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Ethical questions

  • war
  • violence against women
  • capital punishment

Exercises under construction


  • Figurative language
  • Irony
  • Sentence structure

Sentence sounds



  • Fairy tale structure
  • Archetypes
  • Step-by-step narrative writing
  • Writing prompts

Medieval Germany


The story of the story

The Frog-King, or Iron Henry is the first story in the book of German fairy tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, first published in handwriting in 1810 and printed in 1812. The authors lived in the German city of Kassel which had been invaded and they were being forced to speak French.  They worked hard to collect German folk tales to keep their country's culture alive.  Their work provided an example to scholars in other countries and soon fairy tales were being collected around the world.

While the brothers Grimm thought that German fairy tales all originated from ancient European myths, scholars have now traced many stories to other civilisations. Mythologist Joseph Campbell considered this very popular story had been brought to Europe from the Crusades by minstrels of the 10th century.






  • What are each Princess's talents?

Suggested answer:

  • Ramona is clever and kind.
  • Hildegarde is brave and beautiful.
  • Emma is a true Princess who can persuade others and keep away evil.
  • What are Lady Lorelei's talents?

Suggested answer:

  • She has a voice which can make most men do whatever she tells them.
  • She is a shapeshifter who can transform into a flaming red witch with magical powers, or a bird.
  • She can throw red hot iron to contain a man's greatest strength.
  • She can transform a boy into a frog.
  • She can transform trees and forest animals into an army of monsters.
  • She can manufacture a red Orb of destruction.
  • What are Francis's good qualities?

Suggested answer:

  • He is quick to act.
  • He is loyal to his friends.
  • He is determined and never gives up.
  • He is not proud nor rude like other princes.
  • He is brave when he needs to be.


  • What does the King mean when he says, “I had the most beautiful wife in the world.  I was glad to fall from grief to fascination.”

Suggested answer:
He is acknowledging that he was so sad about losing his wife, he dated Lady Lorelei as a way of avoiding his grief.

  • Are the first two princes who talk to Emma, real?

Suggested answer:
The first prince seemed to be made of wavering streams of white air.  Emma could see through him.  He told her he had used his arts to find this place.  He told Francis he had created a device which enabled him to travel the world in his thoughts.  We can presume the Prince of Calden is real, but Emma and Francis meet only an image of him.

The second prince appeared real at first but when he sprayed droplets of water they did not wet Emma and his horse did not leave footprints in mud.  He mentions his dream fading.  Francis asked Iron Henry if he was real, and Iron Henry called him a shadow of the real.  Again we may presume the Prince of Velimar is real, but the dream image who spoke to Emma and Francis was some sort of projection only.


For younger grades

CRAFT - Cardboard crown
Draw and colour 7-point cardboard crown
Fit to head and tape together

CRAFT - Origami frog

Runners must keep crown and frog on head

Leap frog in relay teams

For older grades

  • The first prince calls his horse Aristotle (ARRIS-TOTTLE) who was a famous Greek philosopher more than 300 years Before Christ.  What impression does that give you of the prince?

Suggested answer:
The Prince knows about the works of Aristotle and admires him enough to name his horse after him.  This gives the impression that the Prince admires intellectual pursuits.

  • Emma, Francis, Ramona, Hilda and Henry are all Teutonic names.  (TOO-TONNIC).  The Teutons were a very powerful tribe who fought Rome and then wandered Europe in the Dark Ages.  Eventually a number of tribes with German characteristics were called Teutons.  They founded Germany.  Why do you think Joy Everafter made all the character names Teutonic?

Suggested answer:
The Frog King, or Iron Henry  is the best known story collected by the brothers Grimm.  They were collecting German stories to keep the German national identity.  Joy Everafter must have used historic German names as a tribute to the efforts of the brothers Grimm.

  • Kassel is a real city on The Fairy Tale Road in Germany.  Oldenburg is a city 3 hours drive away from Kassel.  In the story it takes 4 days on horseback to reach Kassel from Olden. Does this explain why nobody visited Kassel?

Suggested answer:
No, the author makes it clear that it is the danger of the journey, not the length of the journey, that prevents visits.


  • How does Emma change during the story?

Suggested answer:


At the beginning of the story, Emma is told she is the youngest and the weakest princess.  She tries to summon a prince because she doesn't believe she can save the kingdom herself.  When Francis asks for help she says, "I'm sorry, I'd like to help, but I'm powerless."  Later she confesses, "I'm scared I won't know what to do," and "I'm not brave like Hilda."  Only when her kingdom goes to war does Emma take action.  She goes into the battlefield with the Golden Orb.  She is following her instincts and says, "I just know we have to be here."  She doesn't want Francis to shield her and her instincts prove to be correct.  She is the only one who can stand up to the Witch, and with Francis's support she defeats the Witch.  Emma has learned she has the courage to do whatever she needs to do to protect her people.

  • What main character trait of Emma does not change during the story?

Suggested answer:

Waiting for her prince

Emma's mother has taught her that one day her prince will come.  Emma refuses Francis's first proposals because she always expected to marry a True Prince.  Even when they win a battle together and travel to his kingdom she is unhappy and uncertain.  When Francis offers to set her free, at the cost of great embarrassment to himself, she sees how much he is willing to do for her and all the people he loves and she realises she loves him.  She realises she has had her aim the wrong way around her whole life: instead of worrying about whether a prince would fall in love with her, she should have worried whether she would fall in love with him.  And she has.

  • How does Francis change during the story?

Suggested answers:


At the beginning of the story, Francis rides behind Iron Henry.  He gets changed when Iron Henry tells him to, and he lets Iron Henry lead when they confront the Witch.  Only after he is placed in the completely powerless body of a frog does Francis begin to act independently.  He fights and pleads and bargains to become a prince again so he can free Iron Henry.  Once he is Francis again, he leads the way to Iron Henry, argues with a King, attacks a Witch, and eventually solves all the problems of the kingdom because he has gained enough self-confidence to rely on his intuition.


At the beginning of the story, Francis shows off by recklessly standing on his horse and he teases Iron Henry by hiding.  He boasts about which princess he will marry but it is clear he does not think he will succeed in winning a princess.  In short, he acts brashly to cover up his insecurities.
By the end of the story, Francis has the confidence to behave sensitively.  He can comfort frightened and hurt Princesses, and show a King what to do to repair his destroyed treasure.  He realises that Emma is refusing his proposals because he hasn't told her he loves her, so he does.

  • What main character trait of Francis does not change during the story?

Suggested answer:

Francis is hyperactive.  He is always jumping around.  He shouts: "I'm going!" in every chapter.  Francis's hyperactivity gets him into trouble, for example, the Witch is able to hit him with her red fire because Francis is standing on his horse out of the reach of Iron Henry's protection.

Even after Francis gains self-confidence he remains hyperactive.  His impulsive plan to break Iron Henry's last band is to get Iron Henry to exert himself mightily by throwing Francis, when there are alternatives to this undignified act.  Many readers think his death-defying leap from the tower was just for fun but in fact it was a challenge to help Emma rediscover her innate magical power.  Readers who watch the second-to-last page closely will see Francis jump off the carriage and run to embrace his Father.  Francis has gained confidence but will always be hyperactive.

  • Did Francis only become brave and determined after Emma kissed him?

Suggested answer:

No.  Francis showed courage and determination before Emma kissed him.  He retrieved the Golden Orb from a dangerous well.  He jumped past attacking guards to get to Emma in the Great Hall.  He asked princesses to marry him.  He pretended he wasn’t scared after the soldiers nearly killed him.  He never gave up trying to save Iron Henry.  He risked his life by attacking the witch in an attempt to keep Emma safe.


  • Creative writing

ACTIVITY: Creative Writing Worksheet including Story Starters

  • How does each Princess' talent become her weakness?

Suggested answer:

Ramona is very clever.  She has studied so long she only values facts she has learned.  She does not understand Emma's powers so she assumes they are trivial.  Because she doesn't know how to use the Golden Orb she assumes it is useless.  She refuses to consider Emma's claim that Lady Lorelei is evil.  Ramona does not think Emma, who is less clever than her, can have anything important to tell her.

Hilda is so brave she thinks all problems should be confronted physically immediately.  When she hears of Iron Henry trapped in mud, she gallops off to rescue him without any backup.  When she can't see Iron Henry with her own eyes she assumes Frog is lying.  In the final confrontation, Hilda and her father attack the witch.  They are ready to die to protect their kingdom.  They have no respect for Emma's powers.

Emma has a power of Persuasion and she Persuades her sisters to help the Frog.  It is only when she tries to use Persuasion on Prince Francis, and he protests, that she realises it is wrong to take away another person's freedom of choice.  She does not seem to be misusing her power when her father needs it badly after Lady Lorelei is exposed as the witch, but she tries to use it again when she is tricking Francis into driving to the battle ground.  Emma has not learned to communicate on an equal level with others.

  • Is Francis a suitable prince?

Suggested answer:

Francis has the instincts of a good prince.  For example, he is orders his servant, Iron Henry, not to risk his life to save him.  He is attuned to Emma and understands immediately how her Persuasion works.  Importantly, it doesn't work on him.  At the end of the story, Francis figures out how to defeat the Witch and how to re-grow the Golden Orb when no one else can.

However Francis does not look noble.  He is skinny and has a wide mouth and no chin like a frog.  More seriously, Francis does not act noble.  Even when no longer a frog he still jumps high, looks bug-eyed when shocked, plays tricks on guards and uses casual language.  Francis would be the first to say he was not as clever as Ramona nor as disciplined as Hilda nor as magical as Emma.

Francis bravely contrives that Iron Henry will crack the last golden band around his heart, and Emma will regain her magical powers.  It appears that the frog adventure has given him the confidence to undertake the serious duties required of a prince, but nothing can quash his irrepressible nature.


  • Can you recognize characters by the way they speak and what they say?

LINK TO Frog Prince WHO SAID THIS spreadsheets:
Worksheet Grade 4
Worksheet Answer page
Teacher copy showing chapter numbers
Jumbled worksheet Grade 5
Jumbled worksheet answer page

  • Discussion Question

Ramona believes killing the Witch will be a good use of magic.  However when she tries, she is defeated.  Here is an excerpt from Chapter 10.

Ramona moves feebly on the dirt.  Francis shields Emma as Ramona struggles to ask her last question.  “How could you stop good magic?"
"Good?  You were trying to destroy me."  The Witch stands tall above them all.  “You are no more wise than your sisters after all, Mistress Ramona.”
Ramona sighs and lies still.

Do you agree with the Witch 's inference that trying to kill people is bad?  What if they are evil people?