The 12 Dancing Debutantes

Jean: this story was wild from start to finish. First, I thought it was Mae’s favourite fairy-tale so I was super anxious to not screw up. Spoiler: It wasn’t and she was very confused where I got the idea.

Then we had to figure out how to get twelve girls at the same debutante ball for it to work. We wanted them to be sisters. So in-between researching what debutante balls actually consisted of, we went through a lot of ideas. The weirdest one was that it was a multiple marriage thing (possibly the reason in the original fairytale? Or multiple births? Oh my god, we never considered multiple births!) until I lamented in a chatroom and someone said ‘well, why not just make him adopt them’ and it was like the light of the heavens shone on me.

I think for a while he was a Mormon missionary, because my cousin is a Mormon and I felt like she’d like me to write about a Mormon. In the end we realized Puss wouldn’t know or care what a Mormon was, but we left a lot of hints anyway.

The ending was a real bugbear for this. The version I read for inspiration was the Grimm version, where an old soldier tricks the girls and then demands the oldest in marriage because reasons. I was also, don’t quote me, possibly inspired by the Barbie version of the tale.

We wanted to talk more about Marshall Miller, Puss’s original owner. A detective and a failed case is always a good hook, and fairies are a good way for a victim to still be alive, so fairies it was. We like Marshall. It’s a shame he was dead to begin with. Eventually we’ll say how a guy who seemed pretty decent ended up with two of his sons cutting off all contact.

You’ll notice in this one we had Puss be helped by Jack of the beanstalk fame and not Rumplestiltskin. We found out some unfortunate details about Rumples (anti-Semitic details) so we decided to just not use him ever again. Originally I chose not to use Jack because of Fables, but heck, why not. As long as he’s not a jerkass, he’s nothing like the Fables version.

It also let us give Puss a little ‘origin’ for his boots. Maybe we’ll include a side-story where little elves are invading Jack’s shoe-shop while he sleeps and messing up his work with their own designs.


Mae: There are two versions of the dancing princesses story. In one, the king kills each prince when he fails. In the other, the princesses enchant the princes and they lose their will and just want to dance.

Both stories have the princesses giving the men potions. And just generally, the girls aren’t all that nice.

Jean says we didn’t think of multiple births, but as I recall, we did, but only for around four seconds. Then I think I said, no, that’s cliche, let’s be more clever. So we were.

In both versions of the original tale, there’s a boat ride we just completely skipped. I do like that we chose to give them water out of flowers, because the Lang version has the princesses eating a feast of candied flowers.