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Timothy’s Shoes
by [?]

The godmother arrived for the christening, dressed in plum-colored satin and carrying a small brown parcel.

“Fortunatus’ purse!” whispered one of the guests, nudging his neighbor.

“A mere trifle for the boy,” said the fairy godmother, laying the parcel down on the table. “It is a very common gift to come from my hands, but I trust it will prove useful.”

She untied the string of the parcel and gave the baby’s mother–what do you think?

A small pair of strong leather shoes, copper-tipped and heeled!

“They’ll never wear out, my dear,” she said. “And, after all, my little gift is not quite so shabby as it looks. These shoes, have another quality besides that of not wearing out. The little feet that are in them cannot very easily go wrong.”

“Mrs. Godmother’s broomstick is at the door,” shouted some one. So the fairy godmother took her departure.

As years went by and her family increased, the mother learned the full value of the fairy shoes. Her nine boys wore them in turn, but they never wore them out. So long as these shoes were on their feet, they were pretty sure to go where they were sent and to come back when they were wanted. So, at last, the fairy shoes descended to the ninth and youngest boy, and became Timothy’s.

Now the eighth boy had very small feet and had worn the shoes rather longer than the others, and Timothy got them somewhat later than usual. Even though she was very conscientious, Timothy’s mother found it hard not to spoil the youngest in the family. Master Timothy was wilful, and his feet became used to taking their own way before he stepped into the fairy shoes. He played truant from school, and was late for dinner so often that at length his mother decided that something must be done about Timothy. One morning the leather of the fairy shoes was brightly blacked and the copper tips polished, and Timothy wore them for the first time.

“Now, Timothy, dear, I know you will be a good boy,” his mother said. “And mind you don’t loiter or play truant, for if you do, these shoes will pinch you horribly, and you’ll be sure to be found out.”

Timothy looked as if he didn’t believe it. He was off like an arrow from a bow, and he gave not one more thought to what his mother had said.

The winter had been very cold, the spring had been fitful and stormy, but May had suddenly burst upon the country with one broad, bright smile of sunshine and flowers. If Timothy had loitered on the way to school when the frost nipped his nose, and the ground was muddy, and the March winds crept up his jacket sleeves, it was hard to hurry now when every nook had a flower and every bush a bird.

It was wrong to play truant, but still it was very tempting. Twir-r-r-r, up to the sky flew the larks. Down in the marsh below the king-cups blossomed, as shining as gold.

Once or twice Timothy stopped, but his shoes pinched him and he ran on all the more willingly because a bright butterfly went before him. But where the path ran on above the marsh, and he looked down and saw the king-cups, he dismissed all thoughts of school. The bank was long and steep, but that did not matter to him. King-cups he must have; no other flowers would do. He threw his school bag on the grass, and began to scramble down the bank.

Timothy turned his feet toward the king-cups, but his shoes seemed resolved to go to school. As he persisted in going toward the marsh, he had such twitches and twinges as the fairy shoes pinched him that it seemed as if his feet would be wrenched off. But Timothy was a resolute little fellow, and he managed to drag himself, shoes and all, down to the marsh.