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Written Riffraff – Episode 01

The Shoemaker and the Naked Men

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There was once a shoemaker, who occasionally worked hard and was mostly honest to most people but was heavy in gambling debts. All he had left, after the repo man had came and went, was just enough leather make one pair of shoes. And an angry wife.

After having their daily shouting match, the shoemaker prepared to go to bed. On the couch. Before he went sleep though, he set aside the remaining leather so he could start as soon as possible. Having grown up Catholic, he decided a little prayer could not hurt his situation and so he whispered a quick prayer for help with his shoe business.

When the shoemaker went into his shop early the next morning, he saw a pair of shoes waiting for him on his workbench. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, he sold the shoes to his first customer saying that they were magic shoes and would give the wearer good luck. The townspeople, not known for their brains, accepted this idea and began to flock to his store for the magic shoes.

Day after day, the shoemaker would buy more leather and, in the morning, find that shoes were being made in the night. After several weeks, his wife began to get suspicious of all the shoemaker’s new found wealth. She finally cornered him one night at dinner and he confessed.

The shoes were making themselves he said. Each morning he would find new shoes, perfect shoes, waiting for him. He never questioned it. The shoemaker’s wife did however and hatched a plan to catch the night workers.

That night, they hide themselves in the cupboard and waited. Right around midnight, two small naked men appeared out of thin air and started to work on the shoes.

Their work was quick but efficient. Within an hour, they had done what took the shoemaker almost all day. The shoemaker was astonished. His wife was not. She was furious that two naked men were running around in her husband’s shop. At least they could put some clothes on, she grumbled. So, she decided to knit two small sets of clothes for the mysterious men.

Two nights later, the husband and wife waited again in the cupboard. Instead of leaving the leather for the shoes out on the workbench, they left the clothes.

Again, right around midnight the two naked men appeared from nowhere. Once they saw the clothes on the workbench, they immediately put them on and danced throughout the shop. No sooner had their dance stopped then they vanished again, never to return again.

With the source of his magic shoes having stopped, the shoemaker soon went back into debt again. The resentment from the effect of the plan to clothe the two naked men ultimately made the shoemaker and his wife get a divorce. With his debts high and his morale low, the shoemaker took his life.

When the police found his body, they also found a small note. They were puzzled by the only four words on the note. Never clothe naked men.

(Recommend reading of original source from Fairy Tales, by The Brothers Grimm)