English Stories

The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Once there was a shoemaker. He became so poor that he had nothing left to run his family but only enough leather for just one pair of shoes. So, in the evening, he cut out the leather with great care to make the shoes. But he was so disappointed that he left his work on the table to finish in the morning. He was almost in tears. Before he fell asleep, he prayed to God and asked to help him.

In the morning, he found a wonderful pair of  shoes  on his table.He was surprised. He took the shoes in his hands and looked at them closely. They were so neatly made that there was not even one bad stitch on them. The pair of shoes was, indeed a masterpiece. Soon after, a customer came into the shop. He liked the shoes and paid more than the usual price. Now, the shoemaker was very happy as he had enough money to buy leather for two pairs of shoes. That night, he cut out the leather and the next morning, he found two pairs of beautifully finished shoes. This continued for many nights.

Any leather that he cut out in the evening, was beautifully finished by the morning. Soon ,the shoemaker became rich.One evening, the man said to his wife, “Let’s stay up tonight to see who is helping us.” The woman liked the idea. She lighted a candle.The room was lit by the candle flame. Then they hid themselves in a corner of the room, behind the curtain.At midnight, two little elves came dancing into the room. Both were wearing old and torn clothes. They sat down at the shoemaker’s table. They began to stitch, sew and hammer so skillfully that the shoemaker was surprised. The elves finished the work and ran away.

The woman said ,“Those little men have made us rich. We should show our gratitude to them for their selfless service. I will make little shirts, coats, vests ,trousers and a pair of socks for them.” “Ok, then I will make two little pairs of shoes for them.” said the shoemaker.

When everything was ready, they laid their presents on the table and hid themselves. At midnight, the elves came in. They were delighted to nd the gifts. Both the elves dressed themselves in the new clothes. Then,they danced and sang happily- ‘Now we are so fine to see,Graceful, cheerful and thankful are we.’ They danced out of the doors, and did not come any more and the shoemaker lived happily forever.

The Foolish Bear

One day, a bear felt hungry. So, he came out of his den to look for food. The bear went to the river to catch some fish. He stood by the river and saw enough fish to eat. He caught a small fish, but then he thought, “This is too small fish to fill my stomach. I must catch a bigger fish.” So, he let off the small fish and waited for some time. Then again a small fish came and he let

it go thinking that the small fish would not fill his belly. This way he caught many small fish, but let all of them go off. By sunset, the bear had not caught any big fish. He slowly began to feel tired. At the end he remained empty stomach and thought, “All those small fish, together would have filled up my belly, but now it was too late.” He remained hungry that day.
MORAL: Something is better than nothing

Raja Birbal

Mahesh Das was born in 1528. Later, he became an adviser in the court of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. The Emperor gave him the name – Raja Birbal. He was one of the nine jewels of Akbar. He was known for his wit. One day the Emperor called his courtiers and said,” I have a problem for you. Whoever solves it will get five bags of gold.”

Then, Akbar came down from his throne. He drew a dark, thick line with a piece of charcoal on the marble floor. Akbar stepped back and asked the courtiers to look at the dark line. Everyone looked at the line carefully. The Emperor said, “You have to make this line shorter but you should not touch it. Do not add to it or rub out any part of it.” Everyone was puzzled. No one had the solution. The Emperor turned to Raja Birbal and asked him with a smile, “Can’t you think of the answer?”

Birbal smiled. He took the piece of charcoal and drew another line, next to the line Akbar had drawn. It was longer than the first one. Akbar’s line had thus become shorter. The Emperor Akbar was impressed, “You are the cleverest in the court.”

The Flying Sikh – Milkha Singh

Milkha Singh is one of India’s greatest personalities. He is a famous athlete. He is also known as the Flying Sikh. He was born in a Sikh Rathore Rajput family in Punjab in undivided India (now in Pakistan). The partition of India happened when he was still a teenager. He witnessed the killing of his parents. The last words of his father were” Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” means “Run Milkha Run”.This was a last-minute plea to Milkha to run away and save his life

Milkha’s school was at a distance of 10 km. from his home. He had the habit of running to cover this distance every day. This habit helped him to become a good runner. After partition, he came to India with his elder sister. Later on, he tried to join the army. He got selected in his fourth attempt in 1951 and was introduced to athletics.

Milkha Singh has made his motherland proud by winning several gold medals in the international sport events. He represented India in 1956 Olympic Games. In the National Games of India, he set national records for the 200 m and 400 m. He also w o n a g o l d m e d a l a t t h e 4 0 0 m competition in Common Wealth Games in 1958. He was the first Indian male to win an individual athletics gold medal.

Milkha Singh also won gold medal in Asian Games held in Tokyo, beating the Pakistani runner Abdul Khaliq. He was invited by the president of Pakistan to take part in a race to be held in Pakistan, but he did not want to go because of the bitter memories of the partition. At last, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru convinced him to go. Milkha Singh once again beat Abdul

Khaliq in the race. The President of Pakistan was very much impressed. He remarked, “Milkha, you did not run, you actually ew”. He gave the title of ‘Flying Sikh’ to him. Thus, Milkha Singh became popular as the Flying Sikh. He was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 1959 for his achievements in sports. After retirement from the army, he became the Director of Sports in Punjab. He donated all his medals to the nation. His life is a great inspiration for us.