Here is the second part of the elves and the shoemaker's story:
Once again, before he went to bed, the shoemaker cut the leather into pieces ready for sewing and placed them on his workbench. The next morning he found two more pairs of finished shoes. And they were just as good as the first pair!
Within hours the shoemaker sold both pairs of shoes and bought more leather. The next day there were four pairs of shoes waiting on the workbench. This continued for many nights, until the shoemaker's shelves were filled with beautiful shoes like no one had ever seen before.
Life soon changed for the shoemaker. Now he and his wife always had wood for the fire and enough food to eat. The shoemaker bought better tools, lots of leather, and the best brass buckles. He bought his wife an oil lamp, a new blanket, and a lace cap.
The shoemaker was always kind to the people who traveled from all over the kingdom to buy his shoes. He could have charged high prices, but instead he charged just enough to live a comfortable life.
Word of the shoemaker's fine shoes made him the most popular shoemaker in the land. He was very happy that his small shop was always filled with people, but still something bothered the shoemaker.
One evening he said to his wife, "Every night, while we are tucked in our beds, someone is working hard to help us. It's a shame we don't even know who it is. Why don't we stay up to find out?"
That night the shoemaker cut the leather into pieces and placed them on his workbench. Just like always, he turned down the oil lamp and left the room. But instead of going to bed, he and his wife hid in the doorway.
The moon rose and filled the room with silver light. Soon something was moving on the workbench. Two elves were there! They stood just a few inches tall, no taller than the shoe they were sewing. The elves began to work, helping each other handle the leather and tools.
Their clothing was old and worn, which made the shoemaker and his wife sad. The elves wore thin, torn pants and shirts that were ripped and covered with patches. They were making shoes, but they didn't have any for themselves.
They must have been cold, but their cheery faces and busy hands didn't show it. The couple tiptoed off to bed, leaving the elves to do their work.
The next morning the shoemaker and his wife looked at the newly made shoes that were on the workbench, and they thought about the elves. "Did you see how quickly those little fellows worked together and how carefully they placed each stitch?" asked the shoemaker.
His wife frowned and answered, "I only saw their poor clothing and bare feet. Clearly they are in great need, yet they work all night to help us."
Her husband agreed and said, "I have an idea! We will make those little elves the clothes they need! They are so tiny that it will be easy for me to make some fine shoes for them."
His wife clapped her hands. "Yes! And I will use a bit of my wool shawl and a corner from our blanket to make proper pants and coats." The couple started right away to make the two tiny suits of clothing.
The shoemaker and his wife finished making the outfits for the elves. That evening, instead of leaving pieces of leather on the bench, they left the clothes and shoes. Once again they hid behind the doorway and waited for the elves to come.
Discover the ending of the elves and the shoemaker's story on the next page.
For more children's stories and activities, check out: