This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Saturday Rave: The Frog Prince.

The proper title of this story is The Frog Prince or Iron Henry.

And who, you may ask, is Iron Henry?

Well, he's the poor guy who's got air-brushed out of our usual version of the story.

Nowadays the story starts with the princess losing her ball in the pond and the frog retrieving it for her.

(May I just remark here that the princess is an entitled little beast (and not just literally)? Mind you, in the older versions of the story she is even worse, because there she breaks the spell that's changed the prince into a frog by throwing him against a wall. And still he marries her. Good grief.)

But in former versions the story starts with the poor prince and Iron Henry. Iron Henry is the prince's faithful servant. The Iron bit is because, to stop his heart breaking with sorrow when his master is turned into a frog, Henry builds a cage of iron round it.

Now that's genuine love, I reckon: and it casts a new light on all the relationships in the story. Doesn't it.

Word To Use Today: henry. There have been many kings called Henry, and they've been a mixed bunch; but Good King Henry:

 is a sort of edible weed-type thing, Chenopodium bonus-henricus.

A henry, symbol H, is the unit of electric inductance (sorry, I've read the definition several times but I still don't understand what that means) and Henry's Law is to do with the rate at which gasses dissolve into liquids. The unit is named after Joseph Henry the US physicist, and the law after William Henry the English chemist.

Henry comes from the German name Haimric, which means home ruler. In mediaeval times you said it Harry.

1 comment:

  1. This is quite fascinating. Thanks! I wonder if Philip Pullman will have the Frog Prince in his Grimms' Fairytales. Is it by the Grimms, I wonder?