“For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

“For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

The end.

Entire story.

By Earnest Hemingway.

Does it stir emotion in you? Or if not, can you at least understand how it could, and how potentially powerful it is?

I’ve seen several discussions on this story, and many people come up with “good” versions for it. Like it was just something they found in a room in the house they bought. It’s usually very random things. And usually very pitiful. Almost desperate, in a manner of speaking

And why is that?

Because we all know what it means. We all understand what is being portrayed to us. There is no good version. The intent, the truth, behind the story is clear.

This short six word story can really teach writers how to approach readers and their emotions. “For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”….. What does that conjure up for you? I have trouble even thinking about it, because quite frankly, it just makes me really sad.

Those baby shoes were never worn, not because there wasn’t a baby… but because the baby didn’t need them. And we all know the baby didn’t need them because they were the wrong size, or they had another pair. We just know that isn’t it.

A baby, whether you are comfortable around them, holding them, or not, a baby is just something people have deep empathy for. We were all babies once. So we all have a soft spot for an infant. Those of humanity that we consider absolute monsters past hope of redemption are those who DON’T have that empathetic spot for children, and the innocent.

This short short story doesn’t make me cry. But it gets really close actually. Closer, the more I think about it. It doesn’t tug on the heart strings; it downright JERKS.

What can we take away from it?

That something happy. Something innocent. The future. Take that away. And it stirs emotions people didn’t even know they had. A dream. A child. Anything. You don’t need to tell someone (a reader, or a friend) that this is important. Whether it is to them or not, they just know it is. They can feel it. A sense. And you take that away… it’s powerful.

In fiction, you better have a good reason to do it. Don’t just cause pain for the sake of pain. (which is a subject I may go into later… to explain what I mean)

In real life… It all does happen for a reason. You might not see it now. But there is a purpose. And yes it hurts. I’m not saying it doesn’t, and won’t hurt, now, or any less later. But it will work out. And if you’re a Christian, than you have so many promises from God, that He will take care of you. And He never changes, and never breaks a promise. So you know it will work out. And there is no need to fear.

“For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

It’s a story worth remembering.

Six word story

Got this from a friend… and thought it was definitely worth sharing.


Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest authors of American literature, was sitting in his favorite pub with several author friends. He offered them a bet, saying he could write a story in six words that had a beginning, middle, end and an emotional impact.

Skeptical but curious, his friends each laid fifty dollars on the table.

Hemingway scribbled for a few moments on a table napkin, then passed it around; one by one each of his friends grew silent.

“For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

lots to take from that…
Might share my thoughts later.