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Twelve Dancing Princesses (1) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (1)

Once upon a time there was a King who had twelve beautiful daughters, and an unusual problem.

Every  night, when the twelve princesses were sent to bed their shoes were perfectly sound.

Every mornig when they came down to breakfast their shoes were full of holes.

Every day the king had to buy twelve pair of new shoes.
That was expensive, though the expense did not worry the King.

What did worry him was not knowing WHY the shoes were full of holes.

He tried locking the bedroom door on the outside when all the princesss were safely inside,and sleeping with the key under his pillow.

It made no difference.

The ptincesses' shoes were still full of holes in the morning.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (2) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (2)

The king was so puzzled, and so vexed, because he couldn't find out WHY it was happening that he issued a proclamation.

It said,

Princes came from far and wide to try find an answer to the mystery.

Not one of them succeeded.

The puzzled King was beginning to despair of ever finding an answer
when a poor soldier came to the palace.

The proclamation had said nothing about being a prince if you wanted to solve the mystery, so he had decided to make an sttempt at it himself.

The king received the soldier as kindly, and as grandly, as any of the Prince, and that night he was taken to a room adjoining the princesses' bedroom so that he could keep watch.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (3) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (3)

Now it so happened, that the soldier had been kind to a wise oldwoman on  his way to the palace, and she had given him a cloak, and some advice.

" When the Princesses offer you wine, " sha had said, " pretend to drink it and then pretend to fall asleep.
 Wear the cloak when you want to be invisible. "

That night, when the princesses were ready for bed, the eldest said to the soldier,
" You must be thirsty. Take this cup of wine and drink. "

The soldier remembered the wise woman's words and pretended to drink.

And then, he pretended to get drowsy.
Presently he closed his eyes as though he was asleep.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (4) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (4)

As soon as they heard him snore the princesses jumped from their beds and put on their shoes and their prettiest dresses.

" Are you all ready ? " asked the eldest.

" We are ready, " replied her sisters.

The eldest princess pressed a carved leaf on the end of her bed.

The bed moved slowly to one side and revealed a hidden staircase leading down into the earth.

The prinsesses picked up their skirts and hurried down the steps, the eldest leading the way, and the youngest following last of all.

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Twelve Dancing Princesses (5) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (5)

The soldier, who of course was awake and had seen everything, put the cloak the old woman had given him round his shoulders.

It covered him from head to toe and made him completely invisible.

He ran after the princesses and caught upwith them at the bottom if the steps.

He was in such a hurry not to be left behind that he accidentally stepped on the hem of the youngest princess's dress, and tore it.

" Oh. . .
, " she gasped.
" Someone has stepped on my dress. "

" Don't be silly, " said her sisters.
" You caught it on a nail. . . come hurry. . .
we must not be late. "

At the bottom of the steps there was a wood in which all the trees had silver leaves.

The soldier broke off
one, and put it in his pocket.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (6) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (6)

" What was that ? " cried the youngest princess in alarm, as she heard the snap of the breaking twig.

" It was nothing. . . , " said her sisters.

Next, they passed through an avenue in which all the trees had golden leaves.

Again the princess heard the snap of a breaking twig, but again her sisters told her it was her own imagination playing tricks on her.

The running princesses came to the shores of a wide blue lake.

At the edge of the lake were twelve boats, with twelve handsome princes sitting, waiting, at the oars.

The soldiersat in the boat which was to carry the youngest princess.

" I wonder what makes the boat so heavy today, " said the prince, as he pulled, harder than usual, at the oars.

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Twelve Dancing Princesses (7) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (7)

On the far side of the lake there was amagnificent palace from which the sounds of music and merry-making came. . ., and it was that the mystery of the worn out shoes was solved.

The twelve princesses danced the entire night with the twelve handsome princes.

Just before dawn, and when all thier shoes were in shreds, the princes rowed the princesses back across the lake, and the princesses ran home.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (8) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (8)

As soon as they reached thier bedroom they hurried to look at the soldier.

He had run home ahead of them and they found him on his bed still sleeping, or so they thought.

" We are safe. . ., " said the eldest princess.

The soldier followed the princesses to the secret palace the next night, and the third night too.

On the third night he took the jewelled cup from which the youngest princess drank and slipped it into a pocket in the invisible cloak.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (9) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (9)

On the morning after the third night, the King sent for soldier , and said,
" Your time is up, Either tell me why my daughters' shoes are worn through every morning, or be banished forever. "

Your daughters' shoes are worn because they dance every night in an underground palace, " said the soldier.

And he told the King all that he had seen.


Twelve Dancing Princesses (10 完) [Dancing Princesses]

Twelve Dancing Princesses (10 完)

The princesses gasped and turned pale as the soldier took the silver leaf, the golden leaf, and the jewelled cup from his pocket.

He handed them to the King.

They knew now they could not deny that what the soldier said was true.

" We must confess, " said the eldest princess.

The King was so relieved to have the mystery of the worn shoes explained, he couldn't stay cross with his daughters for long.

" Now
I shall be able to sleep at night, " he said.

The King kept the promise he had made in the proclamation, and the soldier married the princess of his choice.

And many years later, when the old King died, he became King in his place.

(10/10 完)


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