The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Once upon a time, there was a king who had twelve beautiful daughters. They slept in twelve beds in the same room, and when they went to bed, the doors were shut and locked. However, every morning, their shoes were found worn out as if they had been dancing all night.
The king, puzzled and troubled by this, announced that anyone who could discover where the princesses went dancing could marry one of them and become king after his death. However, if they failed after three nights and days, they would lose their life.
Many princes took up the challenge but failed to solve the mystery and consequently lost their lives.
One day, a soldier traveling on the road met an old woman. She gave him an invisibility cloak and advised him not to drink the wine given by the princesses and to pretend to be asleep at night.
The soldier was taken to the palace and at night was allotted a room adjoining the princesses’ bedroom. When the eldest princess offered him a cup of wine, he only pretended to drink it.
After ensuring that the soldier was asleep, the princesses revealed a trapdoor under their carpet. The soldier, invisible under his cloak, followed them through the trapdoor, which led to an enchanted forest with trees of silver, gold, and diamonds. They then crossed a lake using twelve small boats to reach a castle where they danced all night with twelve princes.
The soldier took a twig as proof from each tree and rowed across the lake with the youngest princess. The next morning, he revealed everything to the king.
The soldier chose the eldest princess as his bride, for he was not a young man. The spell was broken, and the princesses confessed. The soldier became the king after the king’s death and lived happily with his queen.