The Frog Prince....My version
This is my attempt to put right what I consider to be the wrongness of this story.
It annoys me. Deep down annoys me....grrrrrrrrrrrr !!
We have a nasty spoiled brat of a girl who makes a promise and has to be made to keep it. A pretty boy as substantial as smoke who gets turned into a frog.....why ?
Despite said girl having been made to keep her promise it works to turn frog back to Prince. He falls for girl and lives happily ever after because she's so pretty. WHAT ?!
Well not in my version...........................
You may wonder how Guy of Gisborne comes to be in this. Well......*AJ blushes*.......You know how it is......He can be very persuasive........And then I sort of said 'Yes Guy' and that was that.
Frog and leather ( a fairy tale/ RH cross over)
On a fine sunny morning a man in black leather rode towards Nettlestone Village to collect taxes.
It was a dirty job but someone had to do it and in this case that someone was Guy of Gisborne right hand man and general dogs body to Vasey Sheriff of Nottingham.
A sadistic bully with a serious chip on his broad shoulder about the loss of his family's Lancashire estates years before. His driving force was his burning ambition to restore his family's lands and fortune. Vasey had discovered that Guy would do just about anything that had the lure of potential wealth and power and had made full use of this.
Todays work was relatively mild. Bully a few peasants into parting with money, then get nasty when they didn't.
The last hovel Guy approached belonged to Nettleston's Wise woman Matilda. She was sitting outside the door darning. 'Oh it's you is it ? Vasey's pet wolfhound'. she commented acidly. 'This isn't a social visit I take it'. Guy's expression told her it wasn't. She went into her home and came out with a pitifully small number of coins. 'This is all I have. Take it or leave it'.
Guy stepped up close to her. Using his great height to startling effect. 'This is the third time you've not paid enough. You've had your warning. Now..........'
He shouted for his posse of guards to evict Matilda, her daughter and Grandson.
'Not another step further ' Matilda hissed. 'Do you doubt I could turn you into a frog Gisborne ? And your troupe of Village Idiots too'.
Guy was sneering fit to curdle milk. ' A novel approach. I'll say that. But you'll still be evicted for non payment of.................'
He said no more for a few seconds as the oddest feeling came over him. Everything around him seemed to grow bigger and he had the feeling of looking out through different eyes.
He began to bawl at the guards to ' get on with it !' but his voice was strangely lacking in stridency.
To his shocked amazement a grinning Matilda picked him up in her hand and held him to her face. ' I told you'. She said, holding Guy over a tub of water so that he could see his reflection.
What stared back was ........a frog. The guards were long gone having seen the transformation for themselves.
'I'll have you boiled in oil !' Guy tried to bark this but managed only a pitiful croak.
'Turn me back. Now !'
'I can't'. Matilda was supremely unconcerned. ' You have to do that yourself'.
She carried the little amphibian down to the stream. ' You need to find a woman
who'll befriend you. Let you share her food and her bed, willingly and for a whole moon cycle. Then you'll turn back to yourself. A wiser version I hope'.
With that she left him. Muttering balefully under his breath Guy set off swimming.
He had to find a beautiful eligible lady on whom to turn on his charm and fast.
It was not so easy. Guy had learned something in 6 months. That beautiful high born ladies do not have an affinity with frogs. Especially not ones who can talk and have a bad attitude.
Thus far 3 ladies had screamed when he had jumped onto their laps. Another 2 had let him get as far as talking but were incensed at being asked by a frog for hospitality.
This was not how it was meant to go.
He had no idea at all of where he was. How far from Nottingham, or even the same county.
He had vastly speeded up his travels by getting lifts on the backs of horses or on carts and jumping off at the first sight of a castle or manor house.
Now he was on the move again. The incensed screeches of yet another beauty still ringing in his ears.
His mount was a chestnut mare who seemed to be in no hurry. This at least gave Guy the advantage of not having to cling on quite so hard to her tail as he often had and he was able to look at his surroundings more easily.
An early May day was turning out pleasantly warm and fine and he had spent much worse journeys.
It began to dawn on him that at long last he had an idea of where he was. He was on the outskirts of a Lancashire town called Clitheroe. Who's sheriff had once been an acquaintance of Guy's late father.
As soon as the castle loomed into sight, Guy jumped down from the mare's tail and hopped off. He hoped the castle had a pond in it's grounds. His skin was feeling uncomfortably dry by now.
There was a pond and Guy hopped towards it jumping gratefully into it's cool welcoming water.
Lord Clitheroe was now married to his third wife. He had 2 daughters Iseult by his first wife and Lucinda by his second.
Iseult was a disappointment as an eldest daughter. He rated her chances of getting a husband and producing another heir to the estate as between minute and non existent.
Firstly she was far too outspoken. A father and a husband want a gentle, submissive girl or woman. Not one who speaks out when she disagrees and voices her own opinions with out shame.
Secondly and in no way her fault was her birth mark. Her mother had died giving birth to her which was tragic but far from uncommon. The grieving husband however had proceeded to scream out that his infant had been touched by the devil and had then caused her mother's death.
'You can see the proof !' He'd yelled pointing out the innocent little face. The left side of which held a dark red wine stain birth mark. It spread from temple to chin and from the edge of her nose to her ear.
Over the years it had led to Iseult being stared and laughed at. Particularly by the half sister born when she was four years old. A lovely elfin little girl with big brown eyes and mahogany hair.
Later, potential suitors turned and fled on seeing her. Not even trying to get to know her. They would have found a spirited, intelligent but good hearted girl who was a very pleasing companion when she had the chance.
Now at 24 she was still unwed and with no hope of this changing. She had been given a final year by her father to find a husband or be sent to a nunnery.
She wasn't filled with enthusiasm for either of these options, but both had the benefit of getting her away from a family who regarded her as an embarrassment.
In the meantime she had the escape afforded by reading. Books were an expensive luxury and her father was not prepared to buy them. But a nearby abbey had a good collection that they allowed her to borrow.
She was sitting beneath a tree immersed in Plato. The peace didn't last however.
Lucinda came strolling through the gardens and spotted her sister reading again. She could read herself but didn't bother with the skill. A waste of time in her opinion.
'Iseult', she scolded. 'You've never find a husband with your nose in a book. Let's be honest. Your chances of finding one is tiny any way'. With that she grabbed the book and ran off.
Iseult gave a cry of rage and set off in pursuit. She increased her pace as Lucinda headed towards the pond.
The younger girl panicked. Iseult in a rage could get rather scary. Looking behind her on this occasion was fatal. She tripped over a tree root.
The priceless book slid from her hands and into the slippery mud at the edge of the pond.
Iseult had caught up and became like one of the Furies. ' You thoughtless little idiot. Have you any idea of the work that goes into those books ?! I'm allowed to borrow them because I respect and take care of them. A fine example of care this is !'
She sat on a fallen log crossing her arms implacably. 'Well. Aren't you going to fetch it back. And hope it isn't ruined'.
As the book was out of reach it would mean getting mud on her dress and shoes. So Lucinda resorted to crocodile tears. Though they made little impact on Iseult.
Guy had heard this exchange from beneath the water. It occurred to him that he'd not yet tried the 'Knight in shining armour' approach. If he helped this 'Damsel in Distress' then he could 'bargain with her so he bobbed to the surface.
' Don't worry fair maiden' ( he was sure these were the right words to use). 'I will
fetch the book for you. May I ask a favour in return ?'
'Yes' Sobbed Lucinda. 'Anything'. In her present predicament she wasn't about to waste time wondering why a frog was talking to her, nor to worry about the binding of a promise.
Guy was delighted. 'Gotcha !' He thought. ' Dear Lady. All I ask is a promise that for a month you will have me as your guest. Let me eat from your plate and sleep on your pillow'.
Iseult was impressed by the frog's method. ' I should think it's a small price to pay Lu'. She remarked. 'If that book is lost or ruined you will need to go to the abbey to explain why. I won't take the blame for you'.
Lucinda was caught between a rock and a hard place. Still this was a frog, not a person. No one could expect her to keep a promise to a frog.
' I promise'. She stated firmly. So Guy slowly guided the book up towards Lucinda.
The girl picked it up between thumb and forefinger. Her pretty nose curled in disgust. She threw it at Iseult and without a back wards glance ran off.
Guy was literally hopping mad. So much for honour. He wasn't ready to give up hope of the younger girl just yet. She was ravishingly beautiful with those dark eyes and hair and her creamy silky skin.
He imagined riding back to Nottingham with this lovely young woman as his Lady Gisborne.
The elder woman on the other hand he though was the worst looking he had ever seen.
That hideous red blemish made her look like something from a night mare. She was carefully inspecting the book. Thankfully it wasn't beyond help.
Now she came and knelt beside the pond holding out her hands to Guy. 'Come on', she smiled. 'Let's go to the castle. My sister has a promise to keep'.