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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

When he saw the shoemaker he shook his head and said:

"Little shoemaker, heaven is no place for you. While you were alive you sold your soul to the ruler of the other place and now you must go there."

With that St. Peter shut the golden gate and locked it.

The little shoemaker sighed and said to himself:

"Well, I suppose I must go where St. Peter says."

So he put on a bold front and tramped down to hell. When the devil who knew him saw him coming, he shouted out to his fellow devils:

"Brothers, on guard! Here comes that terrible little shoemaker! Lock every gate! Don't let him in or he'll drive us all out of hell!"

The devils in great fright scurried about and locked and barred all the gates, and the little shoemaker when he arrived could not get in.

He knocked and knocked but no one would answer.

"They don't seem to want me here," he said to himself. "I suppose I'll have to try heaven again."

So he trudged back to St. Peter and explained to him that hell was locked up tight.

"No matter," St. Peter said. "As I told you before heaven is no place for you."

The little shoemaker, tired and dejected, went back to hell but again the devils, when they saw him coming, locked every gate and kept him out.

In desperation the little shoemaker returned to heaven and pounded loudly on the golden gate. Thinking from the noise that some very important saint had arrived, St. Peter flung open the gate. Quick as a flash the little shoemaker threw his leather apron inside, then hopped in himself under St. Peter's elbow and squatted down on the apron.

In great excitement St. Peter tried to turn him out of heaven, but the little shoemaker shouted:

"You can't touch me! You can't touch me! I'm sitting on my own property! Let me alone!"

He raised such a hubbub that all the angels and the blessed saints came running to see what was happening. Presently Lord Jesus himself came and the little shoemaker explained to him how he just had to stay in heaven as the devils wouldn't let him into hell.

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