|a lovely notebook; not mine|
I've just had a quick read of The Elves and the Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm and, as always when revisiting the originals of these familiar stories, am surprised by the details. It's such a short story but I suppose that's to be expected; usually they are enhanced with pictures. The scene where the shoemaker decides to stay up to secretly observe the mysterious helper who makes his product in the night hours: I remember their being a whole small army of tiny friendly little elves. This is what actually happens: 'As soon as it was midnight, there came in two little naked dwarfs; and they sat themselves upon the shoemaker’s bench...' Two naked dwarfs? That really is an entirely different image to the one recently evicted from my mind.
Also at no point during the story does the shoemaker ever actually make any shoes, except for tiny pairs too small for human feet. He just cuts leather and spies on naked dwarves (dwarfs?). The ending features the shoemaker and his wife make little costumes for the dwarf/elf indeterminate hybrids, which they excitedly don, then jollily caper out and away. A vaguely remember this ending, but the initial nudity still escapes me. The ending reminds me of the biblical story in which Adam and Eve become aware of their nakedity and begin experiencing shame for the first time; good work, god, you prick. Anyway, the dwarfs don't give a shit about their little peckers swinging back and forth until the sanctimonious shoemaker's wife, and the non-shoe making shoemaker, give them clothes. All of a sudden they are joyous. I just don't get it.
I like short stories, and I like novels, but I'll leave it to Harry Hill to sort out which one's best. The pressure would be off if a fight could reveal once and for all that novels are softies and short stories are hard bastards. Not sure how, I'm just working harder on turning subtle confusing excuses into a craft, instead of just properly working on the novel. And blah and blah and blah some more blah.