Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea


Hans Christian Andersen


ONCE upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.
One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.
It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But, good gracious! what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look. The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess.
“Well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.
On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.
“Oh, very badly!” said she. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!”
Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds.
Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.
So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.
There, that is a true story.


The Princess and the Pea is my entry for the Story Book Characters Doll Challenge at Cloth and Clay Dolls.

The doll is made using paper mache and paper clay over a wire armature.  Her hips, knees and shoulders are movable with wire joints.  Her nightgown with removable robe and hair are made of paper.  She measures about 9" tall.

The bed is made using cardboard and painted with acrylic paints for a mahogany finish.  The headboard and foot board have flowery "carvings".  The 20 mattresses are made using cardboard and they are wrapped in 20 irremovable "quilts" that are simply decorative scrapbook papers.  Her top quilt and pillows are made using delicate paper laces stuffed with thick tissue.  The bed measures approximately 11 1/2"L x 7 3/4"W x 11 3/4"H.  The ladder is made of cardboard and the pea is made of paper clay.


  1. Wow! How talented you are! Incredible doll, and the entire scene for the doll...the bed, the blankets, the head board is so lovely!
    I haven't posted my 'Story Book Challenge' doll yet, I took photos in an instamatic camera and need to get them developed. Maybe next week!
    Teresa Swanson in Cloth and Clay

  2. Fantastic work! This is the first doll that I've seen with paper hair and clothing. SOOO creative! I also love that bed and the mattresses.

  3. wow amazing effort! i really appreciate you work!

  4. This is fantastic! I have been wanting to make a Princess and the Pea doll and props for ages now, and yours is inspirational. I recently made a little story box set that had cardboard figures, and loved making all the mattresses. It is a weird and wonderful story.

  5. I love this story and I adore your adaptation in the doll and accessorites.


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