GK: The Inner Children's Theatre presents----the story of the Princess and the Pea!


GK: Once upon a time there was a man who had almost everything he ever wanted and yet he was sad. (ALL: Ohhhhhhhh)

TR: I have a beautiful glass home that has been featured in full-color in an architectural magazine. I own a luxury car, a 1997 Rotini, and it's equipped with its own juicer. I have a portfolio of blue-ribbon stocks that's appreciating like a house afire. I have a membership in public radio. And yet there is something missing --- an emptiness in my life. I wish --- I wish that I had a princess.

GK: A princess! Are you nuts?

TR: All my life I've wanted a princess!

GK: Have you ever gone shopping with a princess?

TR: No.

GK: You'll spend your life waiting. Have you ever gone to dinner with a princess?

TR: No.

GK: They order a salad and they spend the evening stealing food off your plate. Peasant women are so much more practical.

TR: No, thanks.

GK: Peasant women cook and clean and they never complain and they're not so long-legged so they can squat and pick potatoes more easily.

TR: I much prefer a princess.

GK: So he called up the princess agency----

TR: What do you have available in princesses? I'd like one with flaxen hair and a long nose and a neck like a swan and a beauty mark on her chin. (TK FEMALE VOICE ON OTHER END) Wonderful, send them over. (TK FEMALE VOICE ON OTHER END)

GK: And the next day, in came the first princess. Flaxen hair, long neck, beauty mark and all.

SS: Oh wow. Like cool. Love the house. Like, really. Nice car too. Far out.

TR: I'm sorry. Real princesses do not say "wow".

SS: They don't?

TR: No, they don't.

SS: Oh. Okay.

GK: And then in came the next princess.....

SS: Hi. I just want to say that I really really really appreciate your giving me this chance to talk to you about the possibility of my princessing for you, this is like a really wonderful wonderful opportunity for me, and if you choose me, I can tell you that--- what's wrong?

TR: A real princess does not fawn.

SS: No?

TR: No. They never fawn. Never truckle. Never cringe or beg. Sorry. (MUSIC)

GK: He was awfully sorry, the man who had almost everything he wanted. The agency had no more princesses to show him who had flaxen hair and a long nose and a neck like a swan and a beauty mark. And then one dark and stormy night (THUNDER, LIGHTNING), he heard a knock on his door (KNOCKS, SS PLEAS FOR HELP FROM OUTSIDE) and he opened it (DOOR CREAKING OPEN, THUNDER, LIGHTNING) and there was a young woman drenched, soaking wet, on the doorstep....

SS: Well? Invite me in!

TR: Please come in!

SS: That's better.


GK: Her long flaxen hair was wet and water dripped from the end of her long nose and ran down her swanlike neck. And she had a beauty mark on her chin. She picked up the hem of her dress and wrung it out. (WATER POURING)

SS: I need two towels! very thick! all-cotton! no polyester! And a bathrobe! Blue, if possible.

TR: Yes, of course. I'll be right back. (FAST FOOTSTEPS)

SS: And tea! A pot of herbal tea! With no additives! (MUSIC)

GK: He brought her the towels and bathrobe.


TR: Here.

SS: Turn around and close your eyes.


SS: All right!

GK: He turned around and she wore the bathrobe, a towel wrapped around her head, and she was looking at the tea.

SS: What a hideous teapot? where in the world did you get it?

TR: It was a gift from an old girlfriend.

SS: Oh dear. I'm afraid she didn't think much of you. And this china teacup? this from her too?

TR: Yes----

SS: Those stripes. It makes me nauseous just to look at it.

TR: Would you like a white one?

SS: Better. Yes.


SS; Is that real herbal tea or does it only say "herbal" on the package?

TR: It's chamomile.

SS: Oh. Chamomile.

TR: You'd prefer something else?

SS: No, it's okay, I guess.

TR: Would you prefer mint?

SS: Do you have mint?

TR: Of course.

SS: Real mint?

TR: Yes.

SS: No additives?

TR: Absolutely not. Pure organic mint tea.

SS: Well, if it's not too much trouble----

TR: I'll be right back. (FOOTSTEPS OFF)

GK: She sat at the head of the table regal and handsome despite her wet hair----

SS: This bathrobe is driving me crazy, it's cotton, but it's a combed cotton polyester blend, do you have a 100% cotton bathrobe? white? unbleached? if it's not too much trouble?

TR (OFF): I think so, yes.

SS: And a rice cake would be nice---

TR (OFF): Coming right up----

SS: Whole rice? Non-dairy? Sodium-free? No glutens.

TR (OFF): I'll see what I can find---

SS: And before I can marry you, you'll have to throw all of those pillows away. They have goose down. I can't have goose down. I can only have pillows filled with the tail feathers of hummingbirds.

TR (OFF): Okay. I'll see what I can do.

SS: And I need to have the mattress elevated at the foot.

TR (OFF): Okay. Glad to do it.

SS: Put a pea under it.

TR (OFF): I'll get one right away.


GK: So she was a real princess and that was what he wanted. Because it's a man's goal in life to please a woman, of course, and if she's easy to please, then what sense of accomplishment do you get from that?

SS: This pea is too small. I need a bigger pea. My feet need to be elevated. This is a baby pea. I need a chick pea.

TR (OFF): Be right there, darling.

SS: And the mint in this tea--- I think it's from a plant that grew too close to the road. I taste dust on it.

TR (OFF): I'll get a new batch.

GK: But to please a princess: that is a task a man could devote a lifetime to.

TR: Are you happy, my love?

SS: I am almost happy.

TR: What can I do to make you completely happy?

SS: I don't know. Let me think.

TR: As soon as you think of it, tell me.

SS: I will. I will.

GK: We cannot coax someone to love us by being easy to be with.
Love has not much to do with things being easy.

SS: You know what would be so lovely in this tea?

TR: What is that?

SS: A thimbleful of cat's milk.

TR: Cat's milk? (CAT MEOW)

SS: Yes. Is that too much to ask?

TR: Certainly not. Here, kitty, kitty....(CAT MEOW)

SS: Before you do that, could you move the pea slightly to the left?

TR: Yes, of course.

SS: Just a little. ---No, the other way. ----A little more. ---- No, that's too much. (SHE CONTINUES)

GK: The Inner Children's Theater has presented....The Princess and the Pea. (TRUMPET FANFARE)

© 1997 by Garrison Keillor