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Sadie is a beautiful black swan who lives on the pond with Prince Bertie the Frog. She finds a crown and puts it on her elegant head. Prince Boris sees her, and believes that she is a princess who has been turned into a swan - in the same way that Prince Bertie was turned into a frog.

Read by Natasha.
Pictures by Sophie Green
Proofread by Claire Deakin.
Story by Bertie. Duration 14.53

Sadie the Swan Broken HeartAs a rule, the pondlife love children. This is because children often come down to the pond with pellets of stale bread which they throw into the water. The bread can be quite hard, and it hurts if it hits you on the head, but when it’s wet, it quickly turns soft and soggy and is quite delicious and tummy-filling if you are a duck or a swan.

One summer’s day, the royal nanny wheeled a push chair from the palace, down the garden path to the pond. The little girl sitting in the chair wore a golden crown on top of her curly head. Her name was Princess Poppy.

When they arrived, Nanny released the little princess from the straps of her push chair and gave her a bag of the day-before-yesterday’s bread. All the ducks and geese could spot a crumb from a mile away, and they were soon flapping and squawking in front of the princess, and racing and pecking each other. Sadie, the solitary black swan, sat aloof from the unseemly squabble, and admired the crown on the little princess’ head.

“Oh my,” said Sadie out loud to no one in particular, “I am so pleased to live on a royal pond. The people who come here are such a cut above!”

Princess Poppy began to toddle along the edge of the pond, the royal nanny followed close behind her, tapping on her her mobile phone as she went. The princess clambered up onto a little pier that led out into the water.

The nanny was texting, "CU @ 8 by the bike sheds."

And she did not notice when the princess’ little foot trod on some duck weed. Prince Bertie the frog saw this and he croaked, “Uh oh!”

Because he knew that the weed was very slippery. And then, oh dear, she did slip on the weed, and then...


Princess Poppy was in the water. She couldn’t swim and she just went straight down to the bottom like a bomb. The water wasn’t deep, but it went over the princess’ head.

Bertie dived in after her but he was just a frog, and all he could do was say, “Hold your breath little princess!”

The nanny, still holding her mobile phone, jumped into the water, and in a few seconds she had pulled the princess up off the bottom of the pond and placed her on the pier.

The princess said,”Look Nanny, I’m all wet.”

And Nanny burst into tears because she knew it was her fault. She was so upset that she didn’t notice that her mobile phone had stopped working, or that the princess had left her crown on the bottom of the pond.

The first creatures to find the crown were the tadpoles. It looked so big to them that they thought it was a golden palace and that its points were towers. They swam in and out of it singing:

“I’m the king of the castle, and you’re the dirty rascal.”

Then Colin the carp scooped the crown onto his head and tried it for size.

“Now I’m just as important as that snooty His Royal Highness Prince Bertie the Frog,” he said.

But after a while, his head began to hurt, so he stopped wearing the crown.

Little Tim the Tadpole said, “Bertie, why don’t you put the crown on? After all, you’re the only true prince in this pond.”

Unfortunately, Bertie couldn’t wear the crown, because although it was size 1 and a half, just big enough for a small child, it was still too heavy for a frog.

But it did fit just perfectly onto the elegant head of Sadie the Swan.

Soon, she was swanning around the pond like a true princess. All the ducklings and goslings gazed at her in admiration.

In a dark corner of the pond, Colin the carp muttered, “It’s bad enough putting up with a frog who thinks he’s a prince, but there’s nothing so annoying as a swan who’s got airs and graces.”

And as it happened, Sadie was already wondering if in fact she was a true princess.

“Bertie,” she said as she admired her own reflection, “Do you think it’s at all possible that the wicked queen turned me into a swan, just like she turned you into a frog?’

Bertie did not want to disappoint Sadie, so he replied, “Well, maybe...”

Later that day, Prince Boris came down to the pond. He set up a little chair on the end of the pier, took out a rod, and cast a fishing line into the water. Bertie warned all the fish to stay away from his hook, even though there was a fat tempting worm on it.

Prince Boris had flowing blond locks of hair. Bertie always considered that he looked like a girl, but the girls all thought he was extremely handsome, and Sadie agreed with them. She glided over to the pier, and placed herself where he could not fail to notice her.

Boris looked at her in amazement. He had never seen a swan with a crown on her head before, but he had heard tales of beautiful princesses turned into swans.

“Why,” he said, “you are the most beautiful creature I have ever set eyes upon.”

And Sadie fluttered her feathers with pleasure at the compliment.

“You black beauty,” he went on. “Could it be… could it be that you are a princess? A beautiful African princess. Why, I’m sure you must be. The wicked queen is always turning people into pondlife. It’s even rumoured that she converted that snotty Prince Bertie into a slug or a toad. He’s certainly not been seen or heard of since she got angry with him. Now listen carefully my darling princess swan. This is the longest day of the year. Tonight, at sunset, I will come down to the pond, kiss your beautiful red beak, and turn you back into a princess. Wait for me my lovely. But now I must hurry and buy a diamond ring for our engagement. Till tonight, Adieu! Adieu!”

On hearing these words, Sadie almost swooned with excitement.

“Don’t listen to him,” said Bertie. “Boris is a well known love-rat. He always cheated at football. He bullied small princelings. He copied my homework. He tried to pinch Princess Beatrice off me. He has no honour. He’ll stop at nothing. Sadie, you must listen to me, you can do so much better than Boris!”

But Sadie didn’t listen to Bertie because she had been swept off her wings and was already dreaming of her royal wedding to Prince Boris the Brave.

That evening Sadie was waiting for her prince. She sat in the middle of the pond with her crown glinting red and gold in the dying rays of the sun.

Boris came down to the pond, sat down by the bank, and pulled on some enormous green galoshes that went up above his knees. Then he started to wade into the the water towards Sadie, but just as he got near, Colin the carp swam under his foot and tripped him up. Boris fell over into the water and emerged spluttering and with green slime in his blond hair.

Bertie laughed, but Sadie did not hear him. She wanted to say, “Darling, do not worry, for I will love you forever and day, slime and all.”

Boris stumbled towards her. She gently closed her eyes.

“Now,” she thought, “Now I will be restored to my true self. Princess Sadie.”

He held her head in his hands and kissed her red beak...

And nothing happened.

So he kissed her again...

And still nothing happened.

“Oh bother,” he said, and tried one last time. But still, Sadie was a Swan.

“Ah, terribly sorry,” said Boris, “But it seems that you aren’t a princess after all. Just a silly old swan. Well I’m just glad nobody saw this little moonlight escapade.”

And with that, he turned around and started to wade back out of the pond.

“Oh Sadie,” said Bertie, as he tried to comfort her. “I did try to warn you…” but Sadie was disconsolate, which means more than just a bit sad. She didn’t reply. She cast the crown off her head into the water before sliding off to hide in the rushes.

“It’s alright for that rat, Boris,” she said to herself. “None of his friends saw him fall face down in the pond. But all the pond life know what a fool I was made to look. Oh the shame of it! I will never live this down.”

For two days she stayed put. Bertie brought her the tastiest slime on the pond, and the best bits of bread from Princess Poppy, but nothing would comfort her.

Until, that is, three days later a handsome black swan came swooping in to land on the pond with a great... Swooooooosh!

Sadie poked her head out of the rushes to see who the new arrival was.

“Ah," she said. “He looks rather nice. I think I’ll pop over and be the first to welcome him to our pond."

And I’m glad to say that very soon she had forgotten all about Prince Boris.

But Colin the Carp kept the crown standing outside his home in the rocks on the bottom of the pond, just to show that he was the most important fish in the water.

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