To Dance in Shattered Gold

Hidden in the shadows,

A servant to the King

Waited for the magic

His Highness said the night would bring.

“Twelve princesses,” he’d told his mage,

“Come dance for me at ten,

And thanks to them I do believe

I shall be well again.”

Alec (‘twas the servant’s name)

Overheard the tale,

And, stricken by the strangeness,

Let curiosity prevail.


So just before the clock struck ten,

He struck out on his own

And hid inside the courtroom

Where the king sat on his throne.

A ring echoed ‘cross the chamber;

He heard footsteps by the door—

The aged king’s only daughter

Seemed to glide across the floor.

Alec colored as she entered,

But fell back in surprise—

For when she started dancing,

Twelve danced before his eyes.


Their graceful figures floated

To a soft, celestial song;

He watched in breathless wonder

And almost danced along.

But when the music ended,

The king slept without a sound,

Eleven dancers vanished—

One crumpled to the ground.


He wailed and clambered to her side,

Shock and fear and panic

Fogging up his mind.

Her pallid skin was burning cold

When he took her in his arms.

“Saranna,” this time whispered,

“What is causing you this harm?”


Alec started when the mage appeared

In a horrible display—

“I’ll tell you if you want to know,

Since you’re too late anyway.

When dear old daddy first fell ill,

She asked me for a spell;

Take her health, give to him,

And somehow make him well.

I gave her some enchanted shoes

And with each passing night,

Twelve pieces of her little heart

Magically take flight.

She thinks they help him, but I fear

Our princess doesn’t see:

It’s killing her, and he’ll still die,

Which leaves the throne to me.”


Alec gently moved the shoes,

And in proof of their defeat,

The fractured fragments of her soul

Etched her broken feet.

His eyes grew wide and tears spilled out

And in a flash of rage,

He gripped the slippers in his hands

And hurled them at the mage.

“You get away!”

He growled, then stumbled back, aghast

For when the shoes made contact,

There came a blinding, golden blast.

The mage let out a hurtling scream

Then faded out from view,

Defeated by the crimson love

That streaked the cursed shoe.


Confused, relieved, and just amazed,

Alec felt quite ill,

But something more important called:

Saranna had gone still.

He rushed to her and held her close

And forced his heart to calm;

He would save his princess,

He would find the healing balm.


His eyes crept back to dancing shoes,

Gold and splotched with red;

Unfailing love solidified,

For as she danced she bled.

Warmth enveloped Alec’s core—

His love could this repair!

He leaned in slowly for a kiss,

And voiced a tiny prayer.


Many years have passed since then;

The king finds his delight

In watching his dear daughter

And her husband dance each night.

And twelve dancing princesses

Never can compare

To the health their love provides him

And the happiness they share. 


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