THE ELVES





Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm





A shoemaker, by no fault of his own, had become so poor that

at last he had nothing left but leather for one pair of shoes. So

in the evening, he cut out the shoes which he wished to begin to

make the next morning, and as he had a good conscience, he lay

down quietly in his bed, commended himself to God, and fell

asleep.



In the morning, after he had said his prayers, and was just going

to sit down to work, the two shoes stood quite finished on his table.

He was astounded, and did not know what to say to it. He took

the shoes in his hands to observe them closer, and they were so neatly

made that there was not one bad stitch in them, just as if they were

intended as a masterpiece.



Soon after, too, a buyer came in, and as the shoes pleased him so

well, he paid more for them than was customary, and, with the

money, the shoemaker was able to purchase leather for two pairs of

shoes. He cut them out at night, and next morning was about to set

to work with fresh courage; but he had no need to do so, for, when

he got up, they were already made, and buyers also were not

wanting, who gave him money enough to buy leather for four pairs

of shoes. The following morning, too, he found the four pairs

made; and so it went on constantly, what he cut out in the evening

was finished in the morning, so that he soon had his honest independence

again, and at last became a wealthy man.



Now it befell that one evening not long before Christmas, when

the man had been cutting out, he said to his wife, before going to

bed, "What think you if we were to stay up tonight to see who it is

that lends us this helping hand?" The woman liked the idea, and

lighted a candle, and then they hid themselves in a corner of the

room, behind some clothes which were hanging up there, and watched.



When it was midnight, two pretty little naked men came, sat down

by the shoemaker's table, took all the work which was cut out before

them and began to stitch, and sew, and hammer so skillfully and

so quickly with their little fingers that the shoemaker could not turn

away his eyes for astonishment. They did not stop until all was

done and stood finished on the table, and then they ran quickly

away.



Next morning the woman said, "The little men have made us rich,

and we really must show that we are grateful for it. They run

about so, and have nothing on, and must be cold. I'll tell thee

what I'll do: I will make them little shirts, and coats, and vests,

and trousers, and knit both of them a pair of stockings, and do thou,

too, make them two little pairs of shoes." The man said, "I shall

be very glad to do it;" and one night, when everything was ready,

they laid their presents all together on the table instead of the cutout

work, and then concealed themselves to see how the little men

would behave.



At midnight they came bounding in, and wanted to get at work at

once, but as they did not find any leather cut out, but only the pretty

little articles of clothing, they were at first astonished, and then they

showed intense delight. They dressed themselves with the greatest

rapidity, putting the pretty clothes on, and singing,



"Now we are boys so fine to see,

Why should we longer cobblers be?"



Then they danced and skipped and leapt over chairs and benches.

At last they danced out of doors.



From that time forth they came no more, but as long as the shoemaker

lived all went well with him, and all his undertakings prospered.





The Elfin Knight The Elves And The Shoemaker facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback