Stories for Telling: Goody Two Shoes by@carolynsherwin

Stories for Telling: Goody Two Shoes

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Carolyn Sherwin

For the Story Teller: Story Telling and Stories to Tell

For the Story Teller: Story Telling and Stories to Tell, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey is part of HackerNoon’s Book Blog Post series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here: [LINK TO TABLE OF LINK]. Goody Two Shoes

Goody Two Shoes


Of course Goody Two Shoes was not her real name. In fact, her father’s name was Meanwell, and he had once been rich, and prosperous, and one of the most well-to-do farmers in the parish, but he lost his money. However it happened one could hardly tell, but his farm was seized, and he was turned out with his wife, and Tommy, and little Marjery, with none of the necessaries of life to support them.

Care and discontent shortened the days of Farmer Meanwell. He was forced from his family and taken with a violent fever of which he died. Marjery’s poor mother died soon, too, of a broken heart, and Marjery and her little brother were left alone in the wide world; so they started off together, hand in hand, to seek their fortunes.

[17]They were both very ragged, and though Tommy had two shoes, Marjery had but one. They neither had anything to support them save what they picked from the hedges, or got from the poor people; and they slept every night in a barn. Their relations, who were rich folk, took no notice of them, because they were ashamed to own such a poor little ragged girl as Marjery and such a dirty little curly-pated boy as Tommy.

But there was a very worthy clergyman named Mr. Smith who lived in the parish where little Marjery and Tommy were born; and having a relation come to see him who was a charitable man, he sent for these children. The gentleman ordered little Marjery a new pair of shoes, gave Mr. Smith some money to buy them clothes, and said he would take Tommy and make of him a little sailor. He had a new jacket and trousers made for Tommy, and he was soon ready to start for London.

It was hard indeed for Tommy and Marjery to part. Tommy cried, and Marjery cried, and they kissed each other a hundred times. At last Tommy wiped off Marjery’s tears with the end of his jacket and bid her cry no more, for he would come to her again when he returned from sea, and he began his journey with the kind gentleman[18] while Marjery went crying to bed. And the instant that Marjery awoke the next morning, the shoemaker came in with the new shoes for which she had been measured.

Nothing could have helped little Marjery bear the loss of Tommy more than the pleasure she took in her two shoes. You remember she had worn only one shoe before, and a ragged one at that. She ran out to Mrs. Smith as soon as they were put on, and stroking down her ragged apron cried out, “Two shoes, Madam, see, two shoes!” And so she behaved to all the people she met, and she obtained the name of Goody Two Shoes.

With Tommy gone there was not a great deal for Goody Two Shoes to do, so she made up her mind that she would learn to read. Now in the long ago days when this little girl lived, one had to pay quite a sum of money to go to a dame’s school and be taught how to cross stitch, and to bow politely, and to read. Only rich children could go, but Goody Two Shoes would meet the little boys and girls as they came from school, and learn from them and then sit down and read until they returned. After a while she had taught herself more than they had learned of the dame, and she resolved to go the rounds of all the farms[19] and teach the little children who were too poor to go to school.

And such a clever, pleasant way of teaching children to read as Goody Two Shoes invented! With her knife she cut some wooden sets of letters with which the children were to spell and make sentences by laying them together. These wooden letters she put in a basket and with the basket over her arm she became a little trotting tutoress who was known through all the countryside for her kindness and patience.

Each morning she would start out at seven and run up to the door of a farmhouse.

Tap, tap, tap!

“Who is there?” the mother of the house would ask.

“Only little Goody Two Shoes,” Marjery would answer, “come to teach Billy his A B C’s.”

“Oh, little Goody,” the mother would cry, opening the door wide. “I am glad to see you. Billy wants you sadly, for he has learned all his lesson.”

Little Billy would come out and have a new spelling lesson set him with the basket of letters, and then Goody would go on to Farmer Simpson’s.

“Bow, wow, wow!” said the dog at the door.

“Sirrah,” Mistress Simpson would say, “why[20] do you bark at Little Two Shoes? Come in. Here’s Sally wants you sadly, for she has learned all her lesson.”

Then out came the little one.

“Good morning, Goody,” she would say.

“Good morning, Sally,” Goody Two Shoes would answer; “have you learned your lesson?”

“Yes, that’s what I have,” the little one would say, as she took the letters and spelled pear, and plum, and top, and ball, and puss, and cow, and lamb, and sheep, and bull, and cock, and hen.

“Good,” said Marjery, and she hurried on to Gaffer Cook’s cottage. Here a number of poor children were met to learn to read and they all crowded around Marjery at once. So she pulled out her letters and asked the little boy next to her what he had for dinner. He answered, bread.

“Well, then,” said she, “set the first letter.”

So he pulled out a big B, and soon the other letters, and there stood the word as plain as possible.

“And what had you, Polly Comb, for your dinner?” asked Goody Two Shoes.

“Apple-pie,” answered Polly as she spelled her word.

The next child had potatoes, the next beef and turnips, which were spelled with many other[21] words until the lesson was done, and Goody set them a new task, and went on.

The next place she came to was Farmer Thompson’s, where there were a great many little ones waiting for her.

“Oh, little Miss Goody Two Shoes,” said one of them, “where have you been?”

“I have been teaching,” said Goody, “longer than I intended, and am afraid I am come too soon for you now.”

“No, but indeed you are not,” replied the other, “for I have got my lesson, and so has Sally Dawson, and so have we all,” and they capered about as if they were overjoyed to see her.

“Why, then,” said she, “you are all very good; so let us begin our lessons.”

She was indeed a wise and painstaking little tutoress for a long, long time. At last Dame Williams, who kept the village school for little gentlemen and ladies, became very old and infirm, and wanted to give up teaching. So the trustees sent for Little Two Shoes to examine her and see if she were able to keep the school.

They found that little Marjery was the best scholar and had the best heart of any one who wanted to be the teacher, and they gave her a most favorable report.

[22]So Goody Two Shoes’ troubles and travels were over. She taught the dame school for the rest of her days, and never lacked for shoes or anything else needful.

Oliver Goldsmith, 1765.



About HackerNoon Book Series: We bring you the most important technical, scientific, and insightful public domain books. This book is part of the public domain.

Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin. 2018. For the Story Teller: Story Telling and Stories to Tell. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved April 2022 from

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at, located at

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