the story of the elves and the shoemaker (and me!)
This month, I chose the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker. This was a favorite of mine growing up, but not because of books with pictures like this:
This is an image from Wikipedia, which was in a book of Grimms Fairy Tales from 1886. No, my first impression of this story was a much cuter, even musical interpretation. But before I get too far, let me tell you a quick summary of the story, in case you've never heard it.
The Elves and the Shoemaker is the story of a poor Shoemaker and his wife. He is never able to make enough money, because he can barely afford the shoe leather, and on top of that, he very generously offers his footwear to those in need. One night, some elves make a beautiful pair of shoes and leave them on the work bench. In the morning, the shoemaker discovers the shoes, sells them and is able to buy leather for making several pairs of shoes. This continues for a few nights, with the elves making more shoes, and the shoemaker selling the shoes, buying more leather, and of course, giving some shoes to those in need.
At last, the shoemaker and his wife stay up all night to spy and see what's going on. They find the elves, make them some little clothes, and they all live happily ever after, helping each other and making lots of shoes.
Now, I do like shoes, and making things, and I certainly like helping people, but it was a sweet little song that got me LOVING this story. You see, as a young child, I watched an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood with a marionette show of this story. I wish I could have found it online, but nothing. Did you ever see the one I'm talking about?
The little elves sang a song that was more like a little rhyme: "Leather together. Leather together. Leather together...we'll make those shoes!" And fittingly, they did a little dance to go with it. I'm pretty sure I sang that song more than my parents ever wanted to hear.
Although this episode is not available anywhere I could find, there are more fun versions of the story that you might enjoy. The Peachy Cobbler is one that I'd never seen before, and I also really like the Muppets version.
However you tell it, I really get into a story that has so much kindness being shown to others!