Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Princess and the Pea--Retelling #4

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be
Written and illustrated by Mini Grey
Knopf, 2003

If you are looking for a unique retelling, this one tops my list. This story of “The Princess and the Pea” is told from the point of view of the pea. The pea tells the entire story from his point of view. He is grown in the palace gardens and he knew he had a special purpose. The pea lets us into the conversations between the prince and the Queen like someone who is eavesdropping. The pea does his job at first—just sits there underneath a pile of mattresses. But every girl that sleeps on the mattresses doesn’t report anything unusual.

Finally, the pea takes matters into his own hands. One night a young girl comes to the house while it is raining and the pea decides to climb up the mattresses. He whispers into the ear of the young girl about how someone large, round, and uncomfortable is bothering her. It turns out the pea knows the young girl—it’s the gardener from his home in the palace gardens. The young girl points out that something “large, round, and uncomfortable” bothered her all night. Instantly the Queen knows that this girl is the “the one” for her son.

And true to the original tale, the pea ends up in a special box in a museum.

What makes this retelling unique:
Of course, the point of view is unique. This is the only tale I’ve seen from the point of view of an inanimate object. But the inanimate object is not inanimate anymore. It is also unique because the princess is really not a princess, but a hard-working gardener.

No comments: