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The Red Shoes

Today in church one of the altar servers was wearing red ballet-slipper-style shoes with sparkles.

red shoes

They were beautiful, and I was thinking, wow, church has come a long way since Hans Christian Andersen's time (different denomination, too, but let's sail by that issue), when the poor protagonist of "The Red Shoes" eventually HAS TO HAVE HER FEET CHOPPED OFF for the sin of indulging in vanity by wearing her red shoes to church. And then, even after she's repented and had her feet cut off, her bloody feet, dancing in the shoes, keep her from entering the church!

I have vivid memories of the illustrations accompanying this story from the version of HCA's fairy tales that we had when I was a kid--particularly the one of Karen, the protagonist, her hair a wild golden tangle, pleading with the executioner to cut off her feet. With much searching (a zillion people have illustrated HCA, including famous people like Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham), I found that the edition we had was called Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by twin sisters, Anne and Janet Grahame Johnstone. They had an overly pretty, slim, stylized way of drawing people that I was fascinated by. I couldn't find the one illustration online, but I did find the one of her going into church all in white... but with the offending red shoes on. Unfortunately the person who took the photo cut off the feet (LOL), so you can't see the shoes, but you can see the glow from them:


If you click on the source link, you can get more of a sense of the illustrators' style. They had a great illustration for "The Wild Swans" of the prince who ends up still with one arm a wing, but I thought you might like this fairly hot (in an overly pretty way) picture from Tales of Greeks and Trojans:


This entry was originally posted at http://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/856792.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2017 08:25 pm (UTC)
I remember dutifully reading Hans Christian Andersen as a seven year old, because I'd been given a book of his stories for my birthday, and dreading each one. But books were so rare in my life it never occurred to me to put it down once I noticed that little girls never came out well in his stories.
Jul. 16th, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
Except in The Snow Queen--rip-roaring empowered female protagonist, and all the helpers she meets along the way (the robber girl, the princess, the Lap [Sami] woman, the Finn woman) are women too.

But yeah. I hear you.
Jul. 16th, 2017 08:29 pm (UTC)
This is true, though those were the stories I didn't understand very well at just-turned-seven.
Jul. 16th, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC)
I immediately thought of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

Speaking of Greeks and Trojans, a woman named Cassandra wrote me a poem about moonlight.
Jul. 17th, 2017 12:08 pm (UTC)
How cool about the poem! You meet some really interesting people.
Jul. 17th, 2017 07:49 pm (UTC)
Tales of Greeks and Trojans (and Carthaginians?)... Dido and Aeneas in the picture?
Jul. 17th, 2017 10:27 pm (UTC)
No, this is Achilles, bending over Tenes, whom he has just mortally wounded!
Jul. 19th, 2017 04:03 am (UTC)
I read and delighted in this post three times. I have no sensible comment but thought you should know this.
Jul. 19th, 2017 12:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad! I thought of you both when I was looking for samples of the artists' art and then when I found the Achilles-and-Tenes picture. Anything these guys illustrate, I think you could illustrate equally well.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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