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Title: The Elves and the Shoemaker
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/19/2009 06:19 AM)
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The Elves and the Shoemaker

Adapted by Lynn Suesse

There once was a hardworking shoemaker who owned a tiny shop at the edge of town.  He was a kind man and always did the best job he could.  But times were tough for the shoemaker and his wife.  The leather that the shoemaker used to make his shoes was very expensive.  After buying the food and firewood that he and his wife needed, he only had enough money to purchase leather for one pair of shoes.

"This will be the finest pair of shoes I make," said the poor shoemaker. "I will start working on it first thing tomorrow morning when the sun is bright and my mind is fresh."

The shoemaker and his wife turned in for the night.  As he drifted off to sleep, the shoemaker imagined that the shoes he made were the most wonderful shoes that anyone in the village had ever seen.  He saw the bright, shiny buckle that he carefully crafted from silver, and the leather was so finely stitched that the seams were invisible.  The tops of the shoes had the most perfect curl that it made the shoemaker giggle.

When the shoemaker awoke the next morning, he could not wait to create the pair of shoes he saw in his dream.  the air was still chilly, but the shoemaker felt warm, anticipating the task before him.

As son s the shoemaker sat down at his workbench, he noticed something quite amazing.  The shoes that he pictured in his dreams were sitting right before his eyes right down to the shiny silver buckle, and the perfect little curl!

"Martha, Martha! Come quick!" the shoemaker called to his wife.

When the shoemaker's wife saw the shoes she dropped the plate she had be holding.  "Why, those are  the most beautiful shoes I've ever seen! she cried happily.  "How did you make them so fast?"

"I didn't. We, I don't think I did," said the confused shoemaker.  "I dreamed about them, but surely I couldn't have made them in my sleep.  "The shoemaker and his wife stared at the shoes for a little while longer.  Then they looked at each other and started laughing.  They jumped around the tiny shop and danced for joy!

Just hen, the shop door opened. A rich man had been passing through the town and needed a new pair of shoes.

"I heard that you make the finest shoes in all the land," said the stranger.

The Shoemaker and his wife sopped dancing and showed the man the mysterious shoes.

"Those are wonderful," said the man.  "I must try them on." The rich man slipped them onto his feet and the shoes fit him perfectly!

The stranger was so pleased with the shoes that he bought them immediately.  He also insisted on paying the shoemaker two times the price!

The shoemaker and his wife began to dance around the shop some more.  The could not believe their wonderful fortune.

"We must celebrate," laughed the shoemakers wife.  "I'm Going to take some of this money and buy us a ham for supper."

The shoemaker's wife took only enough money to purchase a fine ham at the butcher.  With the rest of the money, the shoemaker was able to buy enough leather for two more pairs of shoes.

After their dinner , the shoemaker was too tired to start working on the new pairs of shoes that night.  He cut out the leather, then went to bed. hoping to make a fresh start in the morning.

Once again the shoemaker had a wonderful dream.  This time he saw two pairs of fine shoes.  The stitching on each shoe was flawless.  The leather had such intricate designs and details!   The shoemaker knew that no one in the village had ever seen or owned a pair of such fine shoes.  Then the shoemaker awoke again to the bright sunlight streaming through the windows.

Again, when the shoemaker sat down at his workbench, the shoes from the dream were sitting before his eyes!

"I can't believe this!" said the shoemaker.

His wife heard the shoemaker's words and came running into the room.  "What happened?" she asked breathlessly.  Then she saw the two new pairs of shoes and squealed with joy.

The shoemaker and his wife were in the middle of celebrating when once again, the door to the shop opened.  This time two customers walked into the shop.  The took one look at the two new pairs of shoes and smiled.

"This is exactly what I've been looking for," said the first customer.  And when he tried the shoes on, of course, he found that they fit him perfectly!

The second customer was a wealthy woman, who fell in love with the second pair of shoes.  "I can't believe what I'm seeing," she said.  "This pair will match my new gown that I just had custom made.  They're perfect in every way!"

The two customers paid handsomely for each pair of shoes, then quickly left the store.  The shoemaker and his wife were left stunned.  They could not believe the miracle that took place each night, and they could not believe how quickly the mysterious shoes sold!

Soon the shoemaker's wife gathered some money and ran off to the market to purchase leather for four more pairs of shoes!

That evening the shoemaker and his wife enjoyed a feast of roasted goose with all the trimmings.  Later that night the shoemaker once again cut out the leather and set it aside to work on in the morning.   He went to bed with a full belly and a happy heart.   As he dreamed that night, he saw the leather that he bought forming itself into beautiful shoes, as if by magic.  As he dreamed some more, he could see that the leather was actually being worked by tiny hands, not much bigger than the head of a hat pin.

When the shoemaker awoke the next morning, he called to his wife.  "have you seen them?" he asked her excitedly.  "Have you seen the shoes? Are they there?"

The shoemaker and his wife quickly ran to the workbench. Sure enough, fur pairs of elegant shoes sat before them.  They were exactly as the shoemaker had seen them in his dream. 

"This is amazing," said the shoemaker's wife.  "How is this happening?"

The shoemaker shook his head.  "I can't be sure, but in my dream I saw tiny hands working the leather and stitching the stitches."

As the shoemaker shrugged his shoulders, four customers hurried into the shop.  Like the customers before, they were delighted with what they saw.  The new shoes were gone in a blink of an eye, and the shoemaker and his wife had more money than they have ever dreamed.

"I do believe our money troubles are over, Martha," said the shoemaker, happily.  "But we must not let all this success go to our heads."

For several weeks, the mysterious activities continued in the middle of the night.  Each morning beautiful and wonderful shoes were waiting for the shoemaker and his wife.  Now they were no longer poor.  In fact they were quite well-off.

It was almost Winter Solstice Day.  The shoemaker and his wife gave thanks for all their good fortune.  But they did not know who to thank for making such fabulous shoes.

"Martha, I think it's about time we find out who is doing this tremendous favor for us," said the shoemaker.

"I quite agree!  We need to make sure the mysterious stranger has a wonderful Yule like ours," said the shoemaker's wife.

The shoemaker and his wife agreed that they would stay awake that night to see the secret stranger arrive.  They hid behind a bookcase with just a candle for light.

As the clock struck midnight, the shoemaker and his wife were amazed at what they saw.  It was not one mysterious stranger, but two tiny elves who came prancing in through the window!  The elves were wearing barely a stitch of clothing and old-worn out rags on their feet instead of shoes.  The little elves seemed happy, though, as their tiny feet crossed the room.  They immediately started working on the leather left on top of the workbench-their tiny hands sewing each stitch perfectly.

"That's why I saw tiny hands in my dreams!" whispered the shoemaker excitedly.  "Look at how swiftly they work! It is a miracle indeed."

"They are the sweetest-looking creatures I have ever seen," said the shoemaker's wife.  "They are just like tiny children, small enough to fit in my pocket!"

When the two elves had finished their work, they quickly and quietly left the way they came.  The shoemaker and his wife looked at each other in disbelief.  The sun was coming up, so the shoemaker's wife began breakfast while the shoemaker took the new shoes and opened shop for the day.

Later that day, the shoemaker's wife said, "I've been thinking that it is a shame that those dear little elves work so hard to make us those wonderful shoes and they don't even have any proper shoes or clothing."

"I've been thinking the same thing," replied the shoemaker.  "I think I'll take some of these scraps of leather and make the elves some brand-new shoes."

"And I'll make them each a fine suit of clothing," said the shoemaker's wife.

The shoemaker and his wife worked all evening to make the tiny elves a new set of clothes.  By the time night fell, each elf had a tiny pair of pants, a shirt, a hat, and an overcoat.  The shoemaker had even created a fine pair of leather shoes, just the right size for each of their elfin feet.

"Oh, these clothes are just perfect for our little helper!" cried the shoemaker's wife.  "I can't wait to see what happens when they see these outfits!"

"I do believe that these cloths will suit our friends nicely," said the shoemaker, as he grinned proudly.

As the hour grew late, the shoemaker and his wife waited behind the bookcase for the elves to arrive.  Their hearts were beating quickly with anticipation.  They could not wait to see the look on the elves' faces when they saw their brand-new outfits.

Just then the clock struck midnight.  The shoemaker and his wife held their breath as they watched the workbench close.  Just like the night before, the two tiny elves pranced through the window, shivering from the cold night air.  As soon as they got to the workbench, they saw the fine sets of clothing.

"Hooray!" the elves cried, as they touched each piece of clothing.  The quickly dressed in their new clothes.  The elves were so happy they began to dance and sing. 

The shoemaker and his wife were so delighted to see the tiny elves celebrating.  After all, the elves had helped them when they really needed it most.

After lots of joyful dancing around the workbench, the elves suddenly turned and left the shoemaker's shop.  Their tiny giggles could be heard in the crisp night air as they disappeared through the window. 

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 Yule season and were able to share their Yule joy with the rest of the town.

The shoemaker and his wife never forgot those magical elves and every now and then they thought they heard the giggling of the little elves.

"Blessed Yule, little friends," said the shoemaker into the night air.  He drifted off to sleep and dreamed a wonderful dream of the tiny elves making someone else's Yule dreams come true.

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