The Princess and the Pea

In a large and wealthy kingdom lived a King, a Queen, and their only son, Phillip. When Prince Phillip was old enough, the King and Queen decided he should find a wife.

"She must be well-mannered," said the King.

"She must be interesting," said Phillip.

"Above all else," said the Queen, "she must be a princess. A true princess. And I know just how to find one."

The King and Queen threw a grand ball and invited princesses from all the surrounding kingdoms. Gold-trimmed carriages arrived at the palace. Princesses dressed in silk, satin, and plush velvet stepped from the carriages.

Prince Phillip greeted each princess. He talked with each of them. He danced with each of them. But when the ball was over, Phillip had not found a princess that he liked enough to marry.

As the last gold-trimmed carriage rolled away, a thunderstorm swept over the palace. Inside the ballroom, Prince Phillip was as gloomy as the weather.

"You did not like any of them?" asked the King.

"Not even a little?" asked the Queen.

Phillip shook his head. "Princess Ermintrude was bossy. Princess Wilhelmine was rude."

"Princess Adeline seemed nice," said the Queen.

"And pretty," said the King.

"And boring," said Phillip. "I asked if she'd like to play croquet. She said she didn't want to wrinkle her dress. I tried to show her my butterfly collection. She said that no matter how pretty they were, butterflies were just silly bugs. I asked if she wanted to look at the stars through my telescope. She said stars seemed dull compared to the sparkling diamonds on her dress. None of the princesses wanted to talk about anything but themselves and their new

ball gowns."

Thunder cracked outside. Rain pounded against the roof. Above the storm they heard a loud knock at the palace door.

Go to the next page to find out who knocked at the door.

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