172 GRIMMS FAIRY TALES.
One night, not long before Christmas, when the shoemaker had finished cutting out, and before he went to bed, he said to his wife,
" How would it be if we were to sit up to-night and see who it is that does us this service ? "
His wife agreed, and set a light to burn. Then they both hid in a corner of the room, behind some coats that were hanging up, and then they began to watch. As soon as it was midnight they saw come in two neatly-formed naked little men, who seated themselves before the shoemaker's table, and took up the work that was already prepared, and began to stitch, tc pierce, and to hammer so cleverly and quickly with their little fingers that the shoemaker's eyes could scarcely follow them. so full of wonder was he. And they never left off until every thing was finished and was standing ready on the table, and then they jumped up and ran off.
The next morning the shoemaker's wife said to her hus band, " Those little men have made us rich, and we ought tc show ourselves grateful With all their running about, and having nothing to cover them, they must be very cold. II tell you what; I will make little shirts, coats, waistcoats, anc breeches for them, and knit each of them a pair of stockings and you shall make each of them a pair of shoes."
The husband consented willingly, and at night, when every thing was finished, they laid the gifts together on the table instead of the cut-out work, and placed themselves so that the} could observe how the little men would behave. When mid night came, they rushed in, ready to set to work, but wher they found, instead of the pieces of prepared leather, the nea little garments put ready for them, they stood a moment ir surprise, and then they testified the greatest delight With tht greatest swiftness they took up the pretty garments and slippec them on, singing,
" What spruce and dandy boys are we! No longer cobblers we will be."
Then they hopped and danced about, jumping over tht chairs and tables, and at last they danced out at the door.
From that time they were never seen again ; but it alway went well with the shoemaker as long as he lived, and whateve he took in hand prospered.