FREDDIE HELPS THE COBBLER
Freddie had hardly been sleeping three hours when he was awakened once again.
“What's the rush?” asked Freddie.The firemen were moving quicker than he'd ever seen. It was a good thing that Freddie's truck had been left in perfect working order. Soon they were rushing off at top speed.
“This is an emergency of top priority.” explained the fire chief as they set off.
“More urgent than the king's castle?” asked Freddie
“Much more important.” said the chief. “We are going to the cobbler's house.”
“But his house is small and he's very poor.” said Freddie. “How is it that his house is more important business than the King's?”
“Ah!” said the fire chief. “You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, Freddie. If the cobbler were more wealthy maybe he would get more respect. But even so, he has a very important person with a very important business. Perhaps in some ways, he is more important than the King. The King keeps order, and keeps out enemies, but the cobbler keeps people happy everyday by making them shoes. We firemen couldn't do our jobs without these boots!”
“And my little daughter Lisa would have no shoes to protect her feet from sticks and stones.” said a fireman.
“The whole village would be barefoot.” said another. “We would be cold in the winter time.”
Soon they arrived at the cobblers house. Flames were shooting out of his workshop and the cobbler and his wife were pumping buckets of water from the well to throw on the fire. The firemen jumped out of Freddie and began to spray the fire out. The flames were strong. They worked fast to keep the fire from spreading to the house.
“I hope my wooden shoe forms can be saved.” said the cobbler. “I keep every wooden frame for the shoes I make in case I have to make the same size again. It saves me lots of time.”
"The fire's out.” said the fire chief at last. “Lets go and survey the damages.”
The cobbler and fire chief entered the smokey black workshop. There was a stone wall which divided the room and all the shoe frames were leaning against it.
“They are still here!” said the cobbler with excitement. “I can make shoes in my wife's kitchen. Two pairs are due tomorrow.”
“Yes, the stone wall kept them from being burn.” said the chief. “Do you have any idea how this fire started?”
“Yes.” said the cobbler, with a sigh. “I do. My old wood stove is rusty. Big chunks are missing in the bottom. This morning when I added a log it must have broken right through while I was at the house having breakfast.”
“You shouldn't have been using such an old and rickety stove.” said the chief when they were back outside.
“I know it. But I have very little money.” said the cobbler. “I can not afford another."
“You should charge more for your shoes.” said one of the firemen. “Why, just last week I got a new pair of boots and you only charged four pennies."
“I do hate to over charge.” said the cobbler.
“It is not over charging! You must charge enough to keep your business going.” said the fire chief. “The whole village depends on you for shoes. None of us have the time or skills to make our own.”
“I suppose you're right.” said the cobbler thoughtfully.
“This Sunday,” said the chief. “We will have a special breakfast for the whole village. We will raise enough money to rebuild your workshop and put in a new stove!"
Then the firemen helped the cobbler move his wooden shoe forms into the house. When they were finished, they piled into Freddie and drove back to the station. They all had showers and cleaned Freddie up. Soon he was ready again for any emergency, with his tanker full and his dials all reset.
On Sunday the fire station was full. The firemen and their wives and children all made pancakes and fruit salad, and served them with real maple syrup. It was a good breakfast and at the end of the morning there was plenty of money to give to the cobbler.
He soon had a shiny new stove and stove pipe and his workshop was rebuilt. The whole village was happy to know that they would be able to get new shoes when ever they wanted!