Prompts for the Promptless

The Litmus Test is a test in which a single factor (as an attitude, event, or fact) is decisive. In other words, it’s a single question test, not necessarily related to the information that is gleaned from the test.
(First sentence from

There are many types of Litmus tests. In fan-fiction writing, the Mary Sue Litmus test is a way of deciding whether your character is just an idealized version of the author. (One version of this Litmus is that if the character is named after you, it’s a Mary Sue.)

In the show How I Met Your Mother, the character Barney Stinson talks about the Ewok Line– which is a Litmus to determine whether or not someone is over 30 years old. (The idea is that if you think Ewoks are scary, then you are over 30.)

In almost every sub-culture, there is a well-known Litmus test to determine if that person is really part of the subculture. (You know you’re a redneck if…)

Personally, you probably have implemented Litmus tests of your own to help you focus on people who would be most compatible for you. Examples would be: “If he doesn’t like olives, he doesn’t get a second date.” or “As soon as someone says they love Fitzgerald, I am eager to be their friend!”

Suggested Prompts:

•Tackle one of the better known Litmus tests– talk about it.

I have never heard of a Litmus test until now. In my research, I came across a Famous Litmus Test. The story’s Famous Litmus Test had to do with a legume. Can you guess the story?
Princess and the Pea
The Princess and the Pea
by Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrated by Edmund Dulac

There was once a prince, and he wanted a princess, but then she must be a real Princess. He travelled right around the world to find one, but there was always something wrong. There were plenty of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he had great difficulty in discovering; there was always something which was not quite right about them. So at last he had come home again, and he was very sad because he wanted a real princess so badly.

One evening there was a terrible storm; it thundered and lightninged and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed it was a fearful night.

In the middle of the storm somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself sent to open it.

It was a princess who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the storm. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real princess.

‘Well we shall soon see if that is true,’ thought the old Queen, but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bed clothes off and laid a pea on the bedstead: then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on top of the pea, and then twenty feather beds on top of the mattresses. This was where the princess was to sleep that night. In the morning they asked her how she slept.

‘Oh terribly bad!’ said the princess. ‘I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!’

They saw at once that she must be a real princess when she had felt the pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin.

So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it.

Now this is a true story.

For the Promptless
Prompts for the Promptless

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8 thoughts on “Prompts for the Promptless

Add yours

  1. Now if one must ask what is an ewok, what does that say about their age?

    I remember thinking I would probably not get along long term with a person who doesn’t like chocolate.


  2. “A Litmus and a Legume” has a sort of ring to it, haha! 😀 I had never once considered the princesses’ pea to be a story of a litmus test, but you’re right– that has to be the most famous test of all!


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