The Shoemaker: A Short Story
Many years ago when the world was a simpler place there lived a shoemaker. He lived in a small village; busy with passing trade. He was a happy little fellow and loved his job. The Shoemaker always dressed in his brown leather apron and dusty black boots. He rarely left his shop. People came from far and wide to get their shoes made by the jolly little chap. The Shoemaker made every kind of shoe, slipper and boot you could think of. He used wonderful silks and delightful soft leathers to make the most dashing of footwear. Colourful shoes lined the shelves of his little store and could be seen from the street if one peered through the window.
One particular little girl often peered through the window. Her wide eyes soaking up the wonders of the shoe shop. One day while the little girl; Rachel was looking through the window at the delightful bounty of coloured shoes, The Shoemaker appeared at her side. He rubbed his white bearded chin with his hand and smiled. ''Well dear. Which shoes would you take?''
Rachel was surprised as she hadn't notice the chubby little man standing next to her. ''Oh! I... I was only looking.'' Rachel stammered. ''I wouldn't ever take anything that doesn't belong to me.''
The Shoemaker cocked his head to one side. ''Hmm... I never said you would. I meant to give you a pair as a present.'' He said. A twinkle in his eye. Rachel stared at The Shoemaker. A small pointed ear was poking out from underneath his faded green hat. The chubby guy noticed Rachel's curious gaze and quickly fixed his hat tightly over his ear. ''So! shoes or no shoes?'' He asked.
Rachel smiled at The Shoemaker. She liked his ruddy red cheeks and his shiny nose. It didn't matter if he had pointed ears. ''Why don't you wear a pair of your own fine shoes?'' Rachel questioned The Shoemaker, glancing down at his tiny feet.
The little fellow followed her gaze to his black boots. ''I'm always working and have no need of fine shoes.'' He explained.
Rachel's smile faded. ''I have no need of fine shoes either.'' Rachel said. Her voice small and sad. The little girl turned on her heel and with a pitiful swing of her left leg she limped away.
The Shoemaker watched her till she was out of sight. ''I have work to do.'' He said to himself. With a tinkle of the bell above the shop door he disappeared inside.
A few days later Rachel was making her way past the shoe shop; suddenly it started to pour down rain. The Shoemaker opened the old grey door of the store. Rachel looked toward the door as she heard the bell tinkle. ''I never heard that bell tinkle the other day.'' She said.
The little chap beamed at Rachel. ''Sometimes we don't hear and other times we don't see. Come, you'll get soaked.'' He beckoned her into the shop.
Rachel stood and gazed at all the beautiful shoes. ''You have every colour of the rainbow in here.'' She said with amazement. Rachel was in awe of all the wonderful colours.
The Shoemaker came and stood beside her. Gently he laid a hand upon her shoulder and said. ''They are the colours of the rainbow Rachel. Each and every pair are the exact colour you see in the rainbow.''
Rachel looked at The Shoemaker and then back at the shoes. ''I don't understand.'' She exclaimed. The Shoemaker walked over to his little desk. Opening a drawer he lifted out the most beautiful pair of shoes Rachel had ever seen. The shoes glittered like jewels; a brilliant green with the most gorgeous little ankle straps and perfect shiny buckles with golden sparkles. Rachel's hand flew to her mouth. ''Oh! my goodness. Those shoes are soooo beautiful.''
The Shoemaker approached Rachel holding the precious shoes. ''These shoes Rachel, give the rainbow it's magical green colour. Every fifty years the colours of the rainbow fade. The only way to bring the colors back to their full glory is to find seven special children. Each child must wear a pair of the magic coloured shoes. Seven pairs of magic shoes for seven special children. I have found six other children to wear the other colours. And now Rachel I have found the seventh special child to wear the last and most important colour. You!''
The Shoemaker knelt in front of Rachel. Gently removing her heavy black shoes, he laid them to one side. Her left foot was badly disfigured. The Shoemaker carefully placed a brilliant green shoe onto each foot. His weathered hands fastened the beautiful buckles. He stood and surveyed his work. The shoes shone brighter than any ray of sunshine. ''Take a walk Rachel.'' He grinned.
Rachel stared at the shoes; a tear fell softly down her cheek. ''I... I can't.'' She stammered.
''Yes Rachel; you can.'' The Shoemaker encouraged.
Rachel stood up straight; slowly, deliberately she took a delicate step. Followed by another and another. ''I can do it. I can do it.'' She squealed walking with ease across the floor.
The Shoemaker laughed heartily and said. ''I told you they were magic shoes... Oh! look the rain has stopped.'' The Shoemaker stepped over to the old grey door and opened it. ''Rachel,'' he called ''Look at the rainbow. The green. It's so dazzling. I knew you were special.''
Rachel hurried outside. A beautiful bridge of colour stretched across the clear blue sky. ''Wow! Amazing! The colours in the rainbow are so clear and bright. I have never seen anything like that before.'' Rachel exclaimed. The Shoemaker smiled happily. The rainbow was fully restored to a most exquisite arch of brilliant colour; the centre of the rainbow glowed the most fabulous colour green. The heart of the rainbow had finally been found.
''Well, I best get back to work. Can't be standing around all day gazing at rainbows.'' The Shoemaker grinned mischievously and turned to go back to his work inside the shop.
''Look!'' Rachel cried. ''Your old grey door... and your hat... they're... they're green. A gorgeous glossy green.''
The jolly little fellow nodded his head. He looked directly at Rachel. A great big smile on his face; his green eyes sparkling marvelously.
''Yep!'' The Shoemaker said. "The colours sure do fade after fifty years."
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