The Princess and the Pea
Narrated by Sharon Blumberg
Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess, but she had to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses out there alright, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones or not. There was always something about them that was not quite right. So he came home again and was very sad, for he wanted very much to have a real princess.
One evening a terrible storm came on. There was thunder and lightning and the rain poured down. Suddenly a knock was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.
It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But, good gracious, what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look. The water ran down from her hair and clothes. It ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess.
“Well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom. Then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty feather beds on top of the mattresses.
On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.
“Oh, very badly!” said she. “I hardly closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!”
Now they knew that she was a real princess, because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have felt it.
So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess. The pea was put into the museum, where it may still be seen to this day, if no one has stolen it or eaten it.