what i love about this fairy tale is that in the original, the prince has set out to find a TRUE princess. and the queen concocts this crazy test– a tiny pea underneath 20 mattresses and 20 quilts to prove the gal’s “delicacy.” if she’s sensitive enough to feel the pea, she Must be a true princess.
in all the visual retellings (faerie tale classic theatre, once upon a mattress, for example), she’s a total tomboy. and still the only one who passes the delicacy test! i love it. because princesses come in all shapes and sizes, all personalities, and can come into the castle in the midst of any kind of storm!
have a peek at my process below and then i’ll tell you a few more story details beneath all the pictures. 🙂
i’m really excited to share this faerie tale feet piece with you.
“Pea is for Princess.,” from the faerie tale feet series by hallie m. bertling, a.k.a., halthegal.
inspired by hans christian andersen’s “the princess and the pea.”
11 x 14,” gouache on watercolour paper.
the faerie tale classic theatre episode (starring liza minnelli!) was a perpetual childhood favourite (right after “the twelve dancing princesses.”) the broadway show “once upon a mattress” is fantastically quirky and silly and lyrically very funny and sweet.
and i even found some versions of hans christian andersen’s theme in other cultures’ folk tales- “the most sensitive woman” is an italian fairy tale which features a pulled hair, a wrinkled linen sheet, and then a jasmine blossom bruising a true princess’ foot. and from india, “the three delicate wives of king virtue-banner,” in which a lotus-petal, moonbeams, and then the most delicate was the one who bruised from just hearing the pestles grinding grain.
all that to say, i hope you get a better night’s sleep than these ladies. and can rest well knowing your princess status, and without having to pass such a test. i hope the king lets you in when it’s storming outside and you’ve been wandering the moors. i hope the pea is still in the museum and hasn’t been stolen. and if a bewildered, curious kitty does have to watch you climb a ladder to reach the top of an unruly pile of mattresses, i hope you’re not scared of heights. or allergic to tiny green vegetables.
prints now available in my etsy shoppe!! https://etsy.me/2GuOScB
original painting available framed for $525. contact me through etsy or instagram. you can see more in-progress shots and short videos at instagram.com/halthegal2. follow along for what’s next!