The Old and New Shoes by Eliza Lee Follen

“Good bye, get away, you ugly old things!”
Said a little boy once to his shoes;
“All stubbed are your toes, all twisted your strings,
You’re wrinkled, one-sided, and loose.

“But here are my new ones, so shiny and bright,
They are almost as smooth as my skin;
How stiff they are, too! how straight and upright!
How snug my feet feel now they’re in!”

So saying, he gave to his old shoes a kick,
And strutted with pride to the door;
His unkindness had cut the old shoes to the quick,
For nothing contempt can endure.

“Master Frank, Master Frank, stop a while, if you please,”
(‘Twas one of the shoes he heard call);
“Our soles cannot bear such insults as these,
And your pride, Sir, will soon have a fall.”

Frank stood still with wonder and looked at the shoe,
But could not see into the matter;
At last he exclaimed,—”As they’ve nothing to do,
I suppose, like Poll Parrot, they chatter.”

So he opened the door, and walked down the stairs;
His shoes were too stiff to go fast;
But let us observe him, and see how he fares,
How repentant poor Frank was at last.

His shoes were so smooth that he could but just stand,
So tight, that they pinched in his toes;
He could only sit still, and try to look grand,
And remember he had on new shoes.

But Fido ran in, who loved little Frank,
And the shoes were remembered no more;
They began to cut capers, but at the first prank
Down tumbled poor Frank on the floor.

He was a brave boy, he thought not of crying,
He said, “Never mind,” though in pain;
He whistled to Fido, but there is no denying
He fell down again and again.

He went to his bed with his heart full of sorrow;
He said to the nurse,—”I should choose,
If you please, when I’m dressed, my good Betsey, to-morrow,
To put on my easy old shoes.

“See how red my toes are, and I’m all black and blue;
I don’t like my new shoes at all.”
“Ah! you see,” answered Betsey, “what I told you was true;
Your shoes, Master Frank, are too small.”

His old shoes he was glad in the morning to see,
And, forgetting his trouble and pain,
“How happy,” said he, “my poor toes will be
To get into the old shoes again.”

The voice of the old shoe now once more was heard:—
“Master Frank, will you please to attend?
I wish, with your leave, to say just a word,—
‘Tis a word of advice from a friend.

“Never part with old shoes till they part from you;
Let your new ones be always well tried;
Old shoes and old friends are far better than new,
And, trust me, more worthy of pride.

“Our strings and our toes are bad, we must own,
But they can be easily mended.
I have done,” said the shoe, in a kind, easy tone,
And it gaped as the lecture was ended.

New toes and new heels now the old shoes have got,
New strings, too, their beauty renew;
Frank wears them in peace, and has never forgot
The words of the friendly old shoe.

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