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"The Frog Prince", also known as "The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry", is a fairytale featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. Its most well-known version was written by German authors the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812.


A king with beautiful daughters lives in a castle near a forest. The youngest daughter, who is extraordinarily beautiful, likes to play and sit beside the spring in the forest. One day, the princess' favorite plaything, a golden ball, rolls into the spring. The water is too deep for the princess, and she begins to cry over the lost toy.

A frog sticks his head out of the water and asks the princess why she is crying. The princess tells the frog about the golden ball. The frog says to the princess that, if she will promise to love him and let him be her companion, he will dive down and retrieve the ball for her. The princess promises, but she thinks to herself that the frog is so ugly that no one can possibly love it. When the frog brings back the golden ball, she is so overjoyed that she runs back home with the ball, completely forgetting about the poor frog.

The next day at dinner time, the frog comes to the castle door and asks to be let in. The princess, terrified at the sight of the disgusting frog, slams the door. The king asks her what has scared her. She tells him about the frog and the promise she made. The king tells her that she must keep her promise, so the princess reluctantly opens the door.

The frog follows the princess back to the dining room and asks to be put on the table so he can eat off her plate. The princess, commanded by her father, unhappily shares the meal with the revolting creature. After the meal, the frog asks to be taken to the princess' room so he can sleep on her bed. She begins to cry, but her father scolds her and tells her that she must be nice to someone who helped her. Although she does not want to touch the frog, she does as she is told and takes it to her bedroom.

When the frog asks her to lift him up into her bed, the princess becomes angry and throws him hard against the wall. As the frog falls to the ground, it turns into a handsome prince. A witch had cast a spell on him, and only a princess could release him. The king gives them his blessing, and the prince marries the princess.

The happy couple travel to the young king's kingdom accompanied by his faithful servant Henry. Henry had been so grieved by the transformation of his master that he had three iron bands placed around his chest to prevent his heart from bursting. As they travel in a magnificent carriage, Henry's iron bands crack and fall off because his heart is now filled with joy at his master's return.[1]

The Plot section is taken from the Literature wiki's article on the fairytale of "The Frog Prince" (view authors).

Show Adaptation

  • Tiana's story in the series is a mix between her real origin, Disney's The Princess and the Frog, and this fairytale.[2] For example, she is a princess by birth.
  • Instead of the prince being a human who was cursed to be a frog, he was a frog who was cursed to be a human. The curse is still broken by kissing his true love.


  • Despite being known as "The Frog Prince" and the titular character specifically being referred to as a prince in the story, the German name of the story is "Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich", which translates to "The Frog King or Iron Heinrich".
    • The first edition of Grimms' Fairy Tales included a variation of this story entitled "Der Froschprinz" ("The Frog Prince"), which can be read here. Because of its close similarity with "The Frog King," this tale was omitted from all future editions of the fairytale collection.[3] However, the first English translator of Grimms' Fairy Tales, Edgar Taylor, actually combined the two versions and called the story "The Frog Prince," giving it the beginning of "The Frog King" and the conclusion of "The Frog Prince".[4]

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
The princess Tiana "Hyperion Heights"
Robert's true love "Greenbacks"
The frog prince Robert "Greenbacks"
The wicked witch Dr. Facilier (allusion) "Greenbacks"

Locations Featured

Original Location Adapted as First Featured in
The princess's house Tiana's Palace "Greenbacks"


  1. Grimm's household fairy tales, by the Brothers Grimm. HathiTrust. Retrieved on August 3, 2020. “The Frog Prince”
  2. Abrams, Natalie (October 4, 2017). Once Upon a Time's Mekia Cox on playing first black Disney princess. Entertainment Weekly. “How similar is this to the actual Princess and the Frog tale? When I first auditioned, I asked that same question, and they said that they would like to meld The Princess and the Frog from Disney's Princess and the Frog with the real Princess and the Frog stories, so they're taking bits and pieces of it all. I mean, her name is Tiana, and they have bits of the bayou and all of that in there, but then they're also taking pieces from other portions of the actual fairy tale, the Princess and the Frog story.”
  3. D. L. Alishman (October 17, 2005). The Frog King or Iron Heinrich. University of Pittsburgh. “The first edition of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen (vol. 2, 1815, no. 13) included a variation of this story entitled The Frog Prince (in German, Der Froschprinz). This tale was not included in later editions and has thus remained relatively unknown.”
  4. D. L. Alishman. The Frog Prince. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved on March 18, 2013. “Because of its close similarity with "The Frog King," this tale was omitted from all future editions of the Grimms' collection. Curiously, the first English translator of the Grimms' tales, Edgar Taylor, combined the two versions. He called the story "The Frog Prince," giving it the beginning of the Grimms' "The Frog King" and the conclusion of the Grimms' "The Frog Prince."”
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