The Story of Goody Two Shoes

Where did the saying "Goody Two Shoes" come from? If you've ever asked this question you're not alone. Like many sayings, we know how to use it but have no sense of where it originated.

Goody Two Shoes was a nursery book about two poor orphans and how they came to prosper due to their kind spirits and good deeds.

The story was originally published in 1765 and was at one time the most widely circulated children's story of the day. The version of the story we are posting here is from an 1888 edition of the book.

After a quick read you'll finally know the story of Goody Two Shoes.

Goody Two Shoes - Part 1

FARMER MEANWELL was at one time a very rich man. He owned large fields, and had fine flocks of sheep, and plenty of money. But all at once his good fortune seemed to desert him. Year after year his crops failed, his sheep died off, and he was obliged to borrow money to pay his rent and the wages of those who worked on the farm.

At last he had to sell his farm, but even this did not bring him in money enough to pay his debts, and he was worse off than ever.

Among those who had lent money to Farmer Mean well were Sir Thomas Gripe, and a farmer named Graspall. Sir Thomas was a very rich man indeed, and Farmer Graspall had more money than he could possibly use. But they were both very greedy and covetous, and particularly hard on those who owed them anything. Farmer Graspall abused Farmer Meanwell and called him all sorts of dreadful names; but the rich Sir Thomas Gripe was more cruel still, and wanted the poor debtor shut up in jail.

So poor Farmer Meanwell had to hasten from the place where he had lived for so many years, in order to get out of the way of these greedy men.

He went to the next village, taking his wife and his two little children with him. But though he was free from Gripe and Graspall she was not free from trouble and care.

He soon fell ill, and when he found himself unable to get food and clothes for his family, he grew worse and worse and soon died.