March 11, 2022

#08-196: The Elves and the Shoemaker

Strange doings in the shoemaker's shop

Note: This is another great story about the virtue of kindness from the Brothers Grimm.

Get Ready: We don't get supernatural help any more, but how has modern technology made your life (and especially your job, if you have one) a little easier?

Once there was a shoemaker who, although he worked hard, had become very poor through no fault of his own. Things became so bad that at last he had only enough leather in his cupboard to make one pair of shoes. Near the end of the day, he cut the pieces out of the leather to make that last pair and left them on his worktable, intending to finish them in the morning.

Imagine his surprise when he rose in the morning to discover that the shoes were finished! They were beautifully made, with not a single bad stitch in them. Soon a customer came in, and offered an exorbitant price for such excellent shoes. With this, the shoemaker was able to buy enough leather for two pairs of shoes.

Again he cut out his work at night, and again the work was superbly finished when he woke the next morning. And so it went: more and more pairs each night, until at last he was a wealthy man.

One evening not long before Christmas, he asked his wife, "Why don't we stay up tonight to see who is helping us so?" His wife agreed, and leaving a candle on the worktable, they hid behind some clothes hanging in a corner of the room.

At the stroke of midnight, to their surprise, two neat little men came in, and neither one was wearing a scrap of clothing. They set immediately to work, their little fingers so quick that the shoemaker couldn't look away. Soon all the cut-out leather had been made into shoes, and the little men ran quickly out of the shop.

The next morning the wife said, "These little men have helped us so much! Let me make for them some little clothes--shirts, coats, trousers, and stockings--to protect them from the cold, and you make them some little shoes." The old man agreed, and when the presents were ready, they placed them on the worktable and again hid to see what would happen.

The little men were of course delighted! They put the clothes on and danced about and sang, "Now we are boys so fine to see, Why should we longer cobblers be?"

At last they danced right out the front door of the shop, and never came again. But the shoemaker and his wife prospered for the rest of their lives.


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Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. cobblers
  2. delighted
  3. exorbitant
  4. fault
  5. intending to
  6. prospered
  7. scrap
  8. stitch
  9. stroke
  10. superbly

  1. very happy
  2. the hitting of a bell
  3. mistake; wrongful act
  4. were successful and comfortable
  5. shoemakers
  6. a single loop of thread to hold something together
  7. planning to; meaning to
  8. extremely high
  9. excellently
  10. a small piece of cloth

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 11, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. a; 3. h; 4. c; 5. g; 6. d; 7. j; 8. f; 9. b; 10. i