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First written as a ten minute writing exercise at Catherine Deveny's Gunnas Writing Masterclass.

Once upon a time there was a little boy who wanted a pair of leather shoes. His mother said they couldn’t afford them.


‘They're too expensive,’ she said, ‘and you don't need them. Sand shoes are just fine for you.’


The little boy wasn’t happy about that. He wanted leather shoes to show that he was special and important. He was small and all the boys and girls at school ignored him. He was nothing special to look at, had no skills, and he couldn’t make people laugh.


Every day he prayed to be different. He prayed to be someone better – better looking, better at schoolwork, better at talking, better at making people like him. He didn’t know how to go about it. He’d look at the other boys and girls and imitate them. He tried to talk like them, walk like them and smile like them. He even tried to dress like them. But it was hard with no money.


One day he had an idea. ‘I know. I’ll imagine I’m like them. I’ll pretend I’m like them. I’ll dream I’m like them.’

So he started to walk as if he were them, talk as if he were them. But one thing still bothered him. He had trouble imaging the leather shoes. For some reason, to be this better person, he had to have these leather shoes.


Every night he tried to imagine he already had a pair of leather shoes. He even clasped his hands together and  prayed that they would arrive by his bed one morning or appear at the front door in a box.


He started looking forward to the arrival of the leather shoes. They had to arrive because he had asked for them so earnestly and persistently. He did everything he could to make them come. He helped his mother with every chore, helped his grandmother in her garden, helped his blind neighbour write his letters and was kind to every cat and every dog.


One morning he woke up and found a large box at the front door tied with a bow. Inside was a pair of the most beautiful brown leather shoes. They shone with gloss and wonder. They were perfect in every way.


He was tying up his shoelaces and about to walk out of the house, when he heard a voice behind him say, ‘Hey, Tom. Stop. Serving suggestion only.”


The little boy swung around, stunned.




‘I said, “serving suggestion only”.’


‘What do you mean?’


‘God can serve you anything, if you believe. You wanted the leather shoes and you got them. Whatever you want you can have, if you really believe. So what do you really want?’

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