Given my love of writing about things and then finding out that I did it write after the fact…
During one of my many research phases for The Princess Curse, I read a version of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” called “The Seven Iron Slippers.” I was so taken with this version that I couldn’t get the notion of writing an iron shoes scene out of my mind. I won’t post that here–you’ll have to read the book to see how it goes–but here’s a bit from “The Seven Iron Slippers.”
There lived once together a king and a queen, and a princess who was their daughter. The princess had worn out every evening seven pairs of slippers made of iron; and the king could not make out how that could be, though he was always trying to find out. The king at last issued a decree, that whosoever should be able to find out how the princess managed to wear out seven slippers made of iron in the short space of time between morning and evening, he would give the princess in marriage if he were a man, and if a woman he would marry her to a prince.
So, inspired by this, I wrote my iron shoes scene (and rewrote it, and rewrote it, and rewrote it again)… and then merrily traipsed off to Germany to research a different book–when lo and behold, at the Museum of Medieval Crime and Torture in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, I found:
Now, these are iron shoes with bells, and they were a shame-based punishment in the Middle Ages. They aren’t quite what I imagined in my book, either; mine are riveted onto bare feet, not put on like an old-fashioned over-shoe roller skates (complete with screw at the back to ensure a snug fit!). But you know, once you think about how something like iron shoes would go, you–or at least I–tend to get pretty excited with even this minimal proof of concept!