A shoe maker and his wife lived in a little house on the edge of a wood.
They were very, very poor and each day they grew poorer and poorer. At last there was nothing left in the house but leather for one pair of shoes.
“I will cut out this last pair of shoes, “the shoe maker said to his wife. “Tomorrow I will sew them and peg them”
The shoe maker cut out the leather and left it on his bench.
The next morning the shoe maker went into his workshop to finish the shoes.
What did he see?
A pair of shoes, all nicely made and ready to be placed on display in the window. The stitches were so fine and the shoes so well made that they were quickly sold.
With the money from the sale, the poor shoe maker brought leather for two pairs of shoes.
The shoe maker said to his wife, “I will cut out the leather for two pairs of shoes. Tomorrow I will sew them and peg them.”
So the shoe maker cut out the leather for the shoes and left it on the bench. The next morning the shoe maker went into the workshop to make the shoes.
What did he find?
Yes, there were two pairs of shoes already made. The work was so well done that those shoe were also sold very quickly.
With the money the poor shoe maker brought enough leather for four pairs of shoes.
The shoe maker cut out the leather and left it on the bench once more.
The next morning the shoe maker found four pairs of beautifully made shoes.
And so it went on and on. Night after night the shoe maker would leave the cut leather in the workshop and in the morning he would come down the stairs to find the shoes magically finished and waiting on the bench. Instead of being a very poor shoe maker, he became a very rich shoe maker.
His shoes were so well made word spread across the land and even the Queen herself wore them.
At last the shoe maker said to his wife, “We must find out who makes the shoes.”
So one bright moonlight night they hid behind a curtain, where they could watch the bench and not be seen.
On the stroke of midnight, two little Elves jumped through the window, they skipped and danced up to the bench, sat down with their legs crossed and began to work at the leather.
Their needles flew back and forth, back and forth!
Their hammers beat rap a tap-tap, rap a tap-tap!!
Almost before the shoe maker and his wife could blink, the work was all done and the little Elves skipped and danced over to the window and vanished into the night.
The next morning the shoe maker said to his wife, “What can we do for those helpful little Elves?”
“I would like to make some cloths for them, “ said his wife. “Their cloths are like rags.”
“If you will make their cloths, I will make them some shoes, “ said the shoe maker. “Their little feet were bare.”
When the shoes and cloths were ready, the shoe maker and his wife left them upon the bench for the little Elves to find.
The shoe maker and his wife again hid behind the curtain.
Just as before, when the clock struck twelve, in jumped the tiny Elves. They went skipping and dancing to their work, but stopped in their tracks when they saw the tiny cloths and the tiny shoes.
The Elves clapped their hands for joy, then put on their cloths and skipped out of the window.
The shoe maker and his wife never saw the little Elves again, but after that night good luck seemed to always be with them.