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By Storynory
Bertie's Skateboard

Up until now, it has been a bit of mystery as to exactly how Prince Bertie was turned into a frog. Colin the Carp, who lives in the pond with Bertie at the bottom of the garden, has been going around whispering things behind his back. He has been telling the other creatures that Bertie never was a prince really, and that he is just making it all up about his royal blood.

"Any creature can see he is just a frog," said Colin, and a very green and ugly one at that.

In this special Storynory we learn how the royal wedding of Prince Bertie to the lovely Princess Beatrice all went terribly wrong when Prince Bertie jumped onto his skateboard. It is not giving too much away to say that this fairy tale romance ends in magic, mayhem and green slime.

Duration 15 Minutes. Read by Natasha.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.

Until now, it's always been a bit of mystery as to exactly how Bertie was turned into a frog. Colin the Carp has been going around whispering things behind Bertie's back. He's been telling the other creatures that Bertie never was a prince really, and that he's just making it all up about his Royal blood.

"Any creature can see he's just a frog," said Colin, "and a very green and ugly one at that."

Sadie the Swan ticked Colin off for telling lies about Bertie, but Colin wouldn't stop carping on about it, until, that is, this morning, when he was swimming along the bottom of the pond and bumped into something with his head.

"Owwww!" Said Colin. "My head hurts!"

He saw stars in the mud at the bottom of the pond. While he was still in a daze, whatever it was that he had bumped into became loose and started to float to the top of the pond.

"Which silly creature left that there!" Said Colin, crossly.

A minute later he heard some very happy croaking on the surface. Bertie the frog was saying, "Hey everybody, look! That's my skateboard. I haven't seen that since the day that I was turned into a frog!"

All the other creatures swam over to admire the skateboard which was floating on the water like a boat.

"When I was a prince," boomed Bertie, "I was the champion skateboarder of the entire length and breadth of the kingdom." With those words he dived off his lily leaf, swam over to the skateboard, and hopped up onto it. Little Tim the Tadpole was mightily impressed and applauded his froggy friend.

"Oh Bertie," swooned Sadie the Swan, "You learned to do so many wonderful things when you were a prince."

Bertie sat on the skateboard in the sun and thought about the old days, when he used to live in the palace, and when he he had thousands and thousands of toys and used to eat lovely, gooey chocolate cake every day for tea. He felt a little sad when he thought of how wonderful life used to be.

"You know," he croaked. "There was nothing in the whole wide world that I loved more than my skateboard... Apart from my iPod, and my prince's sword, and chocolate cake, and err, oh yes, and the lovely Princess Beatrice to whom I was engaged to be married."

Bertie sitting on the skateboard in the middle of the pond. Tim and Sadie look on admiringly. Bertie dreams of the good old days. A thought bubble shows a picture of chocolate cake.

"Boring," said Colin the Carp. "There he goes again, on about the lovely Princess Beatrice. I don't believe that he was ever engaged to a princess. What self respecting princess would want to marry Bertie? He's far too stupid and ugly."

Colin is not known for being polite, but even by his grumpy standards this was just too rude for words. Sadie the Swan hissed at him so crossly that he thought it was a good idea to dive to the bottom of the pond and pretend to be a lump of mud.

"It's alright," said Bertie. "Who cares what Colin thinks. He's just a silly carp who banged his head on a skateboard."

Tim the Tadpole, who is a very inquisitive creature, started to ask Bertie how it was that he used to be a prince, and now he was a frog. Sadie the Swan was also dying to know, but she was too polite to ask. Bertie looked embarrassed, but Tim wouldn't stop asking. "Go on Bertie, tell us. Do tell us!"

So after a while, Bertie explained that it was all to do with the very same skateboard upon which he was now sitting.

It was the day before Prince Bertie was due to marry the lovely Princess Beatrice. There were to be hundreds and hundreds of guests, and horses and carriages, and parades with soldiers. Crowds gathered along the sides of the streets, and some people stayed up all night to get a good position, just so that they could catch a glimpse of Prince Bertie and the lovely Princess Beatrice.

The lovely Princess Beatrice and all her friends and relations had come to stay in the palace to get ready for the wedding. She had lots and lots of friends and relatives, but most of all she had her stepmother. Now most stepmothers who don't live in fairy stories are very lovely and nice and kind, but this particular stepmother had a really really nasty temper. In fact, secretly she is a witch, and when she doesn't like somebody, she turns them into a snail or a bug, or a creepy crawly. On the whole, it is a good idea to stay out of her way if at all possible, in case she's in a bad mood and turns you into something nasty just for fun.

Well in the morning, the palace cook banged on the gong which meant it was time for breakfast. Bertie was ever so hungry, and ready to eat his toast and honey and egg soldiers... and he was also really excited about finding a free toy in his cereal packet. As he came running down the palace stairs he bumped straight into Princess Beatrice's stepmother. Bertie was a nicely brought up prince, with very good manners, and so he said that he was sorry. But that didn't stop the stepmother being ever so angry - but she didn't show it because Bertie was a prince, and she was afraid to turn him into a creepy crawly there and then. So instead she smiled and pretended not to mind.

Prince Bertie said, “I bet you’re pleased to be gaining a fine handsome prince as your son-in-law.”

Actually she wasn't at all pleased that her stepdaughter, the lovely Princess Beatrice, was about to marry Bertie. She would have much preferred Beatrice to marry Prince Freddie from the next door kingdom. Prince Freddie was very boring, and bad at football, and didn't even have a skateboard, but he was good at saving money, and she thought he would be more useful to her.

Seeing that she wasn't at all impressed, Bertie said, "You must be especially pleased seeing how many clever things I can do".

"Like what exactly?" Said the stepmother.

"Well I can, um er... I know, I can whizz around on my skateboard backwards ever so fast with my eyes closed and listen to my iPod at the same time. "

"No you can’t," said the stepmother.

"Yes I can," said Bertie.

"No you can't."

"Oh yes I can," said Bertie.

"Oh no you can't."

"I can. And I'll show you right now."

And with those words, Bertie turned on his iPod, jumped onto his skateboard, and went backwards ever so fast into the dining room with his both his hands covering his eyes. It was a very long dining room, fit for palace banquets, and he travelled really really fast. Whoosh! He went, just missing the butler, and he careered on towards the palace cook whom he couldn't see as he was going backwards with his eyes closed. The cook jumped out of the way and as she did so, she let go of a very valuable Ming vase that she just so happened to be carrying. Now Ming vases come from China, and they are ever so rare and easy to break. It would have smashed into thousands and thousands of tiny pieces if the lovely Princess Beatrice, who just happened to be sitting near by, hadn't caught it.

When Bertie reached the other end of the dining room, he opened his eyes and saw that the palace cook was looking very cross indeed. He thought it might be a good idea to stay out of her way, so he carried on going until he went out into the garden. There he started doing all sorts of tricks on his skateboard, because he truly was the best skateboarder in the entire kingdom. He was doing somersaults and back-flips and lots of very impressive wheelies. All the friends and relatives of the lovely Princess Beatrice looked out of the windows of the palace to admire Bertie's tricks.

Everyone was really impressed, except for the stepmother of the lovely Princess Beatrice. She came down the garden path to where Bertie was showing off his wheelies and said to him, "I bet you couldn't do a backward somersault with a triple flip in mid-air."

"I bet I can," said Bertie. "And what's more, I'll do it while flying right over your head."

The stepmother thought this sounded rather dangerous and so she started to move out of the way - but Bertie was coming down the path on his skateboard towards her, and was going ever so fast. He went up a ramp and started to fly through the air like an airplane. The stepmother started to run for her life, but in her fright she ran straight into the garden pond. You see the pond was covered in green slime and looked just like grass. Now the stepmother was all soggy and slimy and she looked just like a green monster. She was very, very, very, very Angry. In fact she had never been so angry in her life. Bertie hopped off his skateboard and did a bow.

"Did you see that everybody?" He called out, in the direction of the palace. I did a triple backward flip in mid-air. That's got to be a world record." Then he turned around to look for Princess Beatrice's stepmother and could not see her. Instead, something very green and very scary was emerging out of the pond. Bertie began to back away. He knew that princes are meant to be brave, but he couldn't help feeling a bit frightened.

"I suppose you think that's funny," said the stepmother.

"No, not at all," said Bertie, now recognising her voice and trying not to laugh.

"Yes you do. You're laughing," said the stepmother. "I'll teach you not to boast. I'll teach you not to show off. I'll teach you not to do silly tricks. I'll teach you not to marry my daughter."

"Oh, no thanks," said Bertie. "I go to school to learn things. I don't need another teacher."

"So you think it's funny that I'm all green and covered in slime? I'll show you what it's like to be green and eat slime for the rest of your life."

With that she muttered a magic spell and turned Bertie into a frog.

"Oh dear," said Bertie. "Croak. I wonder what the lovely Princess Beatrice will say now."

But the lovely Princess Beatrice didn't recognise him. How could she know that he was Prince Bertie when he looked just like a green frog? So all Bertie could do was hop off to the pond and live there at the bottom of the garden with all the creatures. After he went, the wicked stepmother tossed his skateboard into the pond and said, "Hope you have fun with that, now you are Prince Bertie the Frog!"

And that is the storynory of how Prince Bertie was turned into a frog. Do you think it's sad? I do a bit, but then it's also quite happy as well. Prince Bertie doesn't mind being a frog - not really. He's made lots of new friends; like Tim the Tadpole and Sadie the Swan. Even Colin the Carp is not too bad - sometimes. And do you know what Bertie does to cheer himself up? Of course you do. He listens to lots of interesting storynories on his iPod which he was wearing at the time he was turned into a frog. One day, if enough children listen to his stories, he'll turn back into a handsome prince and he will be able to marry the lovely Princess Beatrice and teach her to do backward wheelies on her skateboard. Now that will be a happy ending.

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