Like most fairy tales before it, The Frog Prince, as told by Mike Klaassen, has simple two dimensional characters, an appealing setting, an element of magic, and a villain who challenges the protagonist, seventeen-year old Prince Gerit, son of King Egon of Krickenheim.
Gerit is hunting for frogs to avoid weapons practice with his father’s squire and discussions about running a kingdom. Gerit prefers hunting and fishing. On this fateful day the spoiled teen gets stuck in the mud, and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t escape.
An old crone, Wibke, answers the prince’s screams for help. Gerit is repulsed by her, but acts nice and offers her anything she desires within his power, if only she sets him free. After a bit of finagling, she helps him escape from his muddy prison.
Once free, Gerit offers Wibke a handful of coins, but the old witch wants a comfortable room in the king’s castle to spend her golden years. Gerit doesn’t want to see the old woman again, so bolts homeward. However, Wibke, magically overtakes the young prince and turns the ungrateful lad into a frog,.
Wibke informs Gerit, “This particular spell requires you be kissed by a princess no less than three times.” She then kicks the frog high into the air. Gerit spends the remainder of the story searching for a princess willing to kiss a frog not just once, but thrice—a near impossible quest.
At the end of Klaassen’s story he includes “The Frog Prince of Iron Henry (The Brothers Grimm Public Domain Version) of the iconic tale. Comparing the two stories, this writer feels that Klaassen’s attempt is a huge improvement. However, I believe the story’s ending is rushed needing some fleshing out.