THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER
THERE was once a Shoemaker who worked very hard and was
honest. Still, he could not earn enough to live on.
At last, all he had in the world was gone except just
leather enough to make one pair of shoes. He cut these
out at night, and meant to rise early the next morning
to make them up.
His heart was light in spite of his troubles, for his
conscience was clear. So he went quietly to bed, left
all his cares to God, and fell asleep. In the morning
he said his prayers and sat down to work, when, to his
great wonder, there stood the shoes, already made, upon
The good man knew not what to say or think. He looked
at the work. There was not one false stitch in the
whole job. All was neat and true.
 That same day a customer came in, and the shoes pleased
him so well that he readily paid a price higher than
usual for them. The Shoemaker took the money and
bought leather enough to make two pairs more. He cut
out the work in the evening and went to bed early. He
wished to be up with the sun and get to work.
He was saved all trouble, for when he got up in the
morning, the work was done. Pretty soon buyers came
in, who paid him well for his goods. So he bought
leather enough for four pairs more.
He cut out the work again over night, and found it
finished in the morning as before. So it went on for
some time. What was got ready at night was always done
by daybreak, and the good man soon was well to do.
One evening, at Christmas time, he and his wife sat
over the fire, chatting, and he said:—
"I should like to sit up and watch to-night, that we
may see who it is that comes and does my work for me."
So they left the light burning, and hid themselves
behind a curtain to see what would happen.
As soon as it was midnight, there came two little
Elves. They sat upon the Shoemaker's
 bench, took up
all the work that was cut out, and began to ply their
little fingers. They stitched and rapped 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 till the job was done, and the shoes
stood, ready for use, upon the table. This was long
before daybreak. Then they ran away as quick as
lightning. The next day the wife said to the
"These little Elves have made us rich, and we ought to
be thankful to them and do them some good in return. I
am 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 we must do; I will make each of them a
shirt, and a coat and waistcoat, and a pair of
pantaloons into the bargain. Do you make each of them
a little pair of shoes."
The good Shoemaker liked the thought very well. One
evening, he and his wife had the clothes ready, and
laid them on the table instead of the work they used to
cut out. Then they went and hid behind the curtain to
watch what the little Elves would do.
At 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 laughed and were in
high glee. They dressed themselves in the twinkling of
an eye, and danced and capered and sprang about as
merry as could be, till at last they danced out of the
door, and over the green.
The Shoemaker saw them no more, but everything went
well with him as long as he lived.