Fairy Tales for Kids: The Princess and the Pea Story

The Princess and the Pea: An engaging retelling by the team at the Learner's Nook

The Princess and the Pea Story was first written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1835. It is the story of a Queen’s test to see whether a stranger really is a princess. Compared to many fairy tales, the Princess and the Pea is funny and fairly silly.

Our version of this story has been written in the present tense. We hope that you and your child can use this fairy tale with pictures to help your child grow as an English speaker and as a reader.


For any questions, please comment below or click the question image. After the story, we also have learning ideas and other resources you can use to make the most out of this story.

Click here to ask your questions.

The Princess and the Pea Summary

Once upon a time, a prince was looking for a princess. One day, there was a knock on the door in the middle of a storm. There was a girl there claiming to be a princess. 

The Queen did not trust her, so she devised a test. The Queen placed a single pea beneath many mattresses. If the girl could feel it while she was sleeping, she must be a princess because only a princess could be this sensitive. 

The next morning, the girl complained that her sleep was poor due to a lumpy mattress. The Queen determined that she was a princess, and the Prince decided to marry her.

The Princess and the Pea Story PDF Version

For people who want something a little more convenient, we have converted what we have here into a PDF. Just click below to download.

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The Princess and the Pea: By the Learner’s Nook

The Princess and the Pea

In a faraway Kingdom lives a Prince.
He is looking for a princess to marry.
Every week, he goes to a new Kingdom looking for a Princess.

An old princess, a baby princess, and a panda.

But, he can never find the right one for him.
Some are too old. 
Some are too young.
Others are not princesses at all.

A storm cloud with rain and lightning

One day, there is a big storm in the Kingdom.
The rain falls all day, and the wind howls.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

As everyone is going to bed, they hear a loud knock at the castle door.
Knock! Knock! Knock!

A girl that is angry and out in the rain

The King goes to check the door.
He opens it up and sees a girl standing in the rain.
Her hair is soaked, her clothes are soaked, and her shoes are soaked.

The King asks, "Who are you?"

“Who are you? Why are you knocking?” asks the King.
“I am a Princess,” says the girl, “and I need somewhere to sleep tonight.”
The King does not believe her.
The girl doesn’t look like a princess at all, but the King lets her in anyway. 

The Queen asks, "Who are you?"

As the King brings the girl into the castle, he sees the Queen.
The Queen asks, ”Who are you?”
“I am a Princess,” says the girl, “and I need somewhere to sleep tonight.”
The Queen does not believe her.
The girl doesn’t look like a princess at all, but the Queen lets her in anyway. 

“You can sleep here tonight,” says the Queen.
“Thank you very much,” says the girl. 
“I will get your bed ready, and you can wait here,” says the Queen.

A small pea placed on a single mattress.

The Queen goes into the bedroom and comes up with a plan.
She removes the mattress of the bed and places a single pea underneath it. 
She then piles ten mattresses on top of the pea.
“Only a real Princess could be sensitive enough to feel that pea,” thought the Queen.

The Princess climbing a ladder to get up the pile of mattresses.

The Queen goes outside and brings the girl back into the room.
The girl climbs up the mattresses and falls asleep.

breakfast set out on the table

The next morning, the King, the Queen, and the Prince, and the girl all have breakfast.
The Queen asks, “How was your sleep?”
The girl replies, “My sleep was terrible! It felt like I had a lump in my mattress. I’ll be sore for weeks!”

Then, the Queen knew that this girl was a Princess.
She invited the Princess to stay at the castle as long as she wanted.

The End

Over time, she and the Prince fell in love.
She was not too old.
She was not too young.
And she was definitely a Princess.


Things You Can Learn

When you are reading this story, it can help to think about what grammar points you can teach your child. You don’t always have to do this because reading for reading’s sake is beneficial as well. But, if you want to add a little bit more, here are some ideas that you can use.

Who are you?

The Princess is asked this question a couple of times, and it is an important question your child should be able to ask and answer. Take the time to make sure that your young one can nail this question every time.

Dialog Verbs

It isn’t so important that your child knows how to write dialog and the punctuation involved, but the verbs used are important for everyone to know. Teach your child about verbs like ask, reply, and say. 

The Princess and the Pea YouTube Versions

We have collected five video versions of the Princess and the Pea. We have not made any of these, but they can still help you improve your child’s English. The last three are in Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish respectively.

What is the Moral of the Story of the Princess and the Pea?

The moral of the Princess and the Pea is that you shouldn’t judge people based on their looks. The Princess came to the castle not looking like a princess, but it turns out that she really was. 


Final Thoughts

The Princess and the Pea is a fun, classic tale that every child can enjoy. And, unlike a lot of other classic fairy tales, there are no scary elements that might scare off the younger ones. 

If you want to explore other fairy tales, take a look at our catalog of fairy tales in English.

Explore More Fairy Tales (click here)

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