Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

'The Red Shoes' as told by Nanny Piggins

November 24, 2021 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 92
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
'The Red Shoes' as told by Nanny Piggins
Show Notes Transcript

After an unfortunate incident where Nanny Piggins is forced to throw a shoe at Mr Green's head, on the way to visiting the leopards at the zoo, she takes the children shoe shopping. This leads to her telling the story of her distant relative, Madge Piggins and the ill fated time she put on a pair of red shoes.

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‘The Red Shoes’ as told by Nanny Piggins


Here we go….


Nanny Piggins, Boris and the children were shoe shopping. This was not something that often happened. Usually if Nanny Piggins had enough money to buy shoes she would spend it on chocolate or cake or chocolate cake. 

And Nanny Piggins never had to buy shoes for herself because she was always sent free shoes by all the leading shoe designers in Europe. 

You see shoe designers always want their footwear to be worn by models with tiny feet. The shoes look better that way. And a trotter is much smaller than a human foot. Plus Nanny Piggins was much more glamorous than any human. So shoes were constantly being sent to the house by designers desperate to lure her into a career as a full time foot model.

On this occasion the reason why they were shoe shopping was because Samantha needed a new pair of shoes. Actually, she only needed one new shoe. She still had a shoe for her left foot that was perfectly fine. But shoe manufactorers are too narrow minded to sell individual shoes. 

Samantha had not lost her shoe herself. She was a good, sensible girl, most of the time. She had just been sitting quietly on the bus with Nanny Piggins, Boris and her brothers, when something unfortunate happened. 

The bus happened to drive past the office building for the law firm where Mr Green worked, and Mr Green just happened to be standing outside. 

Mr Greens’ doctor told him he had to stand outside for 5 minutes every day, because he was suffering Vitamin D deficiency because he spent too much time at his desk and never got exposed to sunlight. So at noon every day Mr Green took his paperwork out onto the sidewalk outside his building and did his work there for ten minutes. 

Unluckily on this day, the bus they were riding on drove past at this exact hour. 

You may be wondering why the children were catching a bus in the middle of a school day. That in itself is a long story. 

But suffice it to say, Nanny Piggins had got bored at home alone with just Boris for company, so she had rung the school and claimed that all three children had just got back test results saying they had just come down with leporacy. And she had to pick them up from school and immediately take them to a leper colony. 

Nanny Piggins wasn’t sure what a leper colony was, she thought it was an enclosure where lots of leopards lived. But she like going to visit the zoo. Many of her dear friends lived there, so that’s where they were headed. 

But as soon as Nanny Piggins saw Mr Green she was over come with an irresistible impulse to throw something at his head. 

At breakfast that morning, Mr Green had complained about how he never got bacon for breakfast anymore. He’d immediately realised that he shouldn’t have said it and made a dash to get out the house. So Nanny Piggins had only managed to whack him three times with an egg whisk before he escaped. As a result she still harboured a lot of pent up rage.

Seeing him again, the anger washed over her again, and she just had to throw something at his smug head. But there was nothing suitable at hand. 

She didn’t want to throw her handbag. It had Mr Green’s credit card inside and she needed that to pay for the ice cream at the zoo. She couldn’t throw her own shoes because they were a particularly lovely pair of jimmy choo stilettos, with little LED lights in the heels that light up when she walked. 

So without thinking she grabbed Samantha by the foot, yanked off her shoe and threw it at Mr Green.

It was a terrific shot. It got him right on the bald spot. And it knocked his glasses askew so the bus was around the corner before he could straighten them up and see who did it. Although the tag in the heel of Samantha’s black leather school shoe that read ‘Samantha Green’ was probably a clue even Mr Green could figure out.

And so spending a lovely couple of hours picnicking with the leapoards at the zoo, before the zoo keepers chased them out of the enclosure, Nanny Piggins, Boris and the children headed to the nearest department store to replace Samantha’s lost footwear.


The store had a spectacular range with all type of shoes. Everything from steel toed work shoes. Perfect if Samantha decided to quit school and become a road worker. 

To athletic shoes perfect if Samantha wanted to compete in the Olympics. 

To fabulous six inch high heels perfect if Samantha wanted to break her ankle trying to walk a short distance in a straight line.

‘Alright Samantha,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Pick whatever you like.’

‘Shouldn’t I just get black leather school shoes, like I had before?’ asked Samantha.

‘Goodness no,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Those great black leather clompers are just plain ugly. And they can’t be good for your poor little toes. How will they ever get to express their true personality trapped inside such hot sweaty leather.

‘I didn’t know toes had personalities,’ said Michael.

‘Of course, you didn’t,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Because you wear horrible shoes too. You’ve never had a chance to get acquainted with your tootsies.’

‘I never wear shoes,’ said Boris. ‘And my toes all have ever such interesting opinions about what they like to do.’

Boris was the worlds greatest ballet dancing bear. A feat that can only be accomplished with the full cooperation of all ten of his extremely talented toes.

‘Samantha, you must select the shoes that you really want,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Don’t let your judgement be clouded by practicality, size, or price. You should select the shoes that speak to your soul.’

Samantha was very confused about these instructions. She had always preferred to have shoes that fit. But Nanny Piggins was almost always right about everything, so she wanted to try to do what she said. 

The problem was – Samantha’s soul had never had a conversation with any shoe before – she doubted it was about to start now. That was until she saw them

And by them – I mean most beautiful shoes she had ever seen. They were red, patent leather, mary-janes, with a little silver buckle on the side. 

They didn’t have high heels, they didn’t even have disco lighting shining out of the heels – but to Samantha’s mind they were absolutely lovely.

‘How about those?’ asked Samantha shyly.

She expected her Nanny to agree or perhaps try to convince her to buy something much more outrageous and impractical.

But to her surprise when Nanny Piggins saw the shoes Samantha was pointing at – she gasped in horror.

‘What’s wrong?’ asked Samantha.

‘You don’t mean?...’ said Nanny Piggins, struggling to contain her emotions. ‘You can’t seriously be saying – that you want – the red ones?!’

‘Um…’ said Samantha. ‘Yes.’

‘What’s wrong with the red ones?’ asked Derrick. Wondering if there was a bomb hidden in the soul, that their Nanny being an expert in cannon ballistics was easily able to identify.

‘The problem is…’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Red shoes are dangerous!’

Now this was quite a statement. Just about everything Nanny Piggins did was dangerous. Even getting out of bed in the morning was a life threatening experience for her because she had standards. 

She didn’t just slide out of the bedding, she always performed a triple somersault and landed neatly on the carpet. Unless she’d had a particularly good cake the night before in which case she might perform a quadruple somersault and throw in a twist as well.

‘How are they dangerous?’ asked Michael.

‘Well, they may not necessarily be,’ said Nanny Piggins. She was crouching down with her snout just millimetres from the shoes as she inspected them for signs of danger. ‘But long ago, a pair of red shoes was worn by a distant cousin of mine and it let to terrible consequences.’

‘Really?’ said Derrick.

‘Oh yes, really,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘In fact there is a famous fairy tale written about it – the tale of ‘The Red Shoes’.

‘I thought Hans Christian Anderson wrote that,’ said Samantha.

‘You mean, Hannah Christan Anderson Piggins? Oh yes she did,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘She chronicled so many of the amazing things that happened to my distant relatives.’

‘You’ve got to tell us this story,’ said Michael. Stories were always fabulous when they involved Nanny Piggins distant relatives.

‘Very well,’ said Nanny Piggins sitting down on the bench in the store and making herself comfortable. 

‘Come along you other customers. You can stop pretending you’re not listening. I doubt you’ve met a pig as glamorous as me before. Because I know for a fact there are no other pigs as glamorous as me. Except for my identical fourteenuplet sisters. And if you’d met one of them you’d probably be in the hospital emergency room or at least have bandages wrapped around your head. 

This is a crackingly good story – you don’t want to miss it. 

When all the customers gathered around and made themselves comfortable sitting on shoe boxes she began.

It all started in the olden story days when my dear cousin Madge was just a girl. Both her parents dropped dead.

‘That’s terrible,’ said Samantha.

‘I know, but it was inevitable,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘It was the olden story days! Back then - in all stories about children, the first thing the story teller did was get rid of the parents. So that the children can get up to some really imaginative mischief. Stories would be shockingly dull if they didn’t.’

Boris looked like he was about to start crying. Nanny Piggins patted his hand. Remember these characters are fictitious so you don’t need to worry about them too much.

Boris sniffed and nodded his head. Trying to keep his emmotions in.

So where was I -  having been orphaned Madge was adopted by a very wealthy stylish woman in the big city. Now she had always lived a humble life as a peasant girl in the country. She couldn’t believe how beautiful and lovely everything was in her new home. The furniture was lovely, the carpet was lovely, the curtains were lovely. And her new mother had bought her lots of lovely new clothes. But she didn’t know what shoe size Madge was – so she had to take her shopping for those.

Madge had never owned any shoes before. Poor people never did in the olden story days. 

When her new mother bought her the most beautiful pair of lovely red shoes, Madge was over-joyed. They were the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen. Although she had only ever seen farm yard things like frogs, ducks and cowpats so she didn’t have a very broad basis of comparison. 

Now her new mother had enrolled her in the nicest school in the city and Madge was due to start there the next day. She wanted to look her best to make a good impression on her new teachers, so the next morning she got dressed and put on her lovely new red shoes for the first time. As soon as she put them on her toes started twitching, her legs started jiggling and before she knew it - she had launched into dance. 

Madge had never had a dancing lesson before in her life and all of a sudden she was dancing better than any prima ballerina.

‘Hey!’ said Boris.

‘Although, not as good as my dear brother Boris,’ said Nanny Piggins.

Boris smiledly proudly.

Madge didn’t walked to school that day. She danced. The whole way down the street, through the town, to the school gates – delighting everyone who saw her along the way.

‘But when she stepped in through the school gates,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Although I should say she pirouetted in through the school gates because that is what she did – the headmaster was there to meet her.

‘Oh dear,’ said Samantha. Experience had taught her it was never a good thing when the headmaster met you at the school gates.

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ demanded the headmaster.

‘I’ve come to start my first day at school,’ said Madge, hopping daintily from toe-to-toe as she spoke.

‘You can’t where those red shoes in here,’ said the Headmaster. ‘The school uniform code strictly says – black lace up leather shoes only. Certainly not shiny red dancing slippers.’

‘Oh,’ said Madge.

‘Go home this instant!’ said the Headmaster. ‘Come back tomorrow wearing more appropriate footwear.’

Madge felt embarrassed and ashamed. She hadn’t realised that the school had such strict rules. She hadn’t meant to be disrespectful. She was mortified by her own ignorance and lack of decorum.

But when Madge woke up the next morning and got dressed and went to her closet, the red shoes were still sitting there and she couldn’t resist them. They were just so beautiful. Madge’s mother had bought her some ugly black shoes for school. But before she put those on, Madge decided to slip into her red shoes for just a moment. 

As soon as she put them on her feet Madge started dancing again, it was so exhilarating – Madge felt wonderful. I brought joy to her soul. Before she knew it the shoes had danced her off down the road to school again. And again she was met by the headmaster.

‘I see,’ said the Headmaster. ‘You think the rules don’t apply to you and your fancy shoes. Well if you like them that much – then I will perform a magic spell on them. 

The headmaster bent over and touched each shoe. 

‘Now you will never be able to take them off,’ declared the Headmaster. ‘And you will never be able to stop dancing!’

‘What a rotter!’ exclaimed Michael.

‘I know,’ agreed Nanny Piggins. ‘It was terrible luck having a headmaster who was also secretly an evil wizard. But it’s actually more common than you might think. 

 But this was the olden story days and things like that were even more common then – and to be honest – Madge was secretly pleased by the curse. She didn’t want to take the shoes off they were truly lovely. 

She happily danced away. Glad not to have to sit through any boring lessons at all. And so she danced and danced all day. 

But when night came, Madge was starting to get sleepy and her legs wouldn’t stop their dancing so she couldn’t lie down. 

She was getting hungry too. She could eat while dancing, but it wasn’t pleasant. She kept shoving it up her nose accidentally, or knocking the food all over her clothes. And it was very hard to digest while bouncing up and down. 

After three or four weeks of constant dancing, uncomfortable eating, no sleeping and very splashy bathing – Madge had had enough. 

She went back to the school to plead with the headmaster to release her from her red shoes. 

He said, ‘There was one way the curse of the red dancing shoes can be lifted. And that is by cutting your  feet off with an axe.’

‘What!’ exclaimed Derrick.

‘That’s crazy!’ said Michael.

‘And owy,’ said Boris.

‘I didn’t make this stuff up,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Hannah Christian Anderson Piggins did. Things must have been brutally hard in the olden Danish Story days because this story is very strange. Anyway, Madge had the good sense not to agree to that.’

She went home where she wept and wept. It’s traditional to do this in the olden story stories. Characters have to hit rock bottom before they can rebound.

Madge was just weeping heartily - while dancing the tango up and down the street - when a strange, short fat bottomed man, with a curly moustache and a top hat spoke to her – ‘Why hello, darling. What delightful shoes you have,’ 

‘They’re torturing me’ said Madge. ‘They won’t let me stop.’

‘Really?’ said the strange short fat-bottomed moustached man. ‘How intriguing. You must come and work for me immediately!’

‘He offered her a job?’ said Derrick. 

‘Yes, because this man was a ringmaster!’ declared Nanny Piggins.

‘Not the Ringmaster?’ asked Michael. R

eferring to the ringmaster who had employed nanny Piggins for many years, and by employed I mean kidnapped tricked into signing a criminally insane binding fifty year contract.

‘No, not the Ringmaster,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘This was the Ringmaster’s great great great times fifteen greats uncle, Det Ringmaster. Det is Danish for The. 

He offered her an exclusive binding fifty year binding contract to work at his circus as the worlds most glamorous never-ending ballet dancer.  So she lived happily ever after the end. 

‘But how did she eat and how did she sleep?’ asked Samantha.

‘Well the Ringmaster isn’t all evil,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Only 99 Percent. His is also one percent genius. 

He figured out a way to help her sleep. He gave her a hammock with two leg holes in it. So her legs could still dance while she slumbered. 

And he found a way to help her eat. He employed an acrobat to leap about shoving small pieces of cake in her mouth as she danced to fuel her performance. So she got along very well.

‘But she had to do that for fifty years?!’ Exclaimed Derrick.

‘No, not at all,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘After eight years the shoe wore out, so Madge could stop. She worked in the snack van, making fairy floss for the remaining 42 years of her contract. 

And that is how she lived happily ever after, because when no one was looking she ate as much candy floss as she liked. Which was a lot. And she was happier than she had ever been. The end. Time for bed.

The shoe shop customers applauded.

‘We can’t go to bed,’ said Michael. ‘We’re still standing in the shoe shop.’

‘We are. Well you’d better hurry up and pick some shoes.

‘I want these,’ said Samantha. Holding up a different pair.

‘But they’re just the same as the ugly black ones you had before,’ said Nanny Piggins.

‘I know,’ said Samantha. ‘I think it would be safer to stick with these.’

Nanny Piggins nodded at the wisdom of this and handed over Mr Green’s credit card. Then they all went home, everyone now wearing two shoes after a marvellous day picnicing with leopards and eating ice cream. The end.