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Twelve dancing princesses.
Start of Story
When they came to the stairs, the soldier ran on before the princesses,
and laid himself down; and as the twelve sisters slowly came up very
much tired, they heard him snoring in his bed; so they said, 'Now all
is quite safe'; then they undressed themselves, put away their fine
clothes, pulled off their shoes, and went to bed. In the morning the
soldier said nothing about what had happened, but determined to see more
of this strange adventure, and went again the second and third night;
and every thing happened just as before; the princesses danced each time
till their shoes were worn to pieces, and then returned home.
However,on the third night the soldier carried away one of the golden cups as a
token of where he had been.
The princes rowed them back again over the lake (but this time the
soldier placed himself in the boat with the eldest princess); and on the
opposite shore they took leave of each other, the princesses promising
to come again the next night.
As soon as the time came when he was to declare the secret, he was taken
before the king with the three branches and the golden cup; and the
twelve princesses stood listening behind the door to hear what he would
say. And when the king asked him. 'Where do my twelve daughters dance at
night?' he answered, 'With twelve princes in a castle under ground.
' And then he told the king all that had happened, and showed him the three
branches and the golden cup which he had brought with him. Then the king
called for the princesses, and asked them whether what the soldier said
was true: and when they saw that they were discovered, and that it was
of no use to deny what had happened, they confessed it all. And the king
asked the soldier which of them he would choose for his wife; and he
answered, 'I am not very young, so I will have the eldest.'--And they
were married that very day, and the soldier was chosen to be the king's