Another Frog Prince

The frog hopped into the wizard’s office. He jumped onto the chair by the wall, and from there he leapt onto the desk.   The wizard put down his pen and straightened his glasses.

“It’s me, Humphrey,” the frog said.

“Your majesty? What happened?” the wizard asked.

“That princess who was visiting for the week in order to discuss the new trade agreement,” Humphrey said.

“Oh, was she a witch then?” the wizard asked.

“How did you know?”

The wizard snorted. “Most of the old royal families are. How else would they manage to keep power this long?”

Humphrey smacked the desk with a webbed foot. “Hey! There aren’t any witches or wizards anywhere in my family.”

“No, yours is a relatively young royal family,” the wizard said. “Your ancestors were barbarians. Besides, technically you’re part of a constitutional monarchy now.”

“Why does that make a difference?” Humphrey asked.

“Well, you have less real power,” the wizard said.

“Never mind that,” Humphrey said. “Can you fix this? The witch princess says I have to agree to marry her, and then she’ll break the spell.”

“You don’t want to marry her then?” the wizard asked. “It would make the trade agreement discussions easier.”

“I think it would set a terrible precedent, don’t you?” Humphrey asked. “Now, you’re a wizard, so magic me all better. Please.”

“Fine, fine.” The wizard got up and pulled a book off the shelf. He thumbed through it while muttering. “Fairy wings, feathers, there we go, frogs. Hmmm. This’ll take ten straight hours to brew. I’ll give you a list of ingredients to gather.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” Humphrey asked. “I can hardly go out like this. What if someone saw me? And I’m not really able to carry things around.”

“I’ll come with you then,” the wizard said. “But you’ll have to help gather the ingredients, or the cure will be less effective.”

“All right. So, what’s the first ingredient?” Humphrey asked.

“Hair from the witch that cursed you,” the wizard said.

“How am I supposed to get that? I never want to see her again,” Humphrey said.

“I’ll tell you what,” the wizard said. “Ride on my shoulder. I’ll find her and distract her. You grab one of her hairs.”

“Okay,” Humphrey said. “Just don’t let her turn me into anything else. I think I’d have a panic attack if she turned me into a spider.”

So, the wizard and Humphrey strolled around the castle. The wizard asked a few people about the witch princess.   She was in the library. Humphrey and the wizard hid between some aisles of bookshelves and waited.

Finally, the witch princess hurried by, carrying a stack of books. The wizard stuck out his foot at just the right moment and tripped her. The witch princess and her books went flying. Humphrey hopped to the ground and raced towards her, then froze.

She was lying next to a mound of black fluffy fiber, and her head was completely bald. He turned and hopped back to the wizard, just as the witch princess sat up and started screaming.   The wizard scooped Humphrey up and dropped him on his shoulder. Then he pointed at the witch and mumbled something.

She stopped screaming and turned into a frog. “That solves that,” the wizard says.

“No it doesn’t,” Humphrey said. “I’m still a frog.”

“I’m sure no one will notice,” the wizard said.

The witch princess frog tried pointing and mumbling. Nothing happened. “What have you done?” she asked.

“Nothing much,” the wizard said. “Is it lunchtime?”

“Stop it,” Humphrey said. “You’ve got to find a way to change me back.”

“If you change me back, I’ll change him back,” the witch princess frog said.

“Hmmmm. I’ll have to look at my books again,” the wizard said. “Now neither of you has any hair. Maybe I’ll start looking after lunch.”

The wizard scooped up the witch princess frog and put her on his other shoulder. “I think I’ll make up some spaghetti today. With fresh meatballs,” he said. “And maybe some garlic bread. And a nice side salad. I could make biscotti for dessert.”

“When I’m myself again, I’m turning you into a frog for making me wait,” the witch princess frog said.

“I’ll help,” Humphrey said.

“On second thought, maybe I don’t need to check my magic books at all,” the wizard said.

“Do you need help making the biscotti?” the witch princess frog asked.

“I’ll make the salad,” Humphrey said.

After lunch, the wizard started looking through his books. Two hours later, he looked up from a large, dusty old book. “If a princess kisses you, you change back,” the wizard said. “Know any princesses?”

“No one can see me like this!” the witch princess frog said.

“Me neither,” Humphrey said. “It’s embarrassing.”

“All right then, I’ll keep looking,” the wizard said.

Four hours later, he flicked a spider off the book he was reading.   Humphrey shrieked and hopped off of the desk onto the chair by the wall. “Why did you do that?” Humphrey asked. “You know I’m scared of spiders.”

“I love spiders,” the witch princess frog said. “I have a room full of spiders in glass tanks.”

“Never visit me again,” Humphrey said.

“I wouldn’t want to visit someone who hates spiders,” the witch princess frog said. “You obviously have no taste.”

“Fine,” Humphrey said.

“Fine,” the witch princess frog said.

An hour later, the wizard sat up and smiled. “I think I’ve got it. I just have to say the spell backwards. Hold still.”

He pointed at Humphrey first and mumbled, and then he pointed at the witch princess and mumbled some more. They changed back into their normal royal selves and hurried out of the room.

They left in opposite directions.   The trade agreements were finished quickly, and Humphrey and the witch princess never talked to each other again.   They lived happily ever after.