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“The Princess and the Pea”

A story by Hans Christian Andersen. A prince insists on marrying a real princess. When a woman comes to his door maintaining that she is a real princess, the prince's mother tests her by burying a pea under a huge stack of mattresses and then ordering the woman to sleep on the mattresses. The woman cannot sleep and therefore passes the test: being a true princess, she is so delicate that the pea keeps her awake.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.