Once upon a time, there lived a prince in a kingdom. His parents – the king and the queen were looking for a princess, but they could not find anyone suitable in the kingdom. So, they decided to send the prince out into the world to explore and find someone suitable for marriage. The prince took his horse and set out to find his future queen.
First, he went to a snow filled land, and upon entering the palace there, he saw a beautiful princess dressed in white and surrounded by maids. She spoke so beautifully and walked with grace, but then, the prince realised something. He saw that the princess was very vain and boastful. She was boasting about her wealth and riches to her maids. The prince then knew that an ideal princess would not be boastful and with this, he left the palace and then left the kingdom.
Next, he went to a desert, and upon entering the palace there, he saw a beautiful princess dressed in red and surrounded by maids. She spoke so softly and walked majestically, but then, the prince realised something. He saw that the princess was proud. She was always talking about her beauty and admiring herself too often. The prince then knew that an ideal princess would not be so proud and with this, he left the palace and then left the kingdom.
Finally, he went to a forest land, and upon entering the palace there, he saw a beautiful princess dressed in green and surrounded by maids. She spoke so charmingly and walked with grace, but then, the prince realised something. He saw that the princess was very vain and boastful. She was boasting about her wealth and riches to her maids. The prince then knew that an ideal princess would not be boastful and with this, he left the palace and then left the kingdom.
The prince returned to his kingdom, dejected and frustrated. His parents did not know how to console him and thought that it was best to leave him alone for the time being. Soon, a storm came and it started to rain heavily in the kingdom for many days. During one stormy night, a huge knock echoed through the royal palace. The knock was so loud that it shook the king who was relaxing and he went to open the doors of the palace by himself to see who it was. When he opened the doors, he saw a very beautiful lady standing outside, fully drenched due to the heavy rain. She asked him whether he could come inside and rest for the night. The king agreed and told her that she could stay as long as she needed. The king noticed something else too. He saw her clothing and the way she walked and knew that she was from a royal descent.
He then went and told this to the queen and the prince. The queen was however not convinced of the king’s deduction about the lady and so she decided to test it out for herself. All of them then sat, awaiting to meet her at the dining table. The lady came and sat and all 4 of them had a good time during dinner. The prince fell in love instantly with the lady, but did not disclose this fact. After dinner, the queen left saying that she would get a room ready for her to sleep in.
The queen went to the guest room, taking a single pea in her hand and told the guard to keep it below the mattress of the bed. After that, she told the guard to pile 20 mattresses – one on top of the other. The guard went to various rooms and carried out the queen’s weird request using a long ladder! After this, the queen told the guard to cover the top of the last mattress with 20 quilts – one on top of the other. The guard once again went to various rooms and brought the quilts and carried out the request.
The queen finally returned to the dining table and she took the lady to her room. When she showed the specially made bed to the lady, her jaw dropped, as she literally had to climb a ladder to sleep. But nevertheless, she agreed and climbing up the ladder, she slept in this tall and unusual bed. The queen, the king and the prince too went to sleep.
Next morning, during breakfast, all of them gathered at the dining table. The queen then asked the lady whether she had slept well and to this, she replied saying that she had not slept a wink as there was some small round object under the mattress which caused her discomfort. The queen nodded and smiled to herself. She then declared loudly that only a person of royal descent would be able to find out even the smallest of discomforts and hence she was a princess. The lady nodded her head and said that she was from a faraway kingdom and had got stranded here during the storm. She was actually roaming through various lands, looking for an ideal prince to be married to! This struck everyone at the table as a remarkable coincidence!
All of them ate their breakfast and at the end, she asked the lady if she was willing to marry the prince. To everyone’s surprise at the table, she readily nodded her head up and down, saying that she had fallen in love with him the moment she saw him the night before. Everyone laughed and both the prince and the princess from the faraway land were married on the same day. They all lived happily ever after.
So, what happened to the solitary pea that was under the mattress? Well, it was preserved carefully in a museum for everyone to see, and displayed as a symbol that even something as small as a pea can bring about the union of two kingdoms!!