Brownielocks and The 3 Bears
A Fractured Fairy Tale by A.J. Jacobs,
as featured on "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" 1959-1961
These are best when seen as an animated cartoon. My page really doesn't do justice to the creativity.
The Elves and The Shoemaker
Once upon a time, there was a painter. He was a good painter and he made a modest living for his wife and himself. All was well, except for one thing: The painter didn't want to be a painter. He wanted to be a shoemaker.
"I'm drudging my way through life!" he whined to his wife one morning. "Every day, from nine to five, it's canvas and landscapes and easels and, oh, it's so dull. I want to do something creative!"
"But I always thought painting was creative," said his wife. "You deal with light and shade and perspective and such."
"You call that creative?" The painter shook his head sadly. "I'll tell you creative. Making shoes. That's creative. Something for the feet. Something that lives. Something to last through eternity. Shoes that sing!"
But just then, the clock struck nine. Time for work. The painter shuffled off to the nearest still life, and with a sigh, began dabbling and swirling the canvas. "I wish I were a shoemaker. I wish I were a shoemaker."
---- The third time he said the magic phrase, an elf appeared---the patron elf of shoemakers.
"So you want to be like Herman Cappachino," said the elf.
"Who are you and who is Herman Cappachino?"
"No need to explain who I am," said the elf, pointing out he was already explained in a previous paragraph. "But Herman Cappachino---he was just the greatest little shoemaker to ever live. When Napoleon tromped through Russia, whose shoes was he wearing? When Hannibal crossed the Alps? And when Dorothy, that girl from Iowa or something, clicked her heels? Whose shoes did they have on? Herman Cappachino, that's who."
"Ooooh," said the painter. "How can I be a famous shoemaker like Herman Cappachino?"
"It ain't easy," replied the elf. "You gotta suffer. You gotta spend time on the Left Bank of Paris. You gotta study. You gotta wear berets and develop poor hygiene habits."
That night, the painter told his wife of his plans. She shook her head.
"Great shoemakers are not made," she said. "They are born. Why don't you forget it and go back to something sensible like your painting."
"No!" shouted the painter, stamping his feet and clenching his fists. "Anyone can paint. I want to sit in cafes, discuss shoelace exhibitions, make loafers in a garret. And above all, suffer!"
So that night, the painter left for Paris. He entered the famous shoe school, Beau Chaussure, and under the tutelage of the famous, if unwashed, professor, Jean-Claude Louis-Mark-Paul, he learned all there was to know about shoemaking. He took The History of the Heel in Eighteenth-Century Brazil. He read all the books on tongue theory and the practice. He wrote an essay called "What Those Plastic Things on the End of the Shoelaces Are Really Called." But, alas, he never learned how to make a shoe that sang.
"If only I could make a shoe that sings of spring, of love. How can I make a shoe with a soul as well as a sole?"
Just then, as he stood on Paris's main boulevard, pulling the rest of his hair out, he heard the most beautiful music. He followed the lovely sound. And there, on the feet of a goatee-wearing man, was a singing shoe. The shoe sang it's song, then said, "Thank you. Thank you very much. You've been a great audience. And it's for you, the audience, that I sing. Your appreciation is what---"
"Now, that is truly a shoe with a soul" interrupted the painter. "I must have that shoe!" He reached down and started pulling it off.
"What are you doing?" the man demanded.
"I just wanted to know where you bought your shoes."
"I got them in Elvesville."
Elvesville! Why, that was the painter's hometown. He had been suffering around Europe, when he could be home, making shoes that sing. So the painter returned to Elvesville and found that everyone in town was wearing the same exquisite singing shoes.
"Where did you get those exquisite singing shoes?" he asked a passerby.
"Twenty-three eleven South Budlong. You turn left, go about three..."
"You don't have to tell me!" exclaimed the painter. "That's my house!"
And sure enough, when the painter got home, he found the walls of his cottage lined with exquisite shoes, all of them singing merrily away. And who did he find sitting behind the cobbler's bench, but his wife!
"Why didn't you tell me you made exquisite singing shoes?" he asked.
"You never asked
And so from that day on, the painter went back to the easel every day from nine to five. Eventually, his paintings started selling like hotcakes and he became a very famous painter indeed. And his paintings hung in all the famous museums in Europe. But he never did become a shoemaker and had to be content with just being a wealthy man.
Which just goes to prove. Not everybody can be Herman Cappachino. Whatever that means.
Want to read another fairy tale?
Note: There were 91 Fractured Fairy Tales. I loved all of
See a complete listing Here.
Unfortunately there is an entire generation or more that hasn't had the fun of experiencing
A.J. Jacob's tremendous writing talent. This is why I am offering a few of his tales on my site
so you can get an idea. To read them all, buy the book listed below!
"Fractured Fairy Tales" told by A.J. Jacobs
Bantam Books © 1997 by Ward Productions
All rights licensed by Universal Studios Publishing Rights,
A Division of Universal Studios.