This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stone In My Shoe

It’s odd the baggage we carry around, even when we know it’s baggage.
Today when I was walking to work (I usually do on Sundays) I felt a stone in my shoe and memories came flooding back.
Many years ago, when I was about six or seven years old, I read one of the hundreds of stories churned out by the late queen of children’s literature, Enid Blyton. This particular story concerned a boy who went out one day and felt a stone in his shoe. On bending down to unlace his shoe and remove the stone, he saw a necklace in his path. Knowing whose necklace it was, he took it to her and was rewarded with a coin (or something). As he emerged from the gate of the woman’s home he felt the stone in his shoe again and bent to take it out. And when he did this he saw a book in his path. Seeing the owner’s name written on the first page, he took it to him and got a plate of hot cakes or something (I read this thirty years ago!) as reward. When he left his home, he felt again the stone in his shoe and, bending down, saw someone’s wallet…
So this little do-gooder spent his morning wandering the village (Blyton’s stories were usually set in villages) finding something or other each time he bent to take the stone out of his shoe, and consequently returned home well fed and with a full pocket. At his garden gate he felt the stone again, and finally took off the shoe to find a blue, star-shaped stone. He flipped it over the garden hedge and went in to his mum. Mum asked what he’d done all morning, and he went into ecstasies over his extraordinarily good luck, and how he’d found something each time he’d tried to take out the stone. Mom asked to see the stone. He described it and said he’d chucked it over the garden hedge. “Oh,” she said then, “that stone was your good luck…” The boy went running into the street but he never found that stone again.
For some reason, this story stuck in my mind like superglue. For years after, each time I’d get a stone in my shoe I’d take it out and examine it to see if it were blue and/or star-shaped . Even though it never was, I’d carefully preserve it. I never threw out stones I found in my shoes. To this day, I might be able to find some of them carefully gathered, back then.
Even now, I still examine stones I get in my shoe. Who knows, I might just find a blue star-shaped one…
(And today’s was just an ordinary piece of gravel. So I threw it away.)  

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