The princess and the pea

There’s this children’s story called The Princess and the Pea, which as far as I understood it, chronicles the woes of a princess going through several ordeals in order to prove that she is a real princess and therefore worthy to be a prince’s bride.

The ultimate test was when she was made to sleep on a stack of mattresses with a pea inserted into the bottom mattress, with the assumption that the princess, if real, would be so sensitive that she would feel the pea on her skin.

I have no idea what Hans Christian Andersen was up to when he wrote what was supposedly a children’s story but I have always frowned upon this particular one. I had never been able to understand the virtue of having such sensitive skin, or the theory that only a princess can marry a prince, but then again back in Andersen’s time they may have fully believed that this was only natural.

I do think that some of these so-called children’s stories should be rewritten.

The matter of a pea

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