Once upon a time there were two frisky feet. The right foot was a feisty and adventurous foot and often stuck its toes into other people's business. It was known as Bold Foot. The left foot was quiet and retiring, except when Bold Foot led it into adventure, and was called Shy Foot. Bold Foot and Shy Foot were inseparable friends and went everywhere together. Like all friends, sometimes they argued. The argued about who got to put on which sock and who would be first to get into its boot. Sometimes they panicked, especially when they were almost late for catching a train and thought they might have to walk all the way home from London to Bristol.

In the same house there lived a small tortoiseshell-and-white leopard. Most people mistook her for a domestic cat, but in truth she was a small leopard who liked to sleep on the back of the sofa waiting for antelope to pass by. When an antelope passed, the small tortie leopard planned to fall off of the sofa and onto the antelope and eat up the antelope for her tea. There are not many antelope in Bristol, so most days she ate Felix cat food instead. She was called Nutmeg, but we'll call her the Lounging Leopard.

Unfortunately, the Lounging Leopard hated the Frisky Feet. She hated all feet, but she especially hated Bold Foot and Shy Foot. This was especially unfortunate because Bold Foot and Shy Foot both belonged to the person who fed the Lounging Leopard and they often wanted to play with her.


One day, Bold Foot and Shy Foot were put into their socks and boots and promised an adventure. Their owner had bought a new toy which he called a Global Positioning System or GPS. He said the GPS would tell him where he was, just so long as he could see the sky. Bold Foot was most excited. It could go out for a walk and the GPS would always know where it was. Of course, wherever Bold Foot went, Shy Foot went too so the two of them, cosily tucked into their socks and boots, set off at a brisk pace.

A little while later, Shy Foot began to complain. It hadn't been on such a long walk for a long time and it was already tired and hungry. Its boot was rubbing its heel and it was worried about getting a blister. Bold Foot told it not to be such a wimp and a walk would be good and character-forming. Shy Foot said it was perfectly happy with the character it already had and it just wanted to go home. Normally Bold Foot and Shy Foot didn't go any further than Maplin Electronics and soon Bold Foot started feeling weary. Even worse, there was a blister forming on Bold Foot's heel and it started to limp.

"You can't limp!" Shy Foot told it. (Feet communicate by smellepathy, which is why you never hear them speak, but is also why they often pong. When feet stink it is because they have been shouting - usually they are shouting to be let out of stuffy shoes.)

"Why not?" asked Bold Foot huffily.

"Because I'm already limping."

"Well I want to limp too."

"You can't limp on both feet," protested Shy Foot.

"Why not?" asked Bold Foot.

"Because that isn't limping, that's hobbling," explained Shy Foot.

"Oh. Can we take it in turns to rest instead? We can each take a turn at hopping."

But Shy Foot was not in favour of hopping. He knew that Bold Foot might refuse to take his turn and then Shy Foot would have to hop all the way home.

"I can't hop with a blister," protested Shy Foot, "and you can't hop at all."

"What do you mean?" asked Bold Foot.

"Last time you tried to hop, you lost your balance and we fell over."

"Oh," said Bold Foot glumly as it hadn't thought of that. "We'll have to take it in turns to limp then."

So Bold Foot and Shy Foot took it in turns to limp. After walking for 4 miles and taking turns at limping, Bold Foot and Shy Foot were relieved to find themselves back at their own familiar doorstep. Even the terror of the Lounging Leopard didn't seem so bad. As soon as they were sat down on the sofa, they kicked off their boots and wiggled their toes happily. They were glad to be free even though they both had nasty water blisters.


One day, Bold Foot and Shy Foot got a present. Like most feet they had to share their presents. This present was a pair of sandals. Bold Foot, being an exhibitionist, like its sandal, but Shy Foot was afraid to show its toes in public.

"It's a foot bikini," said Bold Foot, "I can walk around half-naked."

"I don't want to walk around almost bare," said Shy Foot, "People will laugh at my toes. It's unnatural!"

"Feet are meant to be bare," replied Bold Foot, "Feet are meant to frolic naked on the grass. With sandals, feet can frolic almost naked on the pavement and still be safe from nasty sharp things."

"Feet are meant to be modest," argued Shy Foot, "Feet are meant to be decently hidden in socks and boots, not flaunting their flesh in public."

"Well I want to wear my sandal and that means you will have to wear your sandal too"

"You wear a sandal if you want," sulked Shy Foot, "but I shall wear my sock and boot."

"You can't wear a boot if I'm wearing a sandal!"

"Why not?"

"We'll look silly. Feet have to match."

"Can I wear a sock then?" asked Shy Foot

"No, because then I would also have to wear a sock and feet look very silly wearing socks together with sandals. Besides, you have holes in the toes of all your socks."

"That's because I can't see where I'm going if the socks don't have holes!" protested Shy Foot. (Feet see with their toes.)

No matter how much Shy Foot sulked and dragged his foot and stuck in his heel, Bold Foot made him toe the line. Still sulking, Shy Foot went out in a sandal and too his amazement, he liked it. He liked the feel of fresh air on his arch and his sole. He liked to wiggle his toes in the air and wave his toes at other feet. From then on, Shy Foot never complained about sandals again.


One sunny day, Shy Foot noticed that Bold Foot did not want to wear their new sandals. At first, Shy Foot thought this was because Bold Foot didn't like to appear half-naked in public. Being a modest sort of foot, Shy Foot preferred to stay inside boots, but Bold Foot had persuaded him to wear a sandal. Bold Foot had thought they looked very silly with one foot in a sandal and the other in a boot, so he asked Shy Foot to pluck up courage to wear a sandal instead, even if they only wore sandals inside the house. This time the boot was on the other foot - for it was Bold Foot that didn't want to wear a sandal! Sensing something was afoot, Shy Foot politely asked Bold Foot to put on his sandal so that the feet could go out for a walk in the fresh air.

"Shan't," said Bold Foot.

"Why ever not?" asked Shy Foot.

"Foot Weevils," said Bold Foot.

"Foot Weevils? What are they?"

"Nasty insects come along and bite you. Then, when you've gone numb they inject juices and digest you from the inside."

Shy Foot started laughing.

"It's not funny," Bold Foot insisted, "When you've been digested from the inside, you fall off the leg."

"I don't believe in Foot Weevils," said Shy Foot, "I only believe in the weevil that men do. Someone's been pulling your leg."

"I heard it from another foot!" insisted Bold Foot.

"It's just an urban leg-end," Shy Foot told him.


There are many things that scare feet and send them scampering off in the opposite direction. Socks without holes are scary - it's like having a house without windows. Being shoved into dark and suffocating boots can be scary. Toenail clippers are scary things and Bold Foot and Shy Foot view them as you or I would view an instrument of torture. One day, Bold Foot and Shy Foot were walking along the street, minding their own business when they noticed a scary shop sign. Even scarier, their owner had stopped outside this particular shop.

"Foot Locker!" said Bold Foot with a tone foreboding (a sort of Stilton-like undertone, since feet communicate by smellepathy).

"But we've not done anything wrong!" said Shy Foot, "Why would we be locked up?"

"Maybe we fidget too much when watching TV?"

"Or we refuse to go into our boots."

"Maybe it's because we don't like having our toenails trimmed," said Bold Foot. The feet had very tough, thick toenails that had broken many toenail trimmers.

The frightened feet very badly wanted to run away. They got even more scared and confused when they were taken into the shop.

"He's going to take us off and leave us here!" Bold Foot said fearfully (Camembert whiff).

"How's he going to walk around on just the ankles?" asked Shy Foot.

"Maybe he's getting artificial feet."

"But that won't be any fun - artificial feet have no souls!"

Just then, the weight was taken off them as the Bottom eased itself onto a seat. Bold Foot and Shy Foot found themselves pulled out of their safe, dark boots and exposed to the bright glare of lights (their socks had windows). The fidgetty feet started wriggling their toes in confusion, expecting to have bright lights shone into their soles as they were interrogated. Suddenly, they were pushed into unfamiliar trainers full of strange new shoe smells. They tried to back out, but the laces were pulled tight and suddenly they found themselves walking around.

"It smells funny," said Shy Foot.

"But it's very comfortable." Bold Foot said, "It's all bouncy and I can't see the road at all through the soles of these shoes."

"But we've been tied up - we're in straitjackets for feet!" exclaimed Shy Foot, "Now we're tied up we're going to be locked away!"

But after a little marching to and fro, the Bottom sat down on a seat and the feet were let loose. Or at least let loose for as long as it takes to wrestle unruly feet back into old boots with holey soles. This time the frightened feet were too relieved to put up any resistance and to their relief, the feet were allowed to go on their way again and they arrived home without further frights. They breathed a cheesy sigh of relief (white Stilton with apricots). That afternoon, they didn't fidget at all while watching TV, but sat very quietly. Even the Lounging Leopard wasn't as scary as the thought of being locked up in straitjackets. The feet were uncharacteristically well-behaved and trotted about the house without any complaints, even when Bold Foot stubbed its toe on the table leg.

But that evening, instead of going back into familiar boots for the evening outing to the corner store, the feet were wrestled into straitjackets again. By then though, they had managed to read the box (feet read with their toenails) and Bold Foot had discovered that the strange new shoes were new trainers to replace the old ones which no longer cushioned them from the hard road. Now that they knew they would not be locked away and forgotten and would not be replaced by artificial feet, Bold Foot and Shy Foot were no longer scared and they skipped joyfully along in their bright new footwear.


"I've heard there are toes living in the garden pond!" said Bold Foot, bouncing indoors on its new air-cushioned sandal, "Maybe they've come to play with us? Maybe they are lady toes! I want to go and look at the toes!"

"Don't be silly, they're not toes, they are toads," Shy Foot said, refusing to budge an inch.

"Oh." Said Bold Foot, crestfallen. "How do you know they are toads and not frogs? Or even froads?"

"Well whatever they are, they aren't toes. Whoever heard of toes swimming about all on their own without a foot?"

"Or a foot without toes?"

Shy Foot curled its toes in worry. It could not imagine a life without toes. "We'd .... we'd ... we'd get toed away," it said in fearful tones. It wasn't sure what being 'toed away' meant, but was frightened at the thought of being pulled along by its toes or maybe being kidnapped by a pack of rogue toes with matted toe-hair and viciously curved and sharpened toenails.

"You'd better not read 'The Pobble That Had No Toes' then," said Bold Foot, who had read it.

"It sounds like a horror story!"

"It's supposed to be a funny poem," said Bold Foot, not admitting to feeling uneasy at the thought of having toes nibbled off.

"Not having toes isn't funny, it's horrible! We'd be very down at heel without any toes."

"A foot without toes would lack sole."

"It would be incon-sole-able and de-feet-ed," said Shy Foot archly.

"What would a lady foot be called?" asked Bold Foot, changing the subject because it thought Shy Foot's jokes were corny.

"An-toe-nia," said Shy Foot. It had fond memories of twining its toes with a lady foot and of watching TV holding toes.


One day, Shy Foot did its best to hide underneath Bold Foot. This was not very clever as Bold Foot and Shy Foot were standing at a bus stop.

"What's wrong with you?" asked Bold Foot as Shy Foot tried to burrow its toes under Bold Foot's arch.

"We're going to be eaten!" said Shy Foot.

"Don't be silly!" Bold Foot told it, "And stop doing that, you're going to make us fall over."

"It's true!" said Shy Foot, "I heard him talking about it."

"Don't be daft," Bold Foot retorted, "He's just talking about cheesy feet again."

"Not this time," Shy Foot insisted, "We're going to be cooked and eaten."

"What makes you think that?" asked Bold Foot, "And for footness sake, stop doing that. Stand on your own one foot for a change!"

"But he said he's going to have cheese-on-toes for tea!" sobbed Shy Foot.


One day while watching TV, Shy Foot became very excited and very embarrassed at once. Its toes curled in embarrassment and its sole began to get sweaty with excitement.

"What on earth is it?" asked Bold Foot, who had been snoozing warily on the sofa next to the lounging leopard (which had been eyeing Bold Foot in a worrying manner)

"There's a new series of foot-friendly programmes starting soon," said Shy Foot, twitching its toes in anticipation.

"So why are you going all coy about it?" asked Bold Foot, getting down on the floor away from the lounging leopard.

"The trailers say it has scenes of nudity."

"I expect there will be a few scenes of naked feet or of toes in compromising positions," mused Bold Foot, "What else?"

"With a name like 'Sox in the City' it sounds like an urban drama which showcases foot fashions," said Shy Foot, "Maybe feet flaunting themselves in strappy sandals!"

"Ooh! Foot bondage! That reminds me, I saw a book called 'Joy of Sox' the other day," Bold Foot added, "and a very naughty website about sock-cooking."

"The washing machine cooks our socks."

"This website showed socks being boiled in saucepans!"

"Not with the feet still in them!" exclaimed Shy Foot anxiously (vintage cheddar); Shy Foot was still worried about being made into cheese-on-toes and eaten.

"And there are luxury tropical holiday resorts just for adult feet!" said Bold Foot, "I saw them advertised on TV - they're called 'Sandals' and a foot can really put its toes up in the sun and relax."


"We're taking up a martial art!" said Bold Foot excitedly (Yorkshire Blue).

Shy Foot just yawned and stretched its toes. It had had a sleepless night because of an ingrown toenail.

"Aren't you excited too?" asked Bold Foot, this time a bit less enthusiastically (mild Blue).

"It sounds very energetic," said Shy Foot who was a rather laid back sort of foot. "What sort of martial art is it? Foot-jitsu?"

"Toe Fu"

"Toe Fu?"

"It must be some sort of kung fu for toes," said bold Foot, bouncing up and down in excitement, "I expect experts get a black toenail".

"Toe Fu isn't a martial art, it's tofu bean curd," said Shy Foot, "There aren't any martial arts for feet."

"What about Thai kick-boxing?"

"That's for hands as well."

"Maybe we should invent a foot-oriented martial art. How about toe wrestling? Like arm wrestling, but for toes."

But Shy Foot had gone back to sleep and was wrestling only with thoughts of a visit to the chiropodist to cure the ingrown toenail.


Bold Foot and Shy Foot were "owned" by a person called Doug. Doug often had problems getting his unruly feet to do what he wanted. For example, one day walking down the street, Bold Foot and Shy Foot decided to take him into a pub and refused to let him leave until he'd had a pint of beer for each foot.

It was bad enough when the two feet conspired against him, but sometimes Shy Foot wanted to go one way and Bold Foot wanted to go another way and he had a fight trying to make them head in the same direction.

Often they refused to go into their socks and shoes or else tried to go into each others shoes. They soon regretted it because it made both of them limp.

However those are stories for others to tell, stories of sox and Doug and sock and sole.


Note: Bold Foot and Shy Foot (and the leopard) are owned by "Doug". The above are all true adventures had by the feet.


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