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The Princess And The Pea

Updated on February 1, 2011

The Princess And The Pea, A Fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen

The Princess and the Pea is a Danish fairytale first published in 1835. It was told and written by by Hans Christian Andersen. It has been extremely popular over the years, especially with girls, and has been adapted many times in books, movies, television shows, Broadway shows, cartoons, and more.

DVD: Once Upon a Mattress - (2005)

Once Upon A Mattress
Once Upon A Mattress

Based on the acclaimed Broadway musical, an all-star cast brings a beloved fairy tale to life in Disney Presents ONCE UPON A MATTRESS. Queen Aggravain (Carol Burnett) sabotages the efforts of every young princess who hopes to marry her son, Prince Dauntless (Denis O'Hare) -- and no one else can settle down until he does! Honorable Sir Harry is determined to marry the lovely Lady Larken (Zooey Deschanel), so he sets off for faraway lands and returns with an unlikely candidate: Princess Winnifred from the swamps (Tracey Ullman). It's love at first sight for the Prince, so the Queen sets about planning her most difficult challenge yet. The palace is filled with merriment and mischief while everyone wonders, will Princess "Fred" pass the Queen's test?


The Princess and the Pea

By: Hans Christian Andersen

ONCE upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He traveled 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 princess.

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 ...

(Go to Part Two)

Princess and the Pea Books

Sleepy Princess and the Pea - by Haba

HABA Sleepy Princess and the Pea
HABA Sleepy Princess and the Pea

Is she really a princess? the queen asks herself as she makes a tricky challenge to test the damsel. You are the queen's eager helpers and you must prepare the bed for the little princess. You have to be careful and skillful as the queen wants her to sleep on a wobbly pile of mattresses. Together you try to help the princess with the stacking of the mattresses. This game includes 2 fairy tale games of skill for 2 - 4 players ages 3-12 with the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea" a story to read again and again.


Princess And The Pea Game

The Princess and the Pea (Part 2)

By: Hans Christian Andersen

Well, we'll soon find that out," thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, 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 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.


Faerie Tale Theatre: The Princess and the Pea

In 1984, Shelley Duvall starred in a Princess and the Pea episode of Faerie Tale Theatre. Also, keep an eye out for Liza Minnelli.

Faerie Tale Theatre: The Princess and the Pea

In 1984, Shelley Duvall starred in a Princess and the Pea episode of Faerie Tale Theatre. Also, keep an eye out for Liza Minnelli.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-be - ~ From the Point of View of the Pea ~

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-be
The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-be

At last, the true story behind the Princess and the Pea! (Come on, did you really think a princess could feel a pea through 20 mattresses?) In this retelling of the classic fairy tale we're finally presented with the pea's-eye view. This fresh green perspective allows us to see that the tiny legume held lofty expectations from the early days in the pod. We also learn something we suspected all along--the whole thing went down a little differently than rumors held. (One can imagine a whole line of revisionist fairy tales recast from the eyes of crucial inanimates--the beanstalk, the glass slipper, the red riding hood.)


Once Upon a Mattress - On Broadway

A performance from Once Upon a Mattress at the 51st Tony Awards featuring Sarah Jessica Parker.

Any additional thoughts on the Princess and the Pea?

Princess and the Pea Guestbook

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    • FionaWalters profile image

      FionaWalters 4 years ago

      This is one of my favorite fairy tales too... with a nice twist here.

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 9 years ago

      I love fairy tales, and this is one of Hans Christian Anderson's tales that has a happy ending, unlike some of his others, although, I do have a soft spot for "The Little Match Girl."

    • profile image

      GrowWear 9 years ago

      Interesting lens. Adored this story as a kid!

    • Janet2221 profile image

      Janet2221 9 years ago

      Nice lens! I have lensrolled it to my Princess Party Lens. :)

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 9 years ago

      Sweet, I love it! I'm sure this lens will inspire lots of themed birthday parties and spark little imaginations everywhere. Totally cute and deserving of a 5 star rating! : )

    • Clairwil LM profile image

      Clairwil LM 9 years ago

      You're up for Lens Of The Week!

      Well Done on a great lens, now don't forget to vote.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      My school is doing a musical called "The Princess and the Pea." The Queen objects at every wedding and she gets her reasons from tests she gets out of a manual of tests. Then the king gets sick of it and makes her make a smaller test. Gillian is the next fiancee of the prince. (I got the part of Gillian!) But the Jester wants to help the prince get a wife, so he tries to prepare Gillian. She is in the Royal Book Room while Hanna, the chambermaid, slept in Gillian's bed. The test was a pea under the many mattresses. It was a mystery to who slept in the bed until Hanna spoke up. She married the prince and Gillian married the jester. That is how it went.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 10 years ago


      OH! This is one of my very best favorites! I ADORE "The Princess and the Pea"! FIVE HUGE MAGICAL STARS!

      Unlock Creativity|Critical Thinking Creative Writing Active Reading=Great Art

      ALOHA, Kathy


    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 10 years ago from Royalton

      A Fairy Tale Wolf was checking out your lens and liked it so well that he is sending you a virtual cup of coffee to hang on your wall.