~A retelling of the famous story The Elves and the Shoemaker, featuring Sir Neville Martin Purplebottom, Esquire, and dedicated to Humphrey McElfenstein. Read aloud in story-time voice or to a little kid for best effect!~
The Elves and the Shoemaker
There once was a shoemaker who worked very hard, but still, he could not earn enough to live on.
At last, all he had left was enough leather to make one more pair of shoes.
He cut these out one night, and intended to get up early the next morning to make them. His heart was light in spite of his difficulties. So he went to bed, and fell asleep.
In the morning, when he woke up and sat down to work, he was astounded to see that the shoes were already made. He did not know what to say or think. He looked at the shoes. They were perfectly made.
That same day a customer came in.
He was so pleased with the quality of the shoes that he paid a very high price for them.
The shoemaker used the money to buy enough leather to make two more pairs of shoes. He cut out the leather that evening, and went to bed early again. He planned to get up at dawn and get to work. However, as it turned out, he didn’t have to. The work had again been done overnight for him. Very soon, more buyers came in and paid him a lot. So he bought enough leather to make several more pairs.
He cut out the leather again that night, and found it finished in the morning.
For the fourth time, he cut out the leather, and left it on his workbench. So it went on for some time. Soon, he was well-to-do.
One evening, at Christmas time, he and his wife sat chatting, and he said, “I want to sit up and watch tonight, so we can see who comes and does my work for me.”
So they left the lights on, and hid behind a curtain to see what would happen.
When the clock struck midnight, there came two little elves. They sat on the shoemaker’s workbench and began to work. They stitched at such a rate that the shoemaker was amazed, and could not take his eyes off them. On and on they went until the job was done and the shoes were ready to wear. Then they ran away as quickly as lightning.
The next day, the shoemaker’s wife said to him, “Those little elves have made us quite rich, and we should be thankful to them, and give them something in return. It bothers me to see them run about with no clothes. They must be cold. I’ll tell you what we should do! I’ll make each of them a shirt and pants. You can make them each a little pair of shoes.” The shoemaker like the idea. On Christmas Eve, he and his wife had the clothes ready, and they laid them out on his workbench instead of the shoe leather they normally cut out. Then they hid behind the curtain to watch what the little elves would do.
At midnight, the elves came in and were going to do their work as usual. But when they saw the clothes lying there for them, they laughed and were very happy.
They dressed quickly, and danced and capered about as happily as could be, until at last they danced out the door and into the street. The shoemaker saw them no more, but everything was well with him as long as he lived.