How To Tell A True Princess

: The Yellow Fairy Book

There was once upon a time a Prince who wanted to marry a

Princess, but she must be a true Princess. So he travelled

through the whole world to find one, but there was always

something against each. There were plenty of Princesses, but he

could not find out if they were true Princesses. In every case

there was some little defect, which showed the genuine article

was not yet found. So he came home again in very low

for he had wanted very much to have a true Princess. One night

there was a dreadful storm; it thundered and lightened and the

rain streamed down in torrents. It was fearful! There was a

knocking heard at the Palace gate, and the old King went to open


There stood a Princess outside the gate; but oh, in what a sad

plight she was from the rain and the storm! The water was

running down from her hair and her dress into the points of her

shoes and out at the heels again. And yet she said she was a

true Princess!

'Well, we shall soon find that!' thought the old Queen. But she

said nothing, and went into the sleeping-room, took off all the

bed-clothes, and laid a pea on the bottom of the bed. Then she

put twenty mattresses on top of the pea, and twenty eider-down

quilts on the top of the mattresses. And this was the bed in

which the Princess was to sleep.

The next morning she was asked how she had slept.

'Oh, very badly!' said the Princess. 'I scarcely closed my eyes

all night! I am sure I don't know what was in the bed. I laid

on something so hard that my whole body is black and blue. It is


Now they perceived that she was a true Princess, because she had

felt the pea through the twenty mattresses and the twenty

eider-down quilts.

No one but a true Princess could be so sensitive.

So the Prince married her, for now he knew that at last he had

got hold of a true Princess. And the pea was put into the Royal

Museum, where it is still to be seen if no one has stolen it.

Now this is a true story.