The Soldier Prince is a companion folk story published in the collection The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The story comes from the island nation of Kerch.




Droessen: the toymaker who creates the nutcracker for Clara Zelverhaus.

The Nutcracker: the toy made for Clara by Droessen.

The Rat King: Once the enemy of The Nutcracker but throughout the story helps The Nutcracker find himself.

Clara Zelverhaus: The child who Droessen wants to use to become rich.

Frederick Zelverhaus: Clara's brother

Althea: Clara's mother


  • The story is a retelling of the Nutcracker.


"This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails" p. 143

"Droessen knew the properties of every kind of wood and paint and lacquer; he could finesse the gears of a clock until they spun with silent precision. And yet, though he could smile readily, charm easily, and play the part of a gentleman, he had never truly understood people or the workings of their steady-running but constant hearts" p. 148

"Are you my soldier? ... Are you my prince? Are you my darling? Are you mine?" p. 152

"He'd fought bravely, and yet somehow, he always ended up here, alone in the dark" p. 159

"Wanting is why people get up in the morning. It gives them something to dream about at night. The more I wanted, the more I became like them, the more real I became" p. 161

"He kissed Frederik in the darkened hall."

"Do you love her?" Frederik asked. "Could you love me too?" p. 172

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