Newly Discovered Rough Drafts Of Hemingway’s Famous Six-Word Story


KEY WEST, Fla. — This week near Ernest Hemingway’s former home in Key West, local antique collectors discovered a collection of unique journals and writings at a library book sale. Among the texts was a wrinkled piece of paper containing unreleased prose penned by Hemingway himself. “Papa” Hemingway was famous for his terse style of modernist writing, and, according to legend, once wrote an emotionally powerful story in only six words because of a bet. The story goes, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

The following sentences are presumed rough drafts of that famous story, discovered for the first time on that wrinkled piece of paper:

Unworn baby shoes now for sale.

Money for dead baby’s shoes please?

Baby gone, shoes still here. Whoops.

Down one baby, up two shoes.

Do not feed a baby shoes.

Baby died. No. No. No. No.

Baby gone; I can’t wear shoes.

Return policy on shoes? Need receipt.

Tyler Snodgrass used to teach high school English and has read The Old Man and The Sea way too many times (twice).

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