A shoemaker had gotten so poor due to no fault of his own that all he had left was leather for one pair of shoes. So he cut out the shoes he wanted to start making the next morning in the evening, and because he had a good conscience, he laid calmly in his bed, commended himself to God, and fell asleep. The two shoes sat almost done on his table in the morning after he had said his prayers and was about to sit down to work. He was taken aback and didn’t know what to say.
He took the shoes in his hands to inspect them further closely, and they were so well-made that there’s not a stray bullet stitch, as if they were intended to be a masterpiece. Soon after, a buyer came in, and because the shoes pleased him so well, he paid more than was customary for them, allowing the shoemaker to purchase leather for two pairs of shoes with the money. He cut them out at night and was preparing to start work in the morning with renewed energy; but he didn’t have to, for they were already made when he woke up, and buyers were plentiful, giving him enough money to buy cowhide for four pairs.
He discovered the four pairs made the next morning, and so it went on forever, with what he cut out in the evening being finished the next morning, and he regained his honest independence and ultimately became wealthy. Now, one evening not long before Christmas, whereas the man was cutting out, he said to his wife before going to bed, “What do you think about staying awake tonight to see who it is that lends us this helping hand?” The woman liked the idea, so she lit a candle, and they hid in a corner of the room, behind some clothes that were hanging up there, and watched.
At midnight, two pretty little naked guys arrived, sat down by the shoemaker’s table, grabbed all the work that had been cut out in front of them, and proceeded to stitch, sew, and hammer so skillfully and rapidly with their little fingers that the cobbler couldn’t take his gaze away in awe. They didn’t stop until everything was done, and they sat finished on the table before fleeing.
The wife said the next morning, “The small men have made us wealthy, and we owe it to them to demonstrate our gratitude. They are scurrying around with nothing on and must be freezing. I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I’ll make them small shirts, coats, vests, and breeches, and knit them both a pair of stockings, and you should make them two pairs of shoes as well.” “I shall be delighted to do it,” the man replied, and one night, when everything was done, they placed their presents on the table instead of the cut-out work, then hid to see how the small men would react.
They came bounding in at midnight, ready to get to work, but then when they found no leather cutouts, but only the gorgeous small articles of clothing, they were startled at first and then delighted. They dressed as fast as they could, putting on the pretty clothing, and sang.
“Now that we are boys, why should we remain cobblers any longer?”
They jumped, skipped, and jumped over chairs and benches after that. They finally danced out the door. They stopped coming after that, but everything went well for the shoemaker as long as he lived, and all of his business ventures succeeded.
There was once a poor servant-girl who swept the home every day and emptied her sweepings on the large heap in front of the door. She found a letter on this heap one morning as she was returning to work, and because she really can not read it, she put her broom in the corner and took the letter to her master and mistress, in which she found it was an invitation from the elves, having to ask the girl to hold a child for them at its christening.
The girl was at a loss for what to do, but finally, after much persuasion and after being told that it was inappropriate to deny such an invitation, she agreed. Then three elves came and took her away to a hollow mountain where the small people dwelt. Everything was little, yet more exquisite and lovely than words can express. The baby’s mother slept in a bed of black with pearls on the coverlids, an ivory cradle, and a gold bath. The girl served as godmother and then wanted to return home, but the young elves pleaded with her to stay with them for three days.
So she stayed and loved herself, and the small people did everything they could to make her happy. She finally got on her way home. They then continued to fill her pockets with money before leading her back down the mountain. She wanted to get began on her work as soon as she got home, so she took the broom from the corner and started sweeping.
Then other people came from the house, asking who she was and what she was doing there. And she had not even spent three days with the little men in the hills, as she had assumed, but seven years, and her previous masters had died in the meantime.