Once upon a time there was a happy pair of shoes. They walked everywhere with their master. They went so many cool places and it was so much fun.
But sometimes it was hard, too. Sometimes the master hiked up mountains and carried sick people down them. These days the shoes got very worn out and felt a little bit abused.
So one day, the right shoe decided that he wanted to leave and go explore the world without having to wait on the master’s feet to take him there. So he slipped himself off of the master’s foot when he thought the master didn’t know and went out on his own.
He had a grand old time playing in mud puddles and crawling through bushes. He didn’t have to carry sick heavy people down mountains anymore, and he certainly didn’t have to go where the master wanted to take him. He could go wherever he wanted.
But one day, the shoe met a man who said he worked for a rubber company. He said it was the biggest most beautiful factory he would ever see (even though the shoe didn’t know what a factory was.)
He told the shoe how they could get massages and go swimming until the day they died if they wanted to. He said he would never see more beautiful, important shoes than he would see in this factory for the rest of his life.
So the shoe agreed to go along, as muddy and full of twigs and bugs as he was. The man took him to the factory and showed him the big massage chairs and the big swimming pools. He saw beautiful shoes everywhere.
But then the little shoe noticed that all of the shoes were screaming! The shoes that were in the pools were screaming because the pools were full of acid, to dissolve their glue! And the massage tables had big brushes that were trying to take the soles off! He had been tricked; they were trying to steal his sole!
The man laughed and threw the little shoe into the pool of acid. The shoe screamed as the acid tried to eat away at the glue that held him together.
Then as he was about to sink in the acid he saw his old master run into the factory. He paid the other man some money and ran over to the tank of acid and pulled the dirty, limp, embarrassed shoe out of the acid.
The good master put him in his car and drove home. When they got home the good master told the little shoe that he wouldn’t wear him if he still didn’t want to be worn. But if he did want to, the master would wash him really well so he was worthy to be worn again.
The little stubborn shoe sat outside for a couple of days. He was dirty and bug infested and his glue was breaking down. He looked out at the yard, and thought of all the places he could go by himself. And then he thought of the places that he had gone with the master. Even though they were hard, they were amazing new places and they helped people who were sick while they were doing it. And then he thought about when he was trying to do things by himself he didn’t know what was dangerous and what wasn’t. He knew that the master never would have let him be thrown into a vat of acid if he had stuck with him.
The little shoe turned and called to his master.
The master had been waiting by the door the whole time.
The good master picked up the shoe, smiled and said, “Are you sorry for running away from me?”
The little shoe nodded and said, “Yes, very sorry.”
The good master then said, “That’s ok. You learned how much I love you. Do you want me to put my foot in you again, and wear you and we can go places together?”
The little shoe nodded and said, “Yes please. I’m really sorry I left you. Please wear me again. I’ll go wherever you want to go. Just as long as I’m with you, and you’re in me. I trust life will be better.”
The good master smiled and said, “Alright then. Now we need to wash you.”
The master got out a bucket and the little shoe closed his eyes. The master dipped him in the bucket until all dirt on the outside had dissolved away. He pulled the shoe out and asked the shoe, “Now can I come inside of you and clean out your insides?”
The little shoe felt all the shameful spiders and mold that had started to accumulate inside of him and he was suddenly scared. He said, “I’m afraid you won’t want me after you see everything that is inside.”
The good master smiled lovingly and said, “I just want my shoe back. I’m not scared of bugs or dirt. They can’t hurt me.”
And the good master reached deep inside the shoe and scraped all of the furthest reaching corners of him clean. He pulled out a handful of grime and reached in again. He kept pulling out the dirt and bugs until it was completely clean. Then he said, “Now I can start gluing you back together. Soon you’ll be better than when you started.”
And the shoe patiently let the good master do a work inside of him, strengthening his sole and continually cleaning the fabric and the laces.
And from then on, the shoe was happy to have the master’s foot in him, and to go with the master wherever he went and to carry whatever the master wanted them to carry because he knew how much the master loved his favorite pair of shoes.