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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Shoemaker's Apron: The Story of the Man Who Sits Near the Golden Gate"

The Shoemaker's Apron: The Story of the Man Who Sits Near the Golden Gate

At the end of another seven years he appeared again. But this time he was too clever to look in the window. He didn't even come near the cottage. Instead he stood off in the garden under the pear-tree and called out:

"Ho, there, shoemaker! Your time has come and I am here to get you! Are you ready?"

"I'll be ready in a moment," the shoemaker said. "Just wait until I put away my tools. If you feel like it, shake yourself down a nice ripe pear."

The devil shook the pear-tree and of course when he tried to stop he couldn't. He shook until all the pears had fallen. He kept on and presently he had shaken off all the leaves.

When the shoemaker came out and saw the tree stripped and bare and the devil still shaking it, he pretended to fall into a fearful rage.

"Hi, there, you! What do you mean shaking down all my pears! Stop it! Do you hear me? Stop it!"

"But I can't stop it!" the poor devil cried.

"We'll see about that!" the shoemaker said.

He ran back into the cottage and got a long leather strap. Then he began beating the devil unmercifully over his head and shoulders.

The devil made such an outcry that all the village heard him and came running to see what was the matter.

"Help! Help!" the devil cried. "Make the shoemaker stop beating me!"

But all the people thought the shoemaker was doing just right to punish the black fellow for shaking down all his pears and they urged the shoemaker to beat him harder.

"My poor head! My poor shoulders!" the devil moaned. "If ever I get loose from this cursed pear-tree I'll never come back here! I swear I won't!"

The shoemaker, when he heard this, laughed in his sleeve and let the devil go.

The devil was true to his word. He never again returned. So the shoemaker lived, untroubled, to a ripe old age.

Just before he died he asked that his cobbler's apron be buried with him and his sons carried out his wish.

As soon as he died the little shoemaker trudged up to heaven and knocked timidly at the golden gate. St. Peter opened the gate a little crack and peeped out.

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