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The Fairy Tale

The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen (1835)

Once 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 but could not find one. There were princesses enough; however, it was difficult to find out whether they were real. There was always something about them that was not right. He came home after searching and was sad, for he would have liked to have a real princess.

One evening there was a terrible storm with thunder and lightning. Rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly, the old king heard a knock at the city gate and went to open it.

A princess stood in front of the gate. But, good gracious! The wind had made her look like quite a sight. The water ran down from her hair and clothes–soaking her shoes. And yet, she said that she was a real princess.

“Well, we’ll soon find out,” thought the old queen. Without saying a word to the princess, the queen went to the bedroom, took off the bedding, and stacked twenty mattresses on top of a pea.

The princess tossed and turned on the mattresses all night. In the morning, the queen asked the princess how she had slept.

“Oh, very badly!” she said. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in that bed. I was lying on something hard, so now 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 through the layers of mattresses.

Nobody but a real princess could be that sensitive.

So, the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess. The pea was put in a museum where people can still see it today (if no one has stolen it).

For more information please visit Wikipedia.

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