Monday, November 30, 2009

The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea was written in 1835, by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. The first time it was published was in a booklet with three other fairy tales. Andersen said that he had heard the story as a child. Though there is no Danish story that matches up to this tale there is a Swedish one. The Swedish version is called The Princess Who Lay on Seven Peas. He could have heard as a child becasue Denmark and Sweden are close geographically.

Among the fairy tales writers Anderson's fairy tales are more light in content than Grimm fairy tales. Unlike The Grimm Fairy tales Anderson’s stories were not reviewed well because they were told in a catchy way and lacked moral lessons. Grimm fairy tales were written mainly for moral lessons and to scare children starite; Andersons stories were meant for more entertainment. He wrote in a voice that was more geared towards the oral traditions that had humor in them rather than be more proper in the literary style of the age. This brings me to think that Anderson is a mix of Disney and Grimm brother’s fairy tales because he did not solely rely on lessons.

The Princess and The Pea beings with a prince who is searching to find his one true love who obviously has to be a princess. However every time he meets a girl she cannot prove she is a princess or live up to his high expectations. The prince begins to think all is lost and that he will never find his love.

One night there was terrible a lighting storm with torrents of rain, and wind that howled in the night. All of a sudden there was a knock on the door,and the old King hobbled to answer it. Standing there in the rain was a girl. The rain had soaked her hair, drenched her dress and dribbled down to her shoes. however this girl clamed she was a true princess but from the looks of her you could not tell. As the old Queen and King shut the door the Queen made up a plan in her head. She wanted to test this vister to see if this girl was really a princess.

While the Prince and King talked to the girl the Queen went to make up a chamber to house the unexpected visitor. While making the bed the Queen placed a pea under the mattress but the Queen still thought that the girl might feel it to easily and laid twenty more mattresses on top of the pea. The Queen still thought the girl might feel the pea through the mattresses to easily and decided to add twenty down blankets.
In the morning the girl was asked how she slept and she replied “I have not slept well at all something was keeping me up all night, making me toss and turn. It felt like there was something under my mattresses, and it was has left me with black and blue bruises.” The Queen at once told the King and Prince of her secret test and they were amazed that this girl had passed. This had proved that she was a princess for who but a princess could feel the pea through so many layers.

The prince promptly took the princess to be his wife. They married and lived full and happy lives. The pea was put in a museum and would be there today however it was sadly stolen and was never seen again.

There are stories that are similar to this one about the girl actually being an orphan and just posing as a princess. The orphan has animal friends that told her what the Queen put under her many mattresses each night because she had to identify them just by sleeping on them. I like both versions. They are lighter than most fairy tales and make me smile rather than make me think.


  1. I have never heard of any of the two stories, but you have intrigued me enough to go look for it and read them. Your whole blog blows me away because never in my mind did I think there was that much fairytale out there.

  2. I absolutely love this story. Well, I have never heard of the second version of the story, however, I could read Hans Christian Andersen's version many times and it would never get old. Thank you once again for providing me with excellent entertainment after a long day of work!

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  4. I wonder--why was the feeling of the pea a sure sign she was a princess (maybe fairy tales are just written by drunkards?) I would have thought that being able to tell a jewel from a fake or something like that would be more appropriate, right?

    So--is the relaying of the story here Andersen's? Where is the moral in the Grimms? I would also think that since Denmark and Sweden are so close geographically, there is every chance Andersen's story matches the one from Sweden...what say you?


  5. This is a good old story. She is a princess bc she is so delicate and could feel the slightest thing to ruin her sleep. I did however hear of a version where the prince was in love with the girl and his mother the queen wanted to foil this and prove she was not a princess so she did the pea test and then when the prince found out, he went to fool his mother and placed a fork under all the mattresses so that there would be no way that the princess couldn't feel the object. Then they get married.