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The Princess & The Peas
by Nathan Cromwell

Once there was a princess who loved to eat vegetables, but above all she adored peas: the sweet snap of raw peas, boiled peas exploding in her mouth, and the heft of dried peas cooked into a hearty soup.

One afternoon her father mentioned in passing that he had arranged a marriage, and that her intended, the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, would arrive shortly to take her away forever. Emitting shrieks of girlish glee, she rushed about making preparations: combing Floppsy and tying a bow around his neck, choosing a dress in which to greet the prince, grooming Floppsy and selecting a fresh bow, directing the packing of her many belongings, and tending to Floppsy. Soon she got hungry and skipped to the dining hall, Floppsy snug in her arms. She placed him in a basket and began combing out his fur in case it had tangled during their walk.

The server presented her lunch. She snatched up her fork, but before she could complete the first downswing she noticed that the cook had forgotten to include peas. She put the fork down and urgently and thoroughly explained this to the server, who fled to the kitchen.

“Someone forgot to give the princess peas for her lunch,” he informed the chef in a clearly audible voice.

The chef swiftly boiled some peas and gave them to the server, who rushed upstairs and added them to the princess’ plate. She gobbled them quite up.

The server, relieved, started down the hall to return the pot. On the way he bumped into the newly arrived prince and his retinue.

“Do you know where the princess might be? I’m supposed to meet her.”

“Yes, sire,” the server replied, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. “She’s in the dining hall. I’ve just now given her her peas.”

“You gave the princess herpes?” the prince asked.

“Yes, sire.”

“You, just now, gave the princess--my betrothed--herpes?”

“That is correct.”

“Where did this happen?”

“In the dining hall, sire, on the table. But if you don’t believe me, go and ask. Many people were in attendance.”

Perplexed, the prince went to the dining room. He discovered about twenty courtiers and ladies-in-waiting surrounding a radiant young beauty who was enthusiastically combing a sad-faced rabbit that had lost patches of fur and whose skin in places had clotted into scabs. The princess looked up and squealed.

“Excuse me, everyone,” the prince bellowed before anyone could speak. “I met a server in the hall who said he’d just given this princess herpes. Is that true?”



“Just so.”

“And how!”

Not enticed by the prospect of a lifetime of lesions the prince, with nary another word, left and married someone else on the way home. The princess was inconsolable. Eventually she fell to drinking, onanism and repeatedly bungled patricide.

Moral: Don’t believe the hype--vegetables aren’t always good for you.