Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Story of Poor Little Red Shoes.

This is a much longer post than usual because I have written you a story to read.  Just warning you about it, in case you don't like long posts, or stories..... oh and it has a little (optional) contest at the end.

I wrote the story because an email popped into my mailbox the other day, suggesting I entered the Walker Books and Mumsnet children's story writing contest.  Walker is a major children's book publisher and Mumsnet is the UK's largest website for parents. They wanted stories for an anthology about animals, with a length of up to 1500 words. Ten winners would get £500 each.

Sounded good, and I happened to have a story that exactly fitted the bill.  So I dug it out, polished it up, filled in the form, attached the file and was JUST about to press "submit" when I suddenly realised I hadn't read the contest terms and conditions.  Oops!

So I clicked, and read the terms and conditions  (here)   And then, instead of sending in my entry to Mumsnet and Walker Books, I made up another story instead. It's the tale of Poor Little Red Shoes, a lacemaker who lived long ago in the magical Land of Faraway.  As with all fairytales, her story might have a modern resonance too.

So here it is, the story of ...


Once upon a time, there was a young girl called Poor Little Red Shoes who was all alone in the world. Her dear mother and father had died and left her with a ramshackle old cottage to live in,

a few hens to keep her company and a patch of land on which to grow her food.  She lived quietly and was quite content, for she spent her time making lace.  And what lace it was!   For Little Red Shoes had a wonderful talent, and could make the most beautiful lace that had ever been seen.

Not only were her fingers nimble and sure, but her mind was full of marvellous images of animals, birds, fairies, flowers and more. She created designs of astonishing beauty; so beautiful, indeed, that they seemed almost to be created by Nature itself.

But in the humble village where Poor Little Red Shoes lived, nobody could afford to buy her lace, and the villagers' rough, homespun clothes were not the kind of garments to trim with lace anyhow. And Little Red Shoes was so poor that she could not buy the golden and silver threads that her marvellous designs really deserved.

So one day she decided to go and seek her fortune.

"I'll go to the capital city, to the Royal Palace, and show the Queen my work," she said to herself. "Although my work is not created from gold and silver, surely the Queen will want designs like mine to adorn her ball gowns?  My satyrs and nymphs will beguile her, my garlands of stars will enchant her. And if only she will buy my lace and give me work, I will be happy for the rest of my life!"

So she packed a fragment of bread and cheese to sustain her on her journey, and  carefully wrapped up her very finest piece of work - a lace shawl made only of plain white thread, but seeming almost magically to shimmer with rainbow colours. It was as light as a bird's wing, and when she unfolded it, its silky folds  whispered like the winds.

The city was far away, and she walked for several hours, finally arriving in mid-afternoon.   She wandered about the streets, hungry and tired, and everything seemed strange, loud and unfamiliar.   She was glad when she finally found the Palace, tall and imposing at the top of a flight of stone steps.  

She crept up the steps to the dark, towering entrance, and peeped inside. To her amazement, she saw a magnificent room, bright with the light of many lamps....

 but before she could look at it all, a young soldier in a red coat stepped in her way, a golden sword in his hand.

"Halt!  Go no further!" he ordered.

"I mean no harm," said Poor Little Red Shoes, timidly.  "But I was wondering if the Queen might like to look at my lace?" And she took out her beautiful lace shawl, which glimmered and twinkled in the lamps of the hallway so magnificently that even the soldier had to look twice to assure himself that it was not covered in pearls.

The soldier had always been a kind, helpful young man, the joy of his mother's heart,

and he felt sorry for Poor Little Red Shoes.  He thought her work was wonderful, but he had to tell the truth. So he shook his head sadly.  "No unsolicited submissions are allowed here," he said.  "Take your lace away. Perhaps some seamstress will employ you to make clothes for middle class people instead.   Someone as poor as  you would never even be allowed to meet the Queen, let alone show her any of your work!"

Little Red Shoes could not believe this was true.  "Is there no way the Queen would agree to consider my work?" she asked, pitifully.

"I'm sorry - but no," said the soldier.  And then, to his dismay (and her own dismay, too) Poor Little Red Shoes burst into tears.

The kind hearted soldier shuffled around in his big boots, wondering whether to tell her what was in his mind., for her tears were upsetting him.   Finally, reluctantly, he said,  "All right, listen to me. There is one chance to get your work before the Queen.   You could have a word with one of Her Majesty's Lace Agents.  These are very clever people who roam the country looking for the finest lace and fabrics, and stuff like that."

"And they could show my lace to Her Majesty?" asked Little Red Shoes, her face lighting up through her tears.

"I suppose so.  The trouble is - " said the soldier,  "They're not - " he coughed.  "They're not, er, always the nicest.    But if you take care to choose a kind looking one, you might strike it lucky.  In fact, there is a stall in the market place where all the hopefuls go  - though it's not always open.   So now you had better leave.   I shouldn't actually talking to you," he added, uneasily, for he was now regretting having mentioned anything at all.

"Oh, thank you!" cried Little Red Shoes. She packed her wonderful shawl back into her little bag, and skipped off down the road towards the main square with the soldier looking anxiously after her.

As she entered the square, her spirits lifted. This was the finest market she'd ever seen. Huge, grand stalls sold all kinds of things. There were exquisite fabrics, golden baubles and gilded ornaments

fascinating little novelties like a clock containing a cuckoo that popped out to twitter the hours, and puppets that danced and twirled, and rainbow bubbles which could be blown through a loop of wire into the air.

And, at the far end of the market, she could see a stall that was even larger and grander than all the rest.  She hurried across to it and found that it was spread over with the most beautiful fabrics, all covered in jewels and embroidery and lace of the finest quality!  The satin, with a sheen like sunrise....

And oh, that lace! Bales and bundles of exquisite gros point, cutwork, bobbin lace, knotted lace, crocheted lace, made from the finest threads in pink and taupe and mauve and eau-de-nil, glittery silver and pure gold.

Proudly displayed at the top of the stall was a carved and gilded Royal Coat of Arms, and in elegant letters beneath was written MRS APPLECHEEK. HER MAJESTY'S LACE AGENT. ORIGINAL DESIGNS URGENTLY REQUIRED FOR THE BALL GOWNS OF HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN. TOP PRICES PAID!

Behind the counter of the stall stood a dignified old lady. Though she was very old indeed, she was elegant and well dressed, she had blue eyes, and lovely red cheeks, and a clever  smile.

"When I am old, I hope I look like that," thought  Little Red Shoes.  "She must be one of the lace agents the soldier told me about.  She is smiling so nicely.  How glad I am I have met one of the nice lace agents, and not a nasty one! Oh, I do so hope she will like my work."

She felt so nervous that her knees were quite trembling, and in fact she hardly dared approach the woman. So she lingered for a while under a tree, trying to gather her courage together. Before she had quite managed to do so, the old lady (whose eyes were going everywhere) looked directly at her, smiled more widely, and beckoned to her in a friendly way.  "Don't be afraid, my dear!" she said.  "You have the air of a clever craftswoman who has something to show kind Mrs. Applecheek!"

"Yes," whispered Poor Little Red Shoes.  She crept across to the stall.  "Do you think my lace is good enough for you, Mrs. Applecheek?"    She opened her package, and took out her piece of lace.   The old woman's twinkling eyes sharpened as she saw it. She took out her shiny gold spectacles,

grabbed the lace in her thin, rather claw like ands, and examined it minutely.

Little Red Shoes held her breath.

"Is this all your own work, dear/"   asked Mrs. Applecheek

Hesitantly, Litlte Red Shoes nodded. "My mother taught me. She's dead now. But she and my grandmother were wonderful with their hands.  If they had not been poor, they could have made lace for the Queen themselves."

"Indeed, they probably could!" beamed Mrs. Applecheek.  "Well, I have some good news for you! I think this lace is so extremely good that I will suggest you enter it for a competition that Her Majesty is running at this very moment.  She aims to find the best lacemaker in the kingdom!  I have been collecting all the entries in, and the contest will be judged this very night by Her Majesty in person at a grand and wonderful gathering of the rich and famous!"

"Oh," cried Little Red Shoes, hardly believing her ears.

"Would you like me to put your lace forward for this competition?"  asked Mrs. Applecheek.

Little Red Shoes did not know what to say.  She had been so disappointed that the Queen would not consider her - and now, suddenly, it seemed that she would.  That took some getting used to.

And also, to be honest, Little Red Shoes was a little nervous at letting Mrs Applecheek actually take her lace away. She did live in the depths of the country, but her mother and grandmother had taught her to have a little care with strangers.

"Hmmm... you seem unsure," said Mrs. Applecheek. She patted Little Red Shoes' arm.  "If you prefer not to do it, I will quite understand. But I am afraid that in that case, I will not be able to buy it myself, and you will have to take it away. I am so very sorry, but that is the way it is."

However,  Poor Little Red Shoes still hesitated.

"Do you not trust me with it, my dear?" asked Mrs. Applecheek.  "Do you not think I am kind?"

"I - I - " stammered Poor Little Red Shoes.

"I have a daughter of my own, a little like you," continued Mrs. Applecheek.  "She is grown up now and she has given me a beautiful granddaughter.  As it happens, my granddaughter is also very like you."   She bent down, so her lips were near Little Red Shoes' ear.   "I am a mother and a grandmother, my dear, and so you will understand that I do care! And, for this reason, I am telling you that I think your lace has a good chance of winning the contest tonight.  There is a prize of two golden ducats for the winner, and her name will become famous throughout the lace making world!"

She straightened up. "But still,  if you're not interested.... "

"I- I - "   Of course Poor Little Red Shoes wanted to win the contest. Two golden ducats - imagine how many bobbins and reels of silk that would buy!  

Even if I don't get to work for the Queen herself, she thought, I could set up my own stall here in this grand market, where people wear fine clothes and buy fine things! Or maybe this kind motherly lady might let me work on her stall....

So she nodded, took a deep breath, and said,  "Yes! Enter my lace for the contest!"

And she handed it over.   Then, because she felt like crying, she hurried away without saying another word.

"I'm very hopeful!" called the old lady, after her but Little Red Shoes did not hear.

For the rest of the day, she wandered around in a daze, her feelings a tumult of mingled excitement and fear. She kept imagining the Queen judging the contest.  Which lace would she choose?

It grew late. Poor Little Red Shoes had nowhere to sleep and no money, but she crept inside the echoing city church, and stretched out alone in a corner of its cold, marble floor.

She slept fitfully, and dreamed a dream of herself making lace for the Queen.

It was a long night, but eventually, the dawn sunshine crept through the stained glass windows and woke her up. She blinked in the sunshine, and then her heart began to beat fast.    She rose and washed in the fountain, but could not afford breakfast.  Still it didn't matter, for she felt too anxious to eat.

As the sun rose over the buildings, she hurried to the market, where the first stallholders were just starting to arrive.

She scanned the crowds, and before long, she was relieved to see Mrs. Applecheek coming along, her head high, the plumes on her hat waving in the morning breeze.   When she saw Little Red Shoes, her cheeks became even more rosy.  "Oh, my goodness! You are up early! Surely you haven't been waiting here all night?"

"No! But I was too anxious to sleep." said Poor Little Red Shoes. "I wanted to know who had won the competition."

Mrs Applecheek stepped up close to her. She took her by both shoulders and looked her in the face.  "My dear, I have some good news for you!" she said, with a smile.

"R-really?"  Little Red Shoes felt as if she was in a dream.  "Oh, I can't believe it! Did I win?"  And she thought again of the golden ducats.

"I'm delighted to say that the Queen loved your lace!" said.Mrs. Applecheek. "She thought it was exquisitely made!  She was entranced by the design! She will put it on her finest gown."

"So I did win!  Oh!"  Little Red Shoes thought she would die with happiness.  In fact, she was so happy that she began to cry with joy.   "I'm so glad.  I've worked so hard on it.  Do - do you think that she might employ me as a lacemaker at the palace now? I can do lots more beautiful work - !"

"Oh, no my dear, I am afraid you did not win. The Queen's own lacemaker - who is, by pure coincidence, my daughter - won the golden ducats.  And I am afraid there are no lacemaker vacancies at the Palace."  Mrs. Applecheek's eyes shone like glass marbles.

She put her finger under Little Red Shoes' chin, and lifted it.  "Don't look sad. You must feel very honoured that Her Majesty thanks you so much for your interest, and for your kind gift."

There was a sudden silence.

"But - it - it wasn't a gift" stammered Little Red Shoes.

"Really? I'm so surprised you say that," said Mrs. Applecheek, suddenly letting go of her.   "Surely you read my Terms and conditions, clearly displayed on the stalll before you handed your lace over?"    She waved her hand at a sheet of paper that was pinned to a piece of wood at the side of the stall.

So Poor Little Red Shoes looked at the terms and conditions, and read :

"By submitting your lace design for consideration by the Palace you hereby (a) unconditionally and irrevocably grant and assign to Mrs. Applecheek throughout the world all right and rights in the nature of usage and all other rights in your submission, together with full title guarantee and all rights of action to the same belonging or accrued and shall hold the same to Mrs. Applecheek for the full period of ownership and all extensions and renewals thereof and thereafter; (b) waive all moral rights as defined by sections 77-83 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1288 or any similar laws of any jurisdiction; (c) warrant you have the power to grant the rights herein stated, that your entry is original to you, does not infringe copyright, moral rights or the rights or licence of any other third person/entity, your design has never been used anywhere in the world, does not contain anything in any way contrary to law and any designs are not in any way injurious or harmful; and (d) indemnify and keep Mrs Applecheek harmless against all loss, risk, cost, damages, claims, liabilities and expense occasioned to Mrs. Applecheek in consequence of any breach of these warranties or arising out of any claim alleging that your entry constitutes in any way a breach of these warranties."

"I - don't understand," faltered Poor Little Red Shoes.  The words seemed to jump up and down before her eyes. "D-does this mean I have given away my lace?  Because I didn't mean to!"

"But you must have meant to," frowned Mrs. Applecheek, looking puzzled. "The terms of the competition were quite clearly there for you to see."

"I -  didn't read them," stammered Poor Little Red Shoes.

"Oh. I can't do anything about that!"  said Mrs. Applecheek.  "Please don't cry like that, my dear. I can't understand why you're not happier."

"I'm crying because it's mine! I made it! And I didn't want to give it away!" sobbed Poor Little Red Shoes.

Mrs. Applecheek smiled warmly.  "Oh, you look so like my dear granddaughter when you cry. Luckily for you, my dear, you have not read the final part of the terms and condition.  I'm not heartless, you know. After all, I am a mother - even though I am not your mother."

And her finger pointed at a clause far down in the list.

"If you are on the shortlist but not one of the final winning entries, rights in your submission granted to Mrs. Applecheek under these terms and conditions shall revert to you "

"Revert to me? Does that mean I get it back?" gasped Little Red Shoes.  "Because I have other plans - I could set up my own stall - "

"Really? Your own stall?  That puts a different slant on it!" cried Mrs. Applecheek.  Her finger moved down to the end of the clause

" Mrs Applecheek's discretion following written notice from Mrs Applecheek"

"Of course, you understand, my dear, that reversion is strictly at my discretion.  That is what the Law says, and you have, after all, entered freely into this contract.    I will certainly think about letting you have your lace back, if there is no use for it after all," said Mrs. Applecheek. "But you must excuse me just now. I'm awfully busy today!" 

And she turned her back on Poor Little Red Shoes, stepped inside her booth and slammed the door.

As Little Red Shoes stood helplessly by, she saw Mrs. Applecheek behind the stall opening her bag, and taking out the beautiful shawl.  As always, it gleamed and glimmered and shone. Its silvery threads caught the light of the early sun, and a passer by stopped to look at it.  He was a big strong man in a showy purple hat and jerkin, and he pushed past Poor Little Red Shoes, made her stumble, and called out,  "Hey, Applecheek! Save that one for me! I'll give you three ducats!"

"Nonsense. I wouldn't sell at a groat under five ducats!" replied Mrs. Applecheek.

And ....."

© Copyright Jenny Woolf 

And I ask you, dear readers - how would YOU finish the story?  Feel free to make a suggestion in the comments box and win a prize. Not quite a contest, more of a giveaway, as I'll do a random draw .  ( If you don't want to finish the story, just leave a comment, if you have one)

As for me - no,  I never did press that "Submit" button!  I thought I'd rather keep my story for myself.  Just felt a bit exhausted after reading cosy old Mumsnet's terms and conditions, which bore a strange, one might almost say uncanny, resemblance to those drawn up by the motherly Mrs Applecheek.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Little Red Shoes hid round the corner and waited till Mrs Applecheek left her stall for a moment to go to the toilet. Then she stole her lovely shawl and raced all the way home and told her best friend Lucy all about Mrs Applecheek and her duplicity. Lucy told her best friend Megan and Megan told her best friend Abigail and soon all the lace makers in the country knew of Mrs Applecheek's wickedness. Soon the news even reached the Queen, who had some idea about fairness which is good going for a Queen, and she sacked Mrs Applecheek and asked Little Red Shoes to bring her work to the palace. But Little Red Shoes would not go on her own, for she knew that her strength lay in the loyalty of women friends. When the Queen saw this she understood and invited all the women to the palace for tea in golden cups.

  3. Hello Jenny
    My heart is still in my mouth. I do love what Jo above suggested.

    I loved this story and you are the Little Red Shoes of storytellers and I hope you win the contest.

  4. I don't have an ending. I'm just going to say- oh, how hard it is to read the fine print when ducats are being dangled in front of one's nose.
    I love this post, by the way.

  5. And Little Red Shoes walked miserably away. She soon realised she was lost but then she turned into a street she recognized. At first she couldn't think how she knew the street but then she saw the large house she had once visited with her father on a trip to the town. This was the house of her father's old lawyer. A rather important man, she had always found him frightening. He knew all the points of law inside and out and could always find a loophole and when he couldn't find one , he would use such complicated legal-speak everybody believed he had found one. Little Red Shoes recalled that on their visit My High and Mighty Lawyer had shaken hands with her father and said "I owe you one Mr Shoes". Little Red took a deep breath and rang the fearsome looking bell. "Payback time," she said quietly to herself.

  6. Great story, Thank you for posting
    I agree with not submitting a story that's a give a way. Those kind of terms go against the spirit of story telling, and should be illegal.
    As for the story ending...the man buys the lace; his wife wears it at the Queen's ball where the Queen sees it as the faerie friends of Little Red shoes sparkles her name for the Queen to see who made the lace. The Queen calls for her to be her favorite lace maker with the tune of Joe Cocker, "A Little Help from My Friends" playing in the background. :)

  7. Yes, indeed, you have written a fantastical tale that hopeful creators of all sorts will clearly relate to. I was hanging on every word of this colorful journey and allegory of what it is like to let go of a precious work in need of a pivotal stranger to nurture. You definitely win a prize for creative story telling about an issue that plagues many.

    For an ending I think Little Red Shoes regains her hopefulness and seizes an opportunity. She offers to weave the man a more beautiful garment at a lower cost. The only hitch is that he needs to provide her with one ducat to purchase material to get started. He ponders a bit but is taken by her sincerity and pretty red shoes. My most optimistic conclusion is that she fashions lace even more superior than what was gifted to the Queen. Word of her skills gets out and she eventually is wealthy enough to open her very own independent stall where the Queen sends her footman to shop.

  8. Little Red Shoes was devastated, but not completely undone, she was made of sterner stuff so she gathered herself up and found a quiet corner of the market where she could think. Watching a spider diligently spinning a web it came to her that though she couldn't afford gold and silver thread she found that using the threads from a spider web worked almost as well. And oh how they shimmered and gleamed in the sunlight. Quickly she tatted a new shaw and returned to the market where she displayed her radiant piece of work. People gasped at the beauty and delicacy of her work, she quickly sold it for 10 ducats, and with a smile at Mrs. Applecheek she went in search of more webs.
    Now I want your ending, I liked your story very much, particularly the fine print!

  9. Ah, this enchanting story resonates with a moral that should always be remembered - and one that we have all learned bitter lessons from : ALWAYS read the fine print. Your story held my interest all the way through and my heartfelt sympathy for Poor Little Red Shoes increased with every word.

    From personal experience, I'm probably not a suitable candidate to devise happy endings....but I'll give my humble input. Mrs. Applecheek shrewdly bargained with the man in the purple hat. She wound up getting twelve ducats for the beautiful shawl and gave it to Poor Little Red Shoes. Red Shoes was eventually able to open her own stall. With hard work, determination, and - of course - incredible talent she made a great deal of money and was never known as "Poor" again. And, ever after, she always read the fine print......

  10. ...and I'd like to see while crafty Mrs Applecheek and the big strong man in a purple hat were debating which shall have it, and for how much, six tiny little mice crept ever so silently beside (the unknowing) and incredibly selfish, Mrs. Applecheek and with their tiny little paws snatched the most shiny thing right off the table and quietly scurried out the door to the lovely Poor Little Red Shoes and together they fled off, happily ever after.

  11. The big strong man laughed out loud. "You're right, Applecheek, YOU wouldn't sell anything under five ducats!" He took the shawl in both hands and unfolded it under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Applecheek - and of Little Red Shoes, who had recovered enough from being pushed aside and the shock at having been tricked out of her work to be curious as to what was going to happen now.
    The man frowned, turning the shawl over, holding it at full length, and then handed it back to Mrs. Applecheek. "You know I have three daughters, and they are all invited to the Queen's ball next month. I can't give the shawl to only one of them, and it is not big enough to be cut into three parts, even I can see that. So, if you have two more like this one ready for me in time for the ball, I'll give you 25 ducats for all three."
    Now Mrs. Applecheek was in trouble. She knew that none of her other lacemakers, not even her own daughter, would be able to make something as beautiful as this. She also knew that, if she wanted those 25 ducats (and boy, did she want them!), she needed to get on Little Red Shoe's good side again.
    While at first she had been annoyed at the girl not going away after she had dismissed her, she was now glad of it. Directing her gaze to the corner of her stall where Little Red Shoes still stood, she beamed at her: "Did you hear this, my dear? This gentleman is a true connaisseur of good lace, and he has just ordered two more of your beautiful shawls. Will you be able to finish two by next month?"
    Little Red Shoes, who had gasped when she heard the offer of 25 ducats for three of her shawls (it was more than her grandmother and mother had ever earned together in their whole lives), shut her mouth and smiled first at the big strong man, and then at Mrs. Applecheek.
    "I will, yes. But... of course only under MY terms and conditions."

  12. I would finish:
    " Little Red Shoes went to the kind hearted soldier and asked him to stand up for her. The soldier agreed and went to the Mrs. Applecheek's stall. Then she was frightened and threw a perfect shawl in the girl's face. Poor Red Shoes took her lace, found a doss house, and began to live there weaving new laces and having new clients. So she was able to open her stall in the market
    and the Queen learned of her beautiful laces that competed with laces of Mrs. Applecheek's daughter."
    Do you like this end, Jenny?

  13. And....who should come by at this point but the kind young soldier (he of the red coat and golden sword). Seeing the undignified dispute between Mrs. Applecheek and the Show-Off in the purple hat, and recognising both the beautiful shawl and Little Red Shoes he stepped boldly forward, snatched the shawl and the girl and ran off with both into the crowded market.
    It took only minutes for Little Red Shoes to fall in love with her dashing rescuer, and only a matter of weeks for him to have resigned his commission in the Palace Guards and establish Little Red Shoes in a sweat shop just off the main market...........where they lived happily and financially successfully for several years until repeated pregnancies reduced both the quality and quantity of textile output.
    Which just goes to show that everyone must take their chances as and when they may, and impose whatever restrictions they feel they can get away with.

  14. Well, I didn't read Mumsnet's rules; old Applecheeks rules were bad enough. Whew! What a tale. But in the end, after more Dickensian detours, the kind soldier helps her set up a stall and the quality of her work exposes old Applecheeks purloined shawl as PLRS's own. The soldier becomes the general of the army and marries PLRS, who becomes the queen's lacemaker. After some terrible incidents involving old Applecheeks and her offspring, of course.
    And..but wait, I've given most of the plot away.
    Oh, well. It is a good story.
    Actually, I was hoping old Applecheeks was the queen. Should I pick it up from there?
    Thanks, I've had a wonderful time.

  15. This is a riveting story, but I wouldn't normally presume to tell you how to finish it. But I'll put my mind to it since you ask. Take care.

  16. Oh, sir, you wouldn't want that grubby old thing. Last year's style, certainly. I can make you one much better, more to the taste of fashionable young women today!"

    That's all I got, but it's not a bad next line I think.

  17. Oh I love it! Please do tell us the rest of the story...My Grandpa (who was a master storyteller) would have included a lesson and finished it with a happy ending! The only thing missing (I am such a dreamer) that I can see is that there is no animals in the story, you know a cat, dog, bird or horse...or maybe even something magical about the shawl...I really must know what happens next!
    Happy New Year Jenny!

  18. I love it. But being an American, I think that you need to include a gun in the story. Hahaha, ok probably not in a kids story but it is still me.
    You have a gift. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  19. Oooh, very enjoyable Jenny, and very clever too. Terms and Conditions are a trap of our age. I'll sleep on it and see if I can think of an ending.

  20. well, of course, the big chap helped the little one to her just deserts, ie the prize. And Mrs. Applecheek ditto, the thieving old crone.

  21. Oh, those dreaded terms and conditions! I say, never give away ALL of your plans and ideas.

    With this being a fairy tale, it must have a good ending - the moral of the story always is that the "good guys" win. So Little Red Shoes must be revealed as the creator of the lace shawl, and the big strong man must turn out to be one of the Queen's lace agents!

  22. I see this as a way for someone who REALLY wants to get their writing out there, summits, never understanding what they really gave up. But being desperate for a 'foot in the door' will be willing to do whatever it takes, paying the piper later.......

  23. Whoa, your story sure had some tight twists and turns!

  24. How many different routes to the end of the story, and wise and creative ideas. Looking at the comments that came in, we seem to be putting together a pretty good primer in dealing with problems in real life too. Using law to fight law, getting mutual support from friends, good luck, talent, a gift for being in the right place at the right time, a willingness to think out of the box.

    Here are my responses and thoughts and hope to see some more comments too......

    JO, thanks for resubmitting your idea, I love it! In "real life" this would be a very effective answer - a whole group networking to publicise this kind of shabby scheme. Not leaving out the guys, (though admittedly there are not many male lace makers in Fairytale Land)

    Helen and Ms Moon, I'm glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for your good wishes.Needless to say I will not be entering this particular contest :)

    Yes, Lindsay, having important people for friends (or being an important person yourself) is probably still the best way to succeed - and it is certainly one of the best ways in Fairy Tale Land!.

    Haha Maywyn, love the thought of Joe Cocker. So often someone else will have a good idea, or have some power or influence they'll use on your behalf, you can't beat friends with good ideas.

    Penelope, like the idea that both having talent and USING it is important. Dont you think that talent can also include self publicity, (such as with certain famous modern artists whose work isn't that great but it catches the feeling of the time and makes everyone want to talk about them )

    Mac & Janet, Work on your talent and THEN add value. that is a wonderful approach and a clever look at the problem.

    Jon, you pinpointed a crucial point - just avoid getting into this in the first place and read the fine print. And ah, you are a secret idealist! I loved your story ending.

    Karen, the introduction of well intentioned little mice always lifts my heart in a fairy story. I should have included some. Actually your comment also makes me think of how much I value whistle blowers, etc. I mean people who seem unimportant but can change things in a big way.

    This comment is going to be too long if I continue, so I'll put the rest of my responses in another comment.... stay tuned....

  25. Continued...

    Thank you for resubmitting your story again Meike (Librarian) (much bungling behind the scenes by me means that Jo and Meike had to resubmit comments). Your story ending is worth waiting for, and I think it is a very clever and creative approach. In terms of "real life" this might translate into "find a gap in the market and make it your own" - another way to achieve success. .

    Nadezda, Thank you ! "Persevere, pick yourself up and kep going" is the message I get from this, among the best advice in the world for Little Red Shoes..

    Relatively Retiring, I was wondering when someone would notice the soldier, who so often has a role to play in fairy tales. And you've summed up the message at the end so well. Taking a chance and seizing an opportunity has often changed the course of history, and it requires a certain boldness.

    Joanne, I like the story and I LOVE the idea of Applecheek being the Queen! I think I enjoy the idea that our own Queen might wish to have a secret life where she can be nasty as she likes to the general public, instead of having to smile and wave all the time! :)

    I hope you come up with something, Stephen.

    Haha Zhoen, she truly would do well if she did this, it takes a certain boldness but it usually works a charm!

    Noelle, your grandad sounds like an inspiration to storytellers. We do so often listen to stories with the hope of learning something and a wish for all to end well. The joy of a fairytale is that anything can be magic, animals can talk and the world has no limits.

    Sonya Ann, you're not just a violent American, you're farsighted. Guns will be essential in the top grossing movie of the story cause they always are. But we're looking ten years down the line here, so make a note to claim your consultation fee in 2024.

    Thanks, Patricia. Not everyone needs to think of an ending But everyone needs to read the Terms and Conditions!!!

    Friko, Haha, I'm less of an optimist than you about this, since I photoshopped the image of the man in a jerkin from a recent picture of Iain Duncan Smith. Not to make a political point (although I am no fan of IDS) but because he had the right kind of cruel face. (Or the wrong kind, I suppose) :D

    Pixel Peeper, I am writing the end of the story now, and indeed the good guys win all round. I am one of those people who like the goodies to come out on top!.

    Bonnie, you put your finger on it, so many people are just desperate to get success that they don't heed the risks they are taking with not only their work, but their whole peace of mind and sense of who they really are. That's probably the greatest treasure.

    I'm looking forward to more comments, and meanwhile I've written my own ending to the story which I'll post soon. I'm just trying to find some suitable photos which isn't proving easy. But I love having pictures in stories, even pictures that aren't all that good, which these certainly won't be!

    1. I am a violent American! Read my next book. LOL. I have issues and you may want to tell everyone that you don't know me.

  26. I'm afraid I have no ending to offer but I'll sure be waiting to see how you finish the story and like some of the suggestions you received. The tale really makes one want to remember to read the fine print.


  27. Well, I was expecting a fairytale but nope, it is back to the real world! Tough.
    Maybe the little girl could go back to the soldier. He seemed nice.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. great blog! love a fellow travel lover! XO

    the well-traveled wife ♥

  30. I'd slap Mrs. Applecheeks across her apple cheeks and turn them apple red! Well, maybe not...I'll rethink after another reading!

  31. Jenny, with my first book, I did not understand the fine print, and it cost me. However, I learned a valuable lesson, which turned out to be the launching point for my writing career.

  32. That's a great story! Not sure how I'd finish it, but I loved reading what you wrote. Let us know how it will end (in the end) :-)

  33. Nice one. I suggest recent heavy rain carries Mrs Applecheeks away in a torrent of abuse, that the big strong man is a successful business chappie who offers to sell Poor Little Red Shoes' designs for her (because she obviously needs a bit of commercial nous), she consequently becomes Well Off Little Red Shoes and marries Big Strong Man's son - who turns out to have been doing an internship as a palace guard...

  34. I just had to come back and say how blown away I am by all the creative ways people came up with an end to the story. I love them all but Jo really hit it out of the park for me with her take! And the ingenious idea from (Mac & Janet) about using a spider’s web to make a shawl. What fun and wonderful suggestions from all … inspired by you, Jenny! And (Joanne) who saw Applecheek as the Queen … a touch Snow Whitish and absolutely brilliant!

    And I agree totally that being able to blow your own horn is a talent. It is one that unfortunately some of the most creative people lack. Consequently, people who know how to convince that they have what others want do not always produce the best work.

    (re-sent with correction)

  35. and... they all lived unhappily ever after (except for Mrs Applecheeks of course).

  36. She went sadly off and got a job in a restaurant washing up, since she had no money. She gave the birds all the leftovers and they became her friends. One day they all got together, and swooped down at once and stole the shawl from Mrs A's stall. They then returned it to Little Red Shoes who set up her own stall in the market and sold it together with all the lace she had crocheted with yarn she had bought with her wages. She soon became more rich and successful than Mrs. Applecheek, but never forgot her bird friends!

  37. Chapter One of Ending:

    Upset by Mrs. Applecheek’s unfair treatment of her, and the old woman’s refusal to hand back her beautiful shawl, Little Red Shoes slapped Mrs. Applecheek across her glossy red cheeks. Not only did she surprise the red-cheeked woman, but Little Red Shoes surprised herself; it was out of character for Little Red Shoes to behave so. However, she was tired; she was hungry; she had lost her beloved parents. She was alone in the world. Filled with despair, she didn’t know what would become of her. To have fallen prey to the wicked ways of the evil woman before her; for her innocent ways to have been exploited, Little Red Shoes reacted involuntarily and spontaneously. She had no defenses left. It appeared the whole world was against her.

    Already weak from hunger, lack of sleep and the shock of her striking Mrs. Applecheek across her apple-red cheek, Little Red Shoe swooned and fainted when the big strong man pushed past her as if she was a mere flimsy cobweb in his path. Once more, she felt invisible to the rest of the world. Would there be no one ever again who will notice she existed, Little Red Shoe thought moments before she fell at the feet of the gentleman so gaudily attired in purple.

    "Oh! Dear!" The tall strong stranger exclaimed as he saw her small, crumpled body on the ground.

    Swooping down he gathered Little Red Shoes up in his muscle bound arms.

    "Sometimes, in my haste to grab a bargain, I don't notice those around me. This dear girl looks like she's not slept or eaten for a week and beyond. I'll pay you the five ducats for that shawl, Applecheek; and then I'll be on my way. My carriage awaits over yonder!"

    A gloating Mrs. Applecheek, feeling extremely satisfied with herself, handed over the glimmering lace shawl to the stranger. He immediately draped it over the prone body of Little Red Shoes. Gently he carried her to his carriage.

    Upon reaching his stately grand manor he gathered her up in his arms and transported her up the stone stairs to the main entrance.

    The kindly gentleman was the master of the household; a household that boasted 20 staff.

    The hand-carved, heavy wooden door was opened by Mr. Rawson, head butler and valet to the master of the manor, Sir Julian Farnsworth-Cooper. After greeting Sir Julian, Mr. Rawson hailed the first footman and Lady’s maid. They lifted Little Red Shoes from their Master's arms, and gently carried her up to one of the manor’s many spare bedrooms. After settling her down on the canopied bed, they instructed the third housemaid, Mary to sit by in wait until Little Red Shoes gained consciousness.

  38. Chapter Two of Ending:

    Little Red Shoes finally stirred from her stupor. Her eyes widened when she saw the grandeur surrounding her. And then she noticed her precious shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Gradually her recollection of what had happened returned. Startled, she sat up abruptly, but her sudden movement caused her to feel quite faint again.

    “Be still, miss,” said the kindly third housemaid. “You’re in good hands here. The Master will see to that.”

    “Where am I?” Asked Little Red Shoes. “How did I get here? And where is “here”? I have not a clue where I am or how I got here! “And, who are you may I ask? I don’t understand…”

    “Why, miss…this is Hampton Manor, the home of Sir Julian Farnsworth-Cooper. He brought you here. You fainted down at the markets, miss…right at Sir Julian’s feet. He said you slapped that wicked Mrs. Applecheek across her cheek. He was very amused. What cheek the lassie showed, he said! He was very impressed; as we all are in this household. It’s time that old dragon got her come-uppance! I wish I’d been there to see it, meself” Chuckled Mary.

    “Oh! Dear! I don’t know what came over me!” Little Red Shoes declared. “I’m not like that, really, I’m not; but that nasty woman stole my beautiful shawl. This shawl means so much to me. She treated me so unfairly. I just snapped, I suppose. I’m so exhausted; I’m so hungry and I feel so alone.”

    “Well, miss…you’re not alone any more. The Manor will be your home until you’re ready to move on whenever that may be. The Master will see to it, you can be sure! I think he’s taken kindly to you. He has a very good heart, our Sir Julian, just you wait and see.”

    From that moment on, the grand Manor became Little Red Shoes home.

    Over time love grew between Sir Julian, a widower, and our little lace maker. Little Red Shoes became Lady Regina Farnsworth-Cooper, Mistress of the Household. However, she never forget her background; where she came from;,nor did she forego her talent. Her shawls were worn by all the gracious ladies throughout the land; even the Queen and her daughters, the Princesses commissioned shawls from our Little Red Shoes at the beginning of each season.

    Yes…Regina…there are such things as happy endings! And your story, Little Red Shoes has a very happy ending.

  39. This was such a wonderful story with a powerful message! I also enjoyed reading the different ideas for endings. I think we all agree that Little Red Shoes deserves a happy one.


  40. oh dear...immediately my mind went to a curse of some sort, in the lace that bent the old ladies fingers so hard she was unable to collect money, the lace fell at red shoes , the queen just happened by at that moment , figured it out , gave the old lady the boot and set red shoes up in a fancy room in the palace for-everrrr...predictable....

  41. Nice twist of your own experience - and good for you not to have submitted your great story.
    I'm not good at writing stories in a different language than my native on which is German, but there are quite some examples here for good endings.

  42. ha. a wonderful tale...i read it backwards of course, but i like your ending...its fun to read through a few of the other ideas in how it should end, but i like yours....and your characters are quite engaging....

  43. What a brilliant little story even though I read it ending first. You certainly got me furious about Mrs. Applecheek in the first half! Perhaps you got to the heart of what matters to any idea-creator. Up to now, I am still incensed when I feel someone is taking credit for my ideas or work, or riding on my coattails by implying they are involved in my project. Poor Little Red Shoes was fortunate to have her soldier. I guess we all need our angels, or kind-hearted people, to help us along!

    I also had a connection to your calling her Little Red Shoes. When I was a very little girl, maybe 3 years old, my parents got me little red mary janes. I LOVED them so much, I twirled in them around the house, stared at them on my bed, and tried never to get them scuffed. So Poor Little Red Shoes just brings me back to a time when the world was a fairy tale to me!

    I enjoyed that tale very much. And speaking of tales, I realize it is Lewis Carroll's birthday! Happy birthday to the man who led us all down the rabbit hole ...


  44. I really enjoyed reading your story and the endings that people posted (I've also read your own ending). It made me think of the stories from the Andrew Lang Fairy books, and The Rose and The Ring. I like the ending where little red shoes outsmarts Mrs Applecheek with her own terms...


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