Once upon a time, there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess. But only a real princess. So he traveled the world to find her and searched everywhere, but he couldn't find one. Also, how could he know if she was a real princess? Something was wrong with all of them. So, he returned home and stayed unhappy, because he failed in marrying a real princess.
One evening there was a terrible storm. It was thundering and raining. It was really scary! In the middle of all this, there was a knock on the city gate. The old king went to open it. And there it was, the real princess was standing outside the city gate.
"One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.
It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate."
Water poured from her hair down her clothes into her shoes and down her heels. Still, she claimed to be a real princess. The old queen thought they would soon find out. Without saying a word about it, she went into the bedroom, took off the sheets, and placed a single pea at the bottom of the bed.
Then she took twenty mattresses and stacked them on top of a pea. She took twenty feather beds and stacked them on top of the mattresses. On top of all that, the princess was supposed to spend the night sleeping on all of that.
""Well, we'll soon find that out," thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses."
In the morning they asked her if she slept well? The princess said she barely slept at all. She said she was lying on something so hard that it made her bruises.
""Oh, very badly!" said she. "I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It's horrible!""
Only then all could see that she was a real princess and there was no doubt about it, because she felt a pea all the way through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. No one but a princess can be so gentle. So the prince rushed to marry her because he knew he had found the right princess.
As for the pea, they put it in a museum. It is still standing there exhibited, unless someone has taken it.
"So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.
There, that is a true story."