President and the Pea

President and the Pea

There was once a Prime Minister who wished to forge a special relationship with a President; but then he must be a real President. He traveled all over the world in hope of finding such a President; but there was always something wrong. Presidents he found in plenty; but whether they were a real war loving President it was impossible for him to decide, for now one thing, now another, seemed to him not quite right about the Presidents. At last he returned to his terrace house in Downing Street quite cast down, because he wished so much to have a real President for his partner.

One evening a fearful tempest arose, it thundered and lightened, and the rain poured down from the sky in torrents: besides, it was as dark as pitch. All at once there was heard a violent knocking at the door, and the iron lady, the Prime Minister‘s predecessor, who just would not leave, went out herself to open it.

It was a President who was standing outside the door. What with the rain and the wind, he was in a sad condition; the water trickled down from his hair, and his clothes clung to his body. He said he was a real President.

“Ah! we shall soon see that!” thought the old iron lady; however, she said not a word of what she was going to do; but went quietly into the bedroom, took all the bed-clothes off the bed, and put three little peas on the bedstead. She then laid twenty mattresses one upon another over the three peas, and put twenty feather beds over the mattresses.

Upon this bed the President was to pass the night.

The next morning he was asked how he had slept. “Oh, very badly indeed!” he replied. “I have scarcely closed my eyes the whole night through. I do not know what was in my bed, but I had something hard under me, and am all over black and blue. It has hurt me so much!”

Now it was plain that the man must be a real President, since he had been able to feel the three little peas through the twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. None but a real President could have had such a delicate sense of feeling.

The Prime Minister accordingly made him his special friend; being now convinced that he had found a real President. The three peas were however put into the cabinet of curiosities, where they are still to be seen, provided they are not lost.

Wasn’t this a President of real delicacy?

Mostly By Hans Christian Andersen.

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