This week I was drawn to study the fairytale The Frog Prince for myself. Even though, with the third grade curriculum, we are not really "doing" fairytales anymore, I still find them very satisfying to read and study. In looking again at The Frog Prince, I came away with a much deeper interpretation of the story than I had when I first told the story to Rowan back in kindergarten.
It seems to be a perfect story of the nine year change, and any time of change, for that matter. The princess has this golden ball (gold is always symbolic of the higher spiritual power, right). She takes the ball out of the garden and into the woods throwing the ball higher and higher (here she is pushing the boundaries, going further than she perhaps should). She loses the ball in the spring and cannot get it out herself. She must rely on the help of a frog (who is ugly and represents change in the form of metamorphosis). She makes a promise but quickly tries to forget it. But change keeps knocking at the door. The king (representing the truth) insists that she face her fate. She resists (here we have that magic number three, letting the transformation meet her at all three levels: thinking, feeling willing) but ultimately she faces the change by fulfilling her promise to let the frog sit next to her and eat from her plate and sleep on her bed. In the end, of course, she is rewarded with the transformation of the frog into a prince (representing the bright future). I don't see this just as the girl getting the guy, but more like all the characters are within the being of the main character (or even the one hearing or reading the story). In a way, the essence of the golden ball is transferred to the Prince in his transformation. I think perhaps I am getting a little bit out there, but it all fits together well in my mind and that helps me get into telling the story.
So I have not yet told the story to Rowan this week. I have been making character dolls (it all started with me wanting to make a frog out of felt) and showing them to him for advice. I am waiting until I have all the dolls finished just right to put on a little performance with him. It does seem to me that just in my contemplating the story and its possible meanings, there has been an effect on Rowan's ability to meet his current challenges. Perhaps this is just my perception, perhaps there really is magic in fairytales.