The Louisa Alcott Reader - for Children
The Skipping Shoes
Once there was a little girl, named Kitty, who never wanted to do what people asked her.
She said "I won't" and "I can't," and did not run at once pleasantly, as obliging children
One day her mother gave her a pair of new shoes; and after a fuss about putting them on,
Kitty said, as she lay kicking on the floor,--
"I wish these were seven-leagued boots, like Jack the Giant Killer's, then it would be easy
to run errands all the time. Now, I hate to keep trotting, and I don't like new shoes, and I
won't stir a step."
Just as she said that, the shoes gave a skip, and set her on her feet so suddenly that it
scared all the naughtiness out of her. She stood looking at these curious shoes; and the
bright buttons on them seemed to wink at her like eyes, while the heels tapped on the
floor a sort of tune. Before she dared to stir, her mother called from the next room,--
"Kitty, run and tell the cook to make a pie for dinner; I forgot it."
"I don't want to," began Kitty, with a whine as usual.
But the words were hardly out of her mouth when the shoes gave one jump, and took her
downstairs, through the hall, and landed her at the kitchen door. Her breath was nearly
gone; but she gave the message, and turned round, trying to see if the shoes would let her
walk at all. They went nicely till she wanted to turn into the china-closet where the cake
was. She was forbidden to touch it, but loved to take a bit when she could. Now she
found that her feet were fixed fast to the floor, and could not be moved till her father said,
as he passed the window close by,--
"You will have time to go to the post-office before school and get my letters."
"I can't," began Kitty; but she found she could, for away went the shoes, out of the house
at one bound, and trotted down the street so fast that the maid who ran after her with her
hat could not catch her.
"I can't stop!" cried Kitty; and she did not till the shoes took her straight into the office.
"What's the hurry to-day?" asked the man, as he saw her without any hat, all rosy and
breathless, and her face puckered up as if she did not know whether to laugh or to cry.
"I won't tell any one about these dreadful shoes, and I'll take them off as soon as I get
home. I hope they will go back slowly, or people will think I'm crazy," said Kitty to
herself, as she took the letters and went away.
The shoes walked nicely along till she came to the bridge; and there she wanted to stop
and watch some boys in a boat, forgetting school and her father's letters. But the shoes
wouldn't stop, though she tried to make them, and held on to the railing as hard as she