The magic boots

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Once there was a humble cobbler. Although the other cobblers admired his work, they always put him down. The humble cobbler always worked so hard, but no-one would buy his shoes. He was in such poverty that he couldn't feed his family, and therefore, they only survived on the small amount of money they could gain by selling their goat's milk. One day, the humble cobbler was cutting wood for the souls of his shoes, when he came across a particularly flourishing tree. He raised his axe to cut it down but then was stopped by a little man jumping up and down in front of him. The humble cobbler then came to realize that this man was a tree nymph. The tree nymph promised a magic spell in return for the humble cobbler not to cut the tree. With regret, the humble cobbler agreed to deal and put down his axe. The nymph then asked the humble cobbler to tell him of his woes. The humble cobbler told the nymph of his poverty and the nymph then told the humble cobbler to bring him his best pair of leather boots; and so, the humble cobbler did. When the humble cobbler returned, he carried a pair of beautiful brown leather boots with him and said to the nymph:

"Even these, my finest pair, will never sell!"

The nymph then made the boots shine like velvet, in beautiful colours of rainbow. The boots shone so bright that the humble cobbler hid his eyes from the sight of the boots. Finally, the boots stopped shining and the nymph spoke in verse to the humble cobbler:

"Whoever wears these boots gains eternal health and gold,

But 'ware of souls who steal,

For they will be turned cold.

Then, when they are frozen we'll take them to their graves,

We'll place them on a raft,

We'll float them on sea waves."

The humble cobbler took the warning of the nymph and took the boots home.

********

The next day, the humble cobbler put the magic boots on before he went to the market, to sell his shoes. He came home to his family with none of his stock left, and purses full of gold, just as the nymph had promised. The came to show his wife, when he noticed the children were gone. His wife told him that she had sent them in to the wood to pick fruit. The humble cobbler then proceeded to show his wife the boots. His wife was amazed, and for three days, the humble cobbler went to the market in his boots. However, on the fourth day, he went to the market; as usual; but sold nothing. On his way home, the humble cobbler started to feel cold, then noticing he was starting to go pale. The remembered what the nymph had said:

"Whoever wears these boots gains eternal health and gold,

But 'ware of souls who steal,

For they will be turned cold.

Then, when they are frozen we'll take them to their graves,

We'll place them on a raft,

We'll float them on sea waves."

When the humble cobbler got home, he quickly dropped his shoes in the doorway and then ran to the tree where the nymph had cast the spell. He could feel his skin getting colder and colder, despite the warm, sunny day it was. When he got to the tree, the humble cobbler called to the nymph:

"Oh, nymph, oh, nymph,

please fix this spell!"

The nymph came out from the tree and told the humble cobbler it was his own fault for stealing fruit from the tree without the nymphs permission. The humble cobbler then told the nymph it wasn't him who stole the fruit. The nymph could see he was all in a panic and told him he did eat it. The humble cobbler told the nymph he was sorry and said it was his children who picked the fruit, but nymph still refused to forgive him. The humble cobbler then cried to the nymph:

"You can take my life on one condition. Please make sure my wife and children will forever be happy and wealthy!"

The nymph then agreed to this, and to this day the humble cobbler sits at the bottom of the ocean, watching all the fish swim by, always thinking of this family back home. But that's not the end of the story. Two years later, the tree got cut down by a carpenter and the nymph's wooden soul was carved into a pair small wooden pair of boots. As for the humble cobbler's family, One of the cobbler's children fell in love with a duke, marrying the family into fortune. Although they missed the humble carpenter, they were forever happy.

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