The Red Shoes

                                     (Hans Christian Anderson)

Hans Christian, who is famous for writing novels, writes “The Red Shoes”. In this story writer makes an effective use of fantasy to teach a moral lesson. The story is highly symbolic. The red shoes stand for worldly desires that take a man away from God. The old lady symbolizes a good-natured.

Karen was a beautiful little girl. She remained barely footed in summer. In the winter, she had to wear heavy wooden shoes that terribly pinched her feet. A shoemaker’s widow took pity on her and sewed for her a little pair of shoes out of the strips of old red cloth. Karen wore those shoes first time when the funeral ceremony of her mother took place. On the way, a kind lady sitting in a carriage saw Karen and felt sorry for her. She brought Karen to her house with the permission of parson. Karen thought that lady took her under the care due to her red shoes. The lady burnt the shoes because they were very odd and gave her new shoes and clothes.

One day Karen was going with the old lady, she say a princess wearing red shoes. She at once thought about her red shoes and expressed her desire to have such shoes. Karen was taken to the best shoemaker in the town. There Karen saw pair of red shoes and took fancy to them. As shoes were good fit, they were finally bought.

By then Karen was old enough to be confirmed so she was taken to the church. She wore red shoes instead of black. In the church, everyone stared at her red shoes and Karen thought that everyone had liked her red shoes. So she was completely absorbed in her shoes even ignoring the hymns and prays.  An old soldier who was standing on the gate praised her red shoes. In the afternoon the old lady came to know that Karen had gone to church in red shoes. The old lady advised her not to go to the church in the red shoes but her advice remained unheeded.

After sometime, the old lady fell ill and her health went on deteriorating. Meanwhile, a ball was arranged in the town. Karen decided to take part in the dance, in spite the illness of old lady. She danced there and her shoes kept on dancing. She realized that the shoes had got mysterious power and they were taking Karen against her will. At last her shoes took her to a jungle. She heard an angel saying, “Dance you shall, until your skin shrivel up like a skeleton’s.” She danced up to executioner’s house who cut her feet off and made crutches for her. She became a servant in the Parson’s house. She was no more proud and vain. She wept, prayed to God and begged her forgiveness.

At last God took pity on her. One Sunday she was praying in her tiny room when she saw an angel with a branch of tree in is hand. He touched the ceiling and walls of the room with the branch of tree. Karen found herself sitting in the church and singing hymns. She felt great joy and breathed her last. She had done enough penance for her sins and God had forgiven her.

The writer has very successfully taught a moral lesson. It is an imaginary story with a supernatural atmosphere. But it has been written in such a simple and convincing manner as the reader takes it a real story. Thus the writer has made an effective use of the fantasy to teach a moral lesson.  


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