Once upon a time there was a king who had twelve daughters, each more beautiful that the other. They slept together in a hall where their beds stood close to one another. At night when they had gone to bed, the King locked the door and bloted it. But when he unlocked it in the morning, he noticed that their shoes had been danced to pieces, and nobody could explain how it happened.
So the King sent out a proclamation saying that anyone who could discover where the princesses did their night's dancing might choose one of them to be his wife and should reign after his death. But whoever presented himself, and failed to make the discovery after three days and nights, was to forfeit his life.
A prince soon appeared and offered to take the risk. He was well received, and at night was taken into a room adjoining the hall where the princesses slept. His bed was made up there, and he was to watch and see where they went to dance. The door of the room was left open, so that they could not do anything or leave without being seen. But the prince's eyes grew heavy and he fell asleep. When he woke in the morning, all the princesses had been dancing, for the soles of their shoes were full of holes. The second and third evenings passed with the same results.
The prince was then granted no mercy, and his head was cut off. Many others came after him and offered to take the risk, but all forfeited their lives.