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1001 Stories Collection

The Elves and the Shoemaker

1001 The Elves And The Shoemaker Oziel Gomez
Added on 14th August 2020

Oral tradition European folktale
Collected by Brothers Grimm

Europe Folk and fairy tales
1001

A well known and loved fairy tale about magical helpers.

Story

A poor shoemaker is struggling to make ends meet. Every night before going to bed, he cuts the pieces of leather ready to make a new pair of shoes in the morning. But as he sleeps, some clever elves pay him a visit…

Why we chose it

A well known fairy tale about magical helpers who appear in the night to transform the life of a poor shoemaker. The story was one of those told in our very first Christmas show, Snow and Tell.

Where it came from

The tale was first recorded by the Grimm brothers. They were told the story of Die Wichtelmänner by Dorchten Wild and included it in Children’s and Household Tales (1812). It is one of the few fairy tales in the collection to contain actual fairies!

Where it went next

The tale of the magical elves has influenced many theatre productions, musicals, classical pieces, and ballets. The trope of the hardworking elf has appeared in Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester (1902) and even in Harry Potter’s house elves!

Associated stories

The tale was part of a group of fairy stories collected in the Brother’s Grimm which all include tricksy elves. Others were The Midwife in the Underworld and The Changeling.

Added on 14th August 2020

Oral tradition European folktale
Collected by Brothers Grimm

Europe Folk and fairy tales
1001