In a moment away went his satchel on the grass and away went the flowers he had picked and he began scrambling down the bank toward the swamp as fast as he could go. But the little shoes, they meant to go another way. They meant to go to school and they pinched Timothy’s feet and pulled and twitched at his ankles, trying to make him turn about and go in the right way, until he thought his feet would be wrenched off. Timothy was very determined, the harder the little shoes pinched the more he was bound to have the bright yellow flowers; so, in spite of the pain, he kept on going down toward the swamp.
When at last this little boy reached the foot of the bank and came to the edge of the swamp he found that the cowslips were all out of reach. Still he would have them. Round and round the swamp he went, the shoes pinching and pulling harder at every step, till at last he grew quite desperate and, giving a big jump, he landed right out in the swamp in the very middle of a large clump of the flowers. Then something strange happened, his feet sank down, down into the mud and water until the little shoes were soaked right off. Poor, wayward Timothy’s best friends were gone, but he did not know that. He just waded around in the swamp and picked cowslips to his heart’s content.
At last, however, Timothy grew very tired. He hurt his foot on a sharp stick. A great green frog jumped into his face and startled him. He had more flowers than he could carry. Suddenly he remembered school and his lost shoes and thought of what his mother had told him. Oh! how he did wish now that he had done just as she asked him to do.
“What shall I say to the teacher?” he thought. “Oh, what shall I do? How I wish I had gone straight to school as the little shoes tried to have me go!”
Weary and sad Timothy climbed the bank. Wiping the mud from his clothes with his handkerchief and taking his satchel, he started slowly for school again, all the time wondering what he should say to the teacher about being late. At last he reached the door and prepared to tiptoe quietly in, but he had no sooner put his head inside and commenced to make an excuse than all the children began to laugh. Timothy was very much ashamed. He looked to find, what they were laughing at and saw—What do you suppose he saw? Standing in the middle of the floor, in the place in the class where he himself should have stood, were his little shoes, very muddy indeed and with a cowslip in each one of them.
“You have been in the swamp, Timothy,” said the teacher. “Put on your shoes.”
When his lessons and his punishment were over, Timothy was very glad to let the little shoes take him quickly home. And always after that he tried to do what his mother and the little shoes wished him to do.
Adapted from “SAINTINE.”