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Twelve Dancing Princesses
Tales From Around the World

Fairy Tales, Myths, and Other Folklore About Visitors to Fantastical Realms

The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World


The Twelve Dancing Princesses is a fairy tale known under several names such as “The Dancing Shoes,” “The Worn-out Shoes,” and “The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces.” The best known version of the tale comes from the Brothers Grimm and yet the tale remains relatively obscure in comparison to tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. However, it has been a popular favorite with fairy tale readers for decades, appearing in countless collections of tales, but rarely studied.  In recent years, many books and even a toy collection, a movie and a musical have used the story as inspiration.

This collection offers over twenty variants of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, some that are new English translations.  In addition, several Grateful Dead tales and Greek myths are presented as interesting comparisons to the tale. Sometimes the princesses journey to a version of hell, at other times they visit a version of heaven. Many of the stories are obviously related to each other and at times the relationship is tenuous.  Some additional stories with similar motifs or elements are also included, illustrating that the elements of this tale are not as obscure as they first appear.

In the over fifty tales collected here, strange journeys are made, secrets are revealed, and curses are broken. Most—but not all—of the heroes and heroines live happily ever after. Either way, the journeys and the mysteries they solve provide fascinating visits to other realms.

Whether you are a student of folklore or an armchair enthusiast, this anthology offers a diverse array of tales with a unifying theme that both entertains and educates, all gathered for the first time in one helpful collection.

Publication Date: Oct 2010
ISBN/EAN13: 1453825223 / 9781453825228
List Price: $26.99 USD
Page Count: 338
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Fiction / Fairy Tales

Table of Contents


The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Their Worn-Out Shoes
by Heidi Anne Heiner

Notes About This Edition

Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales

1.  The Midnight Dance  Russia

2.  Elena the Wise  Russia [Original Translation]

3.  The Twelve Princesses with the Worn-Out Slippers  Romania

4.  The Slippers of the Twelve Princesses  Romania

5.  The Hell-Bent Misses  Hungary

6.  The Invisible Shepherd Lad  Hungary

7.  The Three Girls  Czech Republic and Slovakia

8.  The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces (Grimm)  Germany

9.  The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces (Schambach and Müller)  Germany [Original Translation]

10.  The Twelve Dancing Princesses  France

11.  The Princess with the Twelve Pair of Golden Shoes  Denmark

12.  The Seven Iron Slippers  Portugal

13.  The Moorish Prince and the Christian Princess  Portugal [Original Translation]

14.  The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces  Cape Verde

15.  Dividing the Heirlooms: The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces  Cape Verde

16.  The Magic Turban, the Magic Whip, and the Magic Carpet Turkey

17.  The Rose of Bakáwalí  Bengal

18.  The Kotwal’s Daughter  Bengal

19.  Dorani  Punjab

20.  The Story of Kate Crackernuts  Scotland

21.  Kate Crackernuts  Scotland

22.  Hildur the Fairy Queen  Iceland

23.  Hildur, the Queen of the Elves  Iceland

The Grateful Dead Tales

24.  Shaking-Head  Ireland

25.  The Snow, the Crow, and the Blood  Ireland

26.  The King of Ireland’s Son  Ireland

27.  Beauty of the World Ireland

28.  Jack the Master and Jack the Servant  Ireland

29.  Jack and the Giants  England

30.  The Companion  Norway

31.  The Travelling Companion  Denmark

32.  The Grateful Uncle  Russia

33.  Sila Tsarevich and Ivashka with the White Smock  Russia

34.  The Grateful Dead Man  Armenia

35.  The Dead Man's Gratitude  Turkey

Greek Myths to Consider

36.  Proserpine  Greece

37.  Demeter and Persephone  Greece

38.  Orpheus and Eurydice  Greece

39.  The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice  Greece

40.  Melampus and Bias  Greece

41.  Meleager and Atalanta  Greece

42.  Atalanta’s Race  Greece

43.  Aeneas and the Sibyl of Cumae in the Regions of the Dead  Greece

More Tales to Consider

Notes About the Following Tales

44.  How Gilgamesh Learned About the Flood  Ancient Chaldea

45.  The Three Kingdoms,—The Copper, the Silver, and the Golden  Russia

46.  The Realms of Copper, Silver and Gold  Russia

47.  The King of the Golden Mountain  Germany

48.  The Raven  Germany

49.  The Drummer  Germany

50.  The Crystal Ball  Germany

51.  Story of Thomas the Rhymer  Scotland

52.  Childe Rowland  Scotland

53.  Tamlane  Scotland

54.  The Corpse Watchers  Ireland

55.  The Girl and the Dead Man  Scotland

56.  The Princess in the Chest  Denmark

57.  The Red Shoes  Denmark


Further Reading


Country Index


About the Author

Heidi Anne Heiner is the creator and keeper of one of the world's top folklore websites, the SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages at SurLaLuneFairyTales.com. On the internet since 1998, the site shares over 1,500 fairy tale illustrations from the Golden Age of illustration and over a thousand full-text fairy tales from around the world. Forty-nine popular fairy tales are annotated with links to similar tales from numerous cultures as well as information on modern interpretations in books, films, music, and theatre. The site also features a regular blog about fairy tales and folklore. An accredited librarian and researcher, Heidi is also a columnist with Faerie Magazine.


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The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World

Sleeping Beauties: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White Tales From Around the World

Rapunzel and Other Maiden in the Tower Tales From Around the World by Heidi Anne Heiner

The Frog Prince and Other Frog Tales From Around the World

The Fairy Tale Fiction of Anne Thackeray Ritchie

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©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Page created 8/2010; Last updated 9/27/10