The Elves and the Shoemaker

Authored by:Brothers Grimm
Chapter 1 / 1

Section 1

Once upon a time there lived a cobbler, who toiled diligently and possessed great integrity. However, he struggled to generate sufficient income to subsist. Eventually, he became destitute and depleted his entire savings, with the exception of adequate leather to manufacture a single set of footwear.

Then he skillfully sliced the leather and arranged it, preparing to fashion it into shoes the following day. He intended to awaken early and begin his labor with renewed energy. Despite his troubles, his conscience remained unburdened and his spirit remained buoyant. He retired to bed calmly, entrusting all his worries to the divine powers, and swiftly drifted into slumber. The next morning, after his praying, he proceeded to his task. To his immense astonishment, he discovered the shoes completely finished and placed upon the table. The cobbler was at a loss for words and unable to comprehend such an extraordinary occurrence. He examined the quality of the craftsmanship, and found not a single imperfection in the entire piece. Everything was so immaculate and accurate that it was truly a work of art.

On that very day, a patron entered the shop and was so pleased with the shoes that he willingly paid a sum greater than the customary price. With the money earned, the destitute shoemaker procured enough leather to produce two additional pairs of shoes. In the evening, he cut out the material and retired to bed early, eager to commence work the following day. Yet, to his amazement, he was absolved of the task, as upon awakening, he discovered the job was completed and ready for sale. Subsequently, customers flocked to his shop, purchasing his wares at a generous rate, enabling him to acquire enough leather to manufacture an additional four pairs of shoes. He once again prepared the material overnight, and again it was completed by daybreak. This pattern persisted for a considerable time, with everything that was prepared the night before being finished by the next morning. As a result, the cobbler prospered and regained his financial stability.

On a wintry evening, close to the festive season of Christmas, the cobbler and his wife sat conversing by the hearth. He turned to her and said, "Tonight, I would like to stay awake and observe, to ascertain who it is that is aiding me in my work." His wife approved of the idea, and thus they left a light illuminated and concealed themselves behind a curtain in the room's corner, waiting to see what would transpire.

When the clock struck twelve, two diminutive, unclothed dwarfs entered the room. They seated themselves on the shoemaker's workbench, took up all the cut-out material, and began to work with their small fingers, stitching and hammering away so fervently that the shoemaker was filled with amazement and could not avert his gaze from them. They persisted in their task until it was completed, and the shoes were placed on the table, ready for use. All of this occurred long before dawn, and the dwarfs vanished with remarkable celerity.

The following day, the shoemaker's wife spoke to him saying, "These little creatures have bestowed wealth upon us, and we should show gratitude towards them and return the favor if we can. I feel a sense of remorse seeing them scamper about in their bare skin; it is rather unseemly, as they have nothing to keep them warm. Here's what we'll do - I'll craft a shirt, coat, waistcoat, and pantaloons for each of them. You can create a tiny pair of shoes for each, too."

The idea delighted the benevolent shoemaker, and one evening, when all the garments and shoes were prepared, they placed them on the table in place of the usual work that was cut out, and then concealed themselves to observe what the little elves would do.

Around midnight, the little elves arrived, skipping and dancing into the room. They hopped around and then proceeded to sit at the shoemaker's bench to work as they usually did. However, upon noticing the clothes and shoes laid out for them, they laughed, chuckled, and appeared immensely pleased.

Without delay, the little elves swiftly dressed themselves in the new clothes and shoes, and began to dance, caper, and jump around with great joy. They continued to frolic about until they eventually danced out of the shoemaker's door and disappeared into the distance, over the green fields.

And so, the kind-hearted shoemaker and his wife never saw the little elves again, but their business prospered greatly from that day forward until the end of their lives. And thus concludes the story of the magical shoemaker and the little elves.

The End


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