500 Word Fairytales: The Princess and the Pea

Once upon a time…

A beautiful princess went for a walk and got caught in an unexpected storm. With a wistful thought of home, her carriage, and her favorite red umbrella, the princess got swept away by the deluge. 

When the water finally settled, she found herself in an unfamiliar place. In the flashes of lighting, she saw a castle with tall towers and the flickering light of a roaring fire. With a sigh, the princess emptied water from her slippers, squeezed droplets from her limp hair, and squelched over to the cobblestone path.

The bedraggled princess sloshed her way through the rain to the castle door. Her knock was muffled by the heavy door; however, after a minute, the queen herself answered.

“Go away,” she told the sodden visitor. “We aren’t interested in whatever you’re selling.”

“Wait!” The desperate princess fell to her knees. “I’m cold and I’m wet and I’ve lost my crown. Please let me stay the night here! I’m a princess.”

The queen appraised the women. Could it be true? Despite the dripping clothes and ratty tendrils of hair, there was an air of royalty about her. Besides, the bookish prince needed to marry a princess: a real princess. There was only one way to know for sure if this was the real deal or an imposter.

“Right this way,” said the queen.

While the princess dried off in front of the fire, the queen ordered a room to be prepared with 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds, stacked up in one of the towers. Beneath this fluffy monstrosity of a bed, the queen placed a single pea. 

The damp princess had to climb a ladder to reach the top, no doubt wondering what kind of strange people would make a bed fifty feet high. Polite and exhausted, she settled in for the night. In the morning, she emerged from the guest tower with purple circles under her eyes.

“How did you sleep?” asked the queen lightly over a cup of licorice root tea.

“I cannot lie! I hardly slept a wink. I tossed and turned, and now I feel bruised from head to toe!” 

With that, the queen knew she had found the woman for her son to marry, because only a real princess could have skin delicate enough to feel a lowly pea under all those layers. 

The prince soon came down for breakfast and heard the whole story.

“Mother! You forced her to sleep on some precariously piled pillows? And furthermore, you intentionally inflicted bodily harm on a beautiful guest in need? My lady, you have my sincerest apologies for this mistreatment. How can I ever make it up to you?”

The princess was quite taken with the prince’s compassion. She asked for a lift home. The prince escorted her personally, and they spent an enjoyable ride in deep conversation.

In the end, she did marry the prince and become queen. The happy couple outlawed peas and lived delightfully ever after.

The end!

Graphic reading "500 Word Fairytale: The Princess and the Pea" in white text on a dark green background. The right side has an image of a stack of four white, ruffled pillows. The bottom left corner reads "@EditEverAfter"
500 Word Fairytale: The Princess and the Pea

500 Word Fairytales: Cinderella

Once upon a time…  

There was a family, beautiful and rich. The parents had one child, a girl who was lovely and good in every way. Tragically, the mother died and the father remarried.

His new wife had two daughters of her own, but they were cruel. The father disappeared from the story, while the step-mother and step-sisters abused the poor child. They forced her to sleep in the kitchen with only the cinders of the cooking fire to warm her. She is named for the first time: Cinderella.  

Cinderella was good and strong and kind. She bore the abuse and completed the chores they gave her. She scrubbed and cooked and folded and sweated from sun up to sun down. She fell from her former status of well-to-do young lady to poor scullery maid.  

One day, the prince of the land announced a ball. Cinderella’s step-family pulled out all the stops to prepare for the party with gowns and feathers and jewels. Cinderella helped the step-sisters dress for the ball. Cinderella wanted to go, too, but she had nothing to wear and no way to get to the palace. Devastated, she sobbed, and her fairy godmother appeared.  

One pumpkin, some transformed creatures, and a fair amount of magic later, Cinderella was dressed and ready to go to the party in a gown that revealed her beauty and her true riches. The crowning glory of her outfit was a pair of perfect glass slippers that fit her like a glove—Cinderella apparently has the tiniest feet in the kingdom. The fairy godmother cautioned Cinderella that the magic would only last until midnight. Once the clock finished chiming the hour, all the objects would return to their normal state.   

At the palace, Cinderella was announced as a princess from far away. The Prince was immediately taken by her beauty. He quickly fell in love with her grace and her manners: remember, she was raised as a lady in a wealthy household. The king, the queen, and all the guests are entranced by her loveliness.

Cinderella and The Prince danced together all evening. However, the clock started to strike midnight and Cinderella remembered the magic will disappear. She fled the scene, leaving behind a single glass slipper. She returned home before anyone realized she ever left.  

The prince was determined to find and marry this wonderful, mysterious woman. He took the dainty glass slipper from household to household for all the ladies to try. When he reached Cinderella’s house, he went down the line from step-sister to step-sister to step-mother. Their feet were all too large.

Finally, Cinderella put it on and it was a perfect fit, of course. She produced the matching slipper from her pocket and put it on, too. Her rags were once more transformed by the fairy godmother into a beautiful gown. The Prince swept her off to palace where they lived happily ever after.  

The end.  

A square graphic featuring a white pumpkin on a stool on the left and a green background on the right, reading "500 Word Fairytale" and "Cinderella"
500 Word Fairytale: Cinderella