For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

—Ernest Hemingway

The original short short story and the inspiration for this website. In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. They paid up. Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work.

There are 399 comments in this article:

  1. 8/16/2012For Sale: baby shoes, never worn | Lucyinnovation's Blog says:

    […] Those six words are somewhat unexpected yet hugely powerful. You can read more six word stories here or submit your […]

  2. 8/23/2012Jason says:

    Mobile poverty! Mother nurture! Life lessons!

  3. 8/28/2012Alec Animo says:

    Lights Flashing. Program Running. Computer Crashing.

  4. 9/21/2012Me in six words « speaktomyhand says:

    […] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  5. 9/21/2012RudiM says:

    Went to grocery store. Found God.

  6. 9/23/2012Rudy says:

    The test was positive. It’s his.

  7. 10/2/2012Rose says:

    The truth. Forgotten. The lies. Remembered.

  8. 10/4/2012Melody Bennett says:

    Work All Week. Money Gone Friday.

  9. 10/9/2012Career Post #3: 6 Word Career Story « Development of Emerging & Aspiring Librarians says:

    […] Hemingway wrote the first six word story on a […]

  10. 10/10/2012marie says:

    After all the waitress is waiting.

  11. 11/7/2012Ryan says:

    God dead. Priest looking for work.

  12. 11/7/2012Dean F. says:

    Crap! Dad… Mom’s dead again!

  13. 11/7/2012Dean F. says:

    “It happened tomorrow!” he lamented yesterday.

  14. 11/17/2012Compean says:

    Daughter, taught me to long for.

  15. 11/25/2012S.Anderson says:

    I’m going to start exercising tomorrow. Probably

  16. 12/2/2012Tanseli'jup says:

    Months together. Intensive time. Born alone

  17. 12/4/2012todayhumor says:

    et-hem, there are no any people

  18. 12/8/2012Paul says:

    My Dad’s eyes closed.

  19. 12/8/2012levinsky says:

    Emily ordered paté. Tom had nothing.

  20. 12/24/2012Honbitzemusil says:

    Is this a six-word-story?

  21. 12/31/2012Socrates says:

    I think and thus, I exist

  22. 1/3/2013Danny O'Dowd says:

    Leaving again? Where are you going?

  23. 1/8/2013Robert says:

    “I couldn’t hold on. I’m sorry. “

  24. 1/11/2013Randall says:

    Genius, lover, coward, fool… farewell…

  25. 1/11/2013Maria Clara says:

    Tick, tock, the seconds pass by
    and your hand slips from mine
    with empty eyes you’re gone
    and that’s the last good bye.

  26. 1/11/2013Amelia says:


  27. 1/11/2013Amelia says:

    Monday today.

  28. 1/16/2013Ruth says:

    The Bride fled, the Groom bled.

  29. 1/28/2013Chris R. says:

    It’s actually ‘never worn’, not ‘used’.

  30. 1/30/2013Alex says:

    Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.

  31. 3/3/2013nina says:

    No words. Just thoughts and goodbye.

  32. 3/8/2013Lotus says:

    Childhood’s harms stained her entire existence.

  33. 3/24/2013Craig T says:

    I sat and wept, remembering, hoping.

  34. 3/27/2013Nishi says:

    You all suck. Get a job.

  35. 4/1/2013Diana Figler says:

    Tomorrow?! I am ready for you…

  36. 4/3/2013cdl says:

    Can’t help the abused? Help yourself.

  37. 4/7/2013Joel Champ says:

    I think about it so much.

  38. 5/3/2013Peter H says:

    Two returned. One carried the other.

    “I didn’t swallow,” she said, blushing.

    Eventually, even his family stopped visiting.

  39. 5/18/2013Cheap LV Outlet Mall says:

    LV Outlet Sale UK

  40. 5/20/2013Strofka says:


  41. 5/24/20136 Word Video Stories Using Only 6 Unique Camera Shots | EdReach says:

    […] This is a collection of short short stories consisting of just six words. It was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous challenge. […]

  42. 5/29/2013Enjoy a good short story by rising author, Antoinette Clinton. says:

    Nice work. Check out mine.

  43. 6/15/2013Cory Nedlik says:

    She was born a man… why?

  44. 6/22/2013immarcesible says:

    Family pictures with Daddy cut out.

  45. 7/27/2013Weekend Wonderings says:

    […] was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s challenge.  Read the six-word story he wrote.  It’ll break your […]

  46. 9/12/2013Michael E. Johnson says:

    Cheated on wife, bitch shot me.

  47. 10/2/2013Thank you, Mr. Hemingway. | Just Another Day in DS106 says:

    […] being inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s poignant “six word story,” I played a few rounds of 5 card flickr and came up with the […]

  48. 10/6/2013The Art of… | Just Another Day in Technology… says:

    […] – Brevity is the soul of wit. As well as at the heart of this creative challenge. Create a six word story (a la Ernest Hemingway) with a strong emotional theme in a particular direction, e.g., happy or scary or brave. After […]

  49. 10/6/2013The Art of… | Just Another Day in Technology… says:

    […] – Brevity is the soul of wit. As well as at the heart of this creative challenge. Create a six word story (a la Ernest Hemingway) with a strong emotional theme in a particular direction, e.g., happy or scary or brave. After […]

  50. 11/7/2013JT says:

    Unused condoms thrown into a dustbin.

  51. 11/9/2013Minimalism | TimeLine Media - VA | DC photographyTimeLine Media – VA | DC photography says:

    […] to strip out the extraneous elements that may not add to the final piece. There is are authors that write six word novels, or poets that only write haiku. It may seem seem restrictive to put limits on how many words or […]

  52. 11/13/2013paul says:

    Pride. Fall. Then pride slowly returns.

  53. 11/26/2013Don’t Speak | What Made me says:

    […] For sale: baby shoes, never used. – Six Word Stories. […]

  54. 11/29/2013Eric Begner says:

    Lifes a dance, I never learned.

  55. 12/3/2013Alexis S. says:

    He was silenced, but finally heard.

    Missing girl found yet still lost.

    Her inner demons eventually took over.

  56. 12/10/2013Bethany says:

    Family buys house, never lived there.

  57. 12/10/2013Bethany says:

    Family bought house, never lived there.

  58. 12/10/2013Bethany says:

    Lived in chains, freed in death.

  59. 1/30/2014Alpentalik says:

    Dreaming again,awaken alone,crying widower

  60. 2/19/2014Taylor Odum says:

    Positive test. Lives pain. Dies alone.

  61. 3/3/2014Steph Delle Donne says:

    Tranquil. Then realized she was dead.

  62. 3/6/2014Thomas Grob says:

    Simplicity ruins my life, think outrageous.

  63. 3/6/2014Thomas Grob says:

    Simplicity ruins my life, think outrageous

  64. 3/7/2014Honglai Zhan says:

    dont like what most guys like

  65. 3/8/2014Andrey says:

    Drugs were cheap,so were dreams

  66. 3/11/2014He Gang says:

    Welldoers tragically die, evildoers enjoy alive.

  67. 3/13/2014TURBO RACING LEAGUE HACK says:

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  68. 3/20/2014American Studies | Ms. Gardner's English Classes says:

    […] Six Word Stories […]

  69. 3/20/2014Alex P. says:

    Neck-high blade. Laughing his head off.

  70. 3/28/2014Simeon Lumgair says:

  71. 3/28/2014Simeon Lumgair says:

    For sale: baby shoes, never worn. See film Abrupt Ending.

  72. 3/30/2014Posting Regulations | Ice Box Baby says:

    […] word story. (See here for […]

  73. 4/9/2014chep boy shoes says:

    it’s dificult to life and here you have an example. good work.

  74. 4/9/2014hello hi bye bye says:

    Wow unbelievable “_FOR SALE BABY SHOES NEVER WORN_!!!!”

  75. 4/9/2014samerita says:

    ‘Papa you are theeeee best writer ever you will always be in our memories MWAHZ we will alwayz miss you!!! You are awesome example to young writer.’

  76. 4/9/2014samerita says:

    I lyk 1D

  77. 4/16/2014Short, Shorts | The Write Side of 50 says:

    […] Author Lydia Davis, in her new book, “Can’t and Won’t,” has perfected the art of the short story. The very short, short story – a story that captures a scene or a persona in a sentence or two – ala Ernest Hemingway, who created a Six Word Story. […]

  78. 5/8/2014Orzech says:

    What the hell!, daid God – dot

  79. 5/8/2014Orzech says:

    What the hell…, said God – dot

  80. 5/15/2014Shoes says:

    Yes it is a short storie. Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know it

  81. 5/19/2014Prof. Richard Martin says:

    My Visual Storytelling class at City College, in New York is based upon those six words. Students are guided through the class using the techniques they learn and practice to make short movies and learn to tell short stories visually using a Digital camera and a home computer.Hemingway would be proud.

  82. 5/21/2014A filtered view. | Elisa Riddington says:

    […] paved the way and wrote his famous heartbreak shortest story of six words (I can’t even: Read it here), I must learn to adapt. And that is progress….isn’t […]

  83. 5/23/2014The 6-Word Novel: For Sale, Wedding Ring, Never Worn! | claudenougat says:

    […] time that today there’s a website entirely dedicated to it, with hundreds of examples, see here.   And now ReadWave, the cool website that draws together readers and writers with short stories […]

  84. 5/23/2014ASMSG Romance Erotica Ezine – The 6-Word Novel: For Sale, Wedding Ring, Never Worn! says:

    […] time that today there’s a website entirely dedicated to it, with hundreds of examples, see here. And now ReadWave, the cool website that draws together readers and writers with short stories […]

  85. 6/10/2014Bob says:

    “What should be, never can be”

  86. 6/15/2014k d brady says:

    stop it, youre hurting me. Daddy

  87. 6/15/2014k d brady says:

    stop it, your hurting me. Daddy

  88. 10/8/2018Anonymus says:

    Did you ever truly love me?

  89. 2/10/2019Broken compas says:

    I mend you, you break me

  90. 3/15/2019makologist says:

    A semicolon equals a period deferred

  91. 3/17/2019Mallika says:

    Living a Life with No Life

  92. 3/17/2019Mallika says:

    Wooed… Wed… Deceived… Dejected… Separated… Struggled

  93. 5/15/2019paige says:

    just wanted you to see happiness

  94. 8/30/2019Martina says:

    Your rib cage absent of heart …

  95. 6/2/2020jack buck says:

    There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  96. 10/21/2021max says:

    If you care, where you at

  97. 4/12/2022ochi says:

    loving her, but missing him love

  98. 9/13/2022Beau M. says:

    Big party. Bad decisions. Ambulance came.

  99. 10/8/2022Comrade Sandwich says:

    lightning crashes, an old mother dies

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