THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER
HERE was once a shoemaker, who worked very hard and was very
honest; but still he could not earn enough to live
upon, and at last all he had in the world was gone,
except just leather enough to make one pair of shoes.
Then he cut them all ready to make up the next day,
meaning to get up early in the morning to work. His
conscience was clear, and his heart light, amidst all
his troubles; so he went peacefully to bed, left all
his cares to heaven, and fell asleep.
In the morning, after he had said his prayers, he sat
himself down to his work, when to his great surprise
and wonder, there stood the shoes already made upon the
table. The good man knew not what to say or think of
this strange event. He looked at the workmanship; there
was not one false stitch in the whole job, and all was
so neat and true that it was a complete masterpiece.
That same day a customer came in, and the shoes pleased
him so well that he willingly paid a price higher than
usual for them, and the poor shoemaker bought leather
enough with the money to make tow pairs more.
In the evening he cut out the work, and went to bed
early, that he might get up and begin betimes next day;
but he was saved all the trouble, for when he got up in
the morning, the work was finished ready to his hand.
 Presently, in came buyers, who paid him handsomely
for his goods, so that he bought leather for four pairs
He cut out the work again over night, and found it
finished in the morning as before; and so it went on
for some time—what was got ready in the evening was
always done by daybreak; and the good man soon became
thriving and prosperous again.
One evening about Christmas time, as he and his good
wife were sitting over the fire chatting together, he
said to her: "I should like to sit up and watch
to-night, that we may see who t is that comes and does
my work for me." The wife liked the thought; so they
left the light burning and hid themselves behind a
curtain that was hung up there, and watched what should
As soon as it was night, there came two little naked
dwarfs; they sat themselves upon the shoemaker's bench,
took up all the work that was cut out, and began to ply
with their little fingers, stitching, and rapping, and
tapping away at such a rate that the shoemaker was all
amazement, and could not take his eyes off them for a
moment. And on they went busily till the job was
finished, and the shoes stood ready for use upon the
table. This was long before daybreak, and then they
bustled away as quick as lightning.
The next day the wife said to the shoemaker, "These
little dwarfs have made us rich, and we ought to be
thankful to them, and do something for them in return.
I am quite vexed to see them run about as they do; they
have nothing upon their backs to keep off the cold.
I'll tell you what, I will make each of them a shirt, a
coat, a waist-coat, and a pair of pantaloons into the
bargain! You can make each of them a little pair of
The thought pleased the good shoemaker very much; and
one evening, when all things were ready, they laid them
on the table, instead of the work that they used to cut
our, and hid themselves to watch what the little elves
would do. About midnight they came in, and were going
to sit down to their work as usual, but when they saw
the clothes lying there for them, they laughed and were
greatly delighted. Then they dressed themselves, in the
 twinkling of an eye, danced and capered, and
sprang about as merry as could be, till at last they
danced out of the door over the green, and the
shoemaker saw them no more; but everything went well
with him form that time forward as long as he lived.