Friday, 31 December 2010

Friday is for Fairy-Tales: The Princess and the Pea

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.

My post today is about: The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea is one of my favourite stories by Andersen. It is a fairy-tale short in length, but it provides the reader with a lovely, romantic story.

The story opens with a prince looking for a wife, but there is something wrong with every girl he meets and he is never certain whether a candidate is a real princess. This is crucial: the prince's wife must be a real princes, of genuine noble blood. There is a heavy storm one night and a young woman seeks shelter from the rain in the prince's castle. She claims to be a princess and the prince's mother decides to test the girl. She puts one single pea under the bed reserved for this supposed princess, which is made of twenty mattresses and twenty featherbeds. It seems it should be impossible for the young woman to feel anything at all, as the bed sounds so soft. But a true princess will feel a pea under twenty mattresses and it is exactly what happens. In the morning, the young woman complains that something hard under the bed kept her awake and she could not sleep at all. This proves she is a true princess, which makes the prince very happy. He has finally found a suitable wife for himself. They get married and the offensive pea is put in the Royal Museum.

There is no mention of love between the prince and the princess, which makes the story a tad less romantic, but since this is a fairy-tale, we may assume they did fell in love, among other things. In all honesty, love is not important when it comes to royal marriages (or at least in the past it wasn't), but I like to believe that the princess in this story did not only get to live as a true princess, but also found love in the prince, and vice versa.

A princess having something to do with peas also appears in The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. In this fantasy book, the princess, named Princess Pea, is the object of a little mouse's affection. I don't want to spoil the book to you, if you haven't read it (or watched the animation), but it is a lovely tale. I have to say, though, that other than being named Pea, Princess Pea and the princess in Andersen's story have very little in common.


Jan von Harz said...

I think that the Princess and the Pea would make an interesting retelling and can see all sorts of possible plot twists with it. Although it has never been a fairy tale that caught my fancy, I am now wondering about the whole love thing myself.

Blodeuedd said...

I liked that movie, when he was born, those ears, awwwwww, cutest things I have ever seen :)

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I have to say in the two retellings of Princess and the Pea that I know, I am happy to see that the prince and princess fall in love before the audience's eyes although I always assumed that they did in the original version too.