When the sisters were all ready, they went and looked at the soldier; but he snored on, and did not stir hand nor foot: so they thought they were quite safe; and the eldest went up to her own bed and clapped her hands, and the bed sank into the floor and a trap-door flew open. The soldier saw them going down through the trap-door one after another, the eldest leading the way; and thinking he had no time to lose, he jumped up, put on the cloak which the old woman had given him, and followed them; but in the middle of the stairs he trod on the gown of the youngest princess, and she cried out to her sisters, “All is not right; someone took hold of my gown.”

“You silly creature!” said the eldest, “It is nothing but a nail in the wall.” Then down they all went, and at the bottom they found themselves in a most delightful grove of trees; and the leaves were all of silver, and glittered and sparkled beautifully. The soldier wished to take away some token of the place; so he broke off a little branch, and there came a loud noise from the tree.

Then the youngest daughter said again, “I am sure all is not right — did not you hear that noise? That has never happened before.” But the eldest said, “It is only our princes, who are shouting for joy at our approach.”

Then they came to another grove of trees, where all the leaves were of gold; and afterwards to a third, where the leaves were all glittering diamonds. And the soldier broke a branch from each; and every time there was a loud noise, which made the youngest sister tremble with fear; but the eldest persisted, it was only the princes, who were crying for joy.

— The Twelve Dancing Princesses, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

Artwork by Ruth Sanderson.


Golden Dreams: The Art of Ruth Sanderson

A  224-page full color hardcover book featuring work from over 35 years of illustrative art. Orders placed in November will receive a FREE Snow Princess and the Polar Bear signed 8.5×11 print.

If you missed the Kickstarter for this book you can now order a copy from Ruth’s website. Books will be shipped in early December.