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The Princess And The Pea Story

A bedraggled maiden turns up at the King’s castle and the Prince thinks she might be a Princess. But how will they know for sure?

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The Princess And The Pea

In a land far far away there was a glorious kingdom. In the kingdom stood a great castle. And inside the castle lived a handsome Prince.

Prince wearing crown standing in front of gold castle flag blowing in wind

The Prince was sad.

He longed for a true Princess to share his castle and kingdom, but he couldn't find one.

This was not because there was a lack of Princesses. In fact, the kingdom was full of fair maidens all claiming to be Princesses.

The Prince scoured the kingdom, meeting every one of these so-called Princesses. But he returned sad and empty handed.

“It is impossible to tell whether these are true Princesses!” he said to his Father, the King.

“You must be patient my son. You will know when you know” said the King, with a knowing smile.

The Prince smiled back, then went to his chamber.

That evening a huge storm came.

Thunder clapped. Lightning flashed. And the rain clattered down on the castle roof like the sound of a thousand horses charging into battle.

Suddenly, came a loud knock at the castle door. The King put on his robe and opened the door to find a cold, soggy young lady standing in front of him.

Drenched wet blonde princess girl in orange dress standing in castle doorway raining

“I am a true Princess,” she said, “Please can I have some dry clothes and a bed for the night?”

The King let her in.

“She says she is a true Princess,” said the King to the old Queen-mother.

The Queen-mother didn’t say a word.

Instead, she thought to herself, “We’ll soon see about that”. She then handed the Princess a nightgown and said, “put this on while I prepare your chamber.”

The Queen-mother began preparing the chamber—but in a very peculiar way.

First, she took the covers, sheets and mattress off the bed.

Then she placed a single garden pea on the bedstead.

And then she laid twenty mattresses on top of the pea taking care to separate each layer with a soft eiderdown quilt.

After this she replaced the bedclothes on the top mattress and said to the Princess, “Your chamber is ready!”

Princess girl in night gown standing looking up at bed multiple mattresses high ladder

The bed was now so high off the ground that the Princess needed to climb a ladder to get into the bed. So the Princess climbed up the ladder, got under the covers and blew out her candle.

At breakfast the next morning the Queen-mother turned to the Princess and asked, “My dear Princess, how did you sleep?”

“Oh, not at all well,” said the Princess. “I mean to say, I am extremely grateful for your kindness in putting me up for the night, but there seemed to be something ever so hard and uncomfortable under my mattress. I didn’t sleep a wink.”

Princess girl in nightwear bending over holding bottom

“My my!” replied the Queen-mother, “is that so?”

The Queen-mother turned to the Prince and said, “I believe we have found your true Princess, for none but a true Princess possesses such a delicate sense to feel a single pea through twenty mattresses and twenty of my finest quilts. You must wed immediately!”

The Prince was overjoyed.

He turned to the Princess and said, “Dear Princess, would you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?”

She blushed, then taking a moment to finish a mouthful of cereal, said, “On one condition.”

“Anything!” replied the Prince.

She looked at the Prince with a cheeky grin and said, “That you promise, dear Prince, that from this day forward any pea that should enter this castle is simply for eating. And not for sleeping upon.”

The Prince looked back at her, chuckled and said, “I promise!”

Princess in dress Prince in royal clothes holding hands happy confetti falling

The End

Can you read the Princess And The Pea story for free?

Yes! You can read Princess And The Pea story for free at Sooper Books. All of our stories have been written by our professional writers and have modern illustrations.

Is this story read aloud?

The Princess And The Pea read aloud is available through our audiobook. You can choose to have this story read aloud by our professional narrator or read the story by yourself.

How many mattresses are there?

In the Princess And The Pea there are 20 mattresses and 20 quilts. Would you be able to notice a pea under 20 mattresses and 20 quilts?

What is the moral of the Princess And The Pea?

The Princess And The Pea moral is to not judge a person by their appearance. After being deceived by many fair maidens claiming to be Princesses, the prince and his mother were suspicious when a young, cold and soggy girl turned up at their doorstep seeking some dry clothes and a bed for the night. It transpired that their initial impression of the young girl was wrong and she was in fact a princess. After all, princesses can get soggy in the rain too!

What is the story summary?

This story is about a young princess who gets caught in a storm. She finds a castle and seeks warmth and a bed. The Queen mother and the prince are suspicious of the young woman as she doesn’t look like a princess at all. Nevertheless they decide to let her in. The queen mother comes up with a plan to test the young girl and find out if she really is a princess. She creates the most comfortable bed with 20 mattresses and 20 quilts, and to test whether the young girl is a princess or not she hides one pea at the bottom of the bed. If the young girl is indeed a princess she will undoubtedly feel it. Low and behold the young girl sleeps terribly. The queen is thrilled and tells the prince to marry her straight away!

Is this story a fairy tale?

Yes, this is a fairy tale originally written by Hans Christian Andersen. This story was first written in 1835 and has since been retold many times and is a firm favourite for bedtime stories today. The Sooper Books retelling stays close to the original storyline and we’ve modernised the illustrations.