"Ow! Ow! Ow!” said Koketso.
Granny was busy at the stove and didn’t even turn around. “What is it, Koketso?” she asked.
“OWW! OWW! OWW!” shouted Koketso. “My feet hurt. My shoes are too small.”
Granny turned and looked at her. “I can’t believe that, Koketso. Those shoes are almost new. Your feet can’t have grown so much, so quickly.”
“Oh, Granny,” said Koketso, “maybe they wouldn’t hurt so much if they weren’t so brown and ugly. Maybe if they were soft, pretty shoes with sparkles and a ribbon, then they would fit me nicely.”
Granny turned back to stir her pot. “Maybe,” she said.
“Please, Granny,” said Koketso. “I can’t wear these ugly brown shoes to the party tomorrow.”
“I see,” said Granny, slicing the onions.
Koketso pulled her shoes off, then she went outside and had a little cry.
Old Uncle Koos came past with his shopping trolley. “What’s the matter, Koketso?” he asked.
“I’m going to my best friend’s birthday party tomorrow,” said Koketso, “and I don’t have any pretty shoes to wear.”
So Uncle Koos looked through all the stuff in his trolley, but all he could find was a pair of old takkies with holes in them.
“Sorry,” he said. “I can’t help you, Koketso.”
“Thank you for trying,” sniffed Koketso.
Then the rubbish truck came by and stopped outside the house.
“Why the tears, Koketso?” asked the driver.
“I need some party shoes,” said Koketso, “and I don’t know where to find some.”
“Shame,” said the driver. “All the shoes in my truck are mixed up with the rubbish. But I often see shoes in the rubbish bins – there must be a lot of people around here with shoes they don’t want. Why don’t you ask your friends?”
Koketso thought that was a very good idea. So she went to see her friend, Mrs Salmon.
“Hello!” she called out. “Mrs Salmon, I need some party shoes. Do you have any party shoes for me?”
Mrs Salmon came to the door holding a pair of shoes. “Here, Koketso,” she said, “you can have these, but I’m afraid one of the heels is a bit loose.”
The shoes were pretty and sparkly and Koketso thought they were beautiful. “Thank you, Mrs Salmon!” she said. Koketso put the shoes on and did a little dance. But the loose heel wobbled a lot. Clack! it went as Koketso walked down the road, clackety-clack!
“Oh no,” said Koketso, “I can’t go to a party in clackety shoes!” So she gave the shoes back to Mrs Salmon and thanked her for trying to help.
“Why don’t you ask your cousin Pinky for some shoes?” suggested Mrs Salmon.
So Koketso did. “Hello!” she called out at Pinky’s house. “Pinky, I need some party shoes. Have you got any party shoes for me?”
Pinky went to look in her cupboard. “Here you are, you can have these,” she said to Koketso. The shoes had little red hearts all over them and each one had a big white bow. Koketso was very happy.
“Thank you, Pinky!” she said. She put the shoes on and did a little dance. The shoes were beautiful, but they did pinch her toes terribly.
“Ouch,” said Koketso. “I can’t go to a party in pinchy shoes.” So she gave the shoes back to Pinky and thanked her for trying to help.
“Why don’t you ask Auntie Shirley for some shoes?” suggested Pinky.
So Koketso did. But Auntie Shirley’s shoes were so big that she had to shuffle to keep them on – shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. So Koketso had to give them back.
Koketso went to see everyone she knew. And wherever she went, her friends gave her shoes to try on.
But none of them was quite right. Pumla’s shoes were so old that Koketso’s toes poked out and the soles flapped – flap flappity-flap. Mama Maloyi’s shoes had such high heels that Koketso kept falling off them and twisting her ankles. Old Mrs Naidoo’s shoes were almost perfect, but they had a horrible squeak. Squeak squeakety-squeak. Koketso just couldn’t find the party shoes she was looking for, so she went home.
She found Granny in the kitchen. “Oh, Granny,” Koketso said sadly, “I’ve been all over and tried and tried, but NOBODY has party shoes for me!”
“And what’s wrong with those?” said Granny, pointing at a pair of shoes on the table.
Koketso looked. The shoes were sparkly with pink ribbons.
Koketso put them on and danced and twirled around the kitchen. The shoes felt just right on her feet and they didn’t clack or shuffle or flap or squeak. “I love them, Granny,” she said. “Where did you find them?”
“They are your brown-and-ugly shoes,” said Granny. “While you were out a fairy came by and made them beautiful.”
Koketso looked at the table and smiled. “Hau, Granny, that fairy was you!” she said. “I can see your workbasket … and some glue … and some glitter! I know it was you!”
Granny just chuckled.
“I love you, Granny,” said Koketso as she hugged her around the waist.
“And I love you, Koketso,” said her granny. “I hope those shoes fit you better now.”
“Oh yes,” said Koketso, “they fit perfectly!”
Give your children paper and crayons/pencil crayons. Suggest that they draw a picture of a pair of shoes that they would like to wear on a special occasion.