Once upon a time, there was a Princess known as Luna who lived with her parents, the King and Queen, in a small kingdom where it was always cold. Their castle was large and a bright white, especially with the sprinkles of snow pattering down from the clouds. Princess Luna was a kind girl who tried to serve her citizens in every way she could, handing out food and drink, making sure everyone was well looked after. The kingdom was a happy place to live.
Sadly, this past year, Princess Luna had lost her brother, Francis. He had been out on a hunting trip with the knights when the snow had taken a turn for the worse, leaving them trapped in the woods. Some of the knights had returned, Francis, however, had not. The people of the Kingdom searched the woods for three days and three nights, but no one had ever seen Prince Francis again. The Princess was heartbroken.
A year passed and the Kingdom began to return to the happy home it was before. The King and Queen began to mend, and, for them, things returned to the way they were. Princess Luna, however, never lost hope and thought of her poor lost brother constantly.
One day, Princess Luna was taking a stroll through the woods, enjoying the crunch the snow made as she took each delicate step. When she came across a small pond that glittered in the sunlight. There was a thin crust of ice upon the surface of the pond and she saw a little frog trapped underneath. Quickly, she rushed to the surface and broke the ice, freeing the small creature who jumped gratefully onto the palms of her hands. The frog felt cold, it’s rubbery skin a dark blackish green.
‘My Luna, My Luna! What a thrill it is to see you!’ cried the frog. Though the tone was much higher, Luna recognized the voice immediately and fell back into the snow in terror and delight.
‘Oh, my sister, what a long time it has been. I have so missed you,’ said the frog.
‘Francis!... My Francis! Oh, can it be you?’ Luna cried out, tears creeping out of the corners of her eyes. ‘We searched and searched but could not find you. Tell me, what happened?’
‘It is a sad story, my dear sister, but it’s only joy that fills my heart on seeing your face,’ he replied with a flick of his long wet tongue. ‘My Luna, it had been a cold night when I was riding through the woods. The snow was very heavy, and, in the blizzard, I fell from my horse and lost her. I stumbled for a while before coming across a small cabin with the light of a fire shining through the window. I ran to the door and opened it immediately, desperate to get out of the cold.’ His small features went still for a moment before a ‘RIBBET’ burst from his mouth.
He continued. ‘Alas, the house was not what it seemed. It belonged to a wicked witch who cast a spell to turn me into a frog. She threw from her house and I fell into the pond where I have waited ever since.’
Princess Luna was shocked and cried for her poor brother.
‘Oh, my sweet Francis. How can we cure this awful spell?’
‘Well,’ Francis replied, ‘a kiss from a Princess would surely have the magic to break the curse and return me to a prince’
‘Of course, dear brother!’ replied Luna as she planted a soft kiss on the lips of the small creature.
The King and Queen were pacing in the Great Hall in a state of distress when the sound of metal against stone interrupted their panic. The heavy wooden doors swung open as a knight clad in his armor rushed into the room and fell to a knee in the sight of the King.
‘What news do you bring?’ the King demanded.
‘My Lord,’ the knight replied, ‘You must come at once. We have found the Princess.’
At hearing the news, the King and Queen rushed to ready themselves to depart from the castle. Seeing this, the knight began cautiously. ‘My fair Queen, please forgive me, but this is no sight for someone of a fair sensibility and I would urge you to remain at the castle.’ The King embraced his wife and comforted her in hushed tones.
Within a matter of moments, the King and his knight were on horseback making their way to the Princess. The horse's strides were long and powerful, and they arrived at their destination quickly. Though, to the King, this journey seemed far longer as he feared what it was, he rushed towards.
‘My God,’ croaked the King as he dismounted his horse and fell to the ground.
The Princess knelt in the snow, her body blue and rigid with frost. Even from the distance, it was clear to the King that his daughter, his Luna, was dead. But this was only part of his horror. The Princess had been knelt as if in prayer. Her upper body was pressed against her knees, her head bent down towards the ground, but it was not the ground underneath her. The remnants of a kiss had frozen upon her face, her soft lips were pressed against those of her brother.
The Prince lay upon the cold earth. His body was barely recognizable. What was left, hung from exposed bone. His skin a dark black colour, disheveled and sunken, forming pockets of black decomposing flesh. His eyes had been devoured, all that remained were dark pits that fell to the back of his skull. Luna’s lips were pressed up against him, softly touching the space where his lips would have been. But his had gone and hers were pressed against the exposed teeth, covered in a black sludge. All that remained of his rotted lips.
Image Credit: Dawn Howeth