As a lover of fairy stories, I was thrilled to come across a room that recalled the famous scene from The Princess and the Pea – the one where she’s invited to sleep on top of a large pile of mattresses! This ‘princess’s room’ was a surprise find in a corner of the Abbey of Fontevraud, the resting place of Henri II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion Heart, and others of the Plantagenet dynasty.
The contemporary story that I wrote in the vein of the popular classic in Fairy Stories & Fairy Stories paid homage to the idea that only someone who was genuine (or, in the case of a princess, of pure blood) could be sensitive enough to tell that a tiny pea had been placed underneath a great heap of bed-wear. For me, this was not a story about some diva complaining about the slightest discomfort, but of someone who had the sharpened quality to discern the finest detail of their environment.
Seeing this great pile caused me to wonder how the princess actually managed to climb on top of what looked like a precariously stacked mountain. This is one little detail that the original storyteller seems to have neglected to mention!