Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Princess and the Pea (Me and My Marbles)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Since I was a child, I always loved Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea. It’s the tale of a prince who has looked everywhere just to find a ‘real’ princess to be his wife. But he never found one. Then one evening, a young woman soaking wet and claiming to be a real princess, arrived in the castle to seek shelter from the storm. To verify her claim, the queen:

"..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."

The girl claiming to be a princess lay on this 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!”

And thus they proved that she was indeed a real princess. Nobody but a real princess could have felt the pea right through those mattresses and eider-down beds! And like all fairytales, the prince and the princess lived happily ever after.

What I love about the story is its sheer absurdity. 20 eider-down beds over 20 mattresses? Come on. Even as a child, I imagined how tall the bed was, and its silliness always fascinated me. The princess must really have sensitive skin, I wondered. Getting black and blue all over because of a single pea? Until now, it makes me laugh whenever I think about it. My kid sister knows how I love the story that she sometimes puts marbles under my mattress when I sleep over at their place. She says that’s how royalty is treated in their house.


Anonymous said...

She is suffering from M√ľnchausen Syndrome by proxy(MSbP/MSP), fabricated or induced illness (FII) or hospital addiction syndrome. My dumb guess. :)

Beam me up Scotty! :)

Angeli said...

or hypochondriasis. or pea allergy. :)

"there's no intelligent life down here." :)

Anonymous said...

i've always wondered about this fairy tale too. i loved the print of the bed though, and i had fun imagining how one climbed the ladder and settled in ;-)

Angeli said...

oh yeah. and what if she has to go to the bathroom or get thirsty in the middle of the night? Then she has to go down her bed and then back again. :)

anyway, thanks for leaving a comment miss caryn. :)

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