I was reading Munchkinette a fairy tale called “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” (Nothing is interesting these days unless it has princesses. The more the better.)
In the story, the twelve princesses disappear to fairyland each night and wear out their dancing shoes. The King can’t figure out where they go, so a handful of heroes attempt to find out. The princesses drug the heroes with wine, then slip off to fairyland again.
Finally, a kind soldier is given a few pointers by an old woman on the road. He resists the drugged wine and follows the princesses. The youngest princess suspects him, but the eldest dismisses her fears. The soldier successfully discovers the nightly fairyland dance party. When he reveals the truth to the king, he gets to marry the princess of his choice.
So, I have a few questions:
- The soldier chooses to marry the eldest daughter, because she’s apparently the most clever. But it was the youngest who suspected him. Wouldn’t she be the clever one?
- Would the soldier really have wanted to marry a princess who tried to drug his wine? What kind of relationship basis is that?
- Even though the eldest princess spends every night dancing with a fairyland prince, and even though she takes every precaution to avoid being caught, she still happily marries the soldier. Um… seriously?
All of this tells me one thing: the authors of fairy tales did not have to deal with the same level of editing that exists today.