Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author best known for writing children's storiesincluding "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ugly Duckling." But he didn't just write short stories, and his intended audience wasn't restricted to children. In addition to his fairy tales, Andersen wrote poems, plays, novels, travel books, essays, and more. He hungered for recognition at home (Denmark) and abroad-and he got it Eventually. Today, his stories can be read in over one hundred languages. But no matter what language they're in, Andersen's tales have got something for everyone. In them, you'll find beauty, tragedy, nature, religion, artfulness, deception, betrayal, love, death, judgment, penance, and-occasionally-a happy ending. They're complex tales, but since Andersen himself was pretty complex, we like to think that art imitates life. Or something like that. The Princess and the Pea is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a young woman whose royal identity is established by a test of her physical sensitivity. The story tells of a prince who wants to marry a princess, but is having difficulty finding a suitable wife. Something is always wrong with those he meets, and he cannot be certain they are real princesses. One stormy night a young woman drenched with rain seeks shelter in the prince's castle. She claims to be a princess, so the prince's mother decides to test their unexpected unwitting guest by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night, covered by 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds. In the morning, the guest tells her hosts that she endured a sleepless night, kept awake by something hard in the bed; which she is certain has bruised her. The prince rejoices. Only a real princess would have the sensitivity to feel a pea through such a quantity of bedding. The two are married, and the pea is placed in the Royal Museum. Includes vintage illustration.