The Little Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe

The little old woman who lived in a shoe story on the surface, the poem illustrates the struggle of a woman who manages to survive in a small house with her children. But deep inside it tells about Survival, mother’s love, and the actions we should take to defend ourselves and the ones we care about no matter what the risks are.  

   the little old woman who lived in a shoe 

Once upon a time, there was a little old woman who lived in a shoe, this shoe stood

near great forests and was so large that it served as a house for the old lady and all

The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

her children, of which she had so many that in the words of the old nursery ballad

she did not know what to do with them.

But the little old woman was very fond of her children and they only thought

of the best way to please her, strong-arm the eldest cut-down trees for the firewood,

Peter made baskets of wickerwork, Mark was chief gardener, Lizzy milked the cow

and Jenny taught the younger children to read.

Now, this little old woman had not always lived in a shoe. She and her family had once

dwelt in a nice house covered with ivy, and her husband was a woodcutter, like

strong-arm. But there lived in a huge castle beyond the forest, a fierce giant,

who one day when fortunately they were all away from home came and laid their

house in ruins with his club; after which he went into the forest, and seeing the father

at work.

He is a voice which sounded like thunder among the trees and asked him what he did

there, the poor man was dumb with terror and his knees shook and trembled, the giant

said he wanted a man to cut wood for the trees in his castle. And upon this, he seized

the wood-cutter by the waist and carried him off to his castle beyond the forest,

when the little old woman came home her house was in ruins and her husband was

nowhere to be seen. The night came on and as the father did not return the old lady

and her family went to search for him, when they came to that part of the wood where

the giant had met their father they saw an immense shoe.

They spent a long time weeping and calling out for their father but met with no reply,

then the old lady thought that they had better take shelter in the shoe until they could

build a new house, so Peter and strong-arm put a roof to it and cut a door and turned

it into a dwelling, here they all lived happily for many years. But the little old lady never

forgot her husband and his sad fate.

Strong-arm who saw how wretched his mother often was about it proposed

to the next eleven brothers that they should go with him and set their father free

from the Giant, their mother knew the Giant’s strength and would not hear

of the attempt as she feared they would be killed, but strong-arm was not afraid

he bought a dozen sharp swords and Peter made as many strong shields and helmets

as well as a crossbow as an iron-headed arrow.

They were now quite ready. Strong-arm gave the order to march, and they started

for the forest, the next day they came in sight of the Giant’s Castle, strong-arm leaving

his brothers in a wood close by strode, boldly up to the entrance and seized

the knocker, the door was opened by a funny little boy with a large head who kept

grinning and laughing, strong-armed then walked boldly across the courtyard

and presently met page who took off his hat and asked him what he wanted,

strong-arm said he had come to liberate his father who has kept a prisoner

by the giant.

On this, the little man said he was sorry for him because the part of the castle

in which his father was kept and guarded by a large dragon strongarm nothing


Soon found the monster who was fast asleep, so he made short work of him

by sending his sword right through his heart at which he jumped up uttering a scream

and made as if he would spring forward and seize strong-arm, but the good sword

had done its work and the monster fell heavily on the ground dead.

Now the Giant who had been drinking much wine was fast asleep in a remote part

of the castle, strong-arm had no sooner finished the dragon then up started

the funny little boy who had opened the door, he let strongarm round to another part

the courtyard where he saw his poor father who at once sprung to his feet

and embraced him, then strong-armed called up his brothers and when they had

embraced their father they soon broke his chain and set him free.

We must now return to the little old woman after her son had started she gave way

the most bitter grief, while she was in the state an old witch came up to her and said

she would help her as she hated the Giant and wished to kill him, the old witch

then took the little old lady on her broom and they sailed off through the air straight

to the Giant’s Castle.

Now, this old witch had great power and at once afflicted the giant with corns

and tender feet, when he awoke from his sleep he was in such pain that he could

bear it no longer, so he thought it would go in search of his missing shoe which like

the other one he had in his castle was easy and large for his foot.

When he came to the spot where the old lady and her children lived, he saw his old

shoe and with a laugh that shook the trees, he thrust his foot into her breaking

through the roof that strong arm and Peter had put to it, the children in great alarm

rushed about inside the shoe and frightened and trembling scrambled through

the door and The Slits which the Giant had formerly made for his corners.

By the time the witch and the little old lady have also strong-armed his eleven brothers

and his father was come up to the spot, strong-arm and his brother shot their arrows

head, then the father and the little old woman and all their children built a new house

at him, till at last, he fell wounded when strong-arm went up to him and cut off

his head.

Then the father and the Little Old Woman and all their children built a new house

and lived happily ever afterward and lived happily ever afterward.

The End