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Twelve dancing princesses.
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Start of Story
Then they came to another grove of trees, where all the leaves were of
gold; and afterwards to a third, where the leaves were all glittering
diamonds. And the soldier broke a branch from each; and every time there
was a loud noise, which made the youngest sister tremble with fear; but
the eldest still said, it was only the princes, who were crying for joy.
So they went on till they came to a great lake; and at the side of the
lake there lay twelve little boats with twelve handsome princes in them,
who seemed to be waiting there for the princesses.
One of the princesses went into each boat, and the soldier stepped into
the same boat with the youngest. As they were rowing over the lake, the
prince who was in the boat with the youngest princess and the soldier
'I do not know why it is, but though I am rowing with all my might
we do not get on so fast as usual, and I am quite tired: the boat
seems very heavy today.' 'It is only the heat of the weather,' said the
princess: 'I feel it very warm too.'
On the other side of the lake stood a fine illuminated castle, from
which came the merry music of horns and trumpets. There they all landed,
and went into the castle, and each prince danced with his princess; and
the soldier, who was all the time invisible, danced with them too; and
when any of the princesses had a cup of wine set by her, he drank it
all up, so that when she put the cup to her mouth it was empty. At this,
too, the youngest sister was terribly frightened, but the eldest always
silenced her. They danced on till three o'clock in the morning, and then
all their shoes were worn out, so that they were obliged to leave off.