A Cautionary Tale for Young Readers.


BOBBY WAS PROUD to say he had a pair of good walking shoes.

But sometimes they were a little too good at walking. They would walk around the house all day, and Bobby had a hard time finding them when he needed them. They would walk around the house all night, going clomp, thump, whump and keeping Bobby and his mother and father awake.

“Maybe we should get you a new pair of shoes,” his mother would always say after a hard night of clomping, thumping, and whumping.

“But they are very good walking shoes,” Bobby would always reply, and they always left it at that.

One day when Bobby was at school, his feet started to itch. So he did the thing he should never have done: he took off his shoes to scratch the itch.

This was the chance the shoes had been waiting for. With a laugh, a jaunty tappa-tap, and a Bronx cheer, the shoes ran out of the room.

Bobby has hammer-toes!” shouted little Mary, pointing at Bobby’s bare feet.

(Mary didn’t know what hammer-toes were, but she thought they sounded silly.)

In the mean time, the shoes had dashed out the front door and were merrily jogging up the road.

When they came to the old Simmons farm, they cut across the field. What fun to trot and scamper between the cornstalks! Soon the shoes were covered with mud, but they were having too much fun to care.

But all of a sudden a big orange cat leaped out from behind the corn. The cat pounced on the left shoe. It jumped and leaped and squiggled and squirmed and finally got away. But then the cat pounced on the right shoe. The right shoe was having a simply awful time until the left shoe hopped up from behind and kicked the cat. That startled the cat, and the shoes ran as fast as they could—right into a dog.

The dog looked down at them, and the shoes looked up at the dog. It was a very big dog, and the shoes were quaking in their boots, so to speak.

All at once the dog’s mouth came down and closed on the shoes. The dog lifted them up and ran—but where was he taking them? He ran through the fields and up to the farmhouse, where old Farmer Simmons was sitting on the porch whittling a ham radio.

Good boy, Bismarck,” said Farmer Simmons to the dog. The dog dropped the shoes at his feet.

But wait,” Farmer Simmons said. “These aren’t my shoes, you silly dog! They look like little Bobby’s from down the road.”

Now the shoes saw their chance. They ran down the porch steps and back across the field. Bismarck the dog chased after them, but they ran so fast that he lost them in the corn. When they got to the road, they ran even faster, and they kept running until they came right back to the school.

All the children stood up to watch as the shoes, covered with dirt and more than a little beaten up, walked back toward Bobby’s desk.

Where have you two been?” Bobby asked them sternly.

But they said nothing, because the cat had got their tongues.

Maybe you should get a new pair of shoes, Bobby,” said little Mary.

But they are very good walking shoes,” Bobby said, and all the children had to agree that they were.