The Princess And The Pea
(Edited excerpt from a Facebook "Comment" posted to Jo-Ann)
Well, first there was the post on Facebook, dated April 2nd, 2010, and written by Jo-Ann, who is a princess, no doubt, but a Viking princess and not the same princess referenced in the story about the mattresses and the pea. Okay? (Note: While presenting passages quoted below, I may use a few standard typesetting options here that Facebook does not permit — options such as the use of italics, for example. So there!)
So, here is Jo-Ann's original post:
Today marks Hans Christian Andersen's 205th birthday. The Danish author's stories include The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Clothes, and The Princess and the Pea. I remember my Mom taking me to some event in some park in New York City where Danish comedian Victor Borge was reading, in his unique way..., Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.
So then, the following is what I posted on Facebook as a "Comment" in response to Jo-Ann's original post:
Why, it was early in the Spring of 1835, just a couple of months before the story's original publication, that I first heard The Princess and the Pea. I was in Copenhagen at the time and, as serendipity would have it, I met Hans Christian Andersen himself.
Apparently, I said something that amused Mr. Andersen, that suggested to him that I might appreciate his sharing a whimsical tale with me.
But the story he told me then was called The Princess and the Pee. It was about a royal young-adult woman who still wet the bed. And, instead of simply airing out the mattress and changing the silk sheets the next morning, according to the Princess' bidding her chambermaids would place a brand-spanking-new mattress on top of the previously-moistened mattress. And those chambermaids kept up this practice, as ordered, until mattresses were stacked up 30 or 40 high. And blah, blah, blah. The story ended with the Princess falling to her untimely death on the fateful morning when she woke up on the wrong side of bed.
Well, I suggested to Mr. Andersen that, just perhaps, the story might be a bit too harsh, a tad too much like those gruesome tales the Grimm Brothers might write. I pointed out that, if he would merely change the spelling P-E-E to P-E-A, he could make the story more child-appropriate while still retaining most of its fundamental elements. "Wouldn't it be even more whimsical," I asked him, "for a Princess to experience sleeplessness due to an itsy-bitsy teensy-weensy little legume, rather than the nightly experience of lying in a puddle of her own urine as it grows colder and colder against her cringing and clammy flesh?"
And blah, de-blah, blah, blah.
So, anyway, ol' Hans took my advice, rewrote his story, and the rest was-and-still-is history.
(Maybe I should write a song about that particular incident in my life. Maybe someone like Bob Dylan or Snoop Dog or Britney Spears would record it and it would soar to the top of the hit music charts. Maybe oodles of other established big-name recording artists would release their own cover versions of the song. Maybe it would become as ubiquitous and as embraced by the masses as The Beatles' "Yesterday" or that song 'bout the guy's poor and unfortunate dear old grandmother who was run-over by Santa's reindeer. Maybe, then, I would no longer be the "unsung hero" of the whole formerly-soggy Princess and Pee/Pea saga. Yes-siree-Bob, I'd finally be a "sung hero," maybe even an "overly-sung [Or, well-sung?] hero." Cool, huh? ....Maybe?)
Well, that's pretty much all I've got t' say 'bout all of that. So there!
And now, m'Dear, I'm outta here.
Be well, be happy ...and, oh yeah, if you ever have to buy a new mattress as a replacement for one that has been hopelessly-soaked and stained by urine, other bodily fluids, whipped cream, Mazola, WD-40, or what-have-you, be sure to get rid of the old before installing the new. I’m just sayin’....
Sincerely (No, really! You can trust me! Honest! I swear!),
Brother "Credible to a Fault" Dave