The Beautiful Princess and the Little Frog Prince  by  G T Steptoe  2004

The Beautiful Princess and the Little Frog Prince  by  G T Steptoe  2004

The Beautiful Princess and the Little Frog Prince by G T

Steptoe 2004

(Note: Parental Guidance! This is NOT a story for children! If you

have accessed this story via a websearch for an innocent fairy tale,

please be warned that it contains scenes of extreme and graphic

violence and material of a sexual nature and is suitable for mature,

enlightened readers ONLY. If you feel it may be offensive to you,

please EXIT now!)

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young princess. She was just

old enough to marry, but no prince had yet been found who was

suitable for her. While the search went on day by day, Princess

Joanna lived a quiet and fairly lonely life, studying every morning

with her tutors and (when the weather was fair) going for walks in

the royal forests in the afternoons. She loved her walks because it

was the only time that she could be truly alone. As the borders of

the forest were well guarded by her father’s soldiers she didn’t even

need a personal escort, and could just enjoy herself as she wished,

strolling along and breathing the fresh air.

This particular early summer day Joanna was feeling quite downcast as

she slowly walked along one of the forest paths. Only a few hours

earlier, messengers had brought word that a prince from a far-off

kingdom had gone missing just after he had begun his journey to visit

her own lands. It was a great blow to the princess, because by all

accounts Prince Pavel was handsome, intelligent, and kind, and she

had been looking forward to meeting him and seeing if they at least

liked eachother – which for a royal marriage was about the best a

princess could hope for. She sighed and made her way along the path,

scuffing a few leaves aside with her golden sandals and brushing the

occasional small flying insect from her skirt. Then, a glimmer caught

her eye, and the princess paused, her eyes widening as she beheld a

small brown frog sitting on a flat stone by the edge of the path. It

looked like any of the hundreds of little frogs she saw in the

forest, but what caught her eye was the t!

iny golden crown this frog wore on its head.

Joanna stopped in her tracks and stood for several seconds, staring

down at the little animal with a mixture of fascination and

amusement. Why on earth would a little frog have a crown? The frog

seemed to return her stare in the way that frogs do, turning its

whole body to watch her as she came closer then knelt down to get a

better look.

“You funny little thing,” she breathed.

“Not so funny from my perspective,” the frog replied in a

high-pitched croaky voice.

The princess let out a gasp of surprise. “You – you can talk?”

“Yes, but then I’m not just a normal frog,” the tiny amphibian

answered. “I’m actually a prince, and I was on my way to visit the

princess who lives in the great castle near this place, when a wicked

witch waylaid me and – and changed me into this froggy form!”

“You – you were coming to visit me?” Joanna’s eyes opened even wider.

“Then – then you must be Prince Pavel!”

The frog looked as surprised as a frog can look. “You – you are

Princess Joanna?”

“I am indeed,” she smiled. She held out her hand and he saw her royal

ring. “Come,” she smiled. “Climb onto my hand and tell me your story,

and we will see if I can help you.”

The prince did as she bade him, and he began to explain how he had

started on his journey over two months before, but on the first night

on the road a very beautiful and young-looking witch had approached

and demanded payment to allow him and his retinue to pass. He knew of

this witch (who was named Hedvelga) and had heard she had amazing

powers, but because he was the son of the king he saw no reason why

he should pay anyone to use the road, magic powers or not. So, he

refused and demanded that he be allowed by, and without any further

argument Hedvelga had put a spell on all his guards and shrunk them.

“Shrunk them?” Joanna interrupted.

“Yes, Hedvelga shrunk them. It was – it was almost beyond belief. I

had forty guards and their Captain – my best men; the strongest and

bravest of all my soldiers – and in one moment she transformed them

all, so that they were less than two inches tall…Not longer than her

own little finger!”

Joanna tried to imagine it. Forty-one tiny men…Hmmm… “How – how

terrible!” she managed to say, even though to her it didn’t sound

like such a terrible thing, really. She secretly thought it could be

quite useful to be able to make men that small on occasion. However,

maintaining her demeanour, she asked, “Then what happened to – to

your forty-one – miniaturized men?”

“Hedvelga walked out onto the path and looked down at my men as they

frantically ran around on the ground at her feet, then she just

smiled and – and began stepping on them!”

The princess gasped, “Stepping on them? You – you mean…She crushed

them?”

“Yes,” the frog sobbed. “She just stood looking down at my poor,

crawling and running men as she calmly dabbed them beneath the toe of

her sandal and – and squashed them one by one – effortlessly – just

like a girl stepping on insects!”

“Wow…” The princess suppressed a smile and amended quickly, “I

mean…How – how awful…” She thought a moment, then asked, “Did you not

try to stop her?”

“What – what could I do? Just her look froze me where I stood. I

could no more stop her than I could move a mountain!”

Joanna nodded. “She bewitched you.”

“Yes, she had me under her power – and I tell you truly, Princess…I

never felt so helpless.”

“A terrible feeling, I should think.”

The frog blinked miserably. “Yes…It was. I ordered the witch to stop

at once, but Hedvelga just laughed and trapped another of my guards

beneath her foot as she said: ‘Stop? Why should I? These are just

little crawling things – and there is no law against a girl stepping

on little things.’ Then she just giggled and crushed the man in one

movement and I – I was too stunned to think of a suitable reply.”

“That’s…that’s not surprising,” the princess nodded, apparently lost

deep in thought. She had only considered such images as part of her

deepest, most secret fantasies and never truly imagined such a thing

could be possible, but if what this frog-prince said was true…

The frog said nothing so after a few moments Joanna prompted, “Did

she – did she crush all of them? All your men?”

“Yes – except for one that she held beneath her foot for a moment

then released again. She let him crawl away and he escaped into the

grass by the pathway. I don’t know why she spared him, but she did…”

The frog blinked as frogs do, then seemed to shake himself. “But as

for the others, yes. She crushed all of them, one at a time, as I

related – until there were only seven left. She paused for a moment

and I thought she meant to spare them, but then Hedvelga herded these

last seven of my men together, nudging them close with the toe of her

sandal as she stood with her arms folded, her face showing faint

amusement as she forced them atop eachother into an untidy pile. As I

looked on, this terrible girl covered them with her foot, then as she

held them pinned, screaming and struggling beneath her sandal’s sole,

she regarded me with a look that chilled me to the very core. I – I

felt that it was me beneath her foot, waiting to be crushed…”

Joanna felt the frog trembling and listened intently as he continued,

“She said that because I had refused to pay to use her path, I would

have to pay in another way, and then – then –” The frog prince paused

for breath and went on in a breaking voice, “Then I heard the sounds

as she crushed my loyal guards with a single press of her

foot…Crushed them while she smiled at me! Imagine it!” the frog

moaned. “All those men…trapped and crushed together like beetles

beneath this witch-girl’s sandal!”

The princess licked her lips and felt her heart pounding as her

excitement grew. Her voice shook slightly as she responded, “Yes…I

can just imagine how – how it must have been…” Her hands trembled and

she concentrated on them and willed them to be still. “Sev…Seven men

together, did you say?”

“Yes, seven. My very strongest men, and she crushed them all...This

witch-girl just slowly pressed her sandalled foot down on their

bodies until it was resting flat on the ground…”

Joanna licked her lips again and whispered, “That must have

been…awesome.”

“Oh, it truly was. But what made it worse…While she continued looking

at me – smiling all the while – she raised her heel and slowly ground

my men to a smear, as many a girl is wont to do when she crushes a

noisesome insect beneath her foot.”

“Yes,” the princess nodded slightly and stared into the distance as

she breathed, “I usually do…”

The frog continued as if she hadn’t spoken, “Then, without any

warning, she shrunk me as well. One moment I was standing there,

taller than she, the next I was cowering at her feet, looking up at

her as she towered over me. I was…I was sorely afraid that she would

do to me what she had just done to my men. Hedvelga looked down at me

for long moments, just smiling her soft, knowing smile, for she knew

her power, and I – I truly felt like an insect before her. I knew

that she could crush me with a single, effortless step if the whim

took her – and no-one would even know what had happened to me!”

The princess tilted her head inquiringly. “So – at first she just

shrunk you?”

“Yes,” the frog returned, and Joanna realized he was actually

weeping. “If ‘just’ is the right word. I thought that was bad enough,

and I steeled myself for the horrible moment when she would trap me

under her foot and press it down on me, and reduce me to just another

stain on her sandal’s sole…”

“But clearly she didn’t,” the princess interrupted gently.

“No, although during the lonely, terrifying days since then I often

wished she had.” He paused as if for breath, then resumed, “Then she

changed me into the form you see now, and ordered me to hop around.

It was – It was terrifying…I had to hop one way then the other as she

laughed and pretended to step on me, time after time after time. As

soon as I stopped jumping, the girl raised her foot and began to

bring it down over me as she taunted, ‘Hop, little frog-prince! Hop,

or I’ll squash you!’ But – but after what seemed a lifetime, she told

me that she had decided to let me live, because it was her whim. Her

whim! It was a horrible feeling, Princess, to know that I would live

or die according to the whim of this witch-girl.” The frog struggled

to compose himself, and after a few moments he managed to continue,

“So, as I said, it was her whim to let me live. She – she then gave

me some words of instruction, and ordered me to go on my way to – to

seek you.”

“Well,” the princess smiled encouragement. “At least you have found

me.”

“Yes, and I am so thankful. It has been a terrible journey these

sixty-six days. The witch told me that any trials and tribulations

that befell me on the way were no concern of hers, and that if I were

killed, I would not return to my own form even in death…I would stay

this size forever.” He paused, then looked up at her and finished,

“Only you can save me, princess. You can restore me with a single

kiss…”

The young woman blinked. “Just – just a kiss?”

“Thus Hedvelga said. She instructed me that my fate lies in your

hands, and only yours. Whatever happens to me is entirely for you to

decide – according to your whim.” He blinked sadly and then said in a

weak, pleading voice, “Princess…Please help me. Only you have the

power to release me from this misery. If – If you kiss me…just once,

I shall be a man again.”

Joanna smiled her gentlest, most feminine smile. “It is the least I

can do for. And I shall be glad to behold you in your real, masculine

form.”

Placing the little frog on the flat stone once more, the Princess

leant down low and kissed him very lightly, then moved back and got

to her feet to await his transformation. After a few seconds’ delay

the little frog was surrounded by a strange glow, and then – the frog

was gone, and the prince stood in his place.

The princess looked down at the tiny man in his fine clothes and

blinked her eyes a few times as he stood there, looking up at her and

smiling his gratitude. “I – I expected you’d be somewhat bigger,” she

said. She paused, and raising her foot a little, she carefully set it

down on the stone next to the miniature prince, comparing him for

size. “I mean, you’re not even two inches tall.”

“I will be normal soon, thanks to you,” he called back, his joyful

voice just loud enough for the girl to hear. “It will take some time,

but already the process is begun.”

The princess nodded her relief. “Oh, that’s good to hear. I was

afraid you might remain tiny forever…“

The prince rushed to her foot and began kissing her toes in

gratitude. “Not now. You have saved me! Oh, thankyou, Princess,

thankyou!”

Joanna suppressed a giggle as she watched the tiny man hugging and

kissing her toes. She had the sudden urge to flick him off like an

annoying little insect, but somehow kept her composure as she

answered simply, “I’m glad to help.”

“Oh, I am so grateful to you!” He looked up at her as Joanna leant

forward a little so that her face was visible to him. “To spend the

rest of my days as a frog…It was such a horrible time – mosquitoes

taste foul, believe me…”

The girl giggled this time. “I can believe that,” she smiled. Then

she asked, “How quickly will you grow? Have you started yet?”

Prince Pavel climbed down off her foot and stood by it, one hand

resting on her little toenail to steady himself as he leant back to

look up at her face. Although she was quite a petite girl, Joanna was

still over thirty times his own size, and to the prince she looked at

least two hundred feet tall. “As I said, the process is begun!” he

called. “I only have to wait six times six the number of days that I

was a frog and I shall then return to normal size.”

“Six times six…and then…But wait,” the princess shook her head, “You

– you mean…You won’t just grow gradually?”

He shouted happily, “No, it will happen in an instant, just as I was

shrunk in the twinkling of an eye! So the witch-girl told me, at

least – and as I am still this size, she no doubt told me true.

Look!” he turned around full circle, delightedly showing himself from

every angle, his purple cape whirling. “I am in my manly form again,

so surely my true size will soon follow!”

Joanna’s face showed her concern. “But…Six times six the number of

days you were –”

“That’s right,” the tiny prince shouted. “I never studied arithmetic

as I spent all my time learning the manly arts of fighting and

swordsmanship, but it does not sound very long, does it?” Prince

Pavel had a fabulous view of the princess, and he grinned up at the

beautiful girl, looking straight up her skirt. Oh, to be normal sized

again and to have such a girl as his wife! He assumed that the

princess knew little or nothing of arithmetic or the sciences, so

surely she would believe him and care for him until he could marry

her. But until then…The Prince’s smile widened as he gazed up at her,

drinking in the sight of her smooth, tanned thighs and richly

embroidered silky white panties. Until then, what fun they could

have!

The princess was not even thinking about what the tiny man could see,

let alone any future matrimonial possibilities. His view of her never

entered her mind as more than a mildly amusing thought. It was

something like being watched by a bug, and no girl ever worries about

that. Instead, even as she watched the tiny prince while he gazed up

at her, Joanna was calculating silently, her brilliant mind handling

the simple figures with ease: Six times six is thirty-six, and

thirty-six times sixty-six days is…Two thousand, three hundred and

seventy-six days! Her jaw dropped as she worked out the answer, and

just to be sure she did it another way, murmuring “Six times

sixty-six is three hundred and ninety-six…That’s one year and

thirty-one days…And that much times six is six years and one hundred

and eighty-six days…”

Joanna shook her head in disbelief and felt anger rising within her.

“Six and a half years!” she said out loud, looking down at the

prince. “My God…I can’t keep a tiny, two-inch-tall man safe and feed

and clothe him while I wait six and a half years until he’s big

enough to hold me in his arms!”

The prince backed away a little and turned his head to look up at her

lovely face. “But – that’s not so long…Is it?”

“It is when you’re a princess and life and would-be suitors are

passing you by! Six years? I’ll be the laughing stock of the whole

kingdom!” Her eyes flashed. “You deceitful little thing! Why didn’t

you tell me there was a waiting period – before I kissed you?”

The tiny man backed away another step. He had thought that this

sweet, gentle girl wouldn’t hurt a fly, but now he wasn’t so sure. “I

– I didn’t think it would matter…”

Joanna nodded very deliberately. “Oh, it matters alright. It matters

very much. You expect a girl like me to wait that long for one

minuscule, insignificant little man to grow up? No, thanks…” The girl

looked down at the tiny man, her face set in grim determination as

she began to lift her right foot. “I am the only one who has the

power to release you from your misery, you said. Very well, you

sneaking little cowardly man…I shall release you…Right now!”

The tiny prince let out a gasp of horror as he watched the girl’s

foot rising up into the air above him, the patterned sole of her

sandal dark and massive and threatening. He staggered back and cried

out, “No…You can’t just step on me! You – you can’t…”

The princess didn’t even bother to respond to his protests. After

all, she was a giantess to this foolish little man, and she didn’t

need to justify her actions to him. The fact was that she could step

on him if she wanted to, and she had decided to step on him, so that

was that. As he screamed more protests, Joanna simply smiled grimly

and slowly lowered her foot over him, and ignoring his pleas as if

they were the buzzings of an insect, she knocked the miniature man

down and pinned him under the sole of her sandal, muffling his

screams so they were just barely audible. After a moment’s pause to

see if any objection rose in her mind – none did – the girl focused

all her senses on her foot and what lay beneath it as she raised her

heel a fraction, and unsure of how much it would take (but totally

confident in the outcome), she very gently pressed her toes down on

the tiny man, her smile flickering as she heard his funny little

insect-like sounds rise in pitch, then they sudd!

enly cut off and –

Crrittch!

Joanna paused and wrinkled her nose in feminine amusement, a very

natural reaction for a girl. It always amused her, the way little

crawling things produced their funny crunchy sounds when she stepped

on them. Those sounds were the essence of the crush, and because

(just like any girl) she stepped on little things to crush them, the

sounds their tiny bodies made as they collapsed and flattened beneath

her gently pressing foot always gave her a feeling of quiet and

pleasurable triumph. Then, as she stood poised, the princess realized

that she had never felt such a surge of awareness as she had just

experienced, and she it came to her in a flash that this was true

power.

“I crushed him…I crushed a little man,” she breathed, looking down at

her foot in quiet wonder. The girl licked her lips and pressed down a

bit more (still nothing to her), then grinned as she heard the tiny

body produce a very soft but distinctive squitsh – that other sound

that a girl listens for and which tells her that the little thing

under her foot is not only crushed, it is now most definitely

squashed and will never trouble her again. Joanna giggled, “It really

is just like stepping on an insect…Only better…”

She carefully moved her foot aside and was gratified with what she

saw. The tiny Prince Pavel lay spreadeagled, now very flat and a bit

messy, but not over much. Most bugs his size squished out a lot more

when she stepped on them. I did that to him, the girl thought, still

lost in the wonder of it all. Just moments ago he was alive and

looking up at me – and no doubt enjoying the view, the little sneak –

then… Not even realizing she was speaking out loud, Joanna murmured,

“…I stepped on him…I felt him crush…I just crushed him like a bug…”

She became aware of her own voice and smiled as she added, “And then

I actually squashed him… How wonderful…”

The princess giggled and stepped on her tiny victim again.

“Crrusshh,” she breathed. “I’m crushing you like a bug, little man…”

The young woman felt a pleasant and uniquely feminine tingling as she

pressed down firmly and heard him squish quite juicily beneath her

toes. “Like a squishy little bug…”

Feeling much better than she had at the start of her walk, Joanna

absently smoothed her short skirt as she ground tiny little Prince

Pavel under her pretty sandal’s sole, listening to every nuance of

the sounds as she literally squished him up into the grooves. “Mmmm…

I shall have to find this Hedvelga…I think we could have a very long

and rewarding friendship…”

Joanna slipped off her sandal and stood for long moments, tracing her

fingers over the sole and studying what little remained of the late

and unlamented prince. “Amazing,” she whispered. “I totally destroyed

him, with no effort at all, just because I wanted to. And now…No-one

would even know it was a man…” Deciding she wanted to keep these

sandals just as they were, she removed her other one, then holding

them idly by the straps she turned and walked away, leaving just a

dull stain on the rock to show where the tiny prince had been and

what had happened to him. As the barefooted princess strolled lightly

along the path back towards her castle home, she said to herself:

“Yes…Very rewarding…There are so many men who deserve the same

treatment…”

CHAPTER TWO

Hedvelga Comes to Visit

The same day that she met with the rather foolish little Prince Pavel

(and he met his fate beneath her foot), Princess Joanna sent her best

messenger to find Hedvelga and deliver a letter to her. The letter

did not command the witch in any way, for Joanna felt this was not a

wise approach. Instead, she informed the myterious woman that the

Princess Joanna would be most appreciative if she could come and

visit for a time as an honoured guest of the Royal House.

Joanna charged the messenger with all speed, but the journey was long

and arduous and she knew that it would be several weeks before he

reached that distant land, and possibly weeks more before she

received a reply. The time passed slowly, and the first chill of

autumn was in the air before her faithful messenger returned, bearing

a sealed letter from the witch. Joanna received the man in her

chambers and rewarded him handsomely, for he had made great speed on

his journey. After dismissing him, she sat in her favourite chair and

tore open the seals. Unfolding the parchment, she began to read, and

as she read a smile crossed her face.

“I am honoured that Your Highness wishes me to visit,” Joanna

read. “Seeing that Your Highness appears to desire my presence as

soon as possible, I am even now making my preparations and shall

commence my journey in a few days. I expect to be at the home of Your

Highness in just a few days after Your messenger has delivered this

missive into Your hands, and as I have charged him to travel with all

speed and have given him a charm to protect him on the way, Your

Highness may expect my arrival on or about the fifteenth of this

month…”

Joanna folded the letter and gazed ahead of her. “And today is the

tenth…So in only five days she should be here…” The princess thought

for a few moments then rang a small bell, and when her handmaidens

appeared from their waiting room she instructed them to be sure that

the best guest chamber was made ready – and also to inform the guards

that Hedvelga was an honoured visitor and must be allowed to pass

with all respect and without delay. The girls curtsied and left at

once to do as she bade them, and Joanna relaxed back into her chair,

wondering at the fact that this strange Hedvelga – who had treated a

crown prince with such contempt (and actually stepped on his men like

insects, no less) – would so readily agree to travel for many days to

visit a princess of a somewhat smaller kingdom than where she lived.

“Not to worry,” she said to herself. “I am sure she will have her own

good reasons.”

The princess got to her feet and stretched, and because the weather

wasn’t too bad, she put on a wrap, and with a dozen guards and two

handmaidens trailing in her wake, she went for a stroll around the

castle’s extensive gardens, stopping here and there to chat to the

gardeners and other workers and learn more about their work.

She knew that even her guards found it amazing that she occasionally

spent her time talking to such low-born men and women as gardeners,

carpenters, and the like, but Joanna didn’t care. After all, it

helped to pass the time, and they worked better for knowing that

their labours were appreciated. And anyway, she found them

interesting, forthright, honest, and highly knowledgeable in their

own trades – and therefore much better company than many of the

ruffians in rich clothes who fawned on her at Court and never did a

stroke of work in their entire lives. Worse, most of the courtiers

were so ignorant and disdainful of ‘the commoners’ that it was almost

frightening.

Joanna spent a lot of time with the workers in the castle grounds

during the next four days, and the more she learned of these good,

solid people, the more convinced she became that her father’s Court

would not suffer too much from the ‘loss’ of a few of the more

snobbish, bigoted and ignorant courtiers. Passing a sobbing stableboy

who was being whipped by his aristocratic master for not polishing

his riding boots well enough, the princess wished that she could

intervene and stop the lad’s suffering, but etiquette did not allow

it. Except in extreme cases such as rape and murder (and even then

there had to be witnesses), matters between masters and servants were

not to concern a princess of the Realm. Sighing, Joanna walked on,

hoping that before too long, she might be able to do something to

even up the balance more in favour of unfortunates like the poor boy

and his brothers and sisters in servitude. After all, most of their

masters were courtiers…

*

Hedvelga arrived early in the afternoon on the fifteenth and was

brought under honour guard directly to Joanna’s chambers. Although

some of her wizened advisors had warned her to be extremely cautious

with the witch – and never to be alone with her – Joanna decided at

first glance that she had nothing to fear from this woman. She

dismissed the guards and all her handmaidens, and bade her visitor be

seated. Hedvelga accepted with alacrity and settled herself into one

of the chairs across from the young princess.

“Thankyou, your Highness. It is very gracious of your Highness to

condescend to accepting me at once.”

“I have waited for you and counted the days, for I am anxious to talk

with you,” Joanna replied.

The woman smiled softly and inclined her head, her long black hair

gleaming in the autumnal sunlight that streamed through the windows.

“May I be so bold to hazard a guess as to the nature of your

Highness’ concerns?”

“Certainly,” Joanna nodded. “I admire boldness. It is a quality I

find sadly lacking in most.”

“Especially in the Court, your Highness?”

“Yes,” the princess agreed with a smile. “Especially there.”

Hedvelga’s eyes sparkled as she flashed her smile, and absently

smoothing her black velvet skirt, she ventured, “Speaking of royal

courts, then, may I then hazard that your Highness wishes to talk of

the mysterious disappearance of a certain Prince Pavel and his

retinue?”

Joanna maintained a straight face with some effort. “It could be,”

she allowed. “After all, it is strange that not only he, but his

entire personal guard of forty men – his strongest and bravest men –

should simply go missing without trace.”

“Yes…It is strange…” The woman crossed her legs. “May I ask how your

Highness is aware of the number of men in his retinue?”

“I was…informed,” Joanna answered, suddenly feeling a slight unease.

“By – by a –” She broke off, not yet sure just how much to reveal.

“By a little bird, your Highness?” Hedvelga smiled, then said softly,

“Or, should I say – a little…frog?”

Joanna’s expression made her giggle, a light, infectious laugh that

broke the tension. “Oh, I know your Highness met him!” the witch

chuckled. “Otherwise, why would your Highness send for me with such

urgency?”

“Yes…Yes, it’s true,” the princess admitted, barely able to suppress

her own smile. “I did meet him.”

Hedvelga smirked knowingly. “And did your Highness kiss our little

frog prince?”

Joanna nodded and her voice was the barest whisper. “Yes…Yes, I did.

I kissed him.”

“And then, when he became a man in form once again – but still as

tiny as the little frog he had been – only then did your Highness

learn that he had held back much of the truth, and that it would be

years before he would be restored to normal. Am I right?”

“Yes. He did not mention it until after I kissed him, leading me to

believe that he would be fully restored at once.” The princess

thought a moment, then commented, “But perhaps I judged him too

harshly – and – and maybe acted unjustly. He said that he did not

know arithmetic, and that surely the time to wait was not too long.”

The beautiful young witch laughed in delighted astonishment. “Did not

know arimethetic, your Highness? But he had the best tutors in the

land and often won arithmetical games at Court! He lied; in the most

cunning and cowardly way, he lied! Just as I thought he would!”

“Ah…I thought it strange that a crown prince could not do such simple

sums.”

Hedvelga watched the princess nod again, and asked, “And may I ask

your Highness where this deceiving little prince is now? Or, to be

more precise, what your Highness…did with him?”

Joanna paused a moment before replying, then she shrugged her

shoulders as if she had reached a vital decision. “I shall show you.

Please – remain seated.” Rising from her chair, the princess went

over to a corner of her room and picked up a golden strappy sandal.

Returning, she handed it to Hedvelga, sole upwards, and said simply,

“To answer your very reasonable question, I stepped on him.”

Hedvelga took the proffered shoe and peered at it. “Yes,” she nodded.

“Your Highness most certainly did.” Then she looked up. “Good,” the

witch said, beaming her smile as she handed the sandal back to

Joanna. “It was no more or less than he deserved. ”

“You – you don’t seem too surprised,” Joanna said.

“Oh, not at all – your Highness. He was a very devious and greedy man

and would have made a bad king. And after all, it was a natural

enough thing to do – to step on him…”

“Yes…I – I didn’t really think about it. I was angry with him, so I

just – just stepped on him and…And when I heard him crush beneath my

foot…” She looked the other woman in the eyes. “It felt – right.”

Hedvelga nodded measuredly. “I understand exactly, your Highness.”

She uncrossed her legs, and setting both sandalled feet on the floor,

she looked down at them and flexed her toes. “It always feels right,”

the witch murmured.

“You speak as if from long experience.”

“Very long, your Highness. Your Highness would be surprised at just

how long.”

“Perhaps I would not,” the young princess responded.

Hedvelga merely smiled, a very self-assured and knowing smile, the

smile of one who knows her own powers and uses them as she sees fit.

It was also a smile of one who is much older in life experience than

she appears to be.

Joanna was perceptive enough to know that this was not the time to

enquire into Hedvelga’s real age. Instead, her voice a bare, low

whisper, she asked, “Is it true that you – you stepped on his men?”

“Yes, it is true. With these very sandals…” She glanced up and raised

the toe of her right foot a little off the floor, then set it down

with her heel raised. “Forty of them beneath this one sandal, in

fact.”

The princess couldn’t help but grin. “Yes…I usually use my right one.”

“So I noticed, your Highness,” Hedvelga gave back, glancing at the

sandal the princess still held in her hands.

Joanna chuckled and placed it carefully on the floor by her chair.

“And – did you truly crush the last seven men together?”

“Ah, he told your Highness that? Yes, I did.” The woman thought a

moment, wrinkling her brow as she absently ran her fingers through

her hair. “At least, I think it was seven. Or was it eight?” She

smiled a shrug. “They were the last ones, anyway.”

“Then he told the truth in that, at least.”

“Oh, he was always one for being truthful in unimportant matters,

your Highness,” Hedvelga smiled. “Well known for it, in fact.”

The princess nodded, deeply pensive. “He told me that you allowed one

to escape.”

“That is true,” Hedvelga answered. “He was the youngest, new to the

prince’s retinue, and the only one whose aura showed that he had as

yet done no evil deeds. So I spared him and let him go, your

Highness, blocking the whole incident from his mind. He would have

returned to normal just at dawn, with no recollection of what had

befallen him or the others.”

“And the others?”

The witch spoke matter-of-factly. “All the others had robbed and

raped and murdered for their master or for their own pleasure, for

they were his favourites and under his royal protection. Evil men,

they were.”

“Ahh…I see. Is that why you stepped on them, Hedvelga?”

“No,” she laughed, “I stepped on them because I wanted to.” Her tones

were light and her eyes glimmered. “ I could have simply struck them

dead where they stood or made them turn upon eachother with their

swords, for they all deserved to die, but it amused me, to look down

at these tiny, evil men as they crawled around at my feet. It amused

me to crush them like so many insects. His biggest, bravest,

strongest men, your Highness, crunching under my sandal and spurting

out little sprays of wetness as I stepped on them one by one and

squashed them flat like juicy beetles – purely because it was my

whim. Oh, yes, it amused me very much to step on such evil men, your

Highness. It always does,” she added.

Joanna leaned forward in her chair, elbows on her knees and her hands

clasped beneath her chin as she whispered, “I – I can imagine it

would, when you have such power…”

Hedvelga mirrored her pose, and as they regarded eachother, she

murmured, “And your Highness would like to possess that power?”

“Yes…To be truthful, I would. There are many men who I feel deserve

that same punishment.”

“There certainly are…But as a princess, does your Highness not have

the right to sit in judgement and order men to be put to death?”

“Now that I am of age, yes, when my father is away or too busy to try

them. And I have had men put to death from time to time, when their

crimes deserved it, and it has never troubled me, for I am always

just and fair in trying them. But that is different. It is my duty,

and I take no pleasure from condemning men to prison or the chopping

block. In fact, it gladdens my heart when I can free a prisoner who

has been unjustly accused.” The princess paused, then explained, “I

am not speaking of those men who have committed capital crimes as

such and deserve to lose their heads for it. I am speaking simply of

those who – those evil men who deserve to be gotten rid of…Who

deserve to be made as small as insects…and stepped on…and

crushed…like insects…”

“Beneath your Highness’ feet…”

Joanna moved her head in a barely perceptible nod. “Yes…Beneath my

feet…Or destroyed in any other way I choose, as the whim takes me…”

The woman seemed far away as she whispered, “It seems such perfect

justice…”

“Your Highness –”

The princess blinked as if coming out of some deep reverie and

interrupted her guest. “Hedvelga, I would be – I would be pleased if

you would address me informally. I feel as if we have a certain…” She

struggled to find the right words then continued, “…A certain level

of understanding that goes far beyond the formality of royal

standards of address.”

“I am deeply honoured,” the witch responded. “I was about to ask

you…If I give you this knowledge, what will your High – what will you

give in return?”

Joanna’s eyes showed her delight. “You – you will share your secrets?”

“You have already shared some of your deepest ones with me,” the

woman said. “I am honoured to be in your confidence. But this

knowledge is immensely precious and takes long hours and months of

study to acquire – even years – and hence I cannot give it without

some kind of return.”

“That is fair.” Joanna furrowed her brow as she tried to imagine what

the witch could desire. “But I am sure that with your powers you want

for nothing, Hedvelga. Certainly, I have great riches, but I suspect

that you can make gold from dross if you wish.”

“I can. And precious stones from mere pebbles if the fancy takes me.”

Hedvelga said no more; she merely sat and waited to see what the

princess would offer.

The young princess touched a fingertip to her lips and smiled as the

answer came to her. “Hedvelga…I have something that I can offer you,

something that very few receive from a princess.”

“And what is that?”

Joanna’s smile broadened as she answered, “My friendship, Hedvelga.

My friendship and everything that entails.”

The witch nodded. “You have named the one thing that cannot, in fact,

be bought or bargained for or even truly gained by the casting of a

spell, and I feel that you would give it, even if I had nothing to

give you in return.” She reached out her hands and Joanna clasped

them in her own. “I accept, and will do all in my power to give you

what you desire.”

CHAPTER THREE

The learning.

The two young women spent several hours together every day. Much of

the time they seemed to just talk and laugh together, and any who

observed them began to suspect that the stories of Hedvelga were

greatly exaggerated. She was a very lovely, sweet and charming young

woman, and couldn’t possibly have done the things that were rumoured

of her. Obviously the gossips had mixed her up with the deeds of

someone else. And in any case, would their dear Princess Joanna have

anything to do with a powerful, dangerous witch who cast such

terrible hexing spells and was rumoured to shrink men and crush them

and even eat them in her stews?

Joanna and Hedvelga went to great pains to ensure that no-one had any

inkling of what they were really doing, and the few hours a day they

spent together in private were the only time that they turned their

attention to the arts of sorcery and all forms of magik. Only then

did they study the books that Hedvelga had secretly brought, only

then did the witch tutor her avid student, teaching her the chants

she needed to know and all of the philosophy and mysteries of inner

and ancient knowledge that were the true foundations of every spell.

And sometimes, when they needed some light relief from their labours,

Hedvelga would go out for a quiet walk in the streets of the town

below the castle, visiting the inns where the travellers and

merchants stayed, and there work her spells to shrink a few men and

bring them back to Joanna’s rooms.

Such it was this night. They had studied together for several hours

and finally Joanna successfully performed a simple spell to make a

flower open. Hedvelga clapped her hands with glee and the women

hugged eachother, for it was a great step forward. “You have done

wonderfully well, Joanna!”

“Oh, Heddy, I am so glad! It is such a slow process, with so much to

learn. I had no idea how difficult it was.”

The witch smiled, “Now you are learning how little you know,” she

agreed. “It will still be a year or so before you can perform the

high-level spells you desire, but you are making excellent progress.”

Joanna gave her another hug. “Because you are such a wonderful

teacher,” she laughed.

“And a good teacher rewards her pupil when she has done well,”

Hedvelga responded.

The princess squeaked with delight. “You mean – you shall bring me

some?”

“At once! Just take a bath and soon I shall return.” Hedvelga made

some moves with her hands and disappeared.

“I love the way you do that,” Joanna sighed, staring where the witch

had been standing.

“In about six months you shall have the same ability,” Hedvelga’s

voice answered her from across the room by the main door. Then the

door opened as if by itself and she left, walking right past the

guards who she had already hexed (just a little) so they wouldn’t

take note of or recall the door that opened and closed when no-one

was there.

By the time Joanna had bathed and dressed in fresh clothes, Hedvelga

was back in the castle, and once inside the princess’ chambers, she

reappeared and stood there, smiling brightly and holding a small

velvet bag in her hand. The bag moved as the little things inside it

struggled in pitch-black warmth, and both women grinned as they heard

the faint squeaks of tiny voices from within it. Hedvelga handed her

the bag and Joanna asked, “How many?”

“Six merchants,” the woman smiled. “All of them renowned for

overpricing and never allowing a poor peasant a little extra time to

pay; they have them jailed by bailiffs and seize their property.

Thoroughly heartless scoundrels, every one.”

“Perfect,” the princess nodded, untying the string and emptying the

bag into her hand. Six tiny men tumbled out, and their splutterings

of protest died away as they realized how small they were. Hedvelga

had put a sleeping spell on the inn before she entered it and caught

them, so up to now, they simply thought they had been captured and

bundled up and were being held for ransom. Now, staring up into the

faces of two beautiful giantesses as they lay in the warm palm of one

girl’s hand, they were struck dumb for a few seconds.

Joanna giggled, and stooping low, she tipped the six men off her hand

so they fell in a tangled heap on the floor. The men struggled to

sort themselves out, kicking at eachother and flailing about for some

seconds before they managed to get to their feet. Then, they really

took in just how tiny they truly were. The two women towered over

them, and they began to moan in fear as they compared themselves with

the girls’ sandalled feet and realized that they were only about two

inches tall.

“Punishment time,” the princess giggled again as she looked down at

the tiny men. Then as she raised her foot, she asked out loud, “Which

one shall I step on first?”

“How about that one in the red coat?” Hedvelga answered, pointing her

toes at him. “He looks like he could use a little slimming down.”

“Alright…” Joanna smiled sweetly at the tiny man as she began to

lower her foot over him. “Bye-bye, nasty little fat man,” she said

softly. “I’m going to squash you like a bug…”

The man screamed and began to run as the others stood and gaped up at

the giantesses, still not quite able to believe their own eyes. Then,

as they watch, Joanna reached her foot out a little more, easily

tracking the fat merchant as he ran faster than he had ever run in

his life, and with no effort at all she pinned him with neat,

feminine precision right under the centre of her golden, strappy

sandal and held him there for a few seconds as he screamed and

struggled, then with another giggle, the princess slowly pressed her

foot down and squeaked with girlish delight as she literally crushed

the man flat until he squished out under her toes.

“Ick! What a squishy little man!” she exclaimed gleefully.

“He certainly was,” Hedvelga laughed. “Which one next?”

“I think that one in the yellow and black stripey coat. He looks like

a fat wasp.”

Joanna laughed delightedly as the chosen man began to scramble away

from her across the marbled floor, so terrified that he couldn’t even

stand. He crawled on all fours, oblivious to the pain as he scraped

his hands and knees raw. The princess took a single short pace

forward, and this time, she dealt with him exactly as if he were a

crawling bug:

STEP!

Squitsch!

“Gotcha!” she announced happily, pleased at the way she had crushed

the tiny man so neatly right beneath her sandal’s toe. Raising her

heel, she began to grind him to pulp while the others looked on, in

awe of her power.

The four surviving men were finally becoming aware of just how

serious their situation was. They began to run, each man heading off

in a different direction, but it was hopeless. Hedvelga stopped them

from getting far by the simple expedient of setting her foot down in

front of them and making them turn back. She personally felt no

urgent need to step on them because she had taken care of a few

others already while she was out and about; a dozen vagabonds and

ruffians of various kinds had met their end beneath her foot in the

past hour or so, and she doubted that any of them would be missed.

So, as she set her foot down to block another little merchant as he

tried to flee, the woman shrugged off the urge to crush him, and

flicking him back close to Joanna’s feet, suggested that he should be

slowed down a bit.

“Okay,” the princess replied. The girl deftly pinned the tiny man

from the waist down and gave him a light, quick press, just enough to

smash his feet and legs a little and stop him running away, and

flashing a smile at Hedvelga, Joanna left him to writhe on the floor

while she turned her attention to the others.

A few minutes later, the injured man was the only one left alive.

Joanna stood with feet slightly apart and her arms folded, looking

down at him and swaying her hips a little from side to side.

“Heddy…What’s it like to squash one under your bare foot? Have you

ever tried it?”

The witch came over and stood facing her, regarding the man with mild

interest as he continued to drag himself around on the floor and

stare up at the two giantesses. “Oh, I’ve done it many times. It’s

quite interesting, actually. You really feel him crunching, even more

so than through the sole of your sandal. And you feel his warmth.

It’s not at all unpleasant.”

“Very well…” Joanna slipped her sandals off. “I’ll try him.” The

girl began to lower her bare foot over the tiny, shrieking man.

“After all,” she smirked, “It’s cruel to let him suffer.”

“Yes…It’s only right to squash him properly,” Hedvelga agreed.

The man sobbed in absolute horror as he watched the bare sole of the

giant girl’s foot rising up above him with terrible, deliberate

slowness. He didn’t know where he was, or why, or even who these two

women were. He only knew – from the quick closeup view he’d had of

their faces – that they were both young and beautiful, like goddesses

in drawings of ancient times. Since he was dumped unceremoniously on

the floor, he’d had no further opportunity to study their faces. Now,

he could only see these two giantesses from directly below, and even

the sight of their superbly toned, feminine legs and thighs, even the

incredible perspective he had up their skirts brought him no comfort

or pleasure. Now, as he watched this girl’s tight-fitting white

panties crease and crumple softly between her thighs as she raised

her foot, he only knew that in just a few seconds he would be under

her sole once again – but this time it would be the warm skin of her

foot that would press down on him, !

not the hard sole of her sandal.

Joanna hardly had a thought for how she looked to the little,

crawling man, and the fact that he had a view of her that few men

ever experienced concerned her not at all. Smiling to herself, the

girl pinned the tiny man crossways beneath her toes and giggled as

she felt him struggling uselessly against her massive weight. “Mmm…It

does feel nice,” she agreed, keeping him trapped with ease. “Now

let’s see…”

Moving as carefully as she could, the princess increased the pressure

just the barest fraction, but even that was too much for the

miniature man’s tortured body. He screamed weakly as the giantess

crushed him down, smashing his ribs and pelvis, and when she eased

off and swivelled her foot around on her heel to take a look at him,

he could only feebly move his arms a little, clawing at the floor and

trying to drag himself away. “Hmm…He didn’t take much. I felt him

crunch,” she commented, fascinated by him.

“Yes…But then, they never take much,” the witch replied, her voice

light.

“True…Oh, well. I’d better finish him,” Joanna said simply. The

giantess covered the man again, and this time, she pressed down more

firmly, squeaking with delighted disgust when he suddenly crushed

then squished up between her sparkling, varnished toenails like a

small, over-ripe fruit.

“Yuck!” she laughed. “He’s really squishy!”

Grinning hugely, Joanna dragged her foot back and playfully smeared

the tiny man across the floor in a wavy line. She wrinkled her nose

and girlishly poked her tongue out a little between her teeth then

laughed, “Hey, look, I can draw lines with them! I wish I’d thought

of that before…”

Hedvelga looked very pleased for her pupil. “Yes, you can do all

sorts of things with men if they’re tiny enough.”

The princess turned to her friend and hugged her. “Oh, Heddy…I feel

so wonderful. So feminine and strong and aware…You’re so good to me…”

“As you are to me.” Hedvelga grinned and held up another small velvet

bag. “And because this is a special day, I thought you might like a

few more to celebrate your first successful level two spell…”

“Oh, Heddy…” Joanna took the bag, and opening it, she tipped the

terrified men into her hand. “Eight…No – nine of them…”

“A gang of wandering thieves,” the witch informed her with a mild

shrug. “Their auras show the evil that fills them. They’re all full

of thoughts of rape and murder.”

Joanna nodded pensively, turning the men over with her fingertip and

studying them. “And – they were at the Inn, too?”

The witch shook her head, picking a man up and turning him this way

and that and watching his frantic struggles as she replied, “No.

Thankfully not. I found them creeping around outside the city walls,

looking for a way in, so –” She gave another, eloquent shrug. “There

were twelve of them in the gang, but they tried to scatter and run

for cover. After I stepped on three the others gave up and I caught

them…Didn’t I, little man?” Hedvelga gave her prisoner a light

squeeze and smiled sweetly at him as his struggles became even more

frantic.

“You stepped on three?” The princess glanced up, holding her hand up

near her face to keep an eye on the men in case one tried to jump to

freedom. Others had tried it before. “Why did you not just place a

holding spell on them? I ask not in criticism, Heddy, but only

because I would like to know.”

“Because a holding spell takes power, more power than the little

energy I expend in three easy little dabs of my foot. So, I crushed

the three fastest ones, and the others simply came to a halt. It’s

often the easiest way.” The witch smirked and dropped the man back

onto Joanna’s open palm.“Murderers, thieves, and rapists. I think

it’s only fair that you should punish them.”

“Yes.” The girl picked up one of the little men between thumb and

finger and held him up to her face to peer at him. She gently rolled

the screaming man between her fingers, her smile flickering as she

watched him scrabbling at her fingers with his tiny hands. “I shall

be glad to punish them.”

Then Joanna noticed that these men were slightly bigger than the

merchants had been – perhaps three inches tall – and remarked upon

it.

Hedvelga nodded. “Yes, they’re around three inches. I didn’t shrink

them quite so much because it made them easier to catch in such a

dark place – and also because it requires less power. But they’re

still a nice, easy size to work with, I think.”

Joanna grinned. “Mmm…Yes. A very nice size…”

“Would you prefer them naked?”

The princess wrinkled her nose. “Oh, yes please! That would be most

amusing!”

“Fine…” Hedvelga murmured a few words and a second later all the men

were in their birthday suits.

Joanna laughed delightedly and turned her captive upside down. “It’s

very interesting to move them around when they have no clothes, isn’t

it?”

“Yes, it is,” her friend agreed, amused by Joanna’s expression.

“Now let’s see what I can do with him…” The princess allowed her

fingers to open and watched as the man fell to the floor at her feet.

He was so light that the fall didn’t injure him badly, but before he

could even get up, Joanna set her foot down on him and crushed him

under her bare toes. “Not so squishy as the merchants,” she remarked,

dragging her foot across the floor to make a wavy line. “But I’m not

complaining,” she added, raising her eyebrows as she grinned wickedly

and selected another man, dropped him, and stepped on him as casually

as if she were crushing a bothersome insect. “I’m going to draw a

picture with them,” she explained.

“What a good idea,” Hedvelga smiled. “I never thought of doing that.”

Joanna looked pleased and grinned as she smeared the tiny man and

turned him into another wavy line, and during the next several

minutes, she crushed six more men and smeared them thoughtfully under

her toes. After the first two men (who she realized she’d used up

rather wantonly to make just two thickish lines) the princess crushed

and smeared the others to pieces much more carefully – in fact while

they were still alive – because she wanted to spread them rather

thinly and make finer lines. The girl trapped her third little thief

under her toes from the waist down and applied careful pressure,

dragging her foot around to crush, mash and smear him and trace the

lines she desired until that half was used up, all the while trying

not to giggle as he clawed at her toes with his hands. “That’s much

better,” she commented, pausing to admire her work as she held the

shrieking, struggling man pinned. “I get more out of them this way.”

The beautiful princess looked down at the suffering man and smiled

sweetly, “Now I’ll use the rest of you.” She raised her foot then

covered him once more, squashing him as neatly as she could just a

bit at a time to produce the effect she wanted as she guided him

across the floor, his tiny body her paintbrush. She proceeded with

the others in exactly the same way, taking her time, and after the

eighth man had died his slow, agonizing death beneath Joanna’s pretty

toes, the two friends stood side by side for a few moments, looking

The Beautiful Princess and the Little Frog Prince  by  G T Steptoe  2004

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The Beautiful Princess and the Little Frog Prince  by  G T Steptoe  2004