The Frog Prince- Inspired by photo by Redbeartx
There is nothing better than a warm summer. The kind of season that warms even the shadiest corners and puts a smile on even the grumpiest face.
But even in a blissful summer, some problems just cannot be dismissed. Jane, for all her efforts, still could not ignore the red coloured bills that piled onto the small antique table in the hallway of her country house.
As she rifled through the warnings and threats from companies she’d never even heard of, she could hear the cheerful, ignorant shouts of her children in the garden. The happy calls made Jane put down the mail and head out to join them. If this was to be their last summer in such an idyllic place, she was going to make sure they all enjoyed it.
“What on earth is that on your head, Cybil?” Jane asked in half amusement and half confusion as she looked to her eldest child. The fair haired girl had a pile of picked grass on her head, bright green blades falling into her fringe and eyes.
“I’m the Fairy King.” The girl replied as though it was obvious that this would explain the need for her to cover herself in grass.
“I’m the Princess.” Rebecca, her youngest girl chimed in with a smile that made her entire face crease with happiness.
“I see.” Jane held back a smile and sat down in the deck chair, letting the sun’s heat wash over her and maybe for just a moment burn away her worries.
An hour passed by quickly, her girls laughing and playing make believe for the entire time before a scream erupted in the garden. Jane was on her feet in seconds to rush to her children.
“Ewww!” Cybil shrieked. “Get it away! Get it away!” She shook her hands at her sister. Rebecca was grinning mischievously whilst she wiggled a captured frog in the direction of her sister.
Jane’s racing heart slowed when she realised there was no danger. Well, no real danger, though there was now the threat of a sibling argument which could end in hours of tears and tantrums.
“Rebecca, put the poor creature down.” Jane asked her nicely. Rebecca held the frog towards her and looked over its slick, wet body. Her youngest was always the braver of the two, no fear in taking on anything or, apparently, touching anything.
Eventually her daughter put down the writhing creature and in an instant the girls rushed off to continue their fairy tale games. Jane sighed as she watched, her heart almost breaking at the thought that this beautiful place would be taken from them.
Jane looked to the frog nestled in the mown lawn. It croaked again and seemed to eye Jane. Slowly she bent down to the displaced amphibian.
“You’re a long way from home.” Jane said as it watched her movements. “There isn’t a pond for half a mile round here.”
The frog blinked slowly, its green eyelids rolling over its yellow-gold eyes.
“I don’t suppose you’d happen to turn into a fabulously wealthy Prince if I kissed you, would you?” Jane would have kissed a thousand frogs if it meant she could keep her home. The frog blinked again. “No, I suppose not. Well, it was worth asking.” Jane put her hands on her knees and pushed herself to standing. With a heavy sigh she put on a smile that would tell the girls that nothing was wrong.
Jane glanced back to the frog and frowned. It seemed to be choking.
“Oh my god-” Jane cut herself off as she watched the frog open its mouth and something toppled out. It was a small object but it glinted gold in the midday sun. Jane bent down with wide eyes. It was a ring; a beautiful item of gold weaving between what looked like five deep green emeralds. It must have been worth a fortune.
With shaking hands Jane picked up the ring and stared at it. If she could sell it…
Jane’s eyes were blurred with sudden tears and she stared down to the frog who had gifted her with the means to save her family. The creature was simply hopping away into the shade of the bushes to one side. It suddenly stopped, turned awkwardly on its legs and stared to her before giving a final blink and a final