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A Summary and Analysis of ‘The Frog Prince’

An introduction to a classic fairy tale

Beware of amphibians who can speak in verse. That seems to be the moral of ‘The Frog Prince’, though we’re not sure about that. ‘The Frog Prince’ is perhaps, of all the classic fairy tales, the one that most succinctly encapsulates the notion of ‘fairy tales’, ‘the fairy-tale ending’, and the spirit of transformation and ‘living happily ever after’ which pervades so many of the best-loved fairy tales. But what is the meaning of ‘The Frog Prince’, and what are the story’s origins? Before we offer an analysis of the story’s key features, it might be worth summarising its content:

A young princess is playing with a golden ball by a woodland spring one day, throwing the ball in the air and catching it. Once when she throws the ball up, though, she fails to catch it and it falls into the spring. She looks into the water but it’s so deep that she cannot see the bottom of the spring, and so cannot retrieve her ball. She’s so fond of her little ball that she sighs and says she would give all her fine clothes and possessions if she could get it back. Read the rest of this entry

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A Summary and Analysis of the ‘Puss in Boots’ Fairy Tale

An introduction to a classic fairy tale

A classic example of the fairy tale featuring ‘the animal as helper’, ‘Puss in Boots’ entered the canon of classic fairy tales when Charles Perrault included it (as ‘Le Chat Botté’) in his 1697 collection of fairy stories, although like many of the greatest fairy tales, an earlier version can be found in the 1634 Pentamerone, a collection of oral folk tales compiled by Giambattista Basile. How we should analyse ‘Puss in Boots’ has troubled authors, commentators, and illustrators over the years. George Cruikshank objected to ‘a system of imposture being rewarded by the greatest worldly advantages’. Before we look more closely at this aspect of the tale, here’s a brief summary of the ‘Puss in Boots’ tale:

A miller dies and leaves his three sons all he has: he leaves his mill to his eldest son, an ass to the middle son, and to the youngest son, he leaves his cat. The youngest son thinks he’s drawn the short straw with the cat, but the cat promises that if the son gets him some boots made, he will prove to be a worthy and helpful pet. Once the cat has some boots and a little bag he can wear, he goes off and hunts for rabbits. Having caught a rabbit, Puss in Boots takes it to the King, telling him that it’s a gift from the Lord Marquis of Carabas, the cat’s master. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Nursery Rhymes Everyone Should Know

10 of the most classic children’s rhymes

For most of us, nursery rhymes are the first poems we ever encounter in life. They can teach us about rhythm, and about constructing a story in verse, and, occasionally, they impart important moral lessons to us. More often than not, though, they make no sense at all. In this post, we’ve picked ten of the very best nursery rhymes, though this list isn’t designed to be comprehensive, of course. Which ten classic nursery rhymes would you pick to teach to children?

‘Jack and Jill’. If you read one of these old chapbook versions, you encounter a ‘Jack and Jill’ rhyme that is a whopping fifteen stanzas long, but the most familiar version for modern readers is the two-stanza rendering which details a boy and girl going up a hill to fill their bucket with water (why the well is at the top of a hill is difficult to say), their subsequent accident, and Jack’s ensuing treatment for his injuries. Read the rest of this entry