Once upon a time, there was a mama who was in the habit of calling her little boy “my Prince and the Pea” when he complained about some ow-y thing that couldn't really hurt that darn much. Until recently, she'd never explained this nickname, and I'm sure the boy just took it as one more strange thing his mama called him. But not long ago, that mama found herself scratching this sentence into her journal: Should I be reading Isaac fairytales??
And so, she proceeded, on the latest occasion of name-calling to tell him the story of the Princess and the Pea and threw in Cinderella for good measure, booby trapped as it was with a thorny side explanation about what a step-relative is. She also told him some of the reasons she really likes fairytales (e.g., there is usually a lot of magic in them; they are stories that can teach us things and lots of people know the same ones, so we can share that story together...) and some of the reasons she does not like them (they are full-on prescriptive about what girls “should” do and what boys “should” do, and often have annoying sentiments about who should marry whom and that everyone should get married. She left out the part about how the original ones are often hella gory and could creep out the toughest among us).
That afternoon, the mama and little boy decided to go to the library and look for different versions of one fairytale. It seemed logical to start with the Princess and the Pea. A relatively cute story, one could say, and no one's toes are chopped off to fit into slippers. It's the details that count in parenting. The two came home with three books: the Hans Christian Andersen story, another very close to the original story but illustrated beautifully and set in Africa (The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora), and one more, which you can see written up on the side bar -- a version of the story is that happens to be told from the perspective of the pea.
As theirs was a gardening family, it so worked.
And, so far, everyone has lived happily ever after.