There once lived in a town a cute and pretty little girl whose name was 'Karen'. She had to wear a torn dress, even walked around with bare feet in summer, and wore heavy and crude wooden shoes in winter because she was so poor. Her feet were always full of scars and wounds.
The Red Shoes
"Karen, why do your feet hurt you so much? I will make shoes for you." An old lady who ran a shoe store made red shoes for Karen. Those shoes were made of old pieces of cloth, and she sewed them by hand. "Thank you, aunt."
Karen was so happy for her new shoes which suited her, that she jumped up and down. But, Karen's mother passed away on that day. A noblewoman saw Karen following after her mother's funeral service. The lady got down from her carriage and talked to the minister. "I want to take her with me and look after her."
"She is alone. If you take care of her, that will be a great blessing for the girl." Karen thought, 'These shoes brought me this luck.' However, the noblewoman burned her dirty red shoes, put fresh new clothes on her, let her read books and taught her how to do needlework.
She now became a polite girl. But one day, the Queen and the Princess were passing through the town. Everyone in the town swarmed around the carriage. "How beautiful they are!" "It seems as if fairies came down from the sky." All the people praised the Queen and the Princess.
But Karen could not take her eyes off of the from Princess' red, glittering and beautiful shoes. 'Is there anything more beautiful than the Princess' red shoes in this world?' She even pricked herself with the needle while she was thinking about the red shoes.
Soon, she grew old enough to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The noblewoman brought Karen to a shoe store to buy her new dresses and shoes for the ceremony. Seeing the shoes in a showcase, she almost shouted. "How come these shoes are in your showcase?" < The Sacrament of Confirmation: The first Christian ceremony when a child becomes an adult. >
There laid the same red shoes as the Princess in the showcase. "These shoes were made specifically for a daughter of a count, but they did not fit on her feet. That's why they are in there." The noblewoman had bad sight now, so she did not know that they were red. The red shoes fit Karen's feet very well.
Karen liked her new red shoes very much. When Karen appeared at the ceremony with her red shoes, the minister advised her to wear black shoes instead of the red shoes. On the next Sunday, there was the Communion Service, but Karen wore the red shoes and went to church again.
As soon as Karen and the noblewoman got down from their carriage, an old soldier bowed politely and said, "Madam, I will clean the dust on your shoes." "Oh, thank you." As Karen showed her red shoes to the soldier, he said, "Such a beautiful pair of shoes. It will look great if you dance with these shoes."
Then, he muttered to himself chanting a spell and touching Karen's shoes with his finger. "Red shoes! Never ever come off from this young lady's feet when she dances." The noblewoman threw some coins at him and entered the church with Karen.
When the Communion Service was over and they went out of the church, the old soldier shouted, "The young lady's red shoes are still beautiful!" Then, Karen started to dance even though she did not want to dance. She could do nothing to stop herself from dancing. "Miss Karen, Please stop dancing and step into the carriage."
Even though he lifted her up and sat her on the carriage, she did not stop dancing. When the angry noblewoman took off Karen's shoes, she stopped dancing. As soon as they got home the lady threw the red shoes into a closet. Afterward, the noblewoman caught a bad disease. Karen cared for her earnestly.
One day, an invitation came for a big ball of the town. 'If I put on those red shoes, I will dance very well. Yes, If I wear them once and put them in the closet, madam will never know.' Karen hesitated looking at the noblewoman in the bed and then the red shoes.
In the end, she submitted to her desire and put the red shoes on. Then, her feet moved by themselves and started to run to the dance hall. "Oh, how do I stop?" Her feet moved on their way, and they passed by a square and came into a forest.
When Karen passed by a church, an angel appeared and said, "Karen, you will dance with your favorite red shoes forever." "Angel, my feet hurt painfully. Please stop them from dancing." "Karen, you will find the houses of greedy and selfish children while you are dancing."
"They will feel regret when they see you, you who began to dance because of greed." "Please forgive me. I was wrong." The angel disappeared, and Karen passed by the house she used to live in. The noblewoman had died, and her casket was coming out from her house. 'She was so good and kind to me.'
Then there was the house of an executioner as Karen went through the town. "Mr. Executioner, I can not take off my shoes from my feet. Please cut them off." When he heard the story of Karen, he cut her feet off and made her a pair of crutches.
Karen finally stopped dancing, and served for other people while she was staying in the church. One day, she prayed to God while she was reading the Bible, "God! I am a selfish sinner. Please save me." An angel came out in front of Karen and showed her how many people were praying for her.
"You finally regret what you have done." Someone whispered through Karen's ears. "This is the grace of God." When Karen answered with modesty, her soul rose up to Heaven. Karen lived happily forever in Heaven.