The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces
A poor soldier solves the riddle of where the king's twelve daughters dance every night and is given one of them as a wife.
Once upon a time there was a king who had twelve daughters, each more beautiful than the last. They slept together in a room where their beds stood side by side, and in the evening when they lay in it the king locked and bolted the door. But when he unlocked the door in the morning, he saw that her shoes had been crushed, and no one could find out how it had happened. Then the king proclaimed that whoever could find out where they danced in the night should choose one of them for his wife and be king after his death: but whoever applied and after three days and nights could not bring it out would have been life forfeited. It wasn't long before a king's son got in touch and offered to take the risk. He was well taken in, and in the evening taken to a room adjoining the dormitory. His bed was made up there, and he should watch where they went and danced; and so that they could not do anything secretly or go out to another place, the hall door was also left open. But the king's son's eyes fell like lead and he fell asleep, and when he woke up in the morning all twelve of them had gone to the dance because their shoes were standing there and had holes in the soles. The second and third evening was the same, and his head was cut off without mercy. Many more came afterwards and volunteered for the daring, but they all lost their lives. Now it happened that a poor soldier, wounded and unable to serve, was on his way to the city where the king lived. Then he met an old woman who asked him where he wanted to go. "I don't really know myself," he said, and added jokingly, "I would like to find out where the king's daughters dance their shoes, and then become king." "It's not that difficult," said the old woman, "You don't have to drink the wine that is brought to you in the evening, and you have to act as if you were sound asleep." Then she gave him a cloak and said, "If you put it on, you are invisible and can then sneak after the twelve." When the soldier had received the good advice, he became serious, so that he took heart, went before the king and announced himself as a suitor. He was received as well as the others, and royal clothes were put on him. In the evening, at bedtime, he was led into the hall, and when he was about to go to bed, the eldest woman came and brought him a cup of wine; but he had tied a sponge under his chin, let the wine run into it, and drank not a drop. Then he lay down, and when he had lain down for a while he began to snore as if in a deep sleep. The twelve king's daughters heard that, laughed, and the eldest said, "He could have saved his life." Then they got up, opened cupboards, chests and chests and took out magnificent clothes: they cleaned themselves in front of the mirrors, jumped around and were happy focus on the dance. Only the youngest said, "I don't know, you're happy, but I'm so strange: some misfortune is bound to happen to us." "You're a snow goose," said the eldest, "that's always afraid. Have you forgotten how many royal sons have already been there for nothing? I didn't even need to give the soldier a sleeping potion, the lout wouldn't have woken up anyway." When they were all finished, they first looked at the soldier, but he had closed his eyes, didn't move or move, and they now believed to be absolutely sure. Then the eldest went to her bed and knocked on it: immediately it sank into the earth, and they climbed down through the opening, one after the other, the eldest first. The soldier, who had seen everything, didn't hesitate for long, put on his coat and climbed down behind the youngest. In the middle of the stairs he stepped a little on her dress, and she was startled and cried, "What is that? Who is holding my dress?” “Don't be so silly,” said the eldest, “you got caught on a hook.” Then they went all the way down, and when they were down they stood in a wonderful tree-lined aisle, there was everyone Leaves of silver, and shimmered and shone. The soldier thought, "You want to take a landmark with you," and broke off a twig from it: then a mighty crash went out of the tree. The youngest called out again, "It's not right, did you hear the bang?" But the eldest said, "These are joyous shots, because we'll soon have redeemed our princes." into a third, where they were clearly diamonds: he broke off a twig from both of them, each time there was a crack that made the youngest startle with fright, but the eldest stayed with it, it would be joyous shots. They went on and came to a large body of water, on which stood twelve boats, and in each boat sat a handsome prince, who had been waiting for the twelve, and each took one, but the soldier took the youngest one. Then the prince said, "I don't know, the ship is much heavier today and I have to row with all my might if I'm to take it away." so hot to courage.” On the other side of the water stood a beautiful, brightly lit castle, from which merry music resounded from drums and trumpets. They rowed across, entered, and each prince danced with his sweetheart; but the soldier danced along invisibly, and if one held a cup of wine, he drank it until it was empty when she brought it to her mouth; and the youngest was frightened about it too, but the eldest always silenced her. They danced there until three o'clock the next morning, when all the shoes were worn out and they had to stop. The princes drove them back across the water, and this time the soldier sat in front with the eldest. On the shore they said goodbye to their princes and promised to come back the following night. When they got to the stairs, the soldier ran ahead and lay down in his bed, and when the twelve came tripping up slowly and wearily, he was snoring so loudly that they all could hear it, and they said, "We're in front of him safe.” So they took off their beautiful clothes, took them away, put the worn-out shoes under the bed and lay down. The next morning the soldier didn't want to say anything, but just watched the strange creature and went with them the second and third night. Everything was like the first time, and they danced each time until their shoes broke. But the third time he took a cup with him to the landmark. When the hour came for him to answer, he took the three branches and the cup and went before the king, while the twelve stood behind the door and listened to what he was about to say. When the king asked, "Where did my twelve daughters dance their shoes in the night?" he answered, "With twelve princes in an underground castle," reported how it had happened, and brought out the tokens. Then the king summoned his daughters and asked them if the soldier had told the truth, and since they saw that they had been betrayed and that denial was no use, they had to admit everything. The king then asked him which one he wanted for his wife. He replied, "I'm not young anymore, so give me the oldest one." The wedding took place on the same day and he was promised the kingdom after the king's death. But the princes were cursed again for so many days when they had danced nights with the twelve.