The Sisters’ Search
The king gave permission and his blessing to Marianne and Elsa to go into the forest to find the frog that could cure their sister. Anja’s two oldest sisters believed in themselves. They believed in their love for their sister. These facts alone counted. If they could not do it, no one could.
They entered the fancy horse drawn carriage and sat in the back. Behind them rode the two knights in shining armor on their horses. The carriage driver sat out front, as well as the nature guide, a meek young man. No one could tell the carriage was carrying the princesses. This was a secret mission. Though the princesses were beloved they did not want anyone to know where they were going, or what they were doing. For it is not the job of a Princess to go deep into the forest in search of a mysterious frog. Moreover, everyone who heard would have wanted to come along and help. Though well intentioned, this mass of people surely would prevent them from finding the frog. Something told them the frog could only be found by them…
When the carriage arrived at the edge of the forest the princesses jumped out. The knights tied their horses to nearby trees. The nature guide jumped off his seat, but if anything he seemed like a distraction.
As the carriage rode off, the sisters were ready to begin their search.
“Which direction, Marianne?” asked Elsa.
“Oh, I don’t know where to begin. The forest is so large. It seems like one could really get lost in here.”
“Would you like to begin at the stream where the soldiers searched?” asked the guide.
“Well, I suppose that would be a good place to start,” replied Marianne. “There are plenty of frogs in the stream,” and so the sisters took off down a footpath that led them there. In front of them walked the guide while behind them walked the knights with hands on their arms ready to guard against any and all things.
When they arrived at the stream Marianne and Elsa put her hands in the flowing water and each grabbed a frog. There were so many of them jumping and leaping, it was easy to catch one.
“These frogs seem rather ordinary,” said Marianne examining hers.
“Far too ordinary,” agreed Elsa, “my frog doesn’t seem that gifted at all. All he is good for, is for croaking.”
“Would you like me to bring more frogs?” asked the guide.
“No, not any more of this kind,” said Marianne, “besides, our father’s army dredged every single frog out and they found no talent here. I think we need to go deeper into the forest.”
They walked deeper in and found a small pond. Marianne and Elsa put their hands in the water and grabbed two frogs. They examined them as they had examined the frogs from the stream.
“This is strange,” said Marianne, “these frogs all seem rather ordinary, in fact they seem just as ordinary as the frogs from the stream.”
“I agree,” said Elsa, “I do not see a single difference among these frogs from those frogs. All they are good for is for croaking. Something tells me they cannot play a harmonica. They could not even hold it let alone play it.”
“There’s another small stream down that way.” said the guide pointing. “Shall I take you there?”
“No, no,” replied Marianne, “that won’t be necessary. We have already searched a stream and a small pond. Something tells me that if we keep doing the same old thing, we shall only have the same old outcome and never find the frog. In order to find the frog, I believe we need to go do some exploring.”
“What do you mean Marianne?” asked Elsa.
“We need to go off the beaten path. Let’s just go walk down the woods and wander.”
“There could be dangers, your Highness,” said a knight.
“Our sister’s life hangs in the balance. Danger does not scare us! I think we have to keep going further into the forest,” repeated Marianne with determination.
The party started walking among shrubs and fallen leaves for now there was no footpath. Soon enough they saw something move among the trees. They stopped and one of the knights quickly took out his bow and arrow.
“Hold it!” shouted the other knight. “It’s just a wild boar. He’s perfectly harmless and nothing to be afraid of.” The boar ate some grass, grunted, turned his head and ran away. They walked deeper into the woods. Now the vegetation was very lush. They felt so very far away from the town. Ahead of them they saw more movement among the trees. It was a wolf! He saw them. He looked vicious and struck fear into the heart. Both knights took out their bows and shot an arrow straight through his heart. He fell dead on the spot.
“I am sorry that we had to do that,” said a knight, “but he was quite dangerous.”
“No, thank you for protecting us,” replied Marianne and Elsa.
The guide meanwhile was scared to death and he had turned back ten yards. He urged them to go back, but nobody listened to him. Forward they had to go, forward to uncharted territory, for the love of their dear sick sister.
After hours of walking, they came to what seemed to be the end of the woods. The trees thinned out and more light came in from the outside world. It was now evening. They had reached the other side! Beyond the trees they could see what seemed to be a small mountain. There was no town here. There was only a small path for horse carts. Beyond it stood a sole cabin. It was made of light-colored wood. It was small, with a high-pitched roof and was very cute. To the side of the cabin there was a small garden. It was neatly tended with all sorts of vegetables from tomatoes to green peppers, to lettuce.
“Wow I can’t believe this!” remarked Marianne. “I have never been here my whole life.”
“Neither have I,” said Elsa.
“I can’t believe somebody lives here. Knights, is this part of our Kingdom?”
“Yes, your Highness, but nobody ever comes here. I’ve never been here”
“I wonder who lives in that cottage…,” said Marianne. “let us go up to it and knock on the door.”
“No, let’s not!” said the guide, who was still scared.
“Why not?” asked Elsa.
“He could be dangerous.”
“Oh, please!” said she “Besides, we have two armored knights. Nothing could happen to us.”
The five of them opened the door of the white picket fence and walked through the front yard. When Marianne knocked no one opened. They thought whoever lived there was out. However, upon the second try, the door was opened, and their eyes beheld a very handsome young man. He was tall with flowing locks and a kind face.
“Hi, folks, may I help you?” asked he with enthusiasm.
“Folks? Don’t you know who we are?” asked Marianne.
He looked closely at the two maidens. “By Golly, I don’t. I don’t get a lot of visitors here where I live.”
“We are the king’s daughters.”
“Princess Marianne and Prince Elsa?” said he, examining their faces, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it!” said he and he bowed reverently. “What brings you two out by my neck of the woods?”
“You don’t know what is going on in the kingdom?” asked Marianne.
“By Golly, I don’t”
“How could you not know? Every person knows. Every animal knows. Every bee knows.”
“I’m truly sorry,” said he, “but I don’t know. The truth is I haven’t been to town in months. As you can see I lead a very humble life. All I have is this cabin which I built with my father before he passed away. I live on the very vegetables I grow in my own garden and on the fish I catch out in the stream.”
“OK, maybe you don’t know!” Elsa snapped, “but the truth is our family has a very big problem.”
“What is dear Princess?”
“Our sister Anja is very sick,” said Marianne.
“Oh, no, not Anja! She is so kind, so loving, and so pretty.”
“Yes, but now she is at death’s door. That is what brings us to your neck of the woods. Rumor has it that there exists a musical frog who can play the harmonica and when he does, he can cure illness. We are in desperate need to find him.”
“Worry not, dear princesses! The frog lives with me.”
“He does?” the princesses asked, surprised.
“Yes, the frog is my pet and we play music together all the time. I play the guitar and he plays the harmonica.”
“Is it true that he can cure the sick?”
“Yes, people come ask for his magic all the time, and we visit them and heal their illnesses through the power of music.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” said Elsa.
“It’s kind of a secret. If everybody knew, someone would steal him from me.”
“Well, we haven’t time to lose. We had better get going,” said Marianne.
“It’s too dark out now. Night has fallen. You must be exhausted. Why don’t you all sleep here tonight,” said the young man. “It’s a small cabin but nice and neat. I can offer you food and drink and a modest bed to sleep in. And we’ll leave by sunrise early in the morning.”
The princesses agreed and the party settled on spending the night in the young man’s cabin.
to be continued…