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Contents > Author > Hans Christian Andersen > The Princess and the Pea 1805- 1875
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Hans Christian Andersen
The Princess and the Pea
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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 to find one, but nowhere could he get what he
wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find
out whether they were real ones. There was always something
about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again
and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real

One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and
lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking
was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.

It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But,
good gracious! what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look.
The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the
toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that
she was a real princess.

?Well, we?ll soon find that out,? thought the old queen. But she
said nothing, went into the bedroom, 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 put twenty
eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.

On this the princess had to lie 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!?

Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had
felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty
eider-down beds.

Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.

So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had
a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may
still be seen, if no one has stolen it.

There, that is a true story.

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Read by: Erin Mesdag

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