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THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA

Fairy Tale By Hans Christian Andersen


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nce upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have 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 enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.

One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking 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.

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The Princess and the Pea Fairy Tale Facts

  • There was an episode of Faerie Tale Theatre in 1984 based on the Princess and the Pea fairy tale. It was episode #10 and starred Liza Minnelli, Nancy Allen, and Tom Conti.
  • The Aarne-Thompson fairy tale classification system classifies the Princess and the Pea fairy tale as type 704.
  • The Princess and the Pea fairy tale was first published in 1835 in a 61 page booklet called Tales, Told for Children. First Collection. First Booklet. 1835/i>. It was the third tale in the collection.

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"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 eider-down 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 have scarcely 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 eider-down beds.

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Hans Christian Anderson Factoids

  • Hans Christian Andersen's stories and poetry has been translated into over 150 languages.
  • Andersen wasn't a keen student and later said that his school days were the darkest and most bitter days of his life. He was abused and felt alientated from his classmates since he was older than most of the other students.
  • Danny Kaye starred as Hans Christian Andersen in the movie of the same name. It's considered one of his best roles.

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Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.

So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.

There, that is a true story.

THE END

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