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Friday, December 09, 2005

The Leprechauns and the Shoemaker
by Chuck

Copyright © 2005-2006 by Charles Nugent
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Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a poor shoemaker and his wife. They were a hardworking, thrifty couple, but, of late, had been sad.

Business had not been good and, as they were still childless, they were being forced to give up their dream of the patter of little feet in their home.

Things kept getting worse until one day the shoemaker said to his wife "I just sold our last pair of shoes and only received enough money to purchase a little bread and cheese for our dinner and leather to make one more pair of shoes. I don't know what we will do after that."

"Don't worry" said the wife. "Come. Let us say a prayer and thank God for our dinner this evening and our home which protects us from the cold outside."

So, they thanked God for their food, their home and each other then ate their meager meal of bread and cheese. Leaving their plates with the remains of the bread and cheese on the table, they then went to bed.

Shortly after they blew out the candle and the house went dark, two little leprechauns, who had been waiting outside, crept into the house. Hungry and cold, they lit the candle on the table, as much for warmth as light, and quickly devoured the scraps of bread and cheese the couple had left on their plates. They then set about turning the piece of leather the shoemaker had purchased into a most beautiful pair of shoes.

Just before the sky began to turn from black to gray as the sun started to rise, the two little leprechauns blew out the candle and crept out of the house as silently as they had entered.

Shortly after that the shoemaker and his wife woke up and prepared to greet another day. Walking into the shop, they were surprised to see the beautiful pair of shoes.

"It's a miracle" cried the shoemaker. "God has answered our prayers" said the wife.

As the shoemaker was putting the shoes in the window, a rich merchant rode by on his horse. Seeing the shoes he quickly dismounted and offered the shoemaker two gold pieces for the shoes. This was far more than the shoemaker had ever received for any of his shoes and he readily accepted the payment in exchange for the shoes.

Taking the money, the shoemaker went out and brought some more food and leather to make two more pairs of shoes.

That night, after a good supper, the shoemaker again laid out the leather to work on the next day and he and his wife went off to bed leaving their plates with scraps of food on them.

Again the two little leprechauns crept into the house, lit the candle, cleaned the more numerous scraps of food off the plates and set about making two pair of shoes out of the leather the shoemaker had purchased.

Waking up the next morning the shoemaker and his wife were again surprised by the new shoes. The shoemaker placed the shoes in his window and again they were sold almost immediately.

"Another miracle!" said the shoemaker. But his wife was a little more skeptical.

"Darling" she said, "did you notice that, in addition to the new shoes, all the scraps of food we left on our plates was gone both mornings?"

"I think we have had visitors the past two nights".

"Well, we must find them and thank them" said the shoemaker.

"I have a better idea" said his wife. "Let us buy some more leather and leave some more scraps on our plates and then hide and see what happens". "Good idea", said her husband.

So the shoemaker went out and brought leather to make four pairs of shoes plus more bread, cheese, some meat and vegetables for stew and a little jug of wine. After a hearty meal of stew with bread and cheese the wife cut a thick slice of bread and a thick slice of cheese and broke both of them in half leaving half on one plate and half on the other. Then she put a spoonful of stew in each bowl and poured a little wine in each glass making it look like she and her husband had had too much to eat and had left plentiful scraps.

They then blew out the candle and hid, waiting to see what would happen. They didn't have to wait long before they saw the two little leprechauns creep in shivering from the cold. And shiver they should as they were barefoot and dressed in thin cotton shirts and trousers both of which were well worn.

After warming themselves by the candle for a few minutes, the two leprechauns greedily devoured the small feast that the couple had left them and then set about making four pairs of shoes.

Just before morning the leprechauns left and the couple emerged from hiding.

"Oh! Those poor little men" said the wife. "They have no jackets or hats to protect them from the cold." "And, no boots to keep their feet dry" added the shoemaker.

The shoes were placed in the window and quickly sold leaving the shoemaker with a tidy sum of money.

"Husband" said the wife, when you go to buy more leather and food also buy some warm cloth and I will make the two little leprechauns a new shirt and trousers along with a coat, hat, mittens and scarf."

"Yes", said the shoemaker. "And I will make them each a nice pair of boots".

After working all day, the shoemaker and his wife carefully laid out the two sets of new clothes. The shoemaker's wife then made a delicious dinner and set out four plates and cups. Then they blew out the candle and hid again.

Soon the two leprechauns came in but, instead of more leather they saw the two sets of clothes. Oh, they were so happy. They quickly dressed in their new clothes and began dancing around the candle and singing happily.

At that moment the shoemaker and his wife emerged from their hiding and greeted the leprechauns. At first the leprechauns were scared and prepared to run away.

"Wait!" cried the shoemaker and his wife together. "We want to thank you for your wonderful help and have you join us for dinner" continued the shoemaker. "Please stay and let us show our appreciation" pleaded the wife.

So the leprechauns stayed and all four of them sat down to the sumptuous dinner the wife had prepared.

The two leprechauns told them how they had no job and no place to live so they were forced to wander the countryside doing what they could. The shoemaker and his wife told them how they had been struggling to sell shoes and how they had had to give up their dream of children and a family.

It was at this moment that the wife had an idea. Turning to the leprechauns she said, "You have no work and no place to stay while we have our shop and the extra room we have been saving for the child we never had. Why don't the two of you move into our extra room and join my husband in his business?"

The two leprechauns thought for a moment and then quickly accepted the offer

The leprechauns moved into the home and joined the business and all four of them prospered and lived happily ever after.

Copyright © 2005-2006 by Charles J. Nugent Jr. and Victor L. Nugent.

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