Princess Fifi tries to turn a frog into a prince! A free online, printable story about Custard Castle for younger children.
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by Emma Laybourn

A Custard Castle story

Custard Castle

Princess Fifi was in her purple rowing boat.

She was rowing across the moat of Custard Castle with Bella the maid. It was a warm summer's day, and the ribbons on her boat fluttered in the breeze.

But Fifi was not happy.

"Bother," she said. "Why can't I find any frogs? Where are they all?"

"They all hopped away when the moat got turned to custard," Bella told her. "Even when it turned back to water, the frogs never came back."

"But I need a frog!" wailed Fifi. "I need to find a frog to kiss and change into a handsome prince!"

"Hmm," said Bella. "I'm not sure if that's the best way to find a prince."

Fifi wasn't listening. She had spotted something in the reeds.

"A frog! A frog!" she shouted. "I've found one at last. Look!"

Bella looked. It was a very ugly frog. It had nubbly, knobbly, greenish-brownish skin, and bulging orange eyes.

"Hand me the net!" cried Fifi.

Whop! went the net over the frog.

It did not try to jump away. It sat inside the net and blinked its orange eyes.

Fifi grabbed the frog and picked it up to kiss it.

"Yuck!" she said. "It tastes horrid. Why isn't it turning into a prince?"

"Maybe it's a lady frog," said Bella.

"Then it should turn into a princess!" said Fifi. "That would be better than nothing. I could play with another princess."

Princess Fifi looks at the frog in her hand, in the free children's ebook and online story by Emma Laybourn

She screwed up her face and kissed the frog again. Still nothing happened. The frog just blinked its bulging orange eyes.

"Hold it for me," commanded Fifi. She began to row back to shore.

Bella held the frog at arm's length. It felt cold and warty, and it smelt of mud.

"Right," said Fifi when they reached the bank. "Let's go and find Wizard Watchit. He can turn this frog into a prince for me."

Wizard Watchit lived in the tallest tower of Custard Castle. Fifi marched towards it, and Bella followed with the frog.

"What do you want a handsome prince for, anyway?" she asked.

"To fetch and carry things, of course!" said Fifi. "And to give me chocolates, and fight dragons, and gallop to my rescue, and so on."

"Hmm," said Bella. "I'm not sure if that's the best way to treat a prince."

By now they were at the Wizard's tower. Fifi shouted up the stairs.

"Wizard Watchit! Come down here!"

Nobody answered.

"Bother!" said Fifi, and she began to climb the stairs.

Bella followed, carrying the frog. It was very heavy. After a while she had to put it down.

"You can hop up the stairs," she told it.

The frog did not hop up the stairs. It just sat and blinked at her. With a sigh, Bella picked it up again. She had to carry it all the way to the top of the tower.

Fifi banged on Wizard Watchit's door. When the Wizard opened it, he looked very cross.

"What do you want?" he snapped. "I'm in the middle of a spell."

"I want you to turn this frog into a prince for me," said Fifi.

The Wizard looked at the nubbly, knobbly, greenish-brownish frog. "It won't be much of a prince," he said.

Fifi stamped her foot. "I don't care! Just do it!"

The Wizard sighed. "All right. I'll try." He began to gabble a spell.

"Oh froggy frog, grow big and wide
    From up to down and side to side.
    Turn into a prince so charming
    And don't look quite so alarming.

"That's not a very good rhyme," said Bella.

"It's not a very good frog," sniffed Wizard Watchit. "And I've got better things to do."

"Look! The spell's working!" cried Fifi in excitement.

The frog was beginning to grow. In a few seconds it was too big and heavy for Bella to hold. She put it down in a hurry.

The frog kept on growing bigger and bigger. It turned into a giant, nubbly, knobbly, greenish-brownish frog.

The giant frog squatted at the top of the stairs and blinked at them with enormous orange eyes.

"What's that meant to be?" squawked Fifi.

"That's your prince," said Wizard Watchit. "Take it away. I'm busy." And he slammed the door.

Just then the giant frog began to hop.

It had not wanted to hop up the stairs. But it did not mind hopping down them.

However, hopping was not quite the right word. Thud thud thud went the giant frog, slithering and sliding and lolloping down the stairs. It was so heavy that it broke the banister.

Fifi and Bella chased after it.

"Catch it!" Fifi cried.

Bella tried to catch the frog, but it was too huge and slippery. When she managed to grab one of its legs, it slid out of her grasp. It waddled out of the Wizard's tower and headed for the castle door.

"Stop right there, you stupid prince!" cried Fifi.

The frog did not stop. It crawled up to the castle door and squeezed through, ripping it off its hinges.

The frog lolloped into the castle. Slap slap slap went its huge body on the flagstones.

It stopped in the middle of the hall and looked around, as if it was wondering where to go next.

"Aha!" cried Fifi. "Got you now, you great big green galumphing prince!"

Princess Fifi and the giant frog, in the free Custard Castle online story

"Hmm," said Bella. "I'm not sure if that's the best way to talk to a prince."

"Stay right there, prince!" ordered Fifi. "It's dragon-fighting time!"

She ran over to the cupboard under the stairs, where they kept a small sleepy dragon for lighting the fires.

Fifi took the little dragon out of the cupboard and put it down in front of the gigantic frog.

"Well, go on, then!" she said.

The frog and the dragon looked at each other. The frog blinked its enormous orange eyes.

The dragon yawned. A puff of smoke came from its mouth and drifted into the frog's face.

The frog did not like the smoke. It blinked several times, quickly. Then it turned round and began to lollop heavily away down the corridor.

"What a useless prince," cried Fifi. "After it!"

The giant frog lolloped into the throne room. The King was in there, having an important nap.

Slap slap slap went the frog on the flagstones. The King woke up and fell off his throne in shock.

"Help!" he cried. "A monster! Save me!"

"It's not a monster, it's only a stupid prince," said Fifi.

The frog stared at the King. Then it shot out a fat green tongue. It caught a beetle that was dozing underneath the throne, and dropped it in front of Fifi.

"Stop that, you disgusting prince!" said Fifi. "You're supposed to give me chocolates, not beetles!"

The giant frog just blinked at her. Then it lolloped away across the throne room and out the other side.

The next room was the royal bathroom. The frog slithered through the door.

The Queen was in there, putting up a shelf. She dropped all her screws in surprise when the giant frog waddled in.

It lolloped over to the bath and sat down in it with an enormous, heavy squelch.

The Queen stared at it in horror. "Help!" she cried. "It's going to break the bath!"

No sooner had she spoken than the bath began to crack. A hundred little jagged lines appeared all over it.

Then it fell apart under the weight of the giant frog. Bits of bath rolled everywhere.

"Come here, you clumsy prince!" yelled Fifi.

But the frog picked itself up and lolloped out of the bathroom.

It flopped and waddled through the corridors, with Bella and Fifi running after it, until it reached the kitchen.

The Cook was in there, with Jack the servant-boy. The Cook was making royal doughnuts, and Jack was testing them to make sure they were right.

"This one's not round enough for the King," said Jack. He had just put the doughnut in his mouth when the giant frog squeezed through the door.

"Help!" cried the Cook, as the frog waddled towards them.

Its orange eyes bulged more than ever. Then it shot out its fat green tongue, and swept a doughnut off the plate into its mouth.

"Stop it, you greedy prince!" Princess Fifi shouted. "You just stop right there!"

The giant frog stopped and looked at her.

"Start behaving properly," scolded Fifi. "You're meant to ride like the wind to be at my side. You're not supposed to lollop through the castle like a sack of cabbages!"

The giant frog just blinked at her. Then it shot out its fat green tongue and licked its own nose.

Fifi shrieked. "What revolting manners!"

"Whatever is it?" gasped the trembling Cook.

"It's a very disappointing prince," snapped Fifi.

"It doesn't look much like a prince," said Jack.

"It's a frog that Wizard Watchit did a spell on," explained Bella.

Jack stared at it. "A frog?" he said. "No, I don't think so. That's a toad!"

"A toad? No wonder the Wizard's spell didn't work properly," said Bella.

"A toad? I can't stand toads!" screamed Fifi, and she ran out of the kitchen.

The giant toad began to lollop after her with huge, squelchy lollops. It could lollop faster than Fifi could run.

Half way down the corridor, it caught her up and bowled her over. Then it sat on her legs and blinked at her with its enormous orange eyes.

"Help!" cried Fifi. "Get this terrible toad prince off me!"

The toad shot out its fat green tongue and licked Princess Fifi's nose.

"Aargh!" she squealed. "It wants to eat me!"

"No, it doesn't. I think it likes you," said Jack.

"Likes me?"

"Well, you did kiss it," Bella pointed out. "Twice. And you've followed it all over the castle, and you keep on calling it a prince. So it's not surprising if it likes you."

"I expect it's trying to kiss you back," said Jack.

"No!" screamed Fifi. "Never!" She managed to pull her legs free. Then she picked up her frilly skirts and raced away.

The giant toad lolloped after her. It chased Fifi all the way through Custard Castle, while Jack and Bella followed.

Fifi ran through room after room, until at last she reached the back door of the castle. She hurtled through it and ran down to the moat.

Her rowing-boat was pulled up on the bank. Fifi jumped into the boat and pushed off across the water.

"Haha!" she cried. "Toads can't swim like frogs. You can't reach me now, you stupid prince!"

"Actually," said Jack, "toads can swim quite well. They just don't do it as much as frogs."

Before he finished speaking, the giant toad flopped into the water with an enormous SPLOSH.

It was such an enormous SPLOSH that a huge wave reared up and sped across the moat like a tsunami.

The huge wave caught Fifi's rowing boat. It threw it up into the air and turned it over. Fifi tumbled out and disappeared into the water.

The toad blinked its enormous orange eyes. Then it dived beneath the surface.

"What can we do?" gasped Jack.

"We'll have to rescue her!" cried Bella. She was pulling off her shoes ready to jump in, when the water surged in another giant wave.

In the middle of the wave they saw the toad. It came up to the surface with something clinging to its back and covered in duck-weed.

"Fifi!" shouted Bella. "Are you all right?"

Fifi did not answer. She was trying to balance on the toad's back as it swam across the moat.

It reached the bank and Fifi slid off. Bella helped her to her feet.

"Stupid prince!" cried Fifi, shaking off the duck-weed. "Now my frilly frock is ruined!"

"Hang on," said Bella. "That toad just saved your life!"

"It came to your rescue," added Jack. "Isn't that what a prince is meant to do?"

Fifi frowned. "Well... I suppose so."

"So what are you going to say to it?" said Bella.

"Thank you, stupid prince," said Fifi sulkily.

"Ahem," said Bella.

"Oh, all right. Thank you, kind and gallant prince, for swimming to my rescue."

In answer, the toad shot out its fat green tongue and licked Princess Fifi's nose.

"Aargh!" she screamed. The toad dived back into the moat in alarm.

"You've frightened it away," said Jack.

"No, there it is!" Bella pointed at the reed-bed. "It's exactly where you found it. It's gone back to its home."

Sure enough, the giant toad was squatting in the reeds. And there it stayed all week, until the Wizard's spell wore off and it shrank back to its normal size again.

That was a hot and sunny week - so hot that every evening, Fifi and Bella and Jack came to the moat to go for a swim.

Whenever the giant toad saw them coming, it began to lollop up and down in the reeds with excitement. And every lollop made a huge and marvellous wave, perfect to practise surfing on.

When they got tired of swimming, the giant toad gave them a lift to dry land on its back.

"All in all," said Fifi, as she threw the toad a royal doughnut, "I've met worse princes - and none that was as good at licking his own nose."


Copyright © 2014 Emma Laybourn

Download the ebook of PRINCESS FIFI'S FROG:
   Click here for Kindle (mobi) or click here for other ereaders (epub).

Read another Custard Castle story:
    The Thing in the Dungeon
    The Dragon under the Stairs
    The Messy Princess
    The Marvellous Moat
    The Surprising Storm
    Spring Clean
    Dragon Dilemma
    The New Witch
    The Other Ghost

You can read six more Custard Castle stories in the ebook:
    The Ghost of Custard Castle
Find out more here!

The cover of the ebook: The Ghost of Custard Castle

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