I was making my way toward the city when I met an old woman on the road. She noticed that I was badly wounded, and asked me where I was going.
“I really don’t know myself,” I said. I had heard about the kings’ twelve daughters, and how they had been wearing out their dancing shoes every night. Nobody could figure out how it was happening.
The king was prepared to give his crown to the man who could solve the puzzle, but he took the heads of the men who failed. Better heads than mine had gone before me! Still, I thought I might try. What did I have to lose?
“Oh, the task is not so difficult,” said the old woman. “Just don’t drink the wine that is brought to you in the evening. It will put you to sleep. And here, take this cloak. It will make you invisible, and you’ll be able to follow all twelve of them.”
Until that moment, I hadn’t been very serious about the matter, but the old woman gave me courage. I headed for the palace of the king.
Wounded Soldier in The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes, Grimms