Fairy Tales

The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea Story In a large and wealthy kingdom lived a King, a Queen, and their only son, Phillip. When Prince Phillip was old enough, the King and Queen decided he should find a wife.

“She must be well-mannered,” said the King.

“She must be interesting,” said Phillip.

“Above all else,” said the Queen, “she must be a princess. A true princess. And I know just how to find one.”

The King and Queen threw a grand ball and invited princesses from all the surrounding kingdoms. Gold-trimmed carriages arrived at the palace. Princesses dressed in silk, satin, and plush velvet stepped from the carriages.

Prince Phillip greeted each princess. He talked with each of them. He danced with each of them. But when the ball was over, Phillip had not found a princess that he liked enough to marry.

As the last gold-trimmed carriage rolled away, a thunderstorm swept over the palace. Inside the ballroom, Prince Phillip was as gloomy as the weather.

“You did not like any of them?” asked the King.

“Not even a little?” asked the Queen.

Phillip shook his head. “Princess Ermintrude was bossy. Princess Wilhelmine was rude.”

“Princess Adeline seemed nice,” said the Queen.

“And pretty,” said the King.

“And boring,” said Phillip. “I asked if she’d like to play croquet. She said she didn’t want to wrinkle her dress. I tried to show her my butterfly collection. She said that no matter how pretty they were, butterflies were just silly bugs. I asked if she wanted to look at the stars through my telescope. She said stars seemed dull compared to the sparkling diamonds on her dress. None of the princesses wanted to talk about anything but themselves and their newball gowns.”

Thunder cracked outside. Rain pounded against the roof. Above the storm they heard a loud knock at the palace door.The King sent his guards to answer the door. In walked a wet, shivering young woman. Her wet hair lay matted against her face. Her tattered wet dress dripped onto the marble floor, and water pooled at her muddy bare feet.

“My name is Rosalie,” she said, “and I am a princess.”

“A princess?” asked the Queen staring at the torn dress.

Rosalie nodded. “I was invited to the ball.”

“The ball?” the Queen frowned. “Well, I am afraid you are a little late.”

“I know,” said Rosalie. “My carriage lost a wheel on the way. I didn’t want you to think I had simply ignored your invitation, so I walked here. I am terribly sorry.”

“How well-mannered!” said the King.

“As I was walking,” said Rosalie, “the most beautiful butterflies flitted beside the road. I would have stopped to watch, but I was already late. Then night fell and all the lovely stars came out. It truly was beautiful.”

“Stars!” said Phillip. “How interesting!”

“Until it began raining.” Rosalie looked down at her wet dress. “I apologize for

my appearance.”

“No need to apologize,” said the King.

The King brought Rosalie dry clothes. Prince Phillip brought Rosalie a bowl of soup. It was obvious that they both liked Rosalie very much.But the Queen was suspicious. She didn’t think Rosalie was a true princess. And she knew just how to prove it. “You must stay with us for the night,” she told Rosalie. “In the morning we will take you back to your kingdom in our royal coach.”

“You are too kind,” said Rosalie.The Queen ordered Rosalie’s bed made up for the night. She told her maids to place twenty goose down comforters atop twenty thick mattresses. When they were finished, the Queen placed a tiny pea under the entire stack. She knew that a only a true princess would be sensitive enough to feel the pea.Rosalie was surprised when she saw her bed. “It is magnificent!” she said.

“We want you to be comfortable,” said the Queen.

“Thank you and good night,” said Rosalie. She climbed the ladder to go to bed.

“Sleep well, my dear,” said the Queen.

When Rosalie came down to breakfast the next morning, her hair was clean and shiny, and the gown the King had given her was neatly pressed. But Rosalie still did not look quite like a princess. Dark circles rimmed her eyes, and she walked slightly hunched over. She yawned and rubbed her back.

“Good morning,” she said.

“Good morning,” said the King.

“Good morning,” said Phillip.

“Did you sleep well?” asked the Queen.

“Forgive my saying so, but no, not really,” said Rosalie. “I tossed and turned all night. I could not get comfortable. Perhaps you’ll want to replace the mattresses before you let another guest sleep there.”

“The mattresses?” asked the Queen. “Were they too hard?”

“Not exactly,” Rosalie yawned again. “They were quite soft around the edges, but there was one hard little lump right in the middle. I know this sounds strange, but it felt like a pea.”

“A pea?” cried the Queen.

“A pea!” said the King.

“A pea,” Phillip smiled at Rosalie.

The Queen gasped. “Then you really are a princess.”

“Of course I am,” said Rosalie. “I told you that last night.”

“Of course she is,” said the King. “I could have told you that last night.”

“Of course she is,” said the Prince. He fell to one knee at Rosalie’s feet. “And she will be my princess tonight and every night, if she will have me.”

“I would be honored to,” said Rosalie. She took Phillip’s hand. “I have met all the princes in all the surrounding kingdoms. Some of them were bossy. Most of them were rude. And would you believe, not one of them enjoyed croquet?”

“I have met people like that,” said Phillip.

Prince Phillip and Princess Rosalie were married that very day. They were a very happy couple, playing croquet, collecting butterflies, and gazing at the lovely night’s stars.

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