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Shoes for Shuka

Hanks had a dream. Maybe it was more of a hope. She hoped to write a magical story and she dreamed her teacher would like it. Inside her, deep inside Hanks, she knew she carried many stories and she longed to share them. Often times Hanks did share her stories with Bradshaw and sometime with Snort. Snort was good. He listened. He laughed when he was supposed to. He wouldn’t cry when the princess died, but he would say sorry.

Bradshaw frequently had more important things to do and took off looking for adventures before Hanks had time to finish telling her story. That hurt Hanks feelings.

Hanks had a very important story inside her that she wanted to write and one day her teacher said that everybody should write a story and bring it into class to read out loud to the whole class. Every cell in Hanks body quivered with excitement and promise. This was the chance she was waiting for. Had been waiting for for ages and ages. She sat at the kitchen table while mom baked cookies, chocolate chip, peanut butter and ice box cookies, three great big jars with one kind each in a jar, and she began telling her story.

It was about Shuka, the name of her story was Shoes for Shuka and it took place almost as far back as the beginning of time. It was winter and very cold out and Shuka lived in a cave with her mom and dad and bigger brothers and sisters. Shuka was her dad’s very favorite and sometime he took her hunting with him. One day when they were hunting in the mountains it began to snow.

A blizzard started and the wind was terrible and the snow fell very fast and Shuka and her dad were very cold. Shuka was shivering and her feet were getting numb. She had bare feet and running beside dad with the snow getting deeper and deeper made her feet hurt and tingle and then be numb so bad that she stumbled and fell and couldn’t really stand up very well any more.

Dad had several rabbits over his shoulders that he had caught for their dinner that night. He took a sharp stone and cut the meat away from the skin of two rabbits and washed the blood away in the snow. Then he wrapped the rabbit skin around Shuka’s feet and tied them on with tiny thin easy to twist branches from bushes around them. With fur on her feet, Shuka could walk home and dad could carry all the rabbits so mom could cook them over the fire in the cave for dinner.

Mom and Shuka’s brothers and sisters were getting worried because the storm was so bad and Shuka and her dad were gone a really long time. When they finally arrived they were very surprised to see what Shuka had on her feet. They had never before seen anything like it.

“Magic,” Shuka said laughing. ” They keep my feet warm and I can walk even in the snow.”

“We are going to call them shoes,” said dad. “Shoes for Shuka.

And that is how shoes got born.

Hanks liked her story a lot. She copied it over neat and easy to read and took it to school. She read hers out loud to all the kids at school and everyone listen and smiled when she was finished. “Hanks,” said her teacher,” I would like you to stay after school so I can talk to you please.”

Hanks was anxious because she didn’t know what she had done wrong but she waited patiently while all the kids left and her teacher talked to some other teachers and then came back into the room. Her teacher sat down and Hanks could see that her story was sitting on top of the desk.

“Who wrote this story for you Hanks?” her teacher asked in a stern voice.

Hanks didn’t know what she meant.

“Who wrote this story? Don’t lie to me. You didn’t write this. I know you and I know your writing and a grown up wrote this. Tell me who!”

Hanks was stunned. She would never lie. Not to a teacher, not to her mom, not to her dad, not even to Snort or Bradshaw. Why would she lie? She was telling the truth. She wrote, Shoes for Shuka last night while mom baked cookies. Then she had cookies and milk with Snort.

With tears in her eyes Hanks said,” I wrote the story. I am not lying.”

The teacher picked up the story, reached down and put it in the bottom drawer of her desk and said, ” We shall see about that. I don’t believe you and I don’t think you should get away with being a cheat.”

Hanks face went very red, her ears burned, tears ran down her face. She turned from her teacher and ran out of the room, out of the school and all the way home. When she got home mom noticed she was upset and asked her what was wrong. “Nothing,”Hanks said, too ashamed to say her teacher said she lied. Hanks crept into the dining room and crawled under the dining room table with the white linen cloth covering the table and curled up around the quilt mom made for her to have in her hidy hole.

“Bradshaw,” Hanks whispered. “I’m not a cheat.”

“I know,” Bradshaw said. And gave Hanks a hug.

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