Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess, but it had to be a genuine princess. To find this princess, he traveled all over the world, but nowhere could he find her. There were plenty of princesses, but the prince couldn’t be sure they were real princesses; he always found something in them that displeased him.
One night there was a storm, there was thunder and lightning, and a torrential rain was unleashed. Then someone knocked at the castle door and the queen went to see who it was.
On the threshold of the palace a young woman appeared, but the rain and wind wreaked havoc on her appearance. The water ran through her hair and her dress was in tatters, she had lost her jewelry and even her shoes.
“I demand lodging because I am a princess,” said the young woman with a very graceful tone.
The queen doubted that the young woman had any title of nobility, but she said nothing and invited her to enter. The young woman waited in the royal hall.
The queen went into the guest bedroom, removed all the bedding, and put a pea on the mattress, then she put another 20 mattresses on top of the pea, and on top of the twenty mattresses she put twenty down comforters. Then he returned to the royal drawing room and, pointing to the guest bedroom, said:
“You can sleep in that room.
The next morning, the queen and the prince asked the young woman how she had slept.
“Oh, terribly wrong,” answered the girl. I couldn’t fall asleep all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed. I slept on top of something so hard my body is covered in bruises. It was horrible!
Now they knew that she was a true princess because she had felt the pea through the twenty mattresses and the twenty quilts. Only a genuine princess can be so sensitive!
That was how the prince married her, sure of having achieved what he was looking for. As for the pea, it is exhibited in the museum, where it must still be if no one has taken it.
And this is a true story!