They Could’ve Danced All Night by
(89 Stories)

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories

My favorite fairy tale? Hands down, it’s “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Why? The princesses would dress up every night and disappear though a secret tunnel to dance the night away with handsome princes. They would return the next morning, their shoes worn out from dancing.  I loved that story, partly because of the new shoes they got every day, but I also liked the part about getting dolled up like that every night, sneaking out, and not getting caught.

I have two beautifully illustrated versions of this story. It’s almost a TL;DR kind of tale. Lots of build-up that ends, predictably, with a wedding. But it’s a fairy tale, so it has to end happily ever after.

But for me, it was always about the shoes. And the dancing.

Characterizations: well written


  1. Suzy says:

    Risa, this is one of my favorite fairy tales too! I actually thought of writing my story about it, but ended up going in a different direction. I have to dig out my copy and see if it has the same illustrations. Love that for you it was all about the shoes … and the dancing!

  2. Marian says:

    Risa, I had forgotten all about that story, so thank you for the recap and especially that gorgeous illustration. Can’t argue with dressing up and dancing all night.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    What is it with princesses and shoes? Cinderella et al. I imagine you have an extensive shoe collection as well. For me, comfort is king, er, maybe queen, so I hope the dancing shows were comfy. What a fantasy to sneak out every night and dance the night away though. Hadn’t heard of the story before, but illustrations look great.

    • Risa Nye says:

      Good point! I don’t know. At one time I had some terrific shoes, but after the fire I couldn’t replace them all. Now it’s all about comfy, except for that one pair of dark blue sequin heels that I got to go with a dress years ago. Cannot part with them, or the patent leather pair I bought in Paris!

  4. Thanx for the sweet story Risa!
    What is it about shoes that we love them so!

  5. John Shutkin says:

    Thanks so much for reminding me of this one, Risa. I had just about forgotten it until your story jogged my memory. And I remember being amazed when I first read it about shoes being so worn down by dancing, and so quickly. (I was always too literal to appreciate a lot in fairy tales.) Of course, at the time I, I was thinking more of Keds than “pointe shoes” and the like.

    And thank you for sharing the beautiful illustrations. Whatever book I read that included the tale did not have such memorable pictures.

    And also thanks for reminding me of “TL;DR.” That’s a term I usually reserve for tedious law review articles.

    • Risa Nye says:

      Thanks, John. I swear, both of the books are so wordy all you (I) really wanted to do was look at those pictures and dream about the shoes! Keds or Converse would’ve been a good choice. A princess in high tops?!

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Thanks for reminding me of another of my favorites, Risa. I love the beautiful images you included. Of course, it had to end happily ever after with a wedding. Didn’t they all?

    • Risa Nye says:

      Thanks, Laurie. And in this story, the winner got to pick the daughter of his choice! Harrumph! Now I wonder how you could have twelve daughters all around the same age! Again, practicality has no place in fairy tales!

  7. Betsy Pfau says:

    I confess Risa, I am not familiar with this one, but I LOVE the images you provide and yes, they could have danced all night! So beautiful and happy endings abound. Why not?

  8. I particularly like the way you wrapped the brief essay: all about the shoes, and the dancing. Yea!

  9. Susan Bennet says:

    Risa, I never read this fairy tale nor knew it existed. Sounds like my kind of story. It reminds me that, like this story, magical things happen at night–first dates, looking for fireflies, moonlight, Halloween. Little (and big) girls love romance!

Leave a Reply