by Mary Bast

Yeah, I know you’ve heard of me, probably via H.C. Anderson. Some say you shouldn’t take me too literally. What kind of girl would, #1, be so desperate for a pair of shoes she’d do anything to get them? Oh, have you forgotten a stranger took me in? How do you know what happened to me before? Maybe I was a victim of human trafficking. I was a cute kid and knew how to charm people, so there’s no way I was going without those fancy slippers. I wanted them because no one else had such elegant footwear, and for the first time in my life I felt special. I saw no reason for the demand to not wear them in church. A stupid rule, asking to be broken. #2, do you think I knew the damn shoes would never stop dancing?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: According to Bruno Bettelheim, fairy tales give children a structure to work through shadow issues. As a child, my favorite fairy tale was about a girl, “more than nice,” who was finally given a pair of red shoes she coveted. The shoes made her want to dance and she wore them everywhere, even to church – though she’d been ordered not to. Whereupon the shoes kept dancing, clinging so fast when she tried to remove them, she had to have her feet cut off! Macabre though it seems, what a great metaphor for my shadow longing to not be such a “nice” little girl and at the same time worried about dire punishment if I strayed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Bast writes poetry, found poetry, and memoir. Most recently she’s been in Blue Monday Review, right hand pointing, The Writing Disorder, Pea River Journal’s “Remaking Moby Dick,” and Poetry WTF!? When Mary’s hands are not on computer keys, they’re holding brush to canvas, inspired by North Central Florida’s woodlands, lakes, and prairies.