upon a time there was a
prince, and, as he knew very well that he was a real prince and could
forget it for a single moment, he very naturally wanted to marry a real
sought one after another, and, after
talking about the weather and the health of the emperor, he found in
that there was something about them he didn't like -
artificial and unprincess like.
he spoke gently they smiled, when
he spoke roughly to hurt them, they still smiled the same smile. They
a success. None of them was what he wanted. His princess must be so
that she would wither at a reproachful glance, so delicately dainty
that a spot
of dust would make her scream, and the draught of a fly's wings cause
severe cold. He would have the real thing, or nothing.
this exacting prince had duly
considered all the princesses in his own country, and found them
set out to travel all over the world, forever saying
to himself,I am
a real prince, there
must be a real princess somewhere.
found plenty of princesses on his
travels, but when he spoke to them about the weather he soon found that
were not what he called real princesses. They were the
daughters of kings
and queens, yes, but sad and weary he returned home
with an empty
heart. He had not found what he set out to seek, yet he was
convinced that the world did contain such a thing as a real princess.
her so badly, and that was how he knew that she must be there somewhere.
he was right.
evening as he was sitting in his
father’s palace, studying books
of far off lands where princesses might
be found, there came a fearful thunderstorm. The lightning grasped at
earth, spreading its roots down the walls of heaven, the thunder split
roared and rattled as if the ceiling was coming down, and,
cloud-man unsealed his can and tipped it up, swish came the rain in
Indeed, it was a fearful night.
the storm had risen to the height
of its fury a messenger came running to the king crying,
orders that all gates be locked and barred, and opened to none, but
without knocks and knocks and knocks, and will not go away."
will go myself," said the king," and
see who it is that craves admittance in this fearful storm."
the king went down and opened the
palace gates. What was his astonishment to see standing there
maiden all forlorn, her long hair drenched with the rain, her beautiful
clothes saturated and clinging to her form, while the water,
from them, ran out at her heels. She was in a terrible plight, but she
beautiful, and she was a princess - a real princess. Her mind was
she could not remember how or whence she came, but, being a princess,
seeing the palace gates, she had run through the storm and knocked hard.
"A real princess" said the king, looking
her up and down. "Hm ! I believe you, though the queen mightn't.
old queen received the visitor
coldly and with a critical eye.
shall soon see if she is what the
says she is," thought she, but she said nothing. Then she went into the
bedroom, and took off all the bed-clothes, and laid a pea on the
top of this she piled mattress after mattress to the number of twenty,
and then twenty feather beds on top of that.
she said to herself, "here she
shall sleep, and we shall soon see in the morning whether she is a real
princess or not."
they put the princess to bed on the
top of the twenty feather beds and as many mattresses, and said
the morning they asked her how she
at all," replied she wearily, " not
a wink the whole night long. Heaven knows what there was in the bed.
Whichever way I turned I still seemed to be lying upon
some hard thing, and, I assure you, this morning my whole body 's black
blue. It's terrible."
the old queen told what she had
done, and they all saw plainly that this was indeed a real princess
could feel the pea through twenty feather beds and twenty mattresses.
a real princess could possibly have such a delicate skin.
the prince married her, quite
satisfied that he had now found his real princess.
Now this is a true story, and if
don't believe it you have only to go and look at the pea itself, which
carefully preserved in the museum -unless some one has stolen it.