Featured Fairy Tale: Once upon a time there were twelve princesses who shared a room. Every night the king would wake them and find that their dancing shoes were worn out and every day the royal shoe maker would have to fashion new dancing shoes for the twelve princesses. The king was baffled by this mystery, confused where his daughters went every night for they never left their room.
Tired of replacing their shoes, the king announced that anyone who could solve the mystery of the princesses’ worn dancing shoes would win the hand of one of his daughters and his kingdom. The stipulation was that the mystery had to be solved within three days’ and three nights’ time and if it wasn’t, that person would be put to death.
A soldier returning home hears of the king’s offer and decides to give it a try. On his way to the palace he meets an old woman who gives him an invisibility cloak and warns him to not eat or drink anything the princesses give to him.
That night the soldier pretends to sleep and the princesses open a trap door in their bedroom. He follows them through it and enters into a magical world. The princesses climb aboard small boats and are rowed by princes to a castle across the lake where they dance the night away.
Each night the soldier follows the princesses, taking a small token from the magical world with him. The morning after the third night the soldier tells the king he has solved the mystery and shows him his tokens. The princesses cannot deny where they go and the soldier is given the kingdom and chooses the eldest princess as his bride.
Why I love it: This is my FAVORITE fairy tale. Although I think the ending leaves something to be desired, I love the idea that these girls escape from their world and enter into a world of their own where they can be free to enjoy their lives. I’m pretty sure the tale was originally meant to have a “don’t be a naughty little girl and keep secrets from your parents” kind of meaning, but the meaning I’ve always gathered from it was freedom and independence, being your own person and living your life your own way.
Why you’ll love it: First off, there’s dancing. THERE’S DANCING! These are the original party princesses who know how to get down every night. The story also leaves quite a good bit to interpretation. There’s really no whys that explain the princesses’ reasons for dancing; the magical world they go to doesn’t have a reason for existing; the princes who wait for them each night are mostly just placeholders… I think because of this it’s a great canvas for interpretation and retelling. It has the potential to be light and sweet or take on a much darker tone – which I totally prefer!
Wildwood Dancing – Juliet Marillier
- Review – The Grown-Up YA
- Review – Tripping Over Books
Entwined – Heather Dixon
- Review – The Grown-Up YA
- Review – Good Books and Good Wine
Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George
- Review – The Book Smugglers
P.S. I HIGHLY recommend this one!
The Thirteenth Princess – Diane Zahler
The Princess Curse – Merrie Haskell
Did you review any of these retellings? Let me know and I’ll add your review link on here!