Brothers Grimm / Hermanos Grimm



The elves

Los duendecillos

A shoemaker, by no fault of his own, had become so poor that at last he had nothing left but leather for one pair of shoes. So in the evening, he cut out the shoes which he wished to begin to make the next morning, and as he had a good conscience, he lay down quietly in his bed, commended himself to God, and fell asleep. In the morning, after he had said his prayers, and was just going to sit down to work, the two shoes stood quite finished on his table. He was astounded, and knew not what to say to it. He took the shoes in his hands to observe them closer, and they were so neatly made that there was not one bad stitch in them, just as if they were intended as a masterpiece.


Un zapatero se había empobrecido de tal modo, y no por culpa suya, que, al fin, no le quedaba ya más cuero que para un solo par de zapatos. Cortólos una noche, con propósito de coserlos y terminarlos al día siguiente; y como tenía tranquila la conciencia, acostóse plácidamente y, después de encomendarse a Dios, quedó dormido. A la mañana, rezadas ya sus oraciones y cuando iba a ponerse a trabajar, he aquí que encontró sobre la mesa los dos zapatos ya terminados. Pasmóse el hombre, sin saber qué decir ni qué pensar. Cogió los zapatos y los examinó bien de todos lados. Estaban confeccionados con tal pulcritud que ni una puntada podía reprocharse; una verdadera obra maestra.

Soon after, a buyer came in, and as the shoes pleased him so well, he paid more for them than was customary, and, with the money, the shoemaker was able to purchase leather for two pairs of shoes. He cut them out at night, and next morning was about to set to work with fresh courage; but he had no need to do so, for, when he got up, they were already made, and buyers also were not wanting, who gave him money enough to buy leather for four pairs of shoes. The following morning, too, he found the four pairs made; and so it went on constantly, what he cut out in the evening was finished by the morning, so that he soon had his honest independence again, and at last became a wealthy man.


A poco entró un comprador, y tanto le gustó el par, que pagó por él más de lo acostumbrado, con lo que el zapatero pudo comprarse cuero para dos pares. Los cortó al anochecer, dispuesto a trabajar en ellos al día siguiente, pero no le fue preciso, pues, al levantarse, allí estaban terminados, y no faltaron tampoco parroquianos que le dieron por ellos el dinero suficiente con que comprar cuero para cuatro pares. A la mañana siguiente otra vez estaban listos los cuatro pares, y ya, en adelante, lo que dejaba cortado al irse a dormir, lo encontraba cosido al levantarse, con lo que pronto el hombre tuvo su buena renta y, finalmente, pudo considerarse casi rico.

Now it befell that one evening not long before Christmas, when the man had been cutting out, he said to his wife, before going to bed, "What think you if we were to stay up to-night to see who it is that lends us this helping hand?" The woman liked the idea, and lighted a candle, and then they hid themselves in a corner of the room, behind some clothes which were hanging up there, and watched. When it was midnight, two pretty little naked men came, sat down by the shoemaker's table, took all the work which was cut out before them and began to stitch, and sew, and hammer so skilfully and so quickly with their little fingers that the shoemaker could not turn away his eyes for astonishment. They did not stop until all was done, and stood finished on the table, and they ran quickly away.


Pero una noche, poco antes de Navidad, el zapatero, que ya había cortado los pares para el día siguiente, antes de ir a dormir dijo a su mujer: - ¿Qué te parece si esta noche nos quedásemos para averiguar quién es que nos ayuda de este modo? A la mujer parecióle bien la idea; dejó una vela encendida, y luego los dos se ocultaron, al acecho, en un rincón, detrás de unas ropas colgadas. Al sonar las doce se presentaron dos minúsculos y graciosos hombrecillos desnudos que, sentándose a la mesa del zapatero y cogiendo todo el trabajo preparado, se pusieron, con sus diminutos dedos, a punzar, coser y clavar con tal ligereza y soltura, que el zapatero no podía dar crédito a sus ojos. Los enanillos no cesaron hasta que todo estuvo listo; luego desaparecieron de un salto.

Next morning the woman said, "The little men have made us rich, and we really must show that we are grateful for it. They run about so, and have nothing on, and must be cold. I'll tell thee what I'll do: I will make them little shirts, and coats, and vests, and trousers, and knit both of them a pair of stockings, and do thou, too, make them two little pairs of shoes." The man said, "I shall be very glad to do it;" and one night, when everything was ready, they laid their presents all together on the table instead of the cut-out work, and then concealed themselves to see how the little men would behave.


Por la mañana dijo la mujer: - Esos hombrecitos nos han hecho ricos, y deberíamos mostrarles nuestro agradecimiento. Deben morirse de frío, yendo así desnudos por el mundo. ¿Sabes qué? Les coseré a cada uno una camisita, una chaqueta, un jubón y unos calzones, y, además, les haré un par de medias, y tú les haces un par de zapatitos a cada uno. A lo que respondió el hombre: - Me parece muy bien. Y al anochecer, ya terminadas todas las prendas, las pusieron sobre la mesa, en vez de las piezas de cuero cortadas, y se ocultaron para ver cómo los enanitos recibirían el obsequio.

At midnight they came bounding in, and wanted to get to work at once, but as they did not find any leather cut out, but only the pretty little articles of clothing, they were at first astonished, and then they showed intense delight. They dressed themselves with the greatest rapidity, putting the pretty clothes on, and singing,


A medianoche llegaron ellos saltando y se dispusieron a emprender su labor habitual; pero en vez del cuero cortado encontraron las primorosas prendas de vestir. Primero se asombraron, pero enseguida se pusieron muy contentos. Vistiéronse con presteza, y, alisándose los vestidos, pusiéronse a cantar:

"Now we are boys so fine to see,
Why should we longer cobblers be?"


"¿No somos ya dos mozos guapos y elegantes?
¿Por qué seguir de zapateros como antes?."

Then they danced and skipped and leapt over chairs and benches. At last they danced out of doors. From that time forth they came no more, but as long as the shoemaker lived all went well with him, and all his undertakings prospered.


Y venga saltar y bailar, brincando por sobre mesas y bancos, hasta que, al fin, siempre danzando, pasaron la puerta. Desde entonces no volvieron jamás, pero el zapatero lo pasó muy bien todo el resto de su vida, y le salió a pedir de boca cuanto emprendió.