His sons were not a little frightened at such a task, but they all longed for the crown, and made lip their minds to go and try their hands ; and so after a few days they set out once more on their travels. At the cross-ways they parted as before; and the youngest chose his old dreary rugged road, with all the bright hopes that his former good luck gave him. Scarcely had he sat himself down again at the bridge foot when his old friend the frog jumped out, set itself beside him, and as before opened its big wide mouth, and croaked out, "What is the matter?" The prince had this time no doubt of the frog's power, and therefore told what he wanted. " It shall be done for you," said the frog; and springing into the stream it soon brought up a hazelnut, laid it at his feet, and told him to take it home to his father, and crack it gently, and then see what would happen. The prince went his way very well pleased, and the frog, tired with its task, jumped back into the water.
His brothers had reached home first, and brought with them a great many very pretty little dogs. There were Wag-tails, Cur-tails, and Bob-tails, Crops and Brushes, Spitzes and Sprightlies, Fans and Frisks, Diamonds and Dashes, enough to stock the bowers of all the fair ladies in the land. The old king, willing to help them all he could, sent for a large walnut-shell, and tried it with every one of the little dogs. But one stuck fast with the hind-foot out, another with the head out, and a third with the fore-foot, a fourth with its tail out—in short, some one way and some another; but none were at all likely to sit easily in this new kind of kennel. When all had been tried, the youngest made his father a dutiful bow, and gave him the hazel-nut, begging him to crack it very carefully. The moment this was done out ran a beautiful little white dog upon the king's hand; and it wagged its tail, bowed to and fondled its new master; and soon turned about and barked at the other little beasts in the most graceful manner, to the delight of the whole court; and then went back and lay down in its kennel without a bit of either tail, ear, or foot peeping out. The joy of every one was great; the old king again embraced his lucky son, told his people to drown all the other dogs in the sea, and said to his children, " Dear sons, your weightiest tasks are now over, listen to my last wish: whoever brings home the fairest lady shall be at once the heir to my crown."
The prize was so tempting, and the chance so fair for all, that none made any doubts about setting to work, each in his own way, to try and be the winner. The youngest was not in such good spirits as he was the last time; he thought to himself, "The old frog has been able to do a great deal for me, but all its power must be nothing to me now: for where should it find me a fair maiden, and a fairer maiden too than was ever seen at my father's court? The swamps where it lives have no living things in them but toads, snakes, and such vermin." Meantime he went on, and sighed as he sat down again with a heavy heart by the bridge. " Ah, frog! " said he, "this time thou canst do me no good." "Nevermind," croaked the frog, " only tell me what is the matter now." Then the prince told his old friend what trouble had now come upon him. " Go thy ways home ! " said the frog; " the fair maiden will follow hard after: but take care, and do not laugh at whatever may happen! " This said, it sprang as before into the water, and was soon out of sight.
The prince still sighed on, for he trusted very little this time to the frog's word; but he had not set many steps towards home before he heard a noise behind him, and looking round saw six large water-rats dragging along, at full trot, a large pumpkin cut out into the shape of a coach. On the box sat an old fat toad, as coachman; and behind stood two little frogs, as footmen; and two fine mice, with stately whiskers, ran on before, as outriders. Within sat his old friend the frog, rather misshapen and unseemly to be sure, but still with somewhat of a graceful air, as it bowed, and kissed its hand to him in passing.
The prince was much too deeply wrapt up in thought as to his chance of finding the fair lady whom he was seeking, to take any heed of the strange scene before him. He scarcely looked at it, and had still less mind to laugh. The coach passed on a little way, and soon turned a corner that hid it from his sight; but how astonished was he, on turning the corner himself, to find a handsome coach and six black horses standing there, with a coachman in gay livery, and with the most beautiful lady he had ever seen sitting inside! And who should this lady be but the long-lost Cherry, for whom his heart had so long ago panted, and whom he knew again the moment he saw her! As he came up, one of the footmen made him a low bow, as he let down the steps and opened the coach door; and he was allowed to get in, and seat himself by the beautiful lady's side.
They soon came to his father's city, where his brothers also came, with trains of fair ladies; but as soon as Cherry was seen, all the court, with one voice, gave the prize to her, as the most beautiful. The delighted father embraced his son, and named him the heir to his crown; and ordered all the other ladies to be sent to keep company with the little dogs. Then the prince married Cherry, and lived long and happily with her; and indeed lives with her still—if he be not dead.