For today, I’ve decided to choose a lighter fairy tale to take it down a notch. I mean, not every fairy tale is completely gruesome, you know. True, most of them are. But there are some exceptions. So, before I completely ruin your childhood, I chose one of Disney’s lighter, more recent films.
In 2009, Walt Disney Animation Studios released the American animated film, The Princess and the Frog. While its story seems to be about the famous fairy tale, “The Frog Prince,” it is also based on the children’s novel by E.D. Baker, “The Frog Princess”.
Disney’s film narrates the story of Tiana, a hardworking young maiden who wishes to open up her own restaurant, and Naveen, a young and carefree prince that gets transformed into a frog by a devious voodoo man. Wanting to break the curse, Prince Naveen asks Tiana to kiss him but unfortunately turns herself into a frog also. So in hopes of breaking the spell, the two frogs travel through the Bayou to find help from a blind old lady who lives in a boat tree, and along the way, they fall in love. So once they know what they have to do, they race through Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, fight the voodoo man to finally break the spell, and once they succeed, they get married and live happily ever after.
E.D. Baker published her novel in 2002 and it is a new retelling of the fairy tale. “The Frog Prince” however, is actually famous thanks to the Grimm Brothers who published their version in the 1800s. The fairy tale narrates the story of a princess who loses her favorite ball in a spring. The frog in the spring tells her he would get her ball as long as she would promise to love him, let him live with her, eat from her plate, and sleep in her bed. Believing the frog can’t go far away from the spring, she accepts, then takes her ball and due to her excitement, she forgets him and leaves him behind. By dinner the frog knocks on her door and reminds her of her promise which she reluctantly keeps. After the third day of sleeping in her bed, the frog turns into a handsome prince and thanks her for breaking the spell. He marries the princess and they live happily ever after.
There is another version by the Grimm Brothers where the princess throws the frog against the wall instead and then he turns back into a prince. And although the Grimm Brothers’ versions are the ones that are mostly known today, this story has many variations. It has been a famous tale especially in Britain and Scotland. Some of its variants are “The Well of the World’s End” from 1549, “The Paddo” from 1842, “The Maiden and the Frog” by James Halliwell in 1849, and so forth.
Furthermore, the idea of breaking the curse with a kiss is quite unclear as to when exactly that element was attributed to the story. Although, according to Iona and Peter Opie in The Classic Fairy Tales, the idea of a kiss, or that a marriage bed could release a person from a curse, is one from the Middle Ages. So who knows which was the first version to present a kiss to break the curse.
“The Frog Prince” is a light fairy tale compared to others. Although its main plot involves a cursed prince, and some variations involve an evil mother, or the princess cutting the frog’s head in order to turn him back into a prince, there aren’t that many gruesome elements like say, being eaten alive, being poisoned, falling into a sleeping death for a hundred years, having their tongue cut out, or being turned into stone, and so forth. So Disney’s recent film is really sweet even if, in my opinion, it has a bit of a confusing mixture of both “The Frog Prince” and “The Frog Princess”.
Here’s a link to read some of the variations of the story. A few of them differ from the rest.
So you see? Not all fairy tales have a dark happily ever after.
Well, until our next once upon a time… Adieu 😉