The princess on the pea

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3 min

HC Andersen

Once upon a time in a land far away. There lived a king and a queen with their son. The king and queen were getting old and therefore wanted to hand over the crown to their son the prince, so he would become the king of the land.

There was only one problem, the prince had no wife, so who would be the queen of the land? The king spoke to his son. The prince then promised that he would ride out into the world to look for a wife. The queen then admonished her son that it must be a real princess. The prince promised to think about it.

The prince rode out into the wide world to look for a wife, but nowhere did he find her. After being away from home for a long time, he returned home. He was very sad to come home without a wife. Even the king and queen were sad. The prince explained that as soon as he had found someone he thought would be suitable, it turned out to be no real princess.

One evening when the king, queen and prince were sitting in front of the fire playing a board game, a terrible storm broke out. There was thunder, lightning and rain pouring down. It blew up into a real storm, a branch hit the window hard. It was really creepy.
- How lucky we are indoors and warm and comfortable, said the king.

Just then, a loud banging was heard on the castle gate.
- Who could it be that is out in this storm, said the queen.
Soon after, a servant came into the room and announced that there was a terribly wet and miserable girl out in the hall.
- She says she is a princess, said the servant.

The queen followed the servant out into the hall and there stood a sad girl, who wondered if she could spend the night in the castle. She told me that she had gotten lost when the terrible storm had broken out.

The queen asked her if she was really a real princess. Which the girl promised she was. The queen promised her that she would be allowed to stay the night, but first she would be given dry clothes and something to eat. The queen herself went to tidy up the guest room.

She asked the servants to fetch twenty mattresses and twenty bolsters. Then she made the bed herself, but at the bottom she put a small pea.

The next day they asked the girl how she had slept.
- Terribly bad!, said the girl.
It was as if there had been a large lump in the bed.
- I am completely blue and brown all over my body, said the girl.
Then the queen looked very pleased and happy, for she must be a real princess, who had such a delicate skin that she could feel the little pea through twenty mattresses and twenty bolsters.

Then the prince asked if the princess wanted to marry him and she was happy to. Then there was a wedding and they lived happily ever after.

Wondering what became of the little pea? Well, I can tell you that. It came to a museum, and if no one took it from there, it remains to this day.

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