Long, long ago, there lived in a town a shoemaker with his wife. They were very poor. They did not have any children. Both of them were very honest.
The shoemaker had a small shop. Daily he bought some leather and made a pair of shoes. Some of the money he earned from selling these shoes in the market he spent on food. With the rest, he bought leather to make another pair of shoes.
One day, the shoemaker was not well, He was feeling very tired. Though he kept working throughout the day, he was not able to finish his work. He was worried. ''How would I buy the food tomorrow. Where would he leather come from?'' he said to himself. At last, he thought, I will go to bed now. I can make the shoes early in the morning. ''He left the shoes unfinished in his shop and went home to sleep. He could not sleep very well at night. The thoughts of his being unable to finish his work trouble him.
When the shoemaker went to his shop in the morning, he was surprised to see a beautiful pair of shoes. He wondered who had made the shoes in his absence.
''Did you make those shoes,''he asked his wife.
''Nom'' the wife too looked surprisingly, at the shoes. She was at a loss to understand anything.
The shoemaker got a good price for the pair of shoes that day. He could buy leather enough to make many pairs of shoes.
He also bought some delicious food for their supper. The shoemaker and his wife were surprised but happy.
That evening, the shoemaker and his wife cut out three pair of shoes.
''We shall finish them tomorrow,'' the shoemaker told his wife. And both of them went to bed. They expected to get money from the three pairs enough to last them at least a week.
The shoemaker bot up early the next morning. He had to finish the three pairs of shoes.
His surprise knew no bounds when he entered his shop. Lying there in a row were three pairs of shining shoes.
He ran back home.
''Did you make those shoes last night,'' he asked his wife.
''You know I was sleeping at home. How could I have made the shoes,'' the wife replied.
She too went to the shop to see for herself what her husband had said.
There was a great rush for buying those shoes. The shoemaker got a handsome price for them. This time he was able to buy enough leather to make several pairs of shoes.
But at the same time, he and his wife wondered who was making the shoes in the night.
''I want to know who is making the shoes for us,'' the shoe maker told his wife.
''We can find it out. We will hide and keep a watch tonight,'' the wife told the shoemaker.
The shoemaker cut out some more shoes.
Then he and his wife hid behind the curtain. They kept standing there for a long time but nobody came.
''Who can it be?'' they kept guessing, ''Will they come tonight?''
Both of them kept looking at each other with curiosity. In between, they would peep into the shop from behind the curtain.
And then they heard some noises. The shoemaker and his wife became alert. As they pulled the curtain a little, they saw some elves in the shop. The elves got busy making the shoes. They shoemaker and his wife were wonderstruck to see the elves turning the leather into beautiful shoes in no time.
As soon as they finished making the shoes, the elves left the shop. The shoemaker and his wife looked, first at each other and then at the shoes.
''isn't it anazing. They work so fast yet so beautifully,'' the wife told the shoemaker.
''I can't believe my eyes,'' said the shoemaker.
They went on for several days.
''The elves have been so nice to us. They have been helping us for so long,'' the shoemaker told his wife after a few days.
They thought and thought. Finally the wife came out with an idea.
''Have you noticed dear, the elves do not have good clothes. We can make some fine clothes and shoes for them and repay our debit, she told her husband.
And both of them got busy making beautiful, colourful clothes and shoes for the elves.
Soon they had made several small coats, pants, caps and shoes for their little visitors.
''How happy would they be when they see these clothes?'' the shoemaker told his wife.
''Yes dear we will keep the clothes in the shop. When they come tonight, let them have these, 'said the wife.
When the elves came at night they were overjoyed to see the clothes. Even before they got busy with their work they put n the little beautiful clothes and shoes and caps. They danced and sang in joy.
The shoemaker and his wife watched them from behind the curtain.
The elves went back after making the shoes. They were very happy.
The shoemaker and his wife were also happy. They were rich now. They bought good things for themselves too.
They lived happily thereafter.