A Retell Of “The Elves And The Shoemaker”

Cher Hin Chong
4 min readMay 5, 2023

This is an endearing retelling of this German folktale — with a twist.

Image by JaymzArt from Pixabay

Once upon a time, there lived an old couple who earned a living out of making shoes.

Even though they were poor because not many people buy shoes from them, they were very kind and generous. They also made shoes to give to villagers who were poor and could not afford to pay for them.

One night, after the old couple had cut the leather and cloth, they were so tired they decided to leave the stitching work to the following morning, and so they went to sleep.

The next morning, when they woke up, they were surprised to find that the shoes were already made!

“My dear, someone made all these shoes for us!” said the old man to his wife.

“And the stitches were so well sewed,” replied the old woman. “These must have been done by master craftsmen!”

“It’s simply magical and beyond imagination!” exclaimed the old man.

The shoes were sold out that day. One buyer even offered a handsome sum for his pair because he loved its exquisite workmanship so much!

After a tiring day, that night after the old couple had cut the leather and cloth, they again left the stitching work for the following morning, and they went to sleep.

The next morning, when they woke up, they were again greeted with the same surprise!

“Someone made all these shoes for us again!” exclaimed the old man. “Every stitch on these shoes are so magically perfect!”

That day, the shoes were again sold out for their refined craftsmanship.

That night, the old couple decided to check out the kind craftsman (or craftsmen) who made these “perfect” shoes.

They hid behind the door, waiting eagerly for the mystery man (or men) to appear.

As the clock struck midnight, to their surprise they saw three little elves jumping into their house.

The old couple continued observing from their hiding place. The three little elves immediately started the stitching work. It was such a pleasant sight to watch the elves stitching with such amazing speed as well as accuracy!

Before long, all the shoes were made and the three little elves left the house that night.

The three little elves continued to come into the house to make the shoes every night at the strike of midnight.

Weeks passed by, and the old couple’s shoes sold so well that they had made a fortune from it.

The old couple had also acquired the skill of making exquisite shoes while they were hiding behind the door and secretly watching the three little elves stitching “perfect” shoes every night.

The old couple decided to gather all the villagers for a meeting with the three little elves, and to reward the elves during the coming Christmas cheer.

The old couple started making new clothes which they intended to give to the three little elves as surprise Christmas presents in front of all the villagers on Christmas eve night.

The story has not ended yet.

Here is the continuation.

When Christmas eve night arrived, everyone in the village had gathered at the front yard of the old couple’s house.

When the clock struck midnight, the three little elves would be jumping into the house as usual to start the stitching work.

But the three little elves never did appear on that Christmas eve night.

The three little elves were nowhere to be found.

This left the old couple puzzled.

Days passed by. Weeks passed by. Months passed by.

And the three little elves seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

Nothing was ever heard about the three little elves again.

Were the three little elves just an imagination in the minds of the old couple?

The old couple claimed they saw the three little elves stitching the “perfect” stitches every night.

The old couple had also acquired the stitching skills from watching the three little elves every night.

Were the three little elves really just an illusion that was there to pass on the highest level of craftsmanship to the old couple?

Was the craftsmanship the “real” Christmas present that Santa had brought, not for the three little elves, but for the old couple?

Remember that the old couple were poor, but they were kind and generous and had always made shoes for villagers who cannot afford to pay for them — even when they had to rely on making shoes for a living.

Was this “three little elves” the reward that the Christmas cheer had given to the old couple for their kindness and generosity?

Cheers everyone!

Writing is never too tiring if we can enjoy sharing our thoughts.



Cher Hin Chong

A software developer who has found the penchant for writing. Without writers, there will be no readers.