A special name for a little girl, to be sure, but it was no wonder that people called her “Goody Two Shoes,” as you shall soon hear.
Her real name was Margery, and her brother’s name was Tommy; and the two poor little things had no kind father and mother to work and earn money to buy food and clothes for them, and to take care of them. So they wandered about, always together, hand in hand, poor and ragged and lonely, and often tired and hungry.
The people in the village used to give them something to eat, and the children often found berries in the woods and along the roadside. Every night, when the sun set and it began to grow dark. Tommy and Margery would walk up to some farmhouse and say to the farmer or his wife: “If you please, may we sleep in your barn tonight?”
“Yes, indeed, and very welcome,” the farmer would say; and then the two children would run to the bam and make themselves a cosy, warm nest in the hay and be as happy as two little birds.
But there are so many kind people in the world that children are not long left to wander about without a home, as Tommy and Margery had been doing; and it happened that a kind gentleman who saw them trotting about together one day felt very sorry for them.
He saw Margery’s fat little feet all scratched with walking barefoot over stones and stubble. “I can cure that,” he said to himself; and he took the children to the cobbler’s and said: “Good Mr. Cobbler, here is work for you. Will you do it?”
“That I will, and gladly,” answered the cobbler. So he measured Margery’s foot, that he might know just how large to make the shoes, and set to work immediately.
He cut two pieces of leather from a large, thick piece which he had, and shaped them for the soles. And he cut the uppers from the thin leather; and busy enough he was then, boring holes with his “nice little awl,” and “putting his waxed ends through and through” as he stitched away, sewing the leather together for Margery’s shoes. But while the cobbler was working away, the kind gentleman who had told him to make the shoes had been making some more kind plans. “Tommy,” said he, “I will take you with me when I go back to my ship, and you shall learn to be a sailor”, and good Mrs. Smith said, “Surely, then, little Margery shall live with me.”
So it was settled; the only sad thing being that Tommy and Margery had to be separated. They cried and kissed each other many times when the day came for Tommy to go away. After he had gone, little Margery went one day and looked in at the cobbler’s window.
There he sat with a big flat stone on his lap and a hammer in his hand, and what was he doing but rap-tap-tapping away, putting the pegs into Margery’s shoes and fastening the uppers and soles together. You may be sure it was not long after that before the shoes were finished: and a good thing it was, too, for they say that poor little Margery was so very lonely without her brother, that she might have cried herself sick but for the new shoes that were brought home to her.
Dear me! If you could but have seen how pleased she was! She had had to go barefoot a long time, you must remember, and her little feet had often been cold and scratched and hurt. Besides, the new shoes were so shiny and black, and creaked a little when Margery walked. Yes, indeed, it was delightful altogether.
Margery showed them to Mrs. Smith as soon as ever the cobbler had put them on for her.
“Two shoes, ma’am! Two shoes! said the happy little creature over and over again. I suppose she could scarcely remember having had two shoes before, because she had been barefoot so long; and before that she had gone about with only one shoe on for a long time! The other shoe had been lost when she and Tommy first began their wanderings.
At any rate, little Margery seemed overjoyed at having two new shoes at once, and ran about first to one friend in the village and then to another, always putting her feet out and saying: “Two shoes! See, two shoes!”
Everybody was glad to see the little girl so joyful, and they used to smile at one another in a happy way and say: “Have you seen little Two Shoes?” or, “There goes Goody Two Shoes, bless her heart!’ till finally people scarcely ever remembered to call her Margery.
So now I have told you, as I said I would, how a little girl came to have such a special name as “Goody Two Shoes,” and, if you like, you shall hear more about her another time, for she was a little dear and no mistake, and did many things well worth your hearing about.