The Frog King
by Eric Field
Who doesn’t know the story of The Frog Prince?
Second Place WinnerHonorable Mention
Slimy, awkward creature kissed by a princess
Princess kisses said creature
Said creature becomes a prince — The End.
That’s how I met my wife.
I thought this princess was delirious
When she saw me as a prince.
Still, she took me, warts and all.
I couldn’t ballroom dance
(And she had the aches and bruises to prove
I needed more work on my feet!)
I couldn’t promise her riches
I couldn’t always make the heroic decisions
I couldn’t give her a kingdom to rule with tiny princess heirs
Still, she stayed by my side.
When a baby princess finally came eight years later,
I held the baby like a china doll
Worried that I could break her with my pinkie.
When I finally realized babies
Weren’t made of spun glass,
I could rock her to sleep
And turn her around to the music.
Maybe some of her mother did rub off on me.
My wife, the queen,
Active in social clubs, causes, support groups
Planned a ball
(A Valentine’s Day Daddy-Daughter Dance).
She dressed the baby princess,
Now an independent, energetic toddler,
In a tiny ballgown.
We placed the car seat in the carriage,
And I had to bring her home
Before the clock struck eight-thirty.
(Any later would have resulted
In a crabby toddler princess.)
Two dances and a few popped balloons,
But the princess talked happily for weeks after
About the ball
And her escort,
Who worried if she would ever see him as a frog.
After the queen bore another baby princess,
I had my hands full at another ball
With one princess needing a clean diaper
And the other running around to pop balloons
With other young princesses her age.
It wasn’t until after the ball
I noticed who I was.
A weary king returning to a castle
After a long day of grading papers,
Lesson planning, and meeting deadlines.
Two princesses would scurry into the garage
And scream, "Daddy!"
While the queen tried out new recipes
From her cookbooks
And her friends
And several social media outlets,
She would put on music
While she prepared the chicken,
Cut the fruit, and boiled the noodles.
The princesses would fight over
Who got to dance with the king first.
After a few rounds with each princess,
The queen would give a slow hug to her king.
And I would look over at this dinner ritual,
Savoring a kingdom I thought I did not deserve,
Not knowing when I shed my amphibian skin,
And took my throne proudly.
Dedicated to my queen E.E. (Erin Elizabeth) and my two princesses,
Ellen and Elise.