One sunny afternoon, determined, I waited beside the path. As the princess and her handmaiden got close, I stepped in front of them. The handmaiden saw me first, picked me up, and with mischief in her voice, said, “Here, your highness, your frog prince!”
With a giggle, she dropped to a knee, I within her open hands, and offered me to the princess in jest. The princess gave the handmaiden a mock appreciative smile, pulled the maiden’s hands toward her lips, and gave me a kiss on the top of my head. With the silliness over, the handmaiden gently put me down, and the two disappeared down the path toward the castle, chirping and laughing.
I lay by the side of the path for a long time, limp and exhausted. When I partially recovered and could hop again, I slowly jumped to my home in the root of the tree. I was trembling, and the ground beneath me was spinning! I could feel my frog body beginning to change. Here we go! Here we go! Then, there was nothing. Nothing! I did not turn into a prince. I slept.
To this day, I do believe I began to change. After all, I did change from an egg to a tadpole, and then from a tadpole to a frog! What comes after frog? I figured this princess didn’t really need a prince at this time, and there was no faerie. The magic wasn’t there. At this moment, I did not know the princess and I would meet again, some day.
I did decide to give myself a name. I now call myself “Prince Albert,” after the prince in the story. After all, I’m the only frog I know that has been kissed by a princess!
An Extraordinary Day
Although I often thought of the princess, a second meeting with her scared me so! I’d watch from afar when she passed by with her handmaiden. Once in a while, I would watch from the other side of the path because I saw them when I was returning from following the flower scent I smelled when I first met her. I found the smell was coming from the other side of the path. It got stronger the farther I went. Each day I followed the smell as if being pulled. The smell excited me! I let it lead me. I was a willing adventurer.
One day I went so far so long into the day that I could not get back to my tree root home before dark. As the light faded, I found a place where the haunting flower smell surrounded me. It became too dark to see, and the smell was making me sleepy, so I found a fallen tree and burrowed a nest in the leaves piled under its overhang and went to sleep. A very busy day! A very dreamy sleep! I dreamt of fast swimming, long jumping, the princess, and that flower smell. I slept so deeply, it took the midmorning warmth of the sun to wake me.
I awoke suddenly, as if falling, and jumped up from my nest. I was standing in the middle of a ring of mushrooms and pale blue flowers! It was a faeries’ ring.
This was a supersensuous sight, flooded with an equally supersensuous smell. These two senses were fighting to be the most overwhelming when a third sense heard a soft and clear giggle from over there. No, over there! Or over there! A faerie trick! It is sometimes hard to understand what your senses are telling you when you’re standing in the middle of a faeries’ ring. I believed I was about to meet the faerie ring’s owner.
A faeries’ personal flower ring is a circle of enchantment. It belongs to the faerie that nurtured it. It is a very pleasant and passive trap for whatever ventures into it. The stupor produced by the sight and smell is a seduction. The only way to escape is to befriend the faerie or to become her enemy. To befriend a faerie is to become enchanted and have a friend forever. To become her enemy is to have an enemy forever. Misfortune and bad luck will befall you. Everyone knows, only a fool becomes the enemy of a faerie!
There was movement above and to my right, which shocked my numbed mind back to consciousness. She was there, brighter than the sun. It was a faerie trick to get closer as you shield your eyes. A way to see what you are! As quickly as she was there, she was gone. Then there came a small, commanding voice.”
“Do you call yourself Prince Albert, and are you of the tree root by the pond?”
“Yes, that is me!” I answered.
“Why have you come to my faerie ring?” she asked.
“I was following the flower scent. I fell asleep and woke up within your ring. I meant no harm!” I said.
“It is the way it was supposed to be, Albert! I and others have observed your life since you were a tadpole. We believe you are special and are here to fulfill one of nature’s wishes. You were enchanted and guided here. I warn you, the tasks nature wishes you to do are very important and may be dangerous! These tasks may take you far from your tree root home and the comforts you know there. Do you have the heart to take the challenge and fulfill nature’s wishes?”
I told her, “I have nothing but happy memories at the pond, but they are all memories. I am where I am now, and I do have the heart to go farther.”
“Welcome, Albert! I am Naomai. You will not have to do this alone! I and others will be there to help with all of their knowledge, and with all the faerie magic I can bring.”
With this, Naomai reappeared as a normal, hovering faerie. I could hear her wings buzz gently as she came down to the ground close to where I was standing. Her fears about me gone, she wished to make me comfortable by turning down the glow and continue speaking at my eye level.
“You were given special powers when you were very young, Albert. You are enchanted. You must understand, with these powers there is an enormous responsibility, and if misused, the powers can bring great harm to yourself and the people around you. I am here to be your guide as you learn to use these gifts properly.”
“Are you ready?” Naomai asked.
“I am ready!”