Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a real princess. He traveled around the whole world in search of his real princess; but never found her. There was always something wrong with the princesses he found. None were to his taste. They simply weren't real princesses. The prince returned home very sad and weary, for he had set his heart on marrying a real princess.
One evening a storm settled over the land. Lightning flashed and thunder roared. Rain came down by the bucket. When the storm raged at its worst, someone knocked on the casle gate and the king himself went down to open it.
On the other side of the gate stood a wet and ragged princess. Water ran down her hair and mud caked her sopping clothes. It flowed in through the heels of her shoes and out through the toes. She said she was a princess and would like to get warm.
"We shall see if indeed she is a princess," thought the queen without uttering a word. She hurried off to the guest room and took all the bedclothes off the bed. Then on the bare bedstead she put a tiny pea. On top of this pea she piled twenty mattresses and twenty feather quilts. That was to be the bed upon which the princess would sleep.
The next morning a servant asked her how she had slept. She replied, "Oh, just wretchedly! I did not close my eyes even once the whole night through. God knows what was in that bed turning me black and blue!"
Now everyone knew that she was certainly a real princess, since she had felt the little pea through all the twenty mattresses and twenty feather quilts. Only a real princess would be so sensitive!
The happy prince married her. The pea was put on exhibition at the royal museum where you can go see it, if it hasn't been stolen.
That was a real story!