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The Red Shoes Story - A Short Story for Kids

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An Introduction to the Red Shoes Story

The Red Shoes story is about a young lady named Karen. She has no footwear besides a difficult pair of wooden shoes to wear in the winter. The local shoemaker makes her a few red footwear from red cloth. When Karen's mother dies, Karen wears the footwear, even though their colouration is hardly suitable for mourning apparel.

First published as part of Nye Eventyr. Første Bind. Trudie Samling in 1845, “The Red Shoes” tells the tale of an orphan woman whose uncontrolled choice for red shoes results in her downfall. Her whole life is expressed in this short story. Read the story to know more about her.

Girl with Red Shoes

Girl with Red Shoes

The Story

There was a small village, and in that village there lived a beautiful girl named Karen. She was living with her mother in a small hut. She was a poor girl. She did not have many clothes or shoes to wear. She always used to wear a pair of wooden shoes that her mother had made for her. The shoes she had were hard and her feet hurt. Soon, her mother got very sick. She used to spend all her time with her and take care of her mother. Once, while returning home, Karen found a pair of red shoes in a box. The box was lying on the side of the road. She liked the red shoes very much and thought of taking them home.

After thinking for some time, she finally took those shoes with her to her home. Her mother saw those shoes but she did not find them good and was not happy after looking at those red shoes. She made her understand that she should not pick up anything on the road or from any strange place. Karen’s mother said that they might belong to some other person, and that it would be considered stealing. But, Karen was not happy with her mother’s response. She replied that the owner of these shoes must have taken care of them. Her mother tried to convince her to put those shoes back and asked her to promise that she would never wear those red shoes.

Karen promised her mother that she would never wear those red shoes. Karen always kept thinking about those shoes. After one week, her mother died as she was so ill. At her mother’s funeral, she wore those red shoes. Everybody was shocked after looking at her red shoes. Soon a kind old lady passed from there. She took Karen with her. She asked her to remove her red shoes but Karen did not do it. The old lady forced her and made her remove her red shoes.

She took her home and loved her dearly as she had no child of her own. The old lady gave her food, toys, new dresses, and a pair of shoes. But Karen did not like it as it was blue. She was missing her red shoes. Years had passed and now Karen was a young beautiful girl. However, she was still stubborn. As Karen grew up, her clothes and blue shoes were tight. So, they went to buy new ones.

Karen saw red shoes in the shop. She wanted to buy them but the old lady was not ready to buy them. Karen was so stubborn, she forced the old lady to buy them and took those red shoes to her house. She also gave her a black pair of shoes. They had no money left so they had to walk the whole way home. The old lady was in pain but Karen did not take care of her; she was happy and went singing and dancing.

Women and the Girl Going to Church

Women and the Girl Going to Church

The next day they had to go to a funeral. She asked Karen not to wear those red shoes at the funeral. Karen did not listen to the old lady and wore the red shoes. She hid them under her skirt. At the funeral, no one was happy to see Karen in red shoes. The old lady was angry and now she took her away. A soldier was looking at all these things. He came near Karen. He kneeled and whispered to her shoes. Be stubborn just like your owner and sit fast as you dance. He patted her feet.

He complimented Karen saying “You might be a good dancer!” Karen started dancing after listening to this. But, she could not stop dancing. She kept dancing all the time. She could not sleep or eat. She missed that old lady. Nobody helped her. The shoes took her to thorns and bushes. She was hurt but could not stop dancing. Somehow she removed the shoes but still, they were dancing. She went home, but the red shoes followed her all the time. She wanted to get rid of them and was sorry for her behaviour. She prayed to God. Soon, she saw the soldier. He said, “Now you are not stubborn, so your shoes will also not be like you.” Soon, the shoes went off and Karen was so happy.

Moral of the Story

Never be stubborn. Listen to your parents what they say.


The story of the red shoes is one of the best fairy tales by Hans Christians. This is a story of a poor girl Karen and how her stubbornness lands her into trouble. This story explains how after being punished for her stubbornness, Karen learnt a good lesson. She changed herself after the punishment she got. The story leaves us with the message of listening to our elders and not being stubborn about the wrong things.

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FAQs on The Red Shoes Story - A Short Story for Kids

1. Who is the author of the story, The Red Shoes?

Hans Christian Andersen is the author of the novel, The Red Shoes.

2. Who was the first person to ask Karen not to keep the red shoes?

Karen’s mother was the first person to tell her not to keep the red shoes.

3. Who asked for mercy in the story?

Karen asked for mercy in this story because she could not stop dancing even if she wanted to stop herself from dancing. The red shoes were not allowing her to do so.

4. What kind of girl was Karen?

Karen was a stubborn girl. She did not listen to the old lady. She was so selfish, she never took good care of the old lady.

5. What did Karen want?

Karen wanted a pair of red shoes. She wanted those even though her mother and the old lady advised her against it. She bought them as she was so stubborn and did not listen to the old lady or her mother’s suggestion.