There once was a girl named Ashley who wanted people to respect her. She was a girl with a disability, and that disability made it hard for her to gain the respect that she deserved. Her parents often treated her as a baby, not allowing her to do what most kids were allowed to do, such as watching TV or playing outside with their friends.
Of course, when she went to school, the kids there made fun of her and called her bad names. None of the teachers were able to help her. Although she tried to be nice to everyone around her, they put her down and mocked her due to her disability. (And at home, she wasn’t given a choice, for her parents forced her to stay in her room and didn’t let her help with the chores.)
Yes, Ashley lived a sad life. But she had no idea that things were about to change.
One day, Ashley chanced to hear about a special boarding school located in Barrowtown. The headmaster wanted to select one lucky child to attend his school. As her classmates debated over who would be the lucky person to go to the school, Ashley hoped that she would be chosen. If she was chosen, she could finally get the respect that she deserved as well as leave the ornery people who dared to call themselves her family.
When she spoke of this to her parents, they laughed, saying, “There’s no way the school would ever want a despicable child like you. You’re disabled and helpless. Now go into your room and don’t come out until suppertime.”
Ashley went to her room and cried. She was so angry with her parents. They should understand that she just wanted them to respect her and not be treated as if she was helpless.
But she was done with being disabled and weak. She was going to save herself, no matter what.
The next day, Ashley decided to dress herself in clothes the other kids wore instead of jogging clothes, but the clothes were hard for her to put on. The shirt was much too large and the pants were so tight she could barely get one leg in. by the time she was finally dressed for the day, the shirt had several holes in it and the pants were torn.
Of course, the other kids laughed at her, saying, “That girl thinks she’s trying to fit in with us by putting on those lame clothes. She’s so stupid.” But Ashley refused to give up, not when she had came so far and fought against clothes that refused to be worn.
So, she tried again.
The next day, her mother forced her to wear a green jumpsuit, as she found out about the clothes she tried to wear yesterday. But Ashley refused to wear the clothes, not when she wanted to be seen as a person and not as a disability. So, she tore up the clothes and threw them in the trash, yelling, “I’m not stupid and I’m never wearing these stupid clothes!”
“Then you can’t go to school until you wear what I want you to wear,” said her mother as she locked her in her room.
Ashley cried again, but within a few minutes, a leprechaun came to her room, saying, “You’re not going to let them push you around, are you?”
“No,” said Ashley. “But they don’t want me to be like everyone else. They think I’m weak and helpless because of my disability.”
“Now that’s a load of hooey,” said the leprechaun. “You shouldn’t let them treat you like that.”
“If only there was a way I could get them to respect me and not treat me like I’m stupid,” said Ashley.
“And you will,” said the leprechaun as he presented her with a white shirt and a green skirt. With the clothes went a pair of gold shoes. “The headmaster is coming to your school today and you have to impress him. This is your only chance, so don’t blow it. Plus, the magic wears off at 3:00 PM, so you better be at home by then.”
Ashley nodded as she put on the clothes and shoes. This time, the clothes didn’t tear. She was happy. She could go to school and not feel embarrassed about what clothes she wore.
At the school, the headmaster examined every child, but he was displeased with them. To him, they were not worthy of being his students. Yet, he liked Ashley, as she happened to be smart. She was happy, knowing that someone finally gave her the respect that she deserved.
Of course, no one knew who she was, as they always saw her in jogging clothes or jumpsuits. Most girls who saw her were jealous and the guys glared at her. Who was she and what did she do with Ashley, they wondered.
But at 2:55 PM, she had to run from the school; the leprechaun’s spell was about to break. She made it home on time, only to realize that she had lost one of her golden shoes. That shoe was on the school’s step.
The headmaster, wondering who the mysterious student was who wore the golden shoe, held a citywide search for the missing girl. Many girls were questioned, but none of them owned a pair of golden shoes.
Ashley had no idea that the headmaster was searching for her, but she was shocked to know that she had a golden shoe. Her parents never knew about the leprechaun or the golden shoes, so they couldn’t take the shoe away from her.
She also had no idea that the headmaster was at her house, asking her parents if they had seen the girl with the golden shoes. Her father laughed, saying, “Gold shoes? Who would wear gold shoes?”
Her mother agreed, saying, “The only shoes our daughter wears are track shoes that have no shoestrings. Why would she wear gold shoes?”
Ashley grew frightened, knowing that SHE had the OTHER golden shoe in her hand. She knew what she had to do: go downstairs and convince her family and the headmaster that she wore the golden shoe.
She pushed the door to her room open and ran down the stairs, but tripped and fell to the floor. Her mother, instead of rushing to her side and checking to see if she was OK, scolded her, “What are you doing outside your room, Ashley?”
Ashley said, “Do I have to give you a reason? I’m tired of being treated like I’m weak and helpless! I’m not ugly, and I’m not stupid! You know who I am, and I will never be the weak and helpless kid you want me to be!”
Her father reached out to slap her for standing up to him, but the golden shoe she was holding flew from her hand and broke a nearby vase. The headmaster picked up the shoe, shocked to know that the shoe he had was the same shoe that broke the vase.
Ashley gasped as the headmaster said, “It seems that I have found my new student. She has proven herself worthy to attend my school.” her parents gasped and began to protest, saying, “She can’t leave us! She’s disabled! You can’t take her away from us!”
“Give it up, will you?” she said as she glared at her parents. “I’m going to this school whether you like it or not. Plus, I’m better off in a place where I am free to grow without being held back.”
So, Ashley was able to attend the boarding school after all, to the shock and anger of her classmates. Even better, she was happy because she was in a new school where people were kind to her and never made fun of her at all. As for her parents, they would never be free from the fact that they had mistreated the daughter when they could have helped her.
And that’s how this story ends.
- When Will Disney Turn from Revisiting Classics to New Stories? (timesofsandiego.com)
- Fairy Tales Day 21 NaPoWriMo – Haiku (apoemandadrawingaday.wordpress.com)
- New Book Fanfare – Unhappily Ever After by Lucinda E. Clarke (legendsofwindemere.com)
- Aladdin Animator Eric Goldberg Gives The Simpsons a Disney History Lesson – Bippity boppity d’oh! (themarysue.com)
- Wonderful Disney Animation-Inspired Couch Gag for THE SIMPSONS (geektyrant.com)
- 9 Signs You’ve Been to Disney Too Many Times! (meetthemagic.com)