Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a wonderfully happy Kingdom known as Carmensita. The land and people both were fertile. But next to, and a little to the South, of Carmensita lay another Kingdom, Lilypadonia, where things weren’t quite as good. The land was swampy and full of witches and frogs. Every time the witches gathered at night with their big cauldrons, shrimp, crawfish, and Abita on ice, the frogs would begin their incessant croaking and ruin the whole affair.
The witches, not wishing to be cruel, and usually attending stag, discovered a pleasant way to kill two birds with one spell. They simply turned the frogs into Princes. For the most part they were pretty normal as Princes go. They were easily distracted by flying insects and their tongues were all a little on the long side, but they were handsome enough.
In the morning, the Princes would leave and find their way to the surrounding kingdoms. There was no sadness at the parting. Like the witches were fond of saying, “There’s always more frogs in the swamp!” Plus, for some inexplicable reason, the princes were in very big demand by the damsels of the neighboring kingdoms. Maybe it was their bug zapping skills, or maybe it was because they were so very easy on the “Ayes”???
Anyway, because of the constant influx of Frog Princes, the Kingdom of Carmensita had a very strict, and very old law, that only a “natural born Prince” could ever be King. This law came about when John Jay, a prominent member of the Carmensita Council wrote this in a letter:
Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Frog Princes into the administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Kingship shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Prince. Heaven help us all if a Frog King became distracted by a swarm of Betsy Bugs during battle!
Shortly thereafter, John Jay flew south for the winter with his special friend, Cock Robin. And so, the King signed the Natural Born Prince Decree.
Now, something still had to be done with all the Frog Princes making their way to Carmensita. The Kingdom was over run with Prince Hoppys and Prince Green Legs, and the whole bunch was totally lacking in the simplest accoutrements of royalty. So the Council and the King got together and enacted the Prince Naturalization Decree. The College of Heraldry was tasked to naturalize all Frog Princes, and provide them with Belated Letters Patent Of Nobility. They would design a Coat of Arms for the new Princes, and help them find names to replace their Frog names. I mean, who is going to respect a Prince Croaky??? (Non-Frog Princes were simply enrolled with the College at birth by the Royal Doctor and their Letters Patent were not Belated.)
To get their Letters, the Frog Princes were physically examined for any throwback genetic issues, like webbed feet, or evidence of Swamp Whomp Syndrome from jumping around without wings. (see Note 4 below) They had to learn new skills like, eating with a knife and fork, not eating bugs in public, and not jumping into public fountains at every noise. After passing tests on these types of things, there would be a ceremony, a big feast, the singing of the National Anthem of Carmensita, and the presentation of Belated Letters Patent with the notation, Quondam Rana. Afterwards, there would be a Royal Ball. From this point forward, the Frog Princes were just like every other Prince of the Kingdom, with that one little exception about being able to become King.
Now next to, and a little to the North, of Carmensita lay the Queendom of Connubia. Connubia, founded by Queen Bodicea, was famous for two things; its beautiful Princesses, and the Fulsome Bodice Mfg. Co. As expected, many natural born Princes of Carmensita found numerous reasons to travel northward and often found Connubian bliss there. Sometimes this bliss would continue beyond nine months, and many Princes were born a little to the North of Carmensita.
These Princes wanted their sons to be able to achieve the throne of Carmensita, and to be entitled to all the other benefits of Carmensitan citizenship. But, there was no Carmensitan Royal Doctor in attendance in Connubia, or any other neighboring Kingdom, to automatically enroll them with The College of Heraldry. So, the Carmensitan Coucil recommended a law which would invest the children of Carmensitan Princes born outside Carmensita, with the same rights as if they had been born inside Carmensita. And this was added to the Royal Naturalization Decree. If a Prince had issue outside Carmensita, he would simply apply for Belated Letters Patent from the Heraldry College. These Princes did not have to take any tests, or have their tongues or bottoms examined. They were considered Princes of Carmensita at the time of their birth.
Now it so happened one day that Good King Cussworth of Carmensita keeled over dead as door knob after a particularly invective filled rant over a proposed decree to register all the swords in the Kingdom, and to completely ban assault swords. His daughter, the sweet and virginal Princess Squeeky, became Regent pending a marriage to a Prince. Princess Squeeky was very smart and very good looking. She was also very humble, and you would never find any Pea in her bed!
There were two contenders for the hand of Princess Squeeky. One was Prince Stoutrod, who had been born in Connubia while his father Prince Klaxonhund was there performing quality control studies at the Fulsome Bodice Mfg. Co. Klaxonhund was a natural born Prince of Carmensita, and Prince Stoutrod had been issued Belated Letters Patent after his birth.
Then . . . there was his younger brother, the small and asymmetric Prince Runtwick. He had been born in Carmensita a few years after Prince Klaxonhund returned to the Kingdom to recover from various diseases of a personal nature. Now, being the younger brother, he would normally not be in contention for the throne. But, Runtwick had registered a Challenge to the Carmensita Council based on the following argument:
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! My Brother Prince Stoutrod is NOT a natural born Prince because he was born in Connubia! No Royal Doctor enrolled him at birth, and yea verily, he had to apply to the College of Heraldry for Belated Letters Patent, to be naturalized, just as do the Frog Princes!!! And our laws demand a natural born Prince, not one who is naturalized and not one whose Letters Patent are Belated!!!
Princess Squeeky, who had a dog in this particular hunt, joined in as the Champion of Prince Stoutrod. responding:
Princess Squeeky doth say thee, “Nay!” For was not the whole point of the Decree to grant the same rights to those Princes born outside Carmensita as those born within? It may be through the provisions of the Prince Naturalization Decree, but not through any process of naturalization. There is no Quondam Rana on Prince Stoutrod’s Letters Patent. He clearly comes not from Frogs. And whilst I would not know from a certainty, I have heard it from those maidens who should know, that his feet are not webbed, and that his nether regions are far from numb.
Further I say, that Prince Stoutrod was never given tests tempting him with flying insects, and verily that he never jumped and hid in a public fountain except that once when Bad Robert the Blacksmith suspected him of swiving his daughter, and did chase him with a forging hammer.
Also, I say that the mere act of obtaining Belated Letters Patent is but a clerical matter, necessitated by the fact that no Royal Doctor was there at the time of his birth to do so as a matter of course. What should one so born do, come back to Carmensita and pretend to be born again, so that a Royal Doctor may enroll them at that time with the College???
Were that so, many are the Princesses who would go through the process several times over and thus lower their age by 15 to 20 years at a whack, so that a 40 year old Spinster Princess could advertise by mail that she is but 20 years of age, and have the papers to prove it!
Nay, Prince Stoutrod became a Prince at birth, with the recording of it taking place at a later date. And that is all that was contemplated by the Natural Born Prince Decree. That he be born a Prince, and not be from the Frogs.
Now, do your duty and give me my Prince. Pleeeeeaaassse!!!
The Carmensita Council members were moved by the wise words of Princess Squeeky, and made Prince Stoutrod the King. And they all lived happily ever after!
Note 1. The Image. This is Frog Prince by Maxfield Parrish. Here is a website where you can see more of his illustrations.
Note 2. Gran-Pa Frog by Smiley Burnett. Speaking of Frog genealogy, I can’t believe I found this!!! I used to have this record when I was a little kid, and my father sang it to me a lot. It is a GREAT song, even for grown-ups, and easy to play on guitar:
Here is a copy of the cover:
Here is a link to the whole website with other kid songs:
Note 3. The Kingdom of Carmensita National Anthem: There REALLY is such a kingdom, and here is a youtube video which was shot on location there, with their National Anthem:
One may find a translation, or two, of the lyrics here:
Note 4. Swamp Whomp Syndrome. Everyone has surely heard the old adage , “If a Frog had wings, he wouldn’t whomp his ass every time he jumped.” But few people are aware that engaging in such activity causes severe callousing of the buttocks and eventual peripheral numbness in the nether regions. The numbness results in some people being unable to find their buttocks in the dark with both hands.
Note 5. The College of Heraldry. There really is just such a thing! Just like some law schools, you can get your Letters Patent online: