“a cobbler’s dozen.”
original gouache painting on watercolour paper by hallie m. gillett bertling.
based on the brothers grimm’s “the twelve dancing princesses,” my painting takes me back to my very favourite faerie tale classic theatre episode of the same tale.
depending on the version you read, the king may have banished dancing in the kingdom after the death of his beloved wife, or perhaps the princesses are under a spell. whichever way, the king locks them in their room at night, and still EVERY morning without fail, their slippers are worn out and a dozen new pairs of shoes are demanded of the kingdom cobbler every day.
the king sends out a proclamation that anyone who solves the mystery of the worn-out dancing slippers gets to marry the princess of his choice and become king.
prince after prince fails (for they drink the wine at dinner that has been dosed with a lil’ extra sleeping potion by the princesses), until finally a humble soldier, returned home from the wars, decides why not him?
he meets with a peasant woman in the woods, and in gratitude for his sharing his bread and cheese with an old beggar woman, she gives him two things: one piece of advice (don’t drink the wine!), and two– a cloak to make him invisible so he can follow the princesses and find where they go at night.
i’ll spare you all the EXCITING details because of course you ought to read it for yourself, but he does indeed follow them to an enchanted kingdom below the palace where they dance the night away with twelve princes (possibly also cursed) who row them to the shore of a palace where they dance and dance until their shoes are positively worn out. they venture through forests of silver, gold, and diamond (hence the branches above the palace in the right hand panel), and the soldier’s final piece of proof he brings back to the king after the third night of watching the princesses dance is a golden jeweled goblet unlike any the king’s kingdom has ever seen.
last spoiler: it has a happy ending. 😉
(andrew lang’s version has the *spoiler* garden boy falling in love with the youngest princess; i like the grimms’ version better. but they’re both lovely.)
you can purchase the limited edition print here on my etsy site: http://etsy.me/1OMK537
or the greeting card here: http://etsy.me/1OMKsdL
card reads “I should like to discover where those princesses go to dance their shoes to pieces.” wouldn’t we all? 😀
original painting (6×14″ + mat & frame) is also available for $395. contact me via etsy!