The Elves and the Shoemaker
Adapted by Lynn Suesse
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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?"
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.
are wonderful," said the man. "I must try them on." The rich man
slipped them onto his feet and the shoes fit him perfectly!
stranger was so pleased with the shoes that he bought them
immediately. He also insisted on paying the shoemaker two times the
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!"
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!
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.
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
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?"
shoemaker shook his head. "I can't be sure, but in my dream I saw tiny
hands working the leather and stitching the stitches."
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.
do believe our money troubles are over, Martha," said the shoemaker,
happily. "But we must not let all this success go to our heads."
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.
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.
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.
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.
why I saw tiny hands in my dreams!" whispered the shoemaker excitedly.
"Look at how swiftly they work! It is a miracle indeed."
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!"
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
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."
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
"And I'll make them each a fine suit of clothing," said the shoemaker's wife.
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
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
"I do believe that these cloths will suit our friends nicely," said the shoemaker, as he grinned proudly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
shoemaker and his wife never forgot those magical elves and every now
and then they thought they heard the giggling of the little elves.
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.