"The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (or "The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes" or "The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces") (German: Die Zwölf Tanzen Prinzessinnen in German) is a German fairy tale bedtime story originally published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 in Kinder- und Hausmärchen as tale number 133. Its closest analogue is the Scottish Kate Crackernuts, where it is a prince who is obliged to dance every night.
Charles Deulin collected another, French version in his Contes du Roi Cambrinus (1874), which he credited to the Grimm version. Alexander Afanasyev collected two Russian variants, entitled "The Night Dances", in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Twelve princesses, each more beautiful than the last, sleep in twelve beds in the same room. Every night, their doors are securely locked by their father. But in the morning, their dancing shoes are found to be worn through as if they had been dancing all night. The king, perplexed, asks his daughters to explain, but they refuse. The king then promises his kingdom and each daughter to any man who can discover the princesses' midnight secret within three days and three nights, but those who fail within the set time limit will be put to death.
An old soldier returned from war comes to the king's call after several princes have failed in the attempt. Whilst traveling through a wood he comes upon an old woman, who gives him an enchanted cloak that he can use to observe the king's daughters unaware and tells him not to eat or drink anything given to him in the evening by any of the princesses and to pretend to be fast asleep until after they leave.
The soldier is well received at the palace just as the others had been and indeed, in the evening, the princess royal (the eldest daughter) comes to his chamber and offers him a cup of wine. The soldier, remembering the old woman's advice, throws it away secretly and begins to snore loudly as if asleep.
The twelve princesses, sure that the soldier is asleep, dress themselves in fine dancing gowns and escape from their room by a trap door in the floor. The soldier, seeing this, dons his magic cloak and follows them. He steps on the gown of the youngest princess, whose cry of alarm to her sisters is rebuffed by the eldest. The passageway leads them to three groves of trees; the first having leaves of silver, the second of gold, and the third of glittering diamonds. The soldier, wishing for a token, breaks off a twig of each as evidence. They walk on until they come upon a great clear lake. Twelve boats, with twelve princes, appear where the twelve princesses are waiting. Each princess gets into one, and the soldier steps into the same boat as the twelfth and youngest princess. The youngest princess complains that the prince is not rowing fast enough, not knowing the soldier is in the boat. On the other side of the lake stands a castle, into which all the princesses go and dance the night away....
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Links to all our FairyTales and Bedtime Stories for Kids :
1- Little Red Riding Hood : https://youtu.be/RT-EwqgHqCk
2- Cinderella : https://youtu.be/HKSRbsJVli0
3- Rapunzel : https://youtu.be/N2DYQumSvCQ
4- Bremen Town Musicians : https://youtu.be/K5gr-A03RFM
5- Snow White : https://youtu.be/payHOUiOuxQ
6- The Little Mermaid : https://youtu.be/pf_xz7GFCHw
7- Snow Queen : https://youtu.be/-Rkb88fPMd8
8- Sleeping Beauty : https://youtu.be/fz531jczzQ0
9- Jungle Book : https://youtu.be/BS_ofTKqR1w
10- Heidi : https://youtu.be/bVgWSqtHo2Q
11- Beauty and the Beast : https://youtu.be/fkCPEujxTho
12- Alice in Wonderland : https://youtu.be/8AaPHUYMnW8
13- Pinocchio : https://youtu.be/aewbOlGXv6s
14- Hansel and Gretel : https://youtu.be/jfg-CYLs9_s
15- Aladdin and the Magic Lamp : https://youtu.be/w5Ga-iHRaPM
16- Puss in Boots : https://youtu.be/C6O9Af_SsnI
17- The Little Match Girl : https://youtu.be/LRjeVRpFRuM
18- The Frog Prince : https://youtu.be/Dhq_FEUEc8Y
19- Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves : https://youtu.be/vsHS6lLrrf4
20- The Wolf and The Seven Little Goats : https://youtu.be/OZl3gjh5IhM
21- Three Little Pigs : https://youtu.be/-gdcgnSrUvU