Once upon a time there was a prince who was looking for a girl to marry. But he didn’t want to marry any old girl, he was looking for a princess. He travelled around the world, looking for the one. He met a lot of princesses, but none of them was what he wanted his future wife to be.
The prince had to turn back home without a princess to marry, which made him very sad.
One evening there was a terrible storm outside. There were claps of thunder and flashes of lightning. In the middle of the storm, someone knocked on the gates of the castle. There was a beautiful girl standing there. Water was dripping from her hair and clothes, but she stood proudly outside the gates and claimed that she was a princess.
When the Queen heard it, she quickly came up with a plan to check whether the girl was really a princess. She went to the bedroom and put a pea right in the middle of the bed. Then she piled up twenty mattresses on top of the pea. That is where the girl slept for the night.
The next morning they asked the princess how she had slept. “To be honest, I couldn’t sleep very well. I felt as if there was a hard bump I was lying on. Today my body is aching so badly from it”, she replied.
That was the sign the Queen was looking for. Everyone understood that the girl was a true princess, since she could feel the pea through twenty mattresses. Only a real princess with extremely delicate skin could have felt it.
The prince finally smiled and asked her to marry him, certain that he had found the very princess he was looking for. They got married and lived happily ever after.