Day 10: A nice Christmas story
Good old shoes

Day 10: A nice Christmas story

Today it's time to relax. So here is a beautiful Christmas story based on a tale by Leo Tolstoy (Where there is love, there is God)

Martin the cobbler

Once upon a time there was a poor cobbler named Martin who lived in a cellar. Through the small window of the cellar he could see the people passing by on the street outside. He could only see their feet, but he recognized everyone by their shoes. He had held almost all of these shoes in his hands once or twice before.

For many years Martin had been working in the cellar, which was both his workshop and his home. From morning till night he cut leather, nailed new soles on the shoes or sewed a patch on a burst seam. People liked to come to Martin because he did his work well and didn't charge too much for it.

When Advent came and it got dark outside, Martin would light the lamp and read in his favorite book. It was the Bible with the many stories of Jesus. All day long he looked forward to this book. He could hardly wait for the evening.

One day Martin heard someone calling his name. "Martin," it suddenly sounded softly against his ear. He looked around. But no one was in his workshop. But right after that he heard the voice again: "Martin! Look out into the street tomorrow! I want to come to you." Martin thought he had been dreaming. Was it Jesus speaking to him out of the silence?

The next morning, outside his window, Martin saw a pair of old, mended soldier's boots, and soon he recognized the man who had them on.

It was old Stephan. He was shoveling snow from the street. The work was exhausting him very much. He had to stop again and again to rest. Martin took pity on the poor man and called him in.

"Come in, Stephan! Warm yourself in my parlor!" Gratefully, Stephan accepted the invitation. He hardly dared to enter the parlor with the snow on his boots. But Martin spoke to him kindly: "Sit down at the table with me, Stephan! I will pour you a glass of tea. The warm tea will do you good."

When Stephan had gone, Martin looked out of the window again while he was working. There he saw a young mother with a small child in her arms. The woman was freezing in her thin dress. She was trying to protect her child from the cold wind. "Come in, woman!" called Martin to her. "You can change your child better in here."

Martin took the soup from the stove that he had cooked for himself and gave it to the woman. "Here, eat something," he said, for he could tell the woman was hungry. While the mother ate the soup, Martin took the child on his lap and tried to make him laugh by all kinds of jokes. Then he gave it back to the mother.

No sooner had the mother left with the child than Martin heard a shout outside his window. A market woman was beating a little boy who had stolen an apple from her basket. "Just you wait, you thief! I'll take you to the police," she shouted angrily and dragged the boy by his hair. Immediately Martin ran out into the street. "Let him go," he said to the woman. "He certainly won't do it again. I will pay you for the apple." Then the woman calmed down and the boy had to apologize to her for stealing the apple. "It's all right," said the market woman and went on her way. But the boy volunteered to help her carry the heavy basket of apples.

In the evening, Martin was reading his favorite book in the Bible again. Then he heard the voice at his ear, "Martin, I have been with you. Did you recognize me?" "When? Where?" asked Martin in amazement . "Look around once," said the voice. Then Martin suddenly saw old Stephen standing in the light of the lamp and next to him the young mother with her child. He also saw the boy with the apple and the market woman with the basket on her arm. "Do you recognize me now?" whispered the voice. Then all of them disappeared at once.

That's when Martin rejoiced. He opened his Bible again and read what Jesus had said, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Math. 25)

Translated with (free version)