The Prince and the Pea

Once, long ago, (think back, if you will)

Stood a beautiful palace on top of a hill;

And under that palace, a kingdom that’s not

In the predicament that you might’ve just thought.

For there were no dragons or monsters or fairies

Or wishes or trinkets or magical berries.

It wasn’t as magical as it might seem;

In fact, all who lived there just wanted to scream.

 

See, there once was a queen who was pretty and fair

With a heart full of gold and the wind in her hair

And a wiseness about her that no one could rival;

She had to have these things for “her own survival”.

“But I’m really not worried,” she’d say with a twirl,

“This kingdom has always been run by a girl”.

The citizens loved her, all of them did ---

But everything changed when the queen had a kid.

 

They all celebrated with cheer and great joy

Until word broke out that the queen --- had a boy.

Still the people brought gifts out of their own good will

But after that, everything tumbled downhill.

The young prince grew up and he acted quite strange;

He was mean and thought things that were seen as deranged.

He loved shows and movies called I don’t know what,

Where men cursed at women and called them all sluts.

He’d glare at the women he’d see in the square,

Mansplain things, catcall them and yell “grow a pair”

And soon all these gestures became quite telltale;

He didn’t like anyone who wasn’t male.

 

So he had an idea (like a wicked old churl);

He’d simply retreat and ignore all the girls.

He built a new palace with a fridge and TV,

And a bar (which he’d charge company a small fee),

Sports items, pool tables (for which the girls pitched in)

And for the dear queen --- nothing more than a kitchen.

“You’ll have fun in there,” he convinced himself, too,

“For you’ll be doing what women were made to do!”

And the queen was appalled, but she smiled (more, winced);

She just couldn’t say no to her “sweet, precious prince”.

He boarded the windows and padlocked the doors,

“I simply won’t listen to any old whores.”

The sight of those females made him want to hurl,

So he made up some laws disenfranchising girls.

The girls picketed, chanted and had a great cow

Calling, “Prince, we want justice and we want it now!”

And they campaigned like loyal minority leaders ---

But were no match for the Prince’s Sony speakers.

So for months he was down in his man-cave, just sitting,

While the once regal queen was made to do his bidding.

She cooked and she ironed, she washed and she cleaned,

She didn’t have much time at all to be queen.

Laws went unsigned, petitions unheard,

Speeches not given --- not even a word.

Public appearances never took place;

In fact, one was lucky to e’er see his face.

She busied around (looking much less than striking)

To make sure that everything was to his liking;

He woke at eleven, had breakfast at noon,

Played billiards at one and then listened to tunes,

At 2 SVU, at 4 South of Hell,

At 6 Diff’rent Strokes and at 8 NFL

A platter of French fries and beer battered carp,

Then Bud Light and bedtime at 10:30 sharp.

And every night the queen cried out with anguish;

He simply yelled “shut up and make me a sandwich!”

 

But he wanted more; he thought his life lame.

What he wanted was someone to carry his name.

A beautiful woman, simply grand,

To wear his ring on her left hand,

But more importantly to do what he bids;

Cook for him, clean for him and carry his kids.

So he started his quest for a girl of the sort,

But he soon realized he was coming up short.

He gathered the few women who didn’t hate him

And profiled the ones that he saw fit to date him.

But later he realized they weren’t what he wanted;

So he criticized, belittled, chided and taunted.

 

“You cannot be more than the width of a pin!

I’m sorry, my dear, but you’re simply too thin.”

“Oh no! You'll eat this and you'll surely eat that.

I'm sorry, my dear, but you're simply too --- fat.”

“You’ve got a big brain but you haven’t a heart;

I'm sorry, my dear, but you're simply too smart.”

“And surely your brain cells are lazy and numb,

I’m sorry, my dear, but you’re simply too dumb”.

Too short, too tall, too in between;

But the problem was really that he was too mean.

 

So that night he trudged home and he looked at the clock;

It was silent inside --- but nine on the dot.

No NFL on, no beer battered carp,

No ice-chilled Bud Light at 10:30 sharp!

Oh, he was so angry, he summoned his mom ---

But he rang the bell twice and still no one had come.

Instead he smelled tea and heard laughter sans cares

And he realized he heard it coming from upstairs.

 

So he trudged up, running his fingers through his curls

And saw his mother sitting with --- some girl.

“What’s going on here?” he asked, mad as could be,

“Mother what are you doing and ---- wait, who is she?”

Her hair was light pink and her nose, it was pierced;

And she had a tattoo that read “this girl is fierce”.

She surely was trouble, he knew it, he thought,

But in all actuality, this girl was not.

 

“I had booked a hotel, this was not my intention,

I’m to speak at this weekend’s feminist convention.

But it poured down rain and my car got tossed

And before I knew it --- I was lost.

I just need a place to spend the night

And I’ll leave right at daybreak --- if it’s alright.”

His mother looked at him with pleading eyes

And the girl looked as though she was ready to cry.

So the prince scoffed a bit and he turned up his nose

But eventually said “it’s alright --- I suppose.”

 

So he showed the girl downstairs to his “guest cot”

And although it was filthy, she thanked him a lot.

And soon she was asleep in the little nook,

But the prince recalled something he’d read in a book!

He couldn’t believe he’d not tried it before;

Of course it would work, it was classical lore!

He’d place a small pea on her well-bedded cot

(He was going somewhere and it was worth a shot).

If it bruised her, he thought, then her sensitive skin

Would prove her to be just the maiden for him.

And the perfect item to round off the equation?

A family heirloom pea, saved just for the occasion.

 

He went and he got it from its locked glass case

And planned to set it by the sleeping girl’s face,

His fingers, they shook and before he could stop it,

Onto the cot it fell; yes the prince, he had dropped it.

But before she rolled on it with even one bone,

The pea made it clear it had plans of its own.

 

It tumbled and twisted its way to the floor,

Then right through a crack and out of the door

Then all down the hall, past every room,

And no one could catch it --- my God, did it zoom!

Then right down the railing of all the grand stairs

And out of the palace without any cares.

 

“My pea,” he exclaimed, waking his guest,

Pitching a fit and beating his chest.

The girl sat up straight and asked, over his whelps,

“Your majesty, is there a way I could help?”

“Help me get my pea! It’s an antique, let’s go!

It’s of such great value --- oh, what do you know?

I was silly to ask, you’re dumber than a knob ---

Besides, finding things is a masculine job.”

 

And she took great offense, saying “I never knew

A person as stupid and sexist as you.

I’ll find your pea faster than you ever could and if not ---

Cast me out, right into the wood.

I’ll sleep with the wolves all the way through the night

And when morning comes, proclaim to all you were right.

That women are less than, that’s how to feel ---

But if  I win, you give us girls our justice --- Deal?”

And she stuck out her hand and he glared at her so,

but with such a good deal, he just couldn’t say ‘no’.

He just knew for sure things would go as he planned;

After all, that was just how things worked in this land.

 

So off they went, into the dark of the night,

With a warm coat for each and a torch for a light.

They walked along paths next to babbling streams,

Following the light of the cool moonbeams,

And they walked up hills and they walked back down

And they searched in the trees and they searched on the ground,

And they searched in the gardens, they searched in holes,

They searched anywhere that a pea could’ve rolled.

 

And it soon became clear for the young prince to see

That the girl with pink hair couldn’t find that small pea.

And he said with a chuckle “you’re bound for a fright

When I throw you outside to the monsters tonight”

This was not what she planned, this whole thing was a wreck ---

But she thought of one place that she still hadn't checked.

 

She led him deep into the dark of the woods

And they came to a place where a small cabin stood;

And the whole place was silent, the whole place was still,

With a candle still burning inside of the sill.

And he knocked on the door crying “open up now!

I've got royal business! Could you help somehow?”

And there came to the door a tiny little girl

With bright blue eyes and her hair in curls

And a clear, heart shaped locket with a window to see

That inside rested the prince’s very own pea.

 

He asked “where'd you get that” and the little girl said

“I found it  while I was up and out of bed.

But I did something with it --- I sort of took ----

Oh, I can't explain it, you simply must look!”

So she pulled them inside by their hands and declared

“I'll run and go get it, you just stay right there!”

And the prince and the girl with pink hair looked confused;

For what could that dried up old pea have been used?

The small girl returned with a water-filled cup

Filled with clusters of fluttery blue things --- but what?

“I came in with the pea in the palm of my hand,

But out of nowhere that old pea, it just --- ran!

It seemed like it dove straight into my cup

And out of nowhere, it sprouted right up!

I saw roots just growing terrible ease

And one minute there’s those and the next --- there were these!”

 

“So I plucked them all off of the roots where they grew

And figured that I knew just what to do!

My mother, she promised whatever her sorrow,

She'd take my right to that convention tomorrow.

And the women there surely will be very sad,

So I thought these things here might make them very glad.

Their lives might seem simple to you, prince, no doubt,

But they've really got lots to be angry about.”

 

“You say that their voices are just useless chatter,

But you won't let them vote on the issues that matter.

And my mother could work for half of her lifespan,

But she’ll never earn quite as much cash as a man.

They don't get good schooling like the male civilians

And hardly get time off to care for their children.

You've outlawed abortions and birth control, too,

And can't say “menstruate” unless followed with “ew”.

And the icing on top of this crappy old cake

Is that there are no laws for harassment and rape.

There's disabled girls, LGBT women too,

And they're lucky to e’er hear two words out of you.

You treat all these people as if they're the “other”

And don't get me started on women of color!

And you say ‘wait for change’, ‘just be patient’, you say

But these are all things we deal with every day.

People say ‘grow a pair’, but that gives me angina,

So you toughen up, sir, and grow a vagina!

I can't give them voices, I can't give them power,

But me and my pea surely can give them flowers!”

 

And the prince took it in and he thought and he thought

How this girl could be wrong --- but she truly was not.

He'd truly been awful for all that he'd done

But he didn't have one word to say --- no, not one.

Instead, he did something he thought just as swell;

He pinned a small flower right to his lapel.

 

The next day he was there at the women’s convention

And as you might think, there surely was tension.

The girls he'd rejected not so long ago

Were all there scowling, snickering “what do you know”.

But the girl with pink hair helped him seek out the girl

With bright blue eyes and her hair in curls

And they stood there for hours and hours and hours

Hearing feminist speeches and giving out flowers.

And he said to the crowd “after all that I've learned,

I think all sexist laws should be overturned”

And he gave a speech, apologetic and prim,

And while undeserving, they all forgave him.

Even the queen turned out and he said to her

“I'm restoring it all to the way things once were”.

And he marched with the girls feeling open and free

Thinking about how much he loved equality.

The small girl gave his pea back, but the prince, being nimble,

Threw it far, far away; “we don't need sexist symbols”.

And they all joined hands, loving how things all were

When he found common sense and declared

“I'm with her”.

 

THE END

 

This poem is about: 
Our world

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