在遥远的古代，人们心中的美好愿望往往能够变成现实。 就在那个令人神往的时代，曾经有过一位国王。 国王有好几个女儿，个个都长得非常美丽；尤其是他的小女儿，更是美如天仙，就连见多识广的太阳，每次照在她脸上时，都对她的美丽感到惊诧不已。
国王的宫殿附近，有一片幽暗的大森林。 在这片森林中的一棵老椴树下，有一个水潭，水潭很深。 在天热的时候，小公主常常来到这片森林，坐在清凉的水潭边上。 她坐在那里感到无聊的时候，就取出一只金球，把金球抛向空中，然后再用手接住。 这成了她最喜爱的游戏。
不巧的是，有一次，小公主伸出两只小手去接金球，金球却没有落进她的手里，而是掉到了地上，而且一下子就滚到了水潭里。 小公主两眼紧紧地盯着金球，可是金球忽地一下子在水潭里就没影儿了。 因为水潭里的水很深，看不见底，小公主就哭了起来，她的哭声越来越大，哭得伤心极了。 哭着哭着，小公主突然听见有人大声说："哎呀，公主，您这是怎么啦？您这样嚎啕大哭，就连石头听了都会心疼的呀。"听了这话，小公主四处张望，想弄清楚说话声是从哪儿传来的，不料却发现一只青蛙，从水里伸出他那丑陋不堪的肥嘟嘟的大脑袋。
青蛙得到了小公主的许诺之后，把脑袋往水里一扎，就潜入了水潭。 过了不大一会儿，青蛙嘴里衔着金球，浮出了水面，然后把金球吐在草地上。 小公主重又见到了自己心爱的玩具，心里别提有多高兴了。 她把金球拣了起来，撒腿就跑。
尽管青蛙扯着嗓子拼命叫喊，可是没有一点儿用。 小公主对青蛙的喊叫根本不予理睬，而是径直跑回了家，并且很快就把可怜的青蛙忘记得一干二净。 青蛙只好蹦蹦跳跳地又回到水潭里去。
第二天，小公主跟国王和大臣们刚刚坐上餐桌，才开始用她的小金碟进餐，突然听见啪啦啪啦的声音。 随着声响，有个什么东西顺着大理石台阶往上跳，到了门口时，便一边敲门一边大声嚷嚷："小公主，快开门！"听到喊声，小公主急忙跑到门口，想看看是谁在门外喊叫。 打开门一看，原来是那只青蛙，正蹲在门前。 小公主见是青蛙，猛然把门关上，转身赶紧回到座位，心里害怕极了。 国王发现小公主一副心慌意乱的样子，就问她：
小公主听了吓得发抖，国王却吩咐她照青蛙说的去做。 青蛙被放在了椅子上，可心里不太高兴，想到桌子上去。 上了桌子之后又说，"把您的小金碟子推过来一点儿好吗？这样我们就可以一快儿吃啦。"很显然，小公主很不情愿这么做，可她还是把金碟子推了过去。 青蛙吃得津津有味，可小公主却一点儿胃口都没有。 终于，青蛙开口说，"我已经吃饱了。现在我有点累了，请把我抱到您的小卧室去，铺好您的缎子被盖，然后我们就寝吧。"
谁知他一落地，已不再是什么青蛙，却一下子变成了一位王子：一位两眼炯炯有神、满面笑容的王子。 直到这时候，王子才告诉小公主，原来他被一个狠毒的巫婆施了魔法，除了小公主以外，谁也不能把他从水潭里解救出来。 于是，遵照国王的旨意，他成为小公主亲密的朋友和伴侣，明天，他们将一道返回他的王国。 第二天早上，太阳爬上山的时候，一辆八匹马拉的大马车已停在了门前，马头上都插着洁白的羽毛，一晃一晃的，马身上套着金光闪闪的马具。 车后边站着王子的仆人--忠心耿耿的亨利。 亨利的主人被变成一只青蛙之后，他悲痛欲绝，于是他在自己的胸口套上了三个铁箍，免得他的心因为悲伤而破碎了。
马车来接年轻的王子回他的王国去。 忠心耿耿的亨利扶着他的主人和王妃上了车厢，然后自己又站到了车后边去。 他们上路后刚走了不远，突然听见噼噼啦啦的响声，好像有什么东西断裂了。 路上，噼噼啦啦声响了一次又一次，每次王子和王妃听见响声，都以为是车上的什么东西坏了。 其实不然，忠心耿耿的亨利见主人是那么地幸福，因而感到欣喜若狂，于是那几个铁箍就从他的胸口上一个接一个地崩掉了。
In the old times, when it was still of some use to wish for the thing one wanted, there lived a King whose daughters were all handsome, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun himself, who has seen so much, wondered each time he shone over her because of her beauty. Near the royal castle there was a great dark wood, and in the wood under an old linden-tree was a well; and when the day was hot, the King's daughter used to go forth into the wood and sit by the brink of the cool well, and if the time seemed long, she would take out a golden ball, and throw it up and catch it again, and this was her favourite pastime.
Now it happened one day that the golden ball, instead of falling back into the maiden's little hand which had sent it aloft, dropped to the ground near the edge of the well and rolled in. The king's daughter followed it with her eyes as it sank, but the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. Then she began to weep, and she wept and wept as if she could never be comforted. And in the midst of her weeping she heard a voice saying to her: "What ails thee, king's daughter? Thy tears would melt a heart of stone." And when she looked to see where the voice came from, there was nothing but a frog stretching his thick ugly head out of the water. "Oh, is it you, old waddler?" said she, "I weep because my golden ball has fallen into the well." - "Never mind, do not weep," answered the frog, "I can help you; but what will you give me if I fetch up your ball again?" - "Whatever you like, dear frog," said she, "any of my clothes, my pearls and jewels, or even the golden crown that I wear." - "Thy clothes, thy pearls and jewels, and thy golden crown are not for me," answered the frog, "but if thou wouldst love me, and have me for thy companion and play-fellow, and let me sit by thee at table, and eat from thy plate, and drink from thy cup, and sleep in thy little bed, if thou wouldst promise all this, then would I dive below the water and fetch thee thy golden ball again." - "Oh yes," she answered, "I will promise it all, whatever you want, if you will only get me my ball again." But she thought to herself: What nonsense he talks! As if he could do anything but sit in the water and croak with the other frogs, or could possibly be any one's companion.
But the frog, as soon as he heard her promise, drew his head under the water and sank down out of sight, but after a while he came to the surface again with the ball in his mouth, and he threw it on the grass. The King's daughter was overjoyed to see her pretty plaything again, and she caught it up and ran off with it. "Stop, stop!" cried the frog, "take me up too. I cannot run as fast as you!" But it was of no use, for croak, croak after her as he might, she would not listen to him, but made haste home, and very soon forgot all about the poor frog, who had to betake himself to his well again.
The next day, when the King's daughter was sitting at table with the King and all the court, and eating from her golden plate, there came something pitter patter up the marble stairs, and then there came a knocking at the door, and a voice crying: "Youngest King's daughter, let me in!" And she got up and ran to see who it could be, but when she opened the door, there was the frog sitting outside. Then she shut the door hastily and went back to her seat, feeling very uneasy. The King noticed how quickly her heart was beating, and said: "My child, what are you afraid of? Is there a giant standing at the door ready to carry you away?" - "Oh no," answered she, "no giant, but a horrid frog." - "And what does the frog want?" asked the King. "O dear father," answered she, "when I was sitting by the well yesterday, and playing with my golden ball, it fell into the water, and while I was crying for the loss of it, the frog came and got it again for me on condition I would let him be my companion, but I never thought that he could leave the water and come after me; but now there he is outside the door, and he wants to come in to me." And then they all heard him knocking the second time and crying:
"Youngest King's daughter,
Open to me!
By the well water
Youngest King's daughter
Now open to me!"
"That which thou hast promised must thou perform," said the King, "so go now and let him in." So she went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in, following at her heels, till she reached her chair. Then he stopped and cried: "Lift me up to sit by you." But she delayed doing so until the King ordered her. When once the frog was on the chair, he wanted to get on the table, and there he sat and said: "Now push your golden plate a little nearer, so that we may eat together." And so she did, but everybody might see how unwilling she was, and the frog feasted heartily, but every morsel seemed to stick in her throat. "I have had enough now," said the frog at last, "and as I am tired, you must carry me to your room, and make ready your silken bed, and we will lie down and go to sleep." Then the King's daughter began to weep, and was afraid of the cold frog, that nothing would satisfy him but he must sleep in her pretty clean bed. Now the King grew angry with her, saying: "That which thou hast promised in thy time of necessity, must thou now perform." So she picked up the frog with her finger and thumb, carried him upstairs and put him in a corner, and when she had lain down to sleep, he came creeping up, saying: "I am tired and want sleep as much as you; take me up, or I will tell your father." Then she felt beside herself with rage, and picking him up, she threw him with all her strength against the wall, crying: "Now will you be quiet, you horrid frog!"
But as he fell, he ceased to be a frog, and became all at once a prince with beautiful kind eyes. And it came to pass that, with her father's consent, they became bride and bridegroom. And he told her how a wicked witch had bound him by her spells, and how no one but she alone could have released him, and that they two would go together to his father's kingdom. And there came to the door a carriage drawn by eight white horses, with white plumes on their heads, and with golden harness, and behind the carriage was standing faithful Henry, the servant of the young prince. Now, faithful Henry had suffered such care and pain when his master was turned into a frog, that he had been obliged to wear three iron bands over his heart, to keep it from breaking with trouble and anxiety. When the carriage started to take the prince to his kingdom, and faithful Henry had helped them both in, he got up behind, and was full of joy at his master's deliverance.
And when they had gone a part of the way, the prince heard a sound at the back of the carriage, as if something had broken, and he turned round and cried:
"Henry, the wheel must be breaking!"
"The wheel does not break,
'Tis the band round my heart
That, to lessen its ache,
When I grieved for your sake,
I bound round my heart."
Again, and yet once again there was the same sound, and the prince thought it must be the wheel breaking, but it was the breaking of the other bands from faithful Henry's heart, because it was now so relieved and happy.