Karl's earliest memories were of dirt. In fact, most of his memories were of dirt. Having lots of eyes doesn't really do you much good when most of your time is spent totally underground. He might have been able to see earthworms sometimes if it weren't so dang dark under there. If you're wondering how Karl got so smart when his whole life was spent in the cold, dark, and quiet of hanging out in one spot underground all the time, then remember, Karl was only very smart for a potato. Most potatoes aren't very smart. In fact, potatoes are known for laziness and watching TV. Some of the most ambitious potatoes succeed in eventually becoming french fries.
What made Karl so special was that some of Karl's eyes were actually ears, and after he was harvested from the ground, he quickly picked up on the art of language. Of course, with no mouth, Karl had no way of speaking, but being unable to speak often makes one a marvelous listener. He heard all sorts of discussions, and the market where he waited to be bought was frequented by college students and professors who loved to talk about how smart they were and exactly what made them so dang smart. It's difficult to listen quietly to these kinds of discussions without learning something, and Karl had nothing better to do but listen, so as a result, he learned quite a lot. For a potato.
After Karl was bought, he didn't have as many people to listen to anymore. He tried communicating with his fellow potatoes, but potatoes aren't much in the way of conversationalists. Karl watched as his fellow potatoes were eaten one by one, and he knew one day it would be his turn. But as he waited, he grew more and more bored. Around the time he started thinking he couldn't stand the waiting anymore, he remembered a story he had heard a mother in the supermarket tell her fussing children. The story featured a young woman who called on her fairy godmother, who gave her magic shoes. So Karl wished as hard as he could for the Potato Godmother to come help him. It wasn't long before poof! The Potato Godmother appeared.
As it turns out, Big Bird has a side job as the Potato Godmother. It's not a very difficult job, since most potatoes don't have the presence of mind to summon her. Him. It. Whatever. Karl was as delighted as potato can possibly be! He related to the Potato Godmother the story of the girl with the magic shoes as well as he remembered it (telepathically, of course, since that's the only way potatoes can communicate), and the Potato Godmother asked, "So... all you want is magic shoes? Not a dress and a horse and carriage and so on?"
"Yes yes, just the shoes will be more than enough!" exclaimed Karl eagerly. And telepathically.
"Well golly, shoes are the easiest part of the package! I bet I could make you magic shoes that last well past midnight! In fact, if I did only one shoe, I could make it last even longer!" So the Potato Godmother waved her/his/its magic wand and with another poof! the Potato Godmother was gone and Karl now had a magic shoe!
To be continued...