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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
Twelve dancing princesses.
Start of Story
There was a king who had twelve beautiful daughters. They slept in
twelve beds all in one room; and when they went to bed, the doors were
shut and locked up; but every morning their shoes were found to be quite
worn through as if they had been danced in all night; and yet nobody
could find out how it happened, or where they had been.
Then the king made it known to all the land, that if any person could
discover the secret, and find out where it was that the princesses
danced in the night, he should have the one he liked best for his
wife, and should be king after his death; but whoever tried and did not
succeed, after three days and nights, should be put to death.
A king's son soon came. He was well entertained, and in the evening was
taken to the chamber next to the one where the princesses lay in their
There he was to sit and watch where they went to dance;
and, in order that nothing might pass without his hearing it, the door
of his chamber was left open. But the king's son soon fell asleep; and
when he awoke in the morning he found that the princesses had all been
dancing, for the soles of their shoes were full of holes. The same thing
happened the second and third night: so the king ordered his head to be
cut off. After him came several others; but they had all the same luck,
and all lost their lives in the same manner.
Now it chanced that an old soldier, who had been wounded in battle
and could fight no longer, passed through the country where this king
reigned: and as he was travelling through a wood, he met an old woman,
who asked him where he was going.
'I hardly know where I am going, or
what I had better do,' said the soldier; 'but I think I should like very
well to find out where it is that the princesses dance, and then in time
I might be a king.' 'Well,' said the old dame, 'that is no very hard
task: only take care not to drink any of the wine which one of the
princesses will bring to you in the evening; and as soon as she leaves
you pretend to be fast asleep.'
Then she gave him a cloak, and said, 'As soon as you put that on
you will become invisible, and you will then be able to follow the
princesses wherever they go.' When the soldier heard all this good
counsel, he determined to try his luck: so he went to the king, and said
he was willing to undertake the task.