We are on day two of the Blogging Challenge and I decided on #11: Your favorite childhood book.
It’s hard for me to choose just one book so I’ll go with the title that actually is categorized as a kids’ book; The Princess and the Pea.
I remember it being the only one that I hadn’t heard of, at the time. I had all the basic bitch books – Cinderella, The Princess and the Frog, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina etc and was always on the hunt for something new.
Book stores, fairs and the library were my favorite places to be although I’m not sure which brought this blessing into my life.
When I moved from Trinidad to Guyana, I took my copy with me and I read it a lot when I first got there. The story was one of a lost Princess, who found shelter at a castle during a storm. She fell in love with the Young Prince because that’s what Princesses do but his parents needed to be certain of her parentage before they gave consent. Surely, they would not let their son marry a commoner.
A “test” was devised by her future in laws – a pea, underneath layers of bedding and mattresses that the Princess eventually needed a ladder to scale.
In retrospect, this is probably what planted the seed of my irrational fears of not being accepted by my future Husband’s family.
It’s a fairy tale so she was able to prove, by feeling the pea – that she was indeed a Princess and got her happily ever after.
I’ve lived in a lots of places during the course of my thirty something years and I’ve always felt like an outsider as a result. It was only starting back then, so I strongly identified with the lost Princess wanting to fit in and find love.
As I grew up with the story (revisiting books I loved, obsessively also started early) I wondered about her family; if they looked for her, ever found her – did she ever search for them?
She seemed to give it up so quickly and embrace the new with no mention of the old.
Adult me, expected a little more spice in the original story but to my disappointment it is one of the few fairy tales that holds true in the translation over the years and languages.
Every couple of years, I still seek it out.
Now I see it as a test of character, of softness – not good or bad but neutral. No matter the blood lineage; if she was sensitive enough to feel the pea – she was a Princess and worthy of a Prince. Softness matters.
I suppose that’s a lesson that’s been chasing me for a long time.
What was your favorite childhood book?