There was once a little girl. She was a tiny delicate little thing, but she always had to go about barefooted in summer, because she was very poor. In the winter she had only a pair of heavy wooden shoes, and her ankles were terribly chafed.
An old mother shoemaker lived in the middle of the village, and she made a pair of little shoes out of some strips of red cloth. THey were very clumsy, but they were made with the best intention, for the little girl was to have them. Her name was Karen.
These shoes were given to her, and she wore them for the first time on the day her mother was buried. They were certainly not mourning-shoes, but she had no others, and so she walked barelegged in them behind the poor pine coffin.
Just then a big old carriage drove by, and a big old lady was seated in it. SHe looked at the little girl and felt very , very sorry for her, and said to the parson, "Give the little girl to me and I will look after her and be kind to her." Karen thought it was all because of the red shoes, but the old lady said they were hideous, and they were burnt. Karen was well and neatly dressed, and had to learn to reading and sewing. People said she was pretty, but her mirror said, "You are more than pretty. You are lovely!"
At this time the Queen was taking a journey through the country, and she had her little daughter the Princess with her.