Monday, December 21, 2009

Stories for the Season: The Elves & the Shoemaker

The story of "The Elves and the Shoemaker" by the Grimm Brothers takes place around Christmas and used to be much more well known than it is now.

Here's the fairly straight retelling from Golden Books (plus an annoying cuckoo that kids seem to love), which includes at least some nods to the Christmas aspect:

I found a lovely trio of illustrations by Steve Morrison which succinctly tell the story in just three panels.You can see more of Mr. Morrison's lovely work HERE. (He's currently showing pen-and-ink style illustrations he's done of A Christmas Carol.)

Strangely, there don't seem to be a lot of similar tales across cultures but I wanted to point out that one of them "The Hand With the Knife" is now available to read online HERE. The similarity lies in the good hearted being helped by an elf but there's no thankfulness or Christmas in sight.

I also found a panel from an apparent book in progress and there's a familiar visitor to the Shoemaker's shop in this one...You can find more by artist Kasia Dudziuk (a.k.a. Kasiacreations on deviantArt) HERE. She's done illustrations for a number of other fairy tales too.

We also have The Muppets to thank for keeping fairy tales in the public consciousness. Muppet Classic Theater which is both out of print and has never been released on DVD (!) retells six fairy tales in true muppet style, "The Elves and the Shoemaker" being one of them. (The other five are: Rumpelstiltskin, King Midas & the Golden Touch, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Three Little Pigs.)

The clip below starts from the beginning of this story rather than the beginning of the overall presentation so it appears as though you're starting in the middle of something, but you're not missing anything important from the tale.

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