

“What about love?” Kate asked. “Love is pretty powerful, isn’t it? I still love him, even if he has become a toad. What if I picked him up and gave him a cuddle?”

“Well, it’s worth a try, love.”

Rupert blinked rapidly as two big hands curled around him and lifted him into the air. “Dearest Rupert,” Kate said, peering closely at him, her lips huge and her words loud to his toad senses. “I’m sorry for yelling at you this morning, even though it was because you were being a toad. I wish you would not be a toad and be my brother again, instead.” She held him close to her chest for a cuddle. “I love you.”

“Maybe you need to kiss him,” Maisy said. Kate and her mother stared at her.

“What?” Kate asked.

Maisy flushed and looked down. “Well, you know. Kisses go with cuddles.”

“Ooh, but I don’t know if I could kiss him right now. He’s so ugly.”

“I said he was an ugly toad,” Maisy said. “A big, ugly toad.”

Kate’s face brightened. “Why don’t you just say that he’s a boy again? Maybe that would work.”

So Maisy said, “You’re not a toad. You’re the Crown Prince,” but it didn’t change Rupert back. They sat there for a while, and the witch decided it was time for them to have some afternoon tea while they mulled things over, so they ate delicious ginger cake and drank apple cider. Rupert watched them enviously, wishing his first instinct wasn’t to zap his tongue at the flies that were hovering near the cake crumbs.

 

7.

“All right,” Kate said suddenly, when she had finished eating and had thought through the options. “I’ll do it.” She picked up the toad and stood, staring down at it. “I want you to know, Rupert, that if I was like Cousin Garil thinks I should be then I would never kiss a toad, not for all the silly silver slippers in the world. But I,” she drew in a deep breath, “am a scientist. And this is an experiment. Rupert, prepare to be kissed!”

She squinched up her lips, stared at the green toad perched on her hand, leaned forward — a bit more, and a bit more. Smooch. She pulled back. “There! I did it!”

Bllllliiiiiimp. Bonk. Where before there was a toad, now stood Rupert. “I’m back!” Rupert cried out, feeling his body with his hands, like he was searching his pockets for something. He bounced up and down on his toes, beaming with joy. “I’m really truly back!”

“Getoffofmyhand!” Kate yowled. She had been pulled to the ground as Rupert changed and her hand was sandwiched between his shoes and the floor. Her face was squashed against the floor as well.

“Oh!” Rupert stepped off her palm quickly. “I’m sorry.” He reached down to help Kate up, but was so overcome with gratitude that his helping hand became hugging arms, and he kissed his sister on the cheek. “Thank you, Kate! I’m so sorry I was such a toad! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” His dancing around brought him face to face with Maisy, and he stopped and stared at her. Maisy put on an innocent, please-forgive-me look and stared back hopefully. After a moment, Rupert said, grudgingly, “Well, I guess I won’t put you in the dungeons.”

Maisy smiled, then reached for her mother’s hand and tugged her forward. “And?”

“And what?” Rupert asked.

“And what about what you said about me learning to read and write?”

“Oh. That. I guess you’re allowed to.”

“She certainly is,” Maisy’s mother said. “Your father, the King, made that legal many years ago, and the last time I checked, he hadn’t changed the law. If he had, we would have shifted south.”

Rupert looked abashed for a moment. Kate slid her arm through his and said, “We should go and let everyone know that Rupert’s okay.” Rupert nodded with relief. He was looking forward to having a bath — a proper bath, in water that wasn’t filled with slime and flesh-eating turtles.

“All right, Princess, Prince. Maisy and I would be pleased to see you again if you’d like to visit.”

“We would,” Kate said in delight, although Rupert’s response was far more lukewarm. He didn’t exactly have happy memories of their cottage.

The prince and princess left Maisy and her mother waving at the door of their cottage and ran together down the hill towards the palace with their hands clasped, until Rupert declared that they were having a race, and then it was each person for themselves, trying to get to the palace garden hedge first. Kate won by a hairsbreadth, and Rupert said it was because he was out of practice with human legs. They giggled at the idea and walked arm-in-arm through the palace grounds, getting their breaths back. When they reached the stables they found a whole collection of horses and carriages and footmen and women bustling around the horses.

“It’s Father!” Kate cried with happiness.

“And Mother!” Rupert exclaimed with joy.

Their parents, who were standing in conversation with Cousin Garil, heard their shouts of welcome and turned to greet them, the worry on their faces disappearing as they took in Rupert’s presence and caught their son and daughter to them, giving them hard hugs of relief. They said they’d come home early from their tour because they had missed them so much.

Kate and Rupert clamoured to tell them everything that had happened since they had last seen them, but their mother and father couldn’t hear anything over the ruckus of the horses and the people in the courtyard, so they sent them inside to get washed and changed, and said they would join them for dinner. Cousin Garil looked down his nose at Kate as she raced with her brother inside, and when Rupert stuck out his tongue at him in her defence, Garil didn’t, for once, just say “Boys will be boys”.

That evening, over a private reunion feast of roasted pheasant with carrots and onions and lovely potatoes, Kate and Rupert told their parents their news, and their Father promised never to leave Cousin Garil in charge again. So the next morning, everything was back to normal. Kate and Rupert went to classes with Tutor Alfred in the morning, and in the afternoon they went out and played with their golden ball on the wide green lawn. Rupert accidentally tossed it down the well, but Kate climbed down the well rope to get it, and Rupert hauled her back up, then they carried on playing, until the sky started turning dark and it was dinnertime.

Read more middle grade fairy tales by Shelley Chappell

 

 

Hah and Grr were abandoned in the wood as babies and raised by Mother Wolf. They are happy, but they are the weakest of the pack and they are often hungry. One day, when they are following in the tracks of their lupine family, they smell something wonderful on the wind and follow their noses to a strange den in the woods, where they find delicious foods that fill their bellies. In the confusion that follows, Hah and Grr must decide whether their future lies with Man or Wolf. A short story of 5, 100 words.

 

 

About the Author

 

 

Shelley Chappell was born and raised at the ends of the earth in Canterbury, New Zealand, but there were no towers or dragons in sight. Her hair did once fall to below her knees, but her childhood was blissfully untroubled by talking animals or witches wanting to toast and roast her.

Although she has worked hard over the years in a variety of roles, including as a university sessional lecturer and tutor, a high school English teacher, a librarian and a medical P.A., she considers her lifestyle to have been much better than Cinderella’s. Despite a lot of looking, she hasn’t yet found her pot of gold or a fairy to grant her three wishes and is open to suggestions as to their whereabouts.

To find out more about Shelley and her writing, visit her website at [+ www.shelleychappell.com+].

 


The Prince Who Turned Into a Toad: A Retelling of The Frog Prince

A tale of sisterly love and science. While Kate and Rupert's parents are off touring the kingdom, Cousin Garil is in charge. He lets Rupert do anything he wants, but Kate isn't allowed to do any of the things she likes to do: no horse riding, no playing ball with her brother, no eating competitions — and, worse of all, no more lessons with Rupert's tutor. With Cousin Garil breathing down her neck and Rupert acting more toad-like every day, Kate’s plans to become a scientist are hard to put into action. Yet when Rupert gets himself into a fix, Kate's love of science might be all that can save him. A short story of 5, 800 words for middle-grade readers.

  • ISBN: 9781311267443
  • Author: Shelley Chappell
  • Published: 2016-05-18 11:05:09
  • Words: 5739
The Prince Who Turned Into a Toad: A Retelling of The Frog Prince The Prince Who Turned Into a Toad: A Retelling of The Frog Prince