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- Figurative language
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- Fairy tale structure
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- Writing prompts
The story of the story
The Frog-King, or Iron Henry is the first story in the book of fairy tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and first published by them in 1810. 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. Joseph Campbell considered this very popular story had been brought to Europe from the Crusades by minstrels of the 10th century.
1. CATEGORY: KNOWLEDGE
- What are each Princess's talents?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
2. CATEGORY: COMPREHENSION
- 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.”
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?
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.
3. CATEGORY: APPLICATION
For younger grades
CRAFT - Cardboard crown
Draw and colour 7-point cardboard crown
Fit to head and tape together
GAME - RACE
Runners must keep crown and frog on head
GAME - RACE
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?
The Prince knows about the works of Aristotle and admires 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?
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. Historic German names are used 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?
No, the author makes it clear that it is the danger of the journey, not the length of the journey, that prevents visits.
4. CATEGORY: ANALYSIS
- How does Emma change during the story?
At the beginning of the story, Emma is told she is the youngest and the weakest. She tries to summon a prince because she doesn't believe she can save the kingdom on her own. 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 help she defeats the Witch. Emma has learned she can do what she needs to do to protect her people.
No longer 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 travel to his kingdom she is unhappy and uncertain. When Francis offers to set her free, at the cost of great embarrassment to herself, she sees how much he is willing to do for her and all the people he loves and she realises she loves him. She has had the 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. And she has.
- How does Francis change during the story?
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 to try to save Emma, and eventually solves all the problems of the kingdom because he has gained self-confidence.
At the beginning of the story, Francis shows off recklessly by standing on his horse and he teases Iron Henry by hiding. He boasts about which princess he will have 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 gained humility from being a helpless ugly frog. 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, and he begins to suspect she loves him.
Another important change is that at the beginning of the story, Francis only considered his own needs. He has to change to save Iron Henry, and by the end of the story he is willing to give up his claim to marry Emma so that she will be happy. He has become aware of other people's needs.
- Did Francis only become brave and determined after Emma kissed him?
No. Francis showed courage and determination before Emma kissed him. He retrieved the Golden Orb from a dangerous well. He limped all the way to the castle. 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.
5. CATEGORY: SYNTHESIS
- Creative writing
ACTIVITY: Creative Writing Worksheet including Story Starters
- How does each Princess' talent become her weakness?
Ramona has studied so long she only values facts she can test. She does not believe in Emma's powers nor believe in the Witch until she sees her. Ramona does not think Emma, who is less clever than her, can have anything important to tell her.
Hildegarde is so brave she thinks all problems should be confronted physically. She can't see an enemy fighting so she doesn't think there is anything to fight against. When Emma says she wants to stop the woods coming any closer, Hilda says, "Be practical, Emma. You have no axe."
Emma has a power of Persuasion and she tries to use it to get Francis to accompany her to the woods instead of discussing it with him and giving him a choice.
- Is Francis a suitable prince?
Francis was willing to risk his life to save his servant, Iron Henry. He understood his princely duties.
Francis has the instincts of a prince. For example, 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 figured out how to defeat the Witch and how to re-grow the Golden Orb when no one else could.
However Francis looks and acts foolish. Even when no longer a frog he still jumps high, looks bug-eyed when shocked, plays tricks on guards and uses casual language despite the fact he is a prince. Francis would be the first to say he was not as clever as Ramona nor as disciplined as Hilda nor as noble as Emma.
Francis bravely contrived that Iron Henry would crack the last golden band, but he did not need to risk his life to jump back into the carriage afterwards. He did so to invoke Emma's power but he could have contrived a less risky way of doing that.
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.
6. CATEGORY: EVALUATION
- 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
- 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 moved feebly on the dirt. Francis shielded Emma as Ramona struggled to ask her last question. “How could you stop good magic?
“Good? You were trying to destroy me.” The Witch stood tall above them. “You are no more wise than your sisters after all, Mistress Ramona.”
Ramona sighed and lay still.
Do you agree with the Witch 's inference that trying to kill people is bad? What if they are evil people?