Friday, May 13, 2016


With enough faith and courage even a dream of the impossible can come true.

Christina dreams of exchanging her leg braces for ballerina slippers and confides this to her faithful wooden rocking horse. Her cobbler grandfather makes her some beautiful ballet slippers, but a jealous sorceress casts a dark spell on them, and Christina can never take them off. She doesn’t care. With her braces gone and forgetting the loyal rocking horse, Christina joyfully dances and dances, making the sorceress so jealous she strikes her with a curse. Only Christina’s and her grandfather’s faithalong with the rocking horse’s lovecan break the spell and transform Christina and the horse into ballet dancers.
Young Christina Rose worries she will need to wear leg braces all her life. Grandfather Renato, a shoemaker who fibs to her often, tells her no one ever notices her clumsy legs and puts roses behind her ears every morning. Christina’s parents run a barbershop and never have time for her. Years ago, Grandfather Renato made a wooden rocking horse named Sam—even clumsier than Christina. Every day after school she rides Sam for hours, putting roses behind his scraggily ears. She tells him she must be a ballerina and he’s pleased to think that someday soon the two of them will dance together.

One day Christina tells her grandfather she must be able to walk without braces and that her only true friend is Sam. Her grandfather promises to help. Christina stumbles home and throws her arms around Sam, falling asleep on the rocking horse. Grandfather Renato stays up all night making a pair of pink ballerina toe slippers. Then Grandfather Renato asks the village priest to bless the slippers. But before he can give the shoes to Christina, the village necromancer stops him. Sorceress Lucinda says if he really wants Christina to dance that he will cook the shoes in her witch brew. The only condition . . . she will never ever be able to take the slippers off her feet. Grandfather Renato agrees, thinking that’s better than Christina wearing braces her entire life. At sunset the Sorceress hands him the previously pink slippers, which are now black.

Grandfather Renato hurries to find his granddaughter—who is of course sitting on Sam, her faithful rocking horse. Before he can explain that the slippers can never be removed once put on, she shoves them across her toes and ties the black ribbons as tight as possible. Then the braces fall off her legs, and she dances across her bedroom floor with tears in her eyes. When he tells her that she will never be able to take the slippers off, she says that she would never want to take them off anyhow. As days turn into weeks and months, Christina puts a blanket over Sam and shoves him into the corner. She dances her way through the village to much acclaim and has forgotten that she ever rode Sam and told him secrets. Soon after that the Sorceress—full of jealousy for Christina’s dancing—hangs a black silk tutu on her window at night. She is angry that she never received credit for the slippers.

The next morning, wearing the tutu, Christina collapses in her grandfather’s shop, breaking both ankles. Her grandfather admits the village witch cursed the shoes and says the tutu must be cursed as well. Grandfather Renato carries her to the priest’s cathedral in tears. Her grandfather fears she will die. The priest prays for Christina. As Grandfather Renato tucks Christina into her bed, her parents weep. After her mother says maybe God meant for her to wear braces and her father argues that she never needed to dance, a loud brave voice booms from the corner of the room, saying: “I am the only one who has ever really loved her.” The moment Christina kisses Sam she transforms into a tall slender woman, wearing pink ballet toe shoes. Then Sam changes into a tall fit man in a blue body suit wearing his own gentleman ballet slippers. As they dance across the village, the Sorceress collapses dead in the street, and Grandfather Renato never doubts his faith again. Christina’s parents finally love and accept her. Christina and Sam dance together in beautiful ballerina slippers for the rest of their lives, and so do their children.

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters

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