I loved fairy tales growing up except one – The Princess and the Pea. Every fiber of my being despised the story. I didn’t like the “Princess” and I loathed the queen. It wasn’t til I was an adult that I was finally able to put my finger on what bothered me.
To catch you up just in case you never read it – Bedraggled girl appears at the gates of a city one rainy night claiming to be a princess. She is taken to the castle where a prince in need of a not commoner wife just happens to live and his momma hatches a plan to prove she is really royalty – stick a pea under a sky high pile of mattresses and when she whines in the morning about the discomfort and bruises, decree her really a princess under the premise that only a true princess would have such tender skin and then wed the two (romantic, huh?)
Things that bugged me –
Princess had to be stupid. I have slept overnight in hundreds of host homes (another story) from homeless shelters to mansions and never ever was I asked to climb a ladder unless it was a bunk bed. She should have stopped, looked at the pile, grabbed a lady in waiting by the scruff and asked wtf was up. Now of course, with all the royal inbreeding, I guess a true princess would quite possibly be rather dim, but it didn’t make me like her.
She was really super duper stupid. Ever share a bed with a cat? They take up a whole lot more space than a pea. Roll over to a spot where the pea isn’t poking through and get some zzzz’s nincompoop.
I stopped suspending disbelief (Yeah, the princess is stupid and the story teller thinks I am too). You are trying to tell me that all those lumpy mattresses filled with who knows what inside of casings rough woven on archaic looms aren’t going to cause bumps more noticeable than a pea? My amazing modern mattress would squish a legume but it has its own unique blumpy zones that can keep me up on bad nights pea or not.
The princess is RUDE. No matter what, very basic etiquette teaches that you would never insult a host and tell them that the accommodations they had provided you were bad. A true princess would not behave that way…
Ah, there we go! I never believed she really was a princess. But why was the Queen so pleased? Why did the prince and “princess” marry after a short snooze? I mean, at least Cinderella and her generic prince got a ball before they got hitched.
Theory: The Queen and Princess were really commoners in cahoots. They were playing an “Emperors New Clothes” style hoax on the not-so-bright royals and if nothing else, brought in some fresh dna to the stagnant gene pool.