Wednesday, January 29, 2014


                               In early days before the origin of the habit of wearing footwear, there was a mighty king who lived in pomp and prosperity. One day he walked barefoot along the streets in disguise to learn about the conditions of his countrymen. He returned to the palace in great pain with bruised and swollen legs as he was not used to walking barefoot along the country roads. He used to ride on his horse or chariot whenever he moved out of his palace.
                               The king summoned a meeting of all the leather workers of the country. He told his minister that he was planning to employ them to lay a layer of leather over all the roads of the country so that his feet would not ache after a walk around the country. At that time, leather was being made but was used for purposes other than making footwear. Leather was then used for making clothing, tents, harnesses, carpets, shields, floats for rafts, containers for liquids like wine, protective armour of soldiers etc.
                               The minister thought about the immense expense involved in paving the roads with leather and wanted to avoid it. But he was afraid to offend the short-tempered king. So he told him that paving the common roads would make every citizen including the beggars walk over the same leather pavement to be used by the king as the public roads could not be reserved for the king. He made an alternative proposal to cover the king’s feet with leather of the best quality available in the country. This would restrict the privilege of shielding the feet during walking to the king alone.
                               The king was glad to hear this splendid suggestion. He got his feet covered with leather and walked about wearing the novel crude footwear. Later, others imitated the king’s action and soon footwear changed from a royal luxury to a common necessity. Necessity is the mother of invention.
© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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