The Princess And The Pea by prettybluebirds
A Furry Tale contest entry
Artwork by Sean T Phelan at FanArtReview.com
There was once a prince who wanted to marry a princess. But she had to be a real princess, mind you. He traveled far and wide seeking this perfect girl but never found one that he thought was real. There was always something that wasn't satisfactory such as bad breath, a shrill voice, or maybe the princess in question was beautiful, (all princesses are in folklore), but still he wasn't sure they were authentic. His biggest problem was he wouldn't have known a real princess if she came up and kicked him in the arse. Not that there was any lack of princesses, the boy just wasn't too bright. He decided to return home and let his mother, the queen, handle the matter. Mama was good at managing things. My princess and I came into the picture around that time.
I'm Sir Gawain, Princess Annabelle's spoiled-rotten cat. Annabelle was the daughter of the king who lived a few miles from the prince's castle. There seemed to be a king in every county back in those days. Now, most folks perceived Princess Annabelle as a delicate, sweet, and gentle young lady. Hah, I knew better. What Annabelle wanted, Annabelle got; woe to those who denied her. It was because of one of her famous temper-tantrums that we happened to meet the prince. Annabelle had asked her father, the King, for a new pair of shoes for an upcoming ball.
"I think five hundred pairs of shoes is enough for one girl," the King replied. "Surely you can find a suitable match for your gown among them."
As I said, No one told my Princess Annabelle no and got away with it. She stormed out to the stables and ordered a groom to hook her pony to the cart. She would go to the cobbler and purchase new shoes herself come hell or high water, and by the looks of the sky, high water was on its way.
I hid under the bed and hoped the pig-headed chit would forget about me and go by herself, but no such luck. The princess liked to take me everywhere she went so she could show off her beautiful precious cat. And I am a handsome fellow if I do say so myself. With my big blue eyes and long, silky white fur I am a sight to please any cat person's eye. Anyhow, Annabelle snapped a leash on my diamond collar, tossed me in the cart, and we were off.
We didn't get far before a terrible storm came on. It thundered and lightninged most fearful. The pony took fright and galloped out of control before it finally dumped Annabelle and me out of the cart, and we rolled down a rocky embankment. My princess was going to look dreadful in the morning with all those bruises on her lily white skin. Lucky for me I had a thick coat of hair to protect myself. Besides, cats always land on their feet.
As fate would have it, we were not too far from the neighboring king's castle, so my princess slogged through the mud and rain towards it. I refused to take one step as I was quite put out with the whole situation. I made her carry me the entire way as the whole mess was her fault in the first place.
Princess Annabelle knocked on the town gate, but when the old queen saw her, she said. "Go away; we don't allow peasants in our castle. You can take shelter in a yon pigsty."
Oh dear, what a state the princess was in from the rain and bad weather. The water and mud dripped from her hair and clothes, it ran in at the tips of her shoes and out the heels. However, my Annabelle stood up to the old queen and insisted she was a real princess. If there was one thing my mistress possessed it was guts.
"Very well," said the old queen. "That we shall presently see."
She said nothing to Princess Annabelle but went into the bedchamber and took off all the bedding, then laid a pea on the sacking of the bedstead. Out of cat curiosity, I had followed the old gal to see what the heck she was up to. Having done that, the old queen took twenty mattresses and laid them upon the pea, and placed twenty eiderdown quilts on top of the mattresses.
"Weird old woman," I said to myself. "If my princess and I fall off we will break our necks. Oh well, it's better than the yon pigsty. I must tell Annabelle the queen's plan."
"Princess Annabelle," I said. "The old queen doesn't believe you are a real princess and she has this dumb idea that if she puts a pea under all those mattresses, it will make you black and blue, and prove that you are indeed a princess. It is one of the craziest things I ever heard, but if you play along, you can buy all the shoes you want. The old king is richer than rich, and his son is going to have it all one day. The boy's not too bright either so you can lead him around by the nose."
Annabelle put her hands on her hips and glared at me. "How come you never told me you could talk? To think of all the secrets I confided to you over the years, and all the while you understood every word. That was pretty sneaky."
"Forget about whether I can talk or not," I replied. "Just go along with the queen's strange notions, and we will be fixed for life. What do you say?"
"Okay, gotcha. I won't have to fake the black and blue marks after that tumble I took, so let's do it. I'm still irritated you never let me know you could talk."
The princess and I lay on that strange bed all night. As I figured she would be, Annabelle was black and blue from head to toe when she woke the next day.
In the morning the old queen asked how Annabelle had slept the night before.
"Oh, most miserably," she said. "I scarcely closed my eyes the whole night through. I lay on something so hard I'm quite black and blue all over. I cannot think what could have been in the bed. It was dreadful."
I silently applauded my Annabelle for an excellent performance.
So, it was quite evident to the old queen that Annabelle was a real princess since, through twenty mattresses and twenty eiderdown quilts, she had felt the pea. The queen believed that only a true princess could have such delicate feeling. Annabelle was a real princess anyhow, but if that is what it took to convince the old girl then so be it.
So the prince took Annabelle for his wife, for he believed that in her he had found an authentic princess because his mother told him so. I pity the poor boy the first time he crosses my mistress.
Now you know the real story of the princess and the pea as witnessed by me, Sir Gawain, the most beloved cat of Princess Annabelle.
And this, mind you, is a true story.
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