The Red Shoes (fairy tale)

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For other works based on the fairy tales, see The Red Shoes (disambiguation).
The Red Shoes
IIlustration by Vilhelm Pedersen, for Hans Christian Andersen's "Red Shoes".jpg
Illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen
Author Hans Christian Andersen
Original title De røde sko
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Genre Fairy tale
Publisher C. A. Reitzel
Publication date
7 April 1845
Media type Print

"The Red Shoes" (Danish: De røde sko) is a fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen first published by C.A. Reitzel in Copenhagen 7 April 1845 in New Fairy Tales. First Volume. Third Collection. 1845. (Nye Eventyr. Første Bind. Tredie Samling. 1845.). Other tales in the volume include "The Elf Mound" (Elverhøi), "The Jumpers" (Springfyrene), "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep" (Hyrdinden og Skorstensfejeren), and "Holger Danske" (Holger Danske).[1]

The tale was republished 18 December 1849 as a part of Fairy Tales. 1850. (Eventyr. 1850.) and again on 30 March 1863 as a part of Fairy Tales and Stories. Second Volume. 1863. (Eventyr og Historier. Andet Bind. 1863.).[2] The story is about a girl forced to dance continually in her red shoes. "The Red Shoes" has seen adaptations in various media including film.

Plot summary[edit]

A peasant girl named Karen is adopted by a rich old lady after her mother's death and grows up vain and spoiled. Before her adoption, Karen had a rough pair of red shoes; now she has her adoptive mother buy her a pair of red shoes fit for a princess. After Karen repeatedly wears them to church, they begin to move by themselves, but she is able to get them off. One day, when her adoptive mother becomes ill, Karen goes to attend a party in her red shoes. A mysterious soldier appears and makes strange remarks about what beautiful dancing shoes Karen has. Soon after, Karen's shoes begin to move by themselves again, but this time they can't come off. The shoes continue to dance, night and day, rain or shine, through fields and meadows, and through brambles and briers that tear at Karen's limbs. She can't even attend her adoptive mother's funeral. An angel appears to her, bearing a sword, and condemns her to dance even after she dies, as a warning to vain children everywhere. Karen begs for mercy but the red shoes take her away before she hears the angel's reply. Karen finds an executioner and asks him to chop off her feet. He does so but the shoes continue to dance, even with Karen's amputated feet inside them. The executioner gives her a pair of wooden feet and crutches, and teaches her the criminals' psalm. Thinking that she has suffered enough for the red shoes, Karen decides to go to church so people can see her. Yet her amputated feet, still in the red shoes, dance before her, barring the way. The following Sunday she tries again, thinking she is at least as good as the others in church, but again the dancing red shoes bar the way. Karen gets a job as a maid in the parsonage, but when Sunday comes she dares not go to church. Instead she sits alone at home and prays to God for help. The angel reappears, now bearing a spray of roses, and gives Karen the mercy she asked for: her heart becomes so filled with sunshine, peace, and joy that it bursts. Her soul flies on sunshine to Heaven, where no one mentions the red shoes.

Background[edit]

Andersen explained the origins of the story in an incident he witnessed as a small child. By his report, his father was sent a piece of red silk by a rich lady customer, to make a pair of dancing slippers for her daughter. Using red leather along with the silk, he worked very carefully on the shoes, only to have the rich lady tell him they were trash. She said he had done nothing but spoil her silk. "In that case," he said, "I may as well spoil my leather too," and he cut up the shoes in front of her.[citation needed]

Adaptations[edit]

  • The Red Shoes is a 1948 British feature film about ballet. The film tells the story of a young ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called "The Red Shoes", based on the fairy tale. Her desire to dance conflicts with her need for love, ultimately leading to her death.
  • The Red Shoes is a 2005 Korean horror film inspired by the fairy tale.
  • "The Red Shoes" has been adapted by the Cornish theater company, Kneehigh.
  • "The Red Shoes" has been adapted by the Austin-based aerial arts collective Sky Candy into a cirque noir aerial ballet. It debuted May 6, 2011 at the Vortex theater in Austin, Texas.
  • "The Red Shoes" features prominently in the 2012 series of the Australian ballet drama Dance Academy, culminating in the series finale in which the lead character reprises Victoria's solo.
  • Supernatural episode: "Out With The Old", deals with a pair of cursed ballerina slippers.
  • "The Red Shoes" is a flamenco fairytale - a flamenco music and dance adaptation by A'lante Dance Ensemble choreographed by Olivia Chacon [3][4][5]
  • "The Red Shoes" became an inspiration for a song under the same title, performed by South Korean singer IU, from her third studio album Modern Times.
  • "The Red Shoes" may have been an inspiration for the Dungeons & Dragons cursed item, "Boots of Dancing."
  • "The Dance of Death" by Jo Gibson features a pair of red shoes that grant the wearer a massive amount of talent but at a price. The wearer is eventually struck with a case of bad luck. At one point a girl almost dances herself to death.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hans Christian Andersen: Nye Eventyr. Første Bind. Tredie Samling. 1845.
  2. ^ Hans Christian Andersen: The Red Shoes
  3. ^ http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/article/Flamenco-Fest-dances-into-third-anniversary-3859267.php
  4. ^ http://blog.mysanantonio.com/artbeat/2012/09/review-flamenc-fest/
  5. ^ http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10540828.htm

External links[edit]