This was, hands down, one of my favorite books as a child. Oh shoot, it's still one of my favorites.
Everyone knows the story, right? No? Well let me recap....Mr. and Mrs. Shoemaker had fallen on hard times. So worried about how they would ever survive, they went to bed feeling hopeless. Enter the elves....
At night, whilst the Shoemakers slept, the elves would make beautiful shoes. clip.clip.snip.snip. sew.sew.
What a gift! But who was doing it? The Shoemaker and his wife stayed up late and spied them working. So, as a token of their appreciation for all of the beautiful shoes, the Shoemakers made the elves some sweet new clothes. Give and take. Give and give.
I still have the book and I remember getting it in a school book order that was likely similar to the scholalastic book orders today. I would carefully turn the pages, soaking up every delightful detail in the pictures. The hair, the teeth, the intricate shoes, the new clothes...I was hooked, way back then, on the idea that an elf could be real.
First, the pure whimsy and magic of the idea. Later, stepping in when you can't find another moment of time, saving the day when all seems lost, bringing joy, laughter and merriment. sprinkle sprinkle...oh wait, that's fairy dust. Still. Same family.
Those elves, they're kind of like moms, aren't they?
So, in honor of all of the elves still hard at work, even after dark. Cheers. This stocking is for you.