The Twelve Dancing Princesses

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Click here to read this playscript in Spanish: LAS DOCE PRINCESAS BAILARINAS


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PRINCESS 1 – Oldest  Princess











PRINCESS 12 – Youngest Princess




CROWD:  Prince 1 to 12 – no dialogues








(The Twelve Princesses are dancing in their bedroom.  The King opens the door and enters.  He has a key in his hand)


KING:  Good evening my dear princesses.


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  Good evening, father.


KING:  It time to go to bed.


TWELVE PRINCESSES: (running to their beds) Yes, father.


KING:  Oh, and don’t forget to say your prayers.


TWELVE PRINCESSES(kneeling down)  No, father.


PRINCESS 1:  Father, why do you always have to lock up our door?.


KING: My dear, I love all so much, that all I want is to keep you safe.  


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  We love you too!.


KING:  (raising his hand and showing them the key) Sweet dreams my precious daughters.


TWELVE PRINCESSES: Sweet dreams, father.


(The king leaves.  The princesses yell happily and start dancing again)


PRINCESS 2:  Hurry up!.  We have to go!.


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  Ha, ha, ha, ha.


PRINCESS 3:  Put on your shoes!.  It’s time to dance all night!.


(They put on their shoes)


TWELVE PRINCESSES: Ha, ha, ha, ha.


(Princess 4 pulls away her bed from the wall, they enter a secret door, and walk through a long hall)




(The King is talking to a servant)


SERVANT:  What is worrying you, my king?.


KING:  It’s my daughters’ shoes!.


SERVANT:  Oh, I know my king.  Shoes are so expensive!.


KING:  It’s not that.  They are having every day a new pair of shoes, and that is not possible.


SERVANT:  Well, at night they are locked up in their room, so they can’t go anywhere.


KING:  They are hiding something!.  And I know that tomorrow morning when I go into my daughters’ bedroom, their shoes will be all thorn to pieces as tough they had been dancing all night. I can’t imagine how their shoes are all full of holes!.


SERVANT:  It is a great mystery.  How are you going to figure it out?.


KING:  I will issue a proclamation.   Go and tell all the land,  that any one who can discover  in three days and nights how the princesses  shoes are danced to pieces in the night, may have one of the princesses of his choice for marriage, and will be king after my death.


SERVANT:  What if many come, but no one succeeds?.


KING:  The witch from the forest will turn them into frogs!.


SERVANT:  Tomorrow morning I will do as you told me.  Good night my king.


(The Servant leaves)



ACT  2




(A Soldier wearing a bandage in his arm is reading the proclamation nailed to a tree.  He sits on a stone, and starts to eat a piece of bread. An Old Woman wearing a cloak approaches him)


OLD WOMAN:  (looks at the soldier’s arm) What happened to you?.


SOLDIER:  I was in the army, but was discharged because I was wounded, and I can no longer serve.


OLD WOMAN: Where are you going?.


SOLDIER:  I don’t know where I am going, or what am I going to do, but I think I would like to find out where it is that the princesses dance, and then in time I might be a king!  .


OLD WOMAN:  Well, that is not a very hard task.  I am going to tell you the secret.  When the princesses go to sleep, they will offer you wine, but don’t drink it, because it will put you right to sleep and you will never discover anything.


SOLDIER:   That is a very good advice.


OLD WOMAN:  (takes off her cloak and gives it to the soldier) Whenever you wear this cloak, you will be invisible, and then you may discover things that are not seen.


SOLDIER:  What should I do?.


OLD WOMAN:  When you put it on, just follow the princesses wherever they go.

SOLDIER:  I am determined to try my luck.  Thank you.


OLD WOMAN:  Now go to see the king!.


(The soldier stands and leaves)




(The King is in his throne.  The soldier is before him)


KING:  I am glad to have you in my palace.  I imagine why are you here.


SOLDIER:  I came to solve the mystery.


KING:  Come with me.  I’ll take you to a room next to my daughter’s bedroom, and I hope to have good news tomorrow morning. 


(They go to the princesses’ bedroom.  Each of the princesses is reading a book. The King and the Soldier enter)

PRINCESS 5:  (stands and leaves the book on her bed) Another one, father?.


PRINCESS 6:  (kisses the king on his cheek) You have to trust us!.


KING:  (to the soldier)  As you can see, these are my beautiful daughters, and you will marry one of them, if you find out how their shoes are all worn out.  (to the princess)  I will not lock up the room tonight, but he will be watching you.  Sweet dreams!.


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  Sweet dreams!.


(The King and the Soldier go to another room.)


KING:  You will stay here, and I’ll see you tomorrow.


(The King leaves the room.  Princess 7 enters)


PRINCESS 7:  (gives a cup of wine to the soldier) I brought you a cup wine.  It will help you to relax


SOLDIER: (takes the cup)  You are very kind.  (pointing with his finger ) Oh, what’s that behind you?


(Princess 7 turns around, while the soldier throws the wine behind his back)


PRINCESS 7:  Where?.


SOLDIER:  Never mind, it was nothing.  Mmm, the wine was excellent!.


PRINCESS 7:  I’m glad you liked it!.


SOLDIER:  (yawning) I’m so tired!  (he lays on his bed, closes his eyes, and starts to snore)


(Princess 8 enters)


PRINCESS 8:  How is he?.


PRINCESS 7:  He’s fast asleep!.


(Princess 9 enters)


PRINCESS 9:  Poor man!.  Or should I say poor slimy frog?.


PRINCESS 7, 8, AND 9:  Ha, ha, ha, ha.


(Princess 10 , 11 and 12 enter)


PRINCESS 10: Come on!.  We have to go!.


PRINCESS 11:  I am eager to dance!.


PRINCESS 12:  I don’t know why it is, but while you are so happy I feel very uneasy.   I am sure something bad will happen tonight.


(Princess 1 and 2 enter)


PRINCESS 1:  You are always afraid!   Have you forgotten how many kings’ sons have already watched in vain?. And as for this soldier, even if we had not given him wine, he would have slept soundly enough.


PRINCESS 2:  We are safe now. 


(Princess 1,2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 leave the room, and go to their room.  The Soldier stands up, puts on the  cloak, and follows the princesses to their room. They can’t see him.)


PRINCESS 3:  Ready?.


PRINCESS 4:  Let’s go!.

PRINCESS 5:  Put on your shoes! .


PRINCESS 6: It’s time to dance all night!.


(they put on their shoes)


TWELVE PRINCESSES: Ha, ha, ha, ha.


(Princess 4 pulls away her bed from the wall, and they enter a secret door.)




(The Princesses are in a long hall walking  in a single line. The first one is Princess 1 , and the last one is  Princess 12.  The Soldier follows them.  They keep walking, and the soldier steps on the dress of Princess 12.)


PRINCESS 12:   (alarmed) Ouch!.  Someone has caught my dress!.


PRINCESS 11:  (turns around) Who?.


PRINCESS 10: (turns around) There’s no one here!.


PRINCESS 1:  (in a boring voice) You silly creature!.  You caught it on a nail, let’s just keep going. 


 (They keep walking into  a grove of glittering silver trees.  The soldier breaks a branch of the tree making a loud noise, and hides it under his cloak).


PRINCESS 12:    (shaking)  What was that noise?.  That never happened before!.


PRINCESS 1:  It is only our princes, who are shouting for joy at our approach.


(They keep walking into a grove of shimmering gold  trees.  The soldier breaks a branch of the tree making a loud noise, and hides it under his  cloak)


PRINCESS 12:  (shaking)  What was that?.  Is someone following us?.


PRINCESS 1:  It’s only our princes.


(They keep walking into a grove of glittering diamond trees.  The soldier breaks a branch of the tree making a loud noise, and hides it under his  cloak)


PRINCESS 12:  (shaking)  What was that?.   I’m scared!.


PRINCESS 1:  Will you get ahold of yourself.  It is only the princes, who are crying for joy.


(They keep walking and reach a lake.  There are twelve little boats with twelve handsome princes in them. One of the princesses gets into each boat.  The soldier steps into the same boat as Princess 12.   The prince starts to row)


PRINCE:  The boat is heavier today.   Something happened.


PRINCESS 12:  Well, it’s not me.  It must be the heat.   It is very hot today!.


PRINCE:  Shhh can you hear the music?.


PRINCESS 12:  What a sweet melody.  I want to dance, and dance, and dance all night!.


(They arrive to the castle.  The other princesses and princes are waiting for them.  They get off the boat, and each prince dances with his princess.  The soldier dances with them too).


PRINCESS 2:  (yelling)  It’s three o’clock in the morning!.


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  And all our shoes are worn out!.


PRINCESS 3: We must leave!.


(They get on the boats. The soldier places himself in the boat with Princess 1.  The Twelve Princesses wave good-bye to the princess)


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  We promise to come again tomorrow night!.


(The princesses start to row back.  When they get to their bedroom the soldier runs on before the princesses, he takes off his cloak and puts it beneath his pillow, and lays down on his bed. The princesses approach him and hear him snoring)


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  Now all is quite safe!.


(They go to their bedroom, take off their shoes, and go to bed)






(The Princesses are talking to each other. The King and the Soldier enter.  The Princesses get in a straight line and bow)


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  Good morning, father.


KING:  Good morning, my dear princesses.  (to the soldier)  Now tell me young man, why my princesses shoes are ruined every night as though they had been danced to pieces.


PRINCESS 1:  Father, please, you’re exaggerating.


KING:  (to the soldier) Do you know where my princesses go every night?.


SOLDIER:  Sure I know. There is an underground palace, where your princesses dance every night,  with twelve enchanting princess who must remain there because they are under an enchantment, and the princesses go down and keep them company every night until three o’clock in the morning.


TWELVE PRINCESSES: (surprised) Oh no!.


KING:  (to the princesses)  Is it true?.


TWELVE PRINCESSES:  (ashamed) Yes, father, it is true.


PRINCESS 4:  There is no point in lying.


KING:  (to the soldier) Do you have proof of that underground palace?.


SOLDIER:  Yes, I have. 


(The soldier takes out from his jacket a silver twig, a gold twig, and a diamond twig, and gives them to the king.  The king takes the three branches)


KING:  Can someone give me an explanation?.


PRINCESS 5:  We like to dance in that beautiful and enchanted palace.


PRINCESS 6:  It’s like a dream come true!.


KING:  What is wrong with this palace where you live in?.


SOLDIER:  You have to trust your daughters, and give them freedom, instead of locking them every night like birds in a cage. 


KING:  (to the soldier)  I just wanted to keep them safe.   (to the twelve princesses) Your mother always knew what to do. It hasn’t been easy for me to take care of you, and know what is best for you.  Please forgive me.


(The twelve princesses kiss the king)


PRINCESS 7:  We love you!.


PRINCESS 8:  You have been a great father to us!


KING:  I’m so happy!  (to the soldier)  Very good soldier, it seems like you solved the mystery.  My dear young man, you may choose the hand of one of my daughters in marriage.  Which would you take?.


SOLDIER:   All your daughters are very pretty, and I am no longer a young boy, give me the eldest in marriage.




SOLDIER:  I fell in love with her the minute I saw her, and to me, she is the most beautiful of all.


KING:  Fine! .


SOLDIER:  But wait.  It’s not only my decision, she has to approve.  (to Princess 12)  What do you say?  Do you love me too? Do you want to be my wife?.


ELEVEN PRINCESSES:  Say yes!.  Say yes!.


PRINCESS 8: Come on!.


(Princess 1 approaches the soldier)


PRINCESS 1:   I will marry you.


PRINCESSES 1 to 11:  Yes!.


PRINCESS 1:  With one condition. 


SOLDIER:  What is it?.


PRINCESS 1:  How did you find out about our secret place?.


SOLDIER:  Now you see me.  (puts on the cloak) Now you don’t!.


TWELVE PRINCESSES: (surprised) Oh!.


(The soldier takes off the cloak.  Princess 1 approaches him)


PRINCESS 1:  So you followed us, and we could not see you.


SOLDIER:  Yes.  This cloak makes me invisible.


PRINCESS 1:  Where did you get it?.


SOLDIER:  An old woman gave it to me.


PRINCESS 1:  She was not an old woman.  She’s was witch!.


SOLDIER:  To me, she was my fairy godmother!.


PRINCESS 1:  I love you.  And I will marry you.


PRINCESSES 1 to 11:  Yes!.


(Princess 1 and the Soldier kiss)




Author:  German fairy tale originally published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.


Adapted by: K I D S I N C O


Moral:  Good heart brings good results.   It is important to let the truth out before it is too late.


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