Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Once upon a time in a village far away, there was a poor shoemaker and his wife.   
The shoemaker worked very hard but there was never enough money. At last, one night, they had no food for their supper.  
"All I have is enough leather to make one pair of shoes," he told his wife.  
He cut out the leather and placed it on the table.  
"I will make them in the morning," he said.  And they went to bed hungry.

In the morning, to his surprise, the leather had been made into a beautiful pair of shoes.
Jus then a customer came in.  
"I have never seen such beautiful shoes!" she said.   
She gave the shoemaker three gold coins for them. With the money, the shoemaker's wife bought food and made a delicious dinner. The shoemaker bought more leather. That night, he cut the leather for two pairs of shoes. 

In the morning, the same thing happened, there were two pairs of shoes on the table!  Soon two customers came in and bought the shoes.  They each paid him well. So, the shoemaker bought leather enough for three pairs more.
He cut out the work again that night and found it finished in the morning. 
And so it went on for some time. Whatever he got ready at night, was always done by morning and the good man was soon rich. One evening, at Christmas-time, he said to his his wife, 
"Tonight let's sit up and watch, to see who it is that comes and does my work for me."
So they hid themselves behind a curtain to see what would happen.

As soon as the clock struck midnight, in came two little elves.
They sat on the shoemaker's bench and went to work. They stitched and rapped and hammered and tapped at such a rate that the shoemaker was amazed, and could not take his eyes off them for a moment.
On they went until the job was done, and the shoes stood ready on the table. Then they ran away as quick as lightning.

The next day the shoemaker said, "The elves have helped us. How can we help them?"
"I have an idea," said his wife.  

"It is so cold outside, and they have no coats to wear.  I will make each of them a coat and a hat.  And you can make each of them a little pair of shoes."


And so they did. That night they put two little hats and two little coats and two little pairs of shoes on the table. Then they went and hid behind the curtain to watch what the elves would do.

As the clock struck midnight, the elves came in and were going to sit down at their work as usual. 
But when they saw the clothes lying there for them, they began to laugh and shout with joy! They dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced, and skipped and sprang about as merry as could be.


At last they danced out the door. The shoemaker and his wife never saw the elves again, but they had made so much money from selling the elves' shoes, that the shoemaker was able to buy enough fine leather to keep the shop going. The shoemaker and his wife were never poor again. They had a wonderful Christmas season and were able to share their Christmas joy with the rest of the town. 

~The classic fairy-tale by the Brothers Grimm~
 
   

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