The Princess and the Pea ~ A story of TRUE beauty

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 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 still looked beautiful. “I am a real princess.” said the young girl.

“Hmmmm…” thought the wise 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.

After a rich and delicious dinner, the princess was shown to her room, where she promptly began getting ready for bed.

Downstairs, the prince was talking to his mother (it was the Kings night out – he played chess with the knights every Wednesday night) “Mother,” he said, “I think I have finally found my real princess – one who could truly be my bride.” “Really, son? Do you think she is a real princess?” “Of course I do Mother, she said she was….and she is soooo beautiful.” “Hmmm,” said the Queen. “Son, do you believe your princess to be a TRUE beauty? Does she have real beauty or is it only painted on, like a mural?” “Oh Mother, she is TRULY beautiful…..don’t you think so? Didn’t you see how she came in from the rain? She was soaking wet, but she was still beautiful to look at.”

The wise queen stood up and walked across the royal chamber. She reached into the seat of the throne (Hey – even royalty has to make good use of space, ya know) and took out a golden light…shaped similarly to what we would call a flashlight. “Son, do you know what this is?” she asked. “Mother – that’s Father’s light….” with awe, he reached out and touched it. “Yes Son, it is. Within this tube your Father has placed His light. When you turn it on, His light will stream out of it – touching each and every thing in its path. Son, I want you to take it tonight and shine it in the room of your princess and tell me what the light shows.”

With that, the prince took the light, kissed his wise mother good-night and went to his room. He waited for several hours to make certain that his princess would be asleep – it could be very awkward to explain what he was doing snooping around in her room with a light in the middle of the night, so he wanted to wait until she was soundly sleeping. He crept close to her room and waited….”Snnnnnoooooorrrrrrrkkkkk” came from behind the closed door. He felt pretty certain he could sneak in now. (He did pause for a moment, however, …”Now that I think about it, she really did suck the royal wine down tonight…is that becoming of a true princess?”)

Quietly he opened the door and stealthily entered the room. He showed his Father’s light all about – he was puzzled – there was nothing. Even when he directly showed the light where the princess should be – there was nothing. In fact, rather than the light filling the room, the room seemed to be darker than dark. The more the light shined into the room, the more light the room seemed to absorb. Suddenly, in the dark he heard movement – his princess was tossing in her sleep. As she did, a pea dropped out from between the mattresses. The very second the light hit the pea, it shined like a droplet of dew reflecting the sunrise – it was as though the pea were made of gold and diamonds, all mixed together. Truly, it was breathtakingly beautiful. Puzzled, he picked up the pea and went to find his mother.

Knocking on her door, he quietly called out – “Mother are you awake?” (You see, wise queens NEVER snore, nor do they suck down too much royal wine…ever.) “Yes son, come in….. Well, what did you find when you went to your princess’ room this evening?” “Well, he said, “first of all, I think she drank too much royal wine and she snores…but more disturbing than those things, Mother, the light… it didn’t seem to work. I shone it about her room over and over but I never could find her in the dark. The only thing that the light could find was this…” With that, he laid the pea in her hand.

“Ahh, it is as I feared,” said the Queen, “your princess is not a TRUE beauty. You see my dear Son, a true beauty will always reflect the King’s glory. It is His beauty that you are seeing when you see TRUE beauty. There are many who try and reflect the King’s beauty, but because it is nothing more than a veneer that they are applying to themselves, it becomes an anti-beauty. It is similar to a black hole. You can pour the light of the King into the hole over and over again and it will reflect nothing. In fact, it will seem to eat the light out of the very air. But because the fullness of its desire is to glorify itself, it will never reflect the beauty of the King and His light. I’m sorry, Son. Your princess does not have true beauty. You see, the pea in the room had more beauty than the princess who proclaims herself to be real. The pea desires nothing more than to show how wonderfully it is made, it does not desire to exalt itself, so it reflects the light of the King to all who are looking. Some day Son, there will be a real princess who will indeed reflect the beauty of the King and she too will shine like the pea – a blend of gold and diamonds.”

The prince was devastated – he walked slowly back to his room, holding the pea. The pea became a visual reminder of how important it was to reflect the beauty of the King, instead of absorbing it – and when a TRUE princess came along, he had it made into a necklace for her. (She was the only princess in all the land to wear peas, rather than karats.) The End

A Clark-ified version of the story for my dear friend Crystal, whose heart breaks for those who are caught up in the trap of anti-beauty…those who are striving for TRUE beauty, but rather than reflecting the glory of the King, they exchange it for a veneer of outer beauty. You, my dear Crystal, YOU are TRULY beautiful. I love you. (Do not miss her “Campaign for Real Beauty” blog)

5 Responses to “The Princess and the Pea ~ A story of TRUE beauty”
  1. winkies6 says:

    I LOVE this version! Tomorrow I am hoping to have enough time to have my daughter read this 🙂

  2. javadawn says:

    Oh Winkies, Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it – I must confess it came to me in the middle of the night. I always hesitate to share stuff that comes then. (One never knows – to a sleep deprived mommy it may seem good, but in the light of day it may seem a bit…well, odd.) 😉

    I pray your daughter is ministered to by it. (Be SURE to take her over to Crystal’s site and make SURE she sees the first You Tube video she has. It’s POWERFUL!!)

  3. Crystal says:

    Oh Dawn you are so good to me!! I feel so flattered and so undeserving at the same time. You made me smile for hours and hours and hours and HOURS!! I printed out the story and I just read it to our kids. They LOVED it! I’m going to keep it forever and ever and read it over and over to all of my kids. In prayers that Frank will look for a wife with TRUE beauty and that my girls will always illuminate TRUE beauty!!

    I love you Dawn!! Thanks a million times over for being such an amazing sister-in-Christ to me and for just being YOU!!


  4. javadawn says:


    Whay Little Missy yer sher makin me blush. :blushing:

    🙂 You’re OH SO welcome! Consider it a gift to you from Father, my sweet. I “saw” the whole story while I was praying for you – it was the middle of the night. Now, we both know I’m not for DOOODDDLEEE in the middle of the night. 😀

  5. Abigale says:

    OMG! All when i was a little girl, Katy, my friend, and i would put on my mother make-up, and wear scarves and high-heel shoes, (much too big, i might add..) and pretend I was a princess with Katy. We had so much fun being pretty. We just put on jewlry and poof we were royal. That’s all it took, I thought as a kid, I just need to be pretty. Katy was always pretty. She alway had blonde hair. Mine is black. Her eyes were blue, mine are brown. I wasn’t pretty, and i’m stil not pretty, But does that matter? As long as on the inside i never become bitter and cruel, I will always be beautiful.

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