The Princess and the Pea
Once upon a time there was a prince who was of an age where he
really wanted to get married.  But he only wanted a real princess for
his wife.  Though there were many who called themselves "Princess"
he could never be sure that they were real.  Something always was
a bit wrong.  He searched for a long time and was close to giving up. 

Then one night, there was a knock at the castle gate.  It was a truly
miserable night, thunder roared through the sky, and the rain was
coming down in buckets.  In the glare of the lightning, they saw a
young woman standing outside asking for shelter.  She was a sorry
sight indeed.  Her hair and clothing sopping wet, and the water that
was running in the back of her shoes came out again in front.  Yet
this miserable creature insisted she was a true princess!

The prince didn't know what to make of this, but his mother said
"Just leave it to me, I will know by morning whether she is for real
or an imposter."  At once, the Lady called for a bed to be made up
for the visitor:  Twenty mattresses were piled one on top of the
other, and 20 down comforters on top of the mattresses.  On this
bed, the princess was invited to spend the night.

The crafty Queen, however, had placed a single dried pea under the bottom mattress.

The next morning as the palace awoke and the royal family and their guest went to breakfast, the queen greeted the young woman with "I hope you had a pleasant night, my dear."

But the girl screwed up her face and complained that she had spent the most horrid night ever!  Something hard and uncomfortable had been in her bed, she hadn't slept a wink all night and her poor body was surely black and blue all over!

That's when the queen was sure that they were indeed dealing with a high-born lady, because only a real princess could feel one single little pea under all those mattresses and comforters.

And now that I  think about it ... those two truly and thoroughly deserved each other!
This page created October 2000 by Valkyrie
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