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The Elves, The Shoemaker, & the Shoemaker's Wife

Date: 1973
Author: Fred Rogers
Illustrator: Richard Hefter
Designer: Richard Hefter & Martin Stephen Moskof
Publisher: Small World Enterprises, Inc. / Princeton
Series: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Library
ISBN: 0884600025
Purchase: Amazon (Hardcover) | eBay


Created by Media Projects, Inc.


The Elves, the Shoemaker, & the Shoemaker's Wife is a slight variation of the classic tale "The Elves and the Shoemaker." Sam is a shoemaker in Latrobe where his business is struggling. He is a kind and generous person who gives to those in need, but unfortunately, it comes to the point where Sam must close his shop.


The elves come in at night while Sam and his wife sleep and make a pair of shoes which quickly sells the next day. This allows Sam and his wife to buy more supplies.


The elves return and make more shoes and Sam invites them to stay. His business is saved.


The story in this book is played out in a marionette performance at Brown's Marionette Theater in Episode 1350 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

A Note From Fred Rogers

Dear Friends,

A child who sets the table or does other simple kinds of family work can get a sense of being a contributor to the family's well-being -- and rightly deserves this sense.

The elves in this story have always represented to me "children who want to be helpful to their parents." There's a joyful fantasy in growing children that they could do somethingso helpful -- so useful -- that their parents would really be proud of them and genuinely served by their efforts.

Children have longings not only to be able to help their parents but sometimes surpass them as well. Their ultimate solution to this very healthy desire implies the responsibility and competence of adulthood.

So -- this is a story the roots of which touch the real desire to have something of value to offer -- and the eventual inclusion in the family's work of those who want to be so helpfu. It is a story about the worth of the little and the young.

Sincerely yours,
Fred Rogers

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