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By Pierre Louys

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Example text

A talking frog outside,” the guardsman said apologetically. Gisette choked. Her father stilled the movements of his fork and knife. ” “A talking frog, sire. ” Henri rested his wrists on the edge of the table. He studied his blushing, throat-clearing daughter. “I take it from your reaction that this . . talking frog . . ” Embarrassed, Gisette nodded glumly. There was no way out of this, though she’d hoped she had left the memory of her humiliation and that frog far behind this morning. If it’s not to be, the only thing I can do is control any possible damage.

She lifted her chin a little, though her proud look was spoiled a little by her shivering. ” Again he attempted a bow, though his stubby body wasn’t exactly built for such things. “I would be willing to help you retrieve your fallen item, Princess Gisette . . if you would be willing to help me recover my humanity. Suffering as I do from an enchantment, I require your assistance to break the fairy’s spell that traps me in this form. You want your lost valuable, and I want to be a man once again.

She snuck a glance at her father, but he had gone back to carving up his meat. A glance at her mother showed Queen Jeanne’s blue eyes studying her daughter. Her mother said nothing, though. Not quite hungry anymore, Gisette waited for the guardsman to return. When he did, the knight entered with the green and yellow frog balanced on his chain-mail-clad hands. Her belt was caught in the frog’s mouth and draped over the knight’s wrists, visibly damp and muddy. The golden buckle had little tufts of grass caught along its hinge, a testament to the long journey the frog had undertaken, hopping from the riverbank almost half a mile away.

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