The shoemaker boy

1907.  A dilapidated house in Bonito, Italy. A boy of nine was agonizing.  His two sisters were to be confirmed at church, but had no shoes to wear. The family was poor and had no means to buy anything more than the basic garments. The boy’s heart was breaking, knowing that his sisters would be humiliated at church if they wore old, shabby slippers. Young as he was, he was determined not to let his sisters get laughed at or made fun of. He knew he had to do something. The boy went out on the streets, and scavenged for pieces of wood and scraps of leather discarded by expert shoemakers and artisans. With his bare hands, and the most basic of tools— he carved, shaped, cut, hammered and pasted the pieces of garbage he found. He patiently — doggedly— fashioned two pairs of shoes. The next day, his two sisters walked proudly in church, with the best pair of shoes they ever had.

The boy’s name?


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