The Tale of Mama’s Boy

Hans Christian Andersen wrote the story of the Princess and the Pea about a prince searching for a true princess with whom to share his life. One appears on his doorstep on a stormy night asking for a bed. His mother, the Queen, decides to test her claim of royalty and makes her sleep on a bed of multiple mattresses and puts a pea under the bottom bed. The princess sleeps horribly and the next day the queen proclaims that only a true princess could have felt the pea through so many mattresses. The prince and princess marry and live happily ever after.

Why would a man decide to take a woman he doesn’t know as his wife on his mother’s say-so? Moreover, why would his mother tell him to take her after one bad night of sleeping on a pea? I keep turning it around in my head and the only conclusion I can draw is that the prince was a Mama’s Boy. This strange and unknowable male is the one of modern love tragedies. But what if the idea wasn’t as modern as we suppose? Maybe Hans was on to something with his story. Here’s my take:

 

The Tale of Mama’s Boy

I’m sure you’ve met him once or twice

Helped him, loved him and paid the price

But no matter what you do

Mama’s Boy cannot love you.

 

“It’s not my fault,” he’ll often say,

“But Mama does it another way.”

Nothing you do will ever compare

To Mama’s tender loving care.

 

His patron saint if you chance to look

Can be found in the pages of a book.

In a time long ago and far away

Once upon a time under skies of gray.

 

A prince returned from a restless quest

To find the princess he liked the best.

One too thin, one too fat

One too loud, one to quiet.

 

One was short with hair of gold.

One was tall with thoughts too bold.

One whose laughs were quite improper.

One whose shape was like a stopper.

 

Search he did and found he none

To compare with his perfect one.

He would say with little drama

None are like the queen, my mama

 

So he returned much dejected

And pushed away all he rejected

Back to mama who spoils and coddles

Her precious prince, her darling idol.

 

Yet their homecoming came to a halt

Pausing the balm to so much salt.

A rap at the door on a night so dreary

Stood a lass, soaked through and quite weary.

 

“I’m a princess,” she said, “let me in for I’m cold

And a royal family lives here I’m told.

I apologize for looking a fright

But perhaps I could stay for just a night?”

 

“A princess? That’s doubtful,” said Mama Queen

“But I have a test that will make her come clean!

Of course dear, please stay and we’ll find a bed

A place to lay down your most delicate head.”

 

Mattresses were stacked one on the other

‘ Til there were twenty altogether.

Coverlets topped the fluffy tower

All constructed in about an hour.

 

“And underneath a test,” Mama giggled.

With her hand she pushed and wriggled

A pea the size of a pinky nail.

“A test she will most surely fail.”

 

Climb she did to the top of the bed

To rest her wet and weary head.

She tossed, she turned, she curled up and stretched out

But all she could do was sit up and pout

 

Meanwhile, Mama dear and son

had a little one-on-one.

“My darling boy, never fear

For Mama knows and I am here.

 

The test she takes, I’ve taken too

and will tell us if she’s a princess true

Her face is fair, her shape is pleasing

her manners are fine when she’s not sneezing

 

I only want the best for you

it’s what any mother would do.”

Junior crowed, “You’re more than any other mother

like you there will never be another.”

 

The morning dawned, the skies were clear

Into the room Queen Mama peered

Alas she found the lass a mess

Her hair! Her clothes! She looked quite stressed.

 

“I hate to be a world-class bitch

but I would have slept better in a ditch

I did not sleep at all last night

Something stuck me like a stalagmite!”

 

The queen was pleased, the prince elated

to see the princess so deflated.

“I found my wife, my mother’s match

and of course dear Mama made the catch.”

 

They soon were wed, but princess found

the ring did not mean that she was crowned

in his affections. Despite their joy

Princey would always be Mama’s Boy.

 

So even is you’re hand picked

don’t be fooled, don’t be tricked,

Because no matter what you do

Mama’s Boy cannot love you.

 

 

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