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"The Princess and the Pea" (Danish: "Prindsessen paa ærten"; "Prinsessen på ærten" in modern orthography) is a Fairy Tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about a young woman whose claim to being a real princess is tested by placing a pea under her mattresses. The tale likely had its source in folk material although the original source of the story is a bit obscure. The story was first published in 1835. It has been adapted to various media including musical comedy and television drama.
A prince wants to marry a real princess. He travels about the world searching for a real princess but returns home disappointed. One evening, a young woman claiming to be a real princess seeks shelter from a storm in the prince's castle. The prince's mother decides to test the validity of her claim by placing a single pea on a bedstead and piling twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds atop it. There, the young woman spends the night. In the morning, she tells her hosts she endured a sleepless night, being kept awake by something hard in the bed. The prince rejoices. Only a real princess possesses the delicacy to feel a pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. The two are married, and live happily ever after.
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"The Princess and the Pea" has examples of:
- Engagement Challenge
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Happily Ever After
- Impossible Task
- The Musical: Once Upon a Mattress, an Affectionate Parody.
- Royal Blood
- Secret Test of Character
- Women Are Delicate