The Brave Little Tailor

by The Brothers Grimm

One summer's day a little tailor sat on his table by the window in the best of spirits, and sewed for dear life. As he was sitting thus a peasant woman came down the street, calling out: "Good jam to sell, good jam to sell."

This sounded sweetly in the tailor's ears; he put his frail little head out of the window, and shouted: "up here, my good woman, and you'll find a willing customer." The woman climbed up the three flights of stairs with her heavy basket to the tailor's room, and he made her spread out all the pots in a row before him.

He examined them all, lifted them up and smelled them, and said at last: "This jam seems good, weigh me four ounces of it, my good woman; and even if it's a quarter of a pound I won't stick at it."The woman, who had hoped to find a good market, gave him what he wanted, but went away grumbling wrathfully. "Now heaven shall bless this jam for my use," cried the little tailor, "and it shall sustain and strengthen me." He fetched some bread out of a cupboard, cut a round off the loaf, and spread the jam on it. "That won't taste amiss," he said; "but I'll finish that waistcoat first before I take a bite." He placed the bread beside him, went on sewing, and out of the lightness of his heart kept on making his stitches bigger and bigger.

In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam rose to the ceiling, where heaps of flies were sitting, and attracted them to such an extent that they swarmed on to it in masses. "Ha! who invited you?" said the tailor, and chased the unwelcome guests away. But the flies, who didn't understand English, refused to let themselves be warned off, and returned again in even greater numbers. At last the little tailor, losing all patience, reached out of his chimney corner for a duster, and exclaiming: "Wait, and I'll give it to you," he beat them mercilessly with it. When he left off he counted the slain, and no fewer than seven lay dead before him with outstretched legs.

"What a desperate fellow I am!" said he, and was filled with admiration at his own courage. "The whole town must know about this"; and in great haste the little tailor cut out a girdle, hemmed it, and embroidered on it in big letters, "Seven at a blow." "What did I say, the town? no, the whole world shall hear of it," he said; and his heart beat for joy as a lamb wags his tail.

The tailor strapped the girdle round his waist and set out into the wide world, for he considered his workroom too small a field for his prowess. Before he set forth he looked round about him, to see if there was anything in the house he could take with him on his journey; but he found nothing except an old cheese, which he took possession of.

In front of the house he observed a bird that had been caught in some bushes, and this he put into his wallet beside the cheese. Then he went on his way merrily, and being light and agile he never felt tired.

His way led up a hill, on the top of which sat a powerful giant, who was calmly surveying the landscape. The little tailor went up to him, and greeting him cheerfully said: "Good-day, friend; there you sit at your ease viewing the whole wide world. I'm just on my way there. What do you say to accompanying me?"

The giant looked contemptuously at the tailor, and said: "What a poor wretched little creature you are!"

"That's a good joke," answered the little tailor, and unbuttoning his coat he showed the giant the girdle. "There now, you can read what sort of a fellow I am."

The giant read: "Seven at a blow"; and thinking they were human beings the tailor had slain, he conceived a certain respect for the little man. But first he thought he'd test him, so taking up a stone in his hand, he squeezed it till some drops of water ran out. "Now you do the same," said the giant, "if you really wish to be thought strong."

"Is that all?" said the little tailor; "that's child's play to me..."

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