I had a feeling that someone was following me. I could feel his breath on my neck. Then my dress caught on something. “Who’s that?” I cried, turning around. “Who’s holding my dress?”
“Don’t be stupid,” hissed my older sister who was going down the steps ahead of me. “You’ve just caught it on a nail.” When we came to the bottom and walked through the avenue of glittering silver trees, a branch cracked behind me. “Didn’t you hear that noise?” I whispered to my oldest sister.
She dismissed it, along with all the other cracks and noises that I heard. Perhaps I didn’t hear them. Perhaps they were just figments of my imagination.
I got in a boat with the prince who was my dancing partner, just as we did every night. As he began to row, he said that the boat felt heavier than usual. Now I dismissed his feelings. “It must be the warm weather,” I said. We arrived at the castle and danced until three in the morning.
Every night we are drawn down to the underworld to dance to same tunes. No one asks the reason why, but I am as worn out as my shoes.
Youngest Dancing Princess in The Worn Out Dancing Shoes, Grimm. Illustration by A.H. Watson.