The story tells of a prince who wants to marry a princess, but is having difficulty finding a suitable wife. One stormy night a young woman drenched with rain seeks shelter in the prince’s castle. She claims to be a princess, so the prince’s mother decides to test their unexpected guest by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night. She covers the bed in 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds. In the morning she asks the princess how she slept.