The Brave Little Tailor
Tailor defeats with cunning seven at one stroke three giants, a unicorn and a wild boar and so gets king's daughter
One summer morning, a little tailor sat on his table by the window, was in good spirits and sewed with all his might. Then a farmer's wife came down the street and called out: "Good mush for sale! Good mush for sale!" This sounded sweetly in the ears of the little tailor, who stuck his tender head out of the window and called: "Up here, dear woman, here you can get rid of your goods!" The woman climbed the three stairs with her heavy basket to the tailor and had to unpack all her pots in front of him. He examined them all, lifted them up, held his nose to them and finally said: "The mush seems good to me, weigh me four pounds, dear woman, even if it's a quarter of a pound, it doesn't matter to me." The woman, who had hoped to make a good deal, gave him what he asked for, but went away all angry and grumpy.
"Well, God bless the mush," cried the little tailor.
and shall give me strength and power",
took the bread out of the cupboard, cut himself a piece over the whole loaf and spread the mush over it. "This won't taste bitter," he spoke, "but first I want to finish the jacket before I bite into it." He laid the loaf beside him and continued sewing, making bigger and bigger stitches with joy. Meanwhile the smell of the sweet mush went up to the wall, where the flies were sitting in great multitudes, so that they were attracted and settled on it in droves. "Well, who invited you?" said the little tailor and chased the uninvited guests away. But the flies, who did not understand German, did not let themselves be turned away, but came back in ever larger company.
Then the little tailor finally, as they say, had a louse run over his liver, he grabbed a cloth and with a "wait, I will give it to you!" he mercilessly hit it. When it pulled the cloth away and counted, no less than seven lay dead before it, stretching their legs. "What kind of a devil are you?" he said, and had to admire his bravery himself, "the whole town shall know." And in his haste the little tailor cut himself a belt, sewed it, and embroidered on it in large letters, "Seven at one stroke!" "What a city!" he continued, "the whole world shall know!" and his heart shook like a lamb's tail for joy."
The tailor tied his belt around his waist and wanted to go out into the world, because he thought the workshop was too small for his bravery. Before he left, he looked around the house to see if there was anything he could take with him. But he found nothing except an old cheese, which he put away. Outside the gate he noticed a bird caught in the bushes. This had to join the cheese in the bag. Now he bravely took the path between his legs, and because he was light and nimble, he felt no fatigue. The path led him up a mountain. And when he reached the highest peak, there sat a huge giant, looking around leisurely. The little tailor stout-heartedly went up to him, spoke to him and said "good day, comrade, you must be sitting there, looking at how wide the world is. I am just about to go out into the world. Would you like to go with me?" The giant looked at the tailor contemptuously and said, "you rascal! you miserable fellow." "Go ahead," answered the little tailor, unbuttoning his skirt and showing the giant his belt, "there you can read what kind of man I am." The giant read "Seven at one stroke", thought that these were people the tailor had slain, and got a little respect for the little fellow. But he wanted to test him first, so he took a stone in his hand and squeezed it so that the water dripped out. "Do that to me, "said the giant, "if you have strength". "Is that all?" said the little tailor. "That's a little thing for me," reached into his pocket, got the soft cheese and squeezed it so that the juice ran out. "Gell", he said, "that was a little better?". The giant did not know what to say, and could not believe it from the little man. Then the giant picked up a stone and threw it so high that it could hardly be seen with the naked eye: "well, you drake man, do that to me"! "Well thrown," said the tailor, "but the stone has fallen back to earth. I will throw you one, it shall not come again", reached into his pocket, took the bird and threw it into the air. The bird, glad of its freedom, rose, flew away and did not come back. "How do you like that bit, comrade?" asked the tailor. "You can throw," said the giant, "but now let's see if you are capable of carrying something proper." He led the little tailor to a mighty oak tree lying felled on the ground and said, "if you are strong enough, help me carry the tree out of the forest." "Gladly," replied the little man, "you just take the trunk on your shoulder, I will pick up the branches with the twigs and carry them, that is the heaviest thing after all." The giant took the trunk on his shoulder, but the tailor sat down on a branch, and the giant, who could not look around, had to carry away the whole tree and the little tailor on top of it. He was quite merry and in good spirits back there, whistling the little song: "Three tailors rode out to the gate," as if carrying the tree were child's play. The giant, having carried the heavy load a little way, could go no further and cried, "Listen, I must drop the tree." The tailor jumped down nimbly, grabbed the tree with both arms as if he were carrying it, and said to the giant, "you're such a big guy and you can't even carry the tree."
They went on together, and when they passed a cherry tree, the giant seized the crown of the tree where the ripest fruit hung, bent it down, gave it into the tailor's hand and let him eat it. But the little tailor was much too weak to hold the tree. And when the giant let go, the tree went up into the air, and the tailor was thrown into the air with it. When he had fallen down again without harm, the giant said, "what is this, have you not the strength to hold the weak whip?" "There is no lack of strength," replied the little tailor, "do you think that would be something for one who has hit seven with one stroke? I jumped over the tree because the hunters are shooting into the bushes down there. Jump after it if you can." The giant made the attempt, but couldn't get over the tree; he got caught in the branches, so the little tailor got the upper hand here, too.
The giant said, "if you are such a brave fellow, come with us to our cave and spend the night with us." The little tailor was ready and followed him. When they arrived at the cave, there were other giants sitting by the fire, and each had a roasted sheep in his hand and was eating from it. The little tailor looked around and thought, "it is much more spacious here than in my workshop." The giant directed him to a bed and told him to lie down in it and sleep it off. But the bed was too big for the little tailor. He did not lie down in it, but crawled into a corner. When it was midnight and the giant thought that the little tailor was fast asleep, he got up, took a big iron bar and smashed the bed with one blow - and thought that he had killed the grasshopper. Early in the morning, the giants went into the forest and had already forgotten all about the little tailor, when he suddenly came striding along, all funny and bold. The giants were frightened and feared that he would kill them all, so they ran away in haste.
The little tailor moved on, always following his pointed nose. After wandering for a long time, he came to the courtyard of a royal palace. And being tired, he lay down on the grass and fell asleep. While it was lying there, people came and looked at it from all sides and read on the belt, "Seven at a time." "Ah," they said, "what does the great war hero want here in the midst of peace? This must be a mighty lord." They went and reported it to the king, saying that if war should break out, this would be an important and useful man not to be let away at any price. The king liked the advice and sent one of his courtiers to the little tailor. The latter was to offer him war services when he woke up. The emissary stopped by the sleeper, waited until he stretched his limbs and opened his eyes, and then made his request. "That is precisely why I have come here," he replied, "I am ready to enter the king's service." Therefore, he was received with honor and assigned a special dwelling.
The other warriors, however, were not very happy with the little tailor and wished he were a thousand miles away. "It could be dangerous," they said among themselves, "if we quarrel with him and he strikes, seven will fall with every blow. We can't stand up to that." So they made a decision to go all together to the king and ask him for their leave. "We are not made," they said, "to stand beside a man who strikes seven at one stroke." The king was sad that he should lose all his faithful servants for the sake of only one, and he wished he had never set eyes on this one - and would gladly have gotten rid of him. But he did not dare to say goodbye to this one, because he was afraid that he could kill him together with his people and then sit down on the royal throne. He thought about it for a long time until he finally found a solution. He sent for the little tailor and told him that he had an offer for him because he was such a great war hero. In a forest of his kingdom there would be two giants who would go about their business of robbing, murdering and plundering, causing great damage. No one was allowed to come near them without fearing for his life. If he would overcome and kill these two giants, he would give him his only daughter as a wife - and half the kingdom as a marriage tax. A hundred horsemen were to go with him and give him support. "That would be something, for a man like you," thought the little tailor. "A beautiful king's daughter and half a kingdom are not offered to one every day." "Oh, yes," he answered, "I'll tame the giants, and I don't need a hundred horsemen to do it. He who meets seven at one stroke need not fear two."
The little tailor went out and the hundred horsemen followed him. When he came to the edge of the forest, he said to his companions, "Wait here, I can handle the giants by myself." Then he jumped into the forest and looked around to the right and left. After a while he saw the two giants. They were lying under a tree, sleeping and snoring so that the branches bent up and down. The little tailor, not being lazy, filled both pockets with stones and climbed the tree with them. When he was in the middle, he slid out on a branch until he came to sit just above the sleepers. Then he dropped one stone after another on the chest of one of the giants. The giant felt nothing for a long time, until finally he woke up, nudged his companion, and said, "what are you hitting me for?" "You are dreaming," said the other, "I am not hitting you." They lay down to sleep again, and the tailor threw down a stone at the second. "What is this?" cried the other, "why do you throw at me?". "I'm not throwing at you, you must be dreaming," replied the first. They quarreled for a while, but, being tired, they let it go. And their eyes fell shut again. The little tailor began his game anew, picked out the thickest stone and threw it with all his might at the first giant's chest. "That's too much for me now!" he cried, jumped up as if blind with rage and fell upon his journeyman. The latter paid back in kind and they became so enraged that they uprooted trees and struck at each other. They did not stop until they were both dead on the ground. Now the little tailor jumped down. "It's just lucky," he said, "that they didn't uproot the tree I was sitting on, otherwise I would have had to jump like a squirrel onto another one. But our one is nimble!" It drew its sword and dealt each a few sound blows in the chest. Then he went out to the horsemen and said: "The work is done. I have finished off both of them. But it went hard. They uprooted trees in their distress and fought back. But all this is of no avail when one comes like me, who strikes seven at one blow." "Are you not wounded then," asked the horsemen. "All is well," replied the tailor, "not a hair of my head did they harm." The horsemen would not believe him and rode into the forest. There they found the giants swimming in their blood, and all around lay the uprooted trees.
The little tailor demanded the promised reward from the king. But the king regretted his promise and thought again how he could get rid of the hero. "Before you receive my daughter and half the kingdom," he said to him, "you must perform another heroic deed. There is a unicorn running around in the forest that causes great damage. You must first catch it." "I am even less afraid of a unicorn than of two giants. Seven at a time, that's my business." He took a rope and an axe with him, went out into the forest, and again left those who were to accompany him waiting outside at the edge of the forest. He did not have to look for long, when the unicorn came along and jumped straight at the tailor, as if it wanted to impale him without a moment's hesitation. "Gently, gently," he said, "it doesn't go that fast. He stopped and waited until the animal was very close. Then he nimbly jumped behind a tree. The unicorn ran against the tree with all its might and speared its horn so hard into the trunk that it did not have the strength to pull it out again. And so it was trapped. "Now I have the little bird," said the tailor, coming out from behind the tree, putting the rope around the unicorn's neck first. Then he cut the horn out of the tree with his axe and when everything was done, he led the animal away and brought it to the king.
But the king still did not want to grant him the promised reward and challenged him a third time. The tailor should first catch a wild boar for him before the wedding, which causes great damage in the forest. The hunters were to assist him. "Gladly," said the tailor, "this is a piece of cake." He did not take the hunters with him into the forest, and they were not at all angry about it, for the wild boar had already received them several times in such a way that they no longer felt like chasing him. When the boar saw the tailor, it ran at him with foaming mouth and sharpening teeth - and wanted to throw him to the ground. The agile hero, however, jumped into a nearby chapel and out the window in one leap. The pig had run into the chapel after him. But he hopped around the outside and slammed the door behind him. There the angry animal was caught, because it was much too heavy and immobile to jump out by the window. The little tailor called the hunters over. They had to see the prisoner with their own eyes. But the hero went to the king, who now, whether he liked it or not, had to keep his promise - and gave him his daughter and half the kingdom. If he had known that it was not a war hero but a little tailor who stood before him, he would have been even more heartbroken. The wedding was then held with great pomp and small joy. And a king was made out of a tailor.
After some time, the young queen heard her husband saying in a dream: "Boy, make my doublet and mend my pants, or I will pull your spoon. Then she realized in which alley the young gentleman had been born, and the next morning she complained to her father of her sorrow and asked him to help her get rid of the man who was nothing but a tailor. The king consoled her and said: "Leave your bedchamber open the next night and let my servants wait outside. And, when he is asleep, let them go in, tie him up, and carry him to a ship that will sail him out into the wide world." The woman was satisfied with this, but the king's armor-bearer, who had overheard everything, was favorably disposed toward the young lord and told him of the planned ambush. "I will put a stop to it," said the little tailor. In the evening he went to bed with his wife at the usual time. When she thought he had fallen asleep, she got up, opened the door and lay down again. The little tailor, who only pretended to be asleep, began to call out in a bright voice: "Boy, make my doublet and mend my pants, or I will pull your elbow over the spoons! I have struck seven with one blow, killed two giants, led away a unicorn, and caught a wild boar, and should be afraid of those who stand outside the chamber"! When these heard the tailor speak, a great fear came over them. They ran as if they were chasing wild hordes and no one would dare to approach him. Thus the little tailor was and remained a king for the rest of his life.