Today, I read the Princess and the Pea for the first time to the girls.
Now I don’t have fairy tales memorised but I had sort of remembered what the story was about, that this queen had wanted a ‘true’ princess for her son and so she’d used a magic pea that could weed out the fake ones because apparently, sensitivity is the essence of a ‘true’ princess.
As I read the tale today, it slowly began to occur to me, like the spread of a dark urine stain – the moral of the story. Oh. My. God. The Princess and the Pea is really about The Mother-in-Law From Hell. After all, why would the queen need her daughter-in-law to feel a pea through 20 layers of mattresses?
Why would she need her son’s wife to be sooooo sensitive?
I laughed out loud when I finished reading. Rae asked what the joke was, and I shook my head, saying it was just a very funny tale. I could not help but laugh at the fact that there it was, a hundred-year-old cautionary fairy tale to all the women in the world who want to marry a prince, real or imagined.
Don’t forget that he too, has a mother, one who will make you jump through hoops to prove your worth.
I think I’m going to read this story to the girls a couple of thousand times more, just to be able to one day say, perhaps 20 years later, when one of them giddily decide to do something insane, like marry the man they love. I will ask, “Do you remember the story The Princess and the Pea?” and to which Rae will probably reply, “How can I forget? You gave it to me for my 25th birthday.”
Heh. The things you learn from books. Incredible.