Sunday, 24 June 2012



Marriage has always been central to storytelling which isn't surprising since it's one of the biggest things that can happen to people.

But when your son insists that nobody is good enough for him what can a mother do?
Clearly the Grimm Brothers have pondered this very question and reached the same conclusion that I have.  But since they got there first and in German I'll let them take the credit (1)

As many of these stories begin with the traditional 'Once upon a time' and as the staff of Jabberwockery are certainly not about to buck the trend our tale must therefore start with those immortal words. 
Once, as they say, upon a time...
There was a prince who wanted to marry a princess.  Now you'd think that this would be simple enough not only was this the olden days but it's also a story which means that all he had to do is wait until his two older brothers didn't return from their travels. But here's the problem.  This prince is an only child which practically makes him unique amongst his royal brethren (2)
The problem was that no matter how far he travelled he couldn't find a genuine princess and he complained to his mother about this while they sat of front of the fire.
"I'm sure someone will turn up" his mother assured him "listen to that storm outside.  I hope nobody suddenly suffers a blowout"

At that moment there was a loud knocking at the castle door and the prince opened the door to reveal a very regal visitor

"Is it all right if I stay here for the night?  I ask because the road has washed out and my horse suddenly has a flat tyre"
"Um pardon?"
"I'm a princess just so you know" she said as she swept past him "it's just that I've had the worse day ever"
"Just a minute how do I know you're a real princess?" the prince demanded "do you have a seal of authenticity?"
"Left it at home"
"Family tree?"
"Several fine ones but the horse ate them"
"Family retainers?"
"No I had braces until I was 12"
"Loyal knights?"
"They're all out questing"

"Who's your friend dear?" The queen looked up as the pair entered royal room for receiving unexpected guests on a rainy night.
"She says she's a princess" the prince said doubtfully “but a genuine princess doesn’t let herself get wet.  They’ve got servants to get wet for them”
“Don’t you worry my son” There are ways and means of determining whether or not she is a princess" (4)
And so the queen unlocked the treasury and retrieved the Genuine Princess Spotter which looked amazingly like a pea because that is, in fact, what it was.
In the guest bedroom the queen placed the GPS underneath 20 mattresses’ and let the princess know that her rooms had been prepared.

In the morning the storm had passed and everything was shining with morning dew that had been dipped in extra strength Disney magic

With the entire cast seated around the breakfast table the queen began the royal breakfast conversation as was tradition.
"So, how did you sleep my dear?"
The princess drank her coffee, while this was technically a breach of royal etiquette it was politely overlooked by all present since coffee people are notoriously difficult to talk to before that first taste of morning goodness. “Oh it was terrible!  First I was sleeping on 20 mattresses for no apparent reason and then I just couldn't get comfortable.  I'm sure that I'm going to be black and blue all over"

At the sound of this the prince knew that he'd found a genuine princess because only a genuine princess could have felt the pea beneath all those mattresses.

The prince and princess were married and the pea was placed in the royal museum for all to see.
and this is a true tale.


·         Why is the prince so damn picky?
Because if he wasn't then he'd already have a royal girlfriend when Princess, Really A turned up and that might be a little awkward.

·         Why does the queen use 20 mattresses?
It's such a weird number and also how thick are these things?  This castle was clearly designed by Escher.

·         Why a pea?
It just doesn't work without magic and I'll accept a magic pea when you can produce a witch who is also a militant vegan. 
Personally I'd want my wife to be a little more robust than this 'princess' if only to stop each night being a recitation of the things that hurt her.
You want to know why nobody in the world has this story as part of their official history?
Because any country where the main qualification for royal marriage is "the ability to feel a pea through a bunch of mattresses" will soon find themselves taken over by their next door kingdom where the qualification is the more traditional "I've got a great big sword" method.

The more I read this story the more obvious it is that the Princess and the Queen have gotten together and worked out this plan.  This is most likely under pressure from the other kings to stop the prince from travelling around and "testing whether or not their princesses are genuine"

1.       Because insane theories are easy but German is hard.

2.       That he personally didn't have but if he did he would have been.  Except he wouldn't have been

3.       She could start sobbing at this point, if she didn't want to set womanhood back 20 years that is.

4.       Fetch the royal duck!"

5.       It cost extra but nothings too good for my readers


  1. I love when you do these! This was one of the best ones yet!

  2. I'm looking around for more stories, these analysis posts were only ever supposed to be filler (since I would, naturally, be posting each week) Any suggestions?