“The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is a classic fairy tale originally collected by the Brothers Grimm. Here’s a short version of the story:
Once 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.
However, every morning, their shoes were found to be quite worn through as if they had been danced in all night. The king declared that whoever discovered where the princesses went at night could choose one of them as his wife.
Many princes tried and failed, for the princesses always outsmarted them. One day, a poor soldier decided to try his luck.
On his way to the castle, he met an old woman who gave him an invisibility cloak and advised him not to drink the wine the princesses offered.
That night, the eldest princess brought him wine, but he pretended to drink and soon pretended to fall asleep.
The princesses dressed in their finest gowns, opened a trapdoor in the floor, and descended a hidden staircase. The soldier, wearing his invisibility cloak, followed them.
He overheard the eldest say, “I wonder why our shoes are worn out in the morning.”
The youngest replied, “It feels like we’re being watched.”
They arrived in a magnificent underground world with silver, gold, and diamond trees. The soldier broke a twig from each as proof.
The princesses danced with twelve princes in a castle until their shoes wore out. The soldier followed them back and reported everything to the king, presenting the twigs as evidence.
The king summoned his daughters and asked, “Where do you go at night?”
The eldest replied, “We go nowhere, Father.”
But the soldier revealed the truth, and the princesses confessed. The soldier chose the eldest princess as his bride, and they lived happily ever after, while the enchantment on the princesses was broken.
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Follow Up Questions
Here are three follow-up questions for kids based on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”:
- Why do you think the princesses kept their dancing a secret?
- How did the soldier figure out where the princesses were going every night?
- If you could dance in a magical place every night, what would it look like?
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