The Twelve daughters of the Sea-King (short moral story for kids)

Ivan was sunning himself on a beach when he saw twelve seagulls. As soon as the birds had landed, they turned into beautiful young girls, not noticing Ivan behind some rocks, the twelve girls took off their gowns and dived into the sea.

As a joke, Ivan crept out and took away one of their feather gowns. When the young girls emerged from the sea, eleven of them drew on their gowns and transformed into seagulls again and flew away. One girl remained weeping on the beach and Ivan felt sorry for having played a trick on her, So he gave her back the gown of feathers. The greatful girl insisted Ivan to accompany her back to see her father, the sea-king, who would reward him for returning the gown.

So Ivan followed the girl to a fairy-tale castle beneath the ocean waves. The king welcomed Ivan and in reward promised him the hand of his daughter in marriage only if Ivan would be able to recognise her three times from among the other daughters. They looked alike, except that one of them was already in love with Ivan, so each time she gave Ivan a secret sign which enabled him to recognise her. Ivan married the sea-king daughter and lived happily for years beneath the waves.

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