…and the executioner said

And the executioner said, “Thou dost not know who I am, I fancy? I strike bad people’s heads off; and I hear that my axe rings!” “Don’t strike my head off!” said Karen. “Then I can’t repent of my sins! But strike off my feet in the red shoes!” And then she confessed her entire sin, and the executioner struck off her feet with the red shoes, but the shoes danced away with the little feet across the field into the deep wood. And he carved out little wooden feet for her, and crutches, taught her the psalm criminals always sing; and she kissed the hand which had wielded the axe, and went over the heath. Hans Christian Andersen: The Red Shoes


The shoes were a present from him to me and the most expensive and beautiful pair of shoes I have ever owned. Unfortunately like the relationship they began to fall apart in the spring and although I took them to the cobbler they were never the same again. The fact I couldn’t fix them became a metaphor for everything else. However precious, some things are built to last and some things aren’t. Text discovered in the Museum of Broken Relationships UK

red shoes

In the middle of the village lived old Dame Shoemaker; she sat and sewed together, as well as she could, a little pair of shoes out of old red strips of cloth; they were very clumsy, but it was a kind thought. They were meant for the little girl. The little girl was called Karen. Hans Christian Andersen: The Red Shoes