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The Princess & The Pea: Moral, Theme & Analysis Video

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  • 0:03 Moral of a Story
  • 1:04 Appearances Can Be Deceiving
  • 1:55 Little Things Make a…
  • 2:40 Be Honest
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we'll analyze the morals and the themes of the fairytale 'The Princess and the Pea' by Hans Christian Andersen. Our discussion will touch on reserving judgment, promoting authenticity, and recognizing that little things matter.

Moral of a Story

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings said, ''Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary 'real' world''. The moral of a story is the lesson that the reader learns from the experiences and mistakes of the characters. A fairytale is a story that often includes royalty, some aspect of the supernatural, and a moral.

In Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Princess and the Pea,' a prince searches far and wide for a real princess to no avail. When one shows up unexpectedly, the queen doubts her position and tests her by putting a pea under 20 mattresses and 20 blankets to see if she is sensitive enough to truly be of royal blood. Let's examine the morals of this story.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Perhaps the most obvious moral is that looks are deceiving. When the princess shows up at the city gate in the middle of a thunderstorm, she looks anything but royal. The narrator describes how ''the water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels.'' This is not exactly the elegance that we usually associate with royalty.

Naturally, the queen is suspicious and wants some form of proof that this stranger is the 'real princess' she claims to be. After passing the test of being able to feel a pea under a tremendous amount of bedding, it is confirmed that the girl is telling the truth. The queen learns a valuable lesson and gains a new daughter-in-law.

Little Things Make a Big Difference

Another moral of this story is how little things can make a big difference. You can only imagine how comfortable the princess' bed must have been with all of that bedding piled on. Yet, one hard little pea underneath all that padding is enough to destroy her comfort!

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