The Brave Little Tailor

On a beautiful summer morning, a little tailor sat working in front of his window. He was happily sewing when a farmer’s wife walked down the street shouting, “Fresh fruit jam for sale! Fresh fruit jam for sale!” The little tailor was delighted by the sound of it. He stuck his head out the window and called out, “Come up here, my dear, I will buy some jam from you.”

The woman climbed the three steep flights of stairs. She had to unpack all her baskets of fruit jam for him. He looked at everything, took a handful of each kind, smelled it, and finally said, “This is delicious jam, weigh some for me.” The woman took the order but left grumbling and snarling because the little tailor had ordered so little.

“God bless this meal,” said the little tailor, “this will give me courage and strength.” He took a loaf of bread from the cupboard and spread it with jam. “Mmm, this will taste good,” he said, “but first, I have to finish that jacket before I can enjoy my meal.” He put the bread beside him and sewed on happily.

Meanwhile, a swarm of flies had come to the delicious smell of the jam. They settled on the bread. “Oh no,” said the little tailor, “who invited you?” He chased the uninvited guests away. But the flies wouldn’t budge and came back in greater numbers. Then the little tailor had enough. He took a big piece of cloth from his stock and beat them with it. In one strike, he killed no less than seven flies.

“What a hero you are,” he said to himself. The little tailor quickly sewed a belt with the words Seven in One Blow. He would show his bravery to the whole city and the whole world. With the belt on, he set out to explore the wide world. His workshop was now too small for someone so brave. The only things he took were a piece of old cheese and a bird.

He quickly climbed up the mountain since he didn’t weigh much, he didn’t feel any fatigue. On top of the mountain, a giant was sitting, enjoying the view. “Good morning, comrade,” said the little tailor, not at all afraid. “Are you enjoying the view of the world?” “I’m just on my way to explore the wide world. Do you want to come with me?”

“Poor, foolish little man,” said the giant contemptuously.

“That’s what you think, but look here how brave I am.” The little tailor showed him his belt with Seven in One Blow. The giant was now impressed by him. He thought that the little tailor could knock down seven people at once. Yet, he wanted to test him. He took a stone in his hand and squeezed it until the water dripped out. “Do that,” said the giant. “That’s easy,” said the little tailor. He reached into his pocket for the cheese and squeezed it until the liquid came out. The giant couldn’t believe what he saw.

Then the giant took a stone and threw it high into the air. “Now you, little one, do that,” he said. “Good throw,” said the little tailor, “but your stone fell back to earth.” “I will throw one so high that it won’t fall back down.” He reached into his pocket, took out the bird and threw it up. The bird, happy with its freedom, flew higher and higher and never came back. “Well, comrade, what do you think?” said the little tailor.

The giant said, “You can throw, now let’s see if you can carry something.” He took the Little Tailor to a huge oak tree lying on the ground. “If you are so strong, help me carry the tree out of the forest.” “Gladly,” said the Little Tailor, “you take the trunk and I’ll take the branches.” The giant took the trunk on his shoulder and didn’t see that the Little Tailor had sat on the branches. So the giant carried the tree alone, with the Little Tailor on it. Meanwhile, the Little Tailor was happily whistling a tune. When the giant couldn’t go any further, he shouted, “Watch out, I’m dropping the tree.” The Little Tailor quickly jumped off, grabbed the tree as if he had been carrying it all along, and said, “Are you even a man? You can’t even carry a tree.”

Then they came across a cherry tree. The giant bent down the high branches with the juiciest fruits and told the Little Tailor to eat and hold the branches. But the Little Tailor wasn’t strong enough. He flew up in the air when the giant let go of the tree. When he landed on the ground, the giant said, “See, you’re not strong enough.” “That’s what you think, but I jumped over the tree because there are hunters shooting. You should jump too.” The giant tried but got stuck in the branches and the Little Tailor had outsmarted him again.

The giant said, “If you’re really that brave, come sleep in our cave.” The Little Tailor went into the cave where many giants were eating a delicious sheep by the fire. The cave was considerably larger than his workshop, the Little Tailor thought. He was allowed to sleep in a giant bed, but he found it too big, so he lay in a corner of the cave. The giant thought he was sleeping in the giant bed.

At night, the giant came and split the bed in half. He thought he was finally rid of the Little Tailor. But the Little Tailor had outsmarted him again by lying in a corner of the room. When the giants returned from the forest the next day, they were frightened when they saw the Little Tailor again. They fled in a hurry because they were afraid he really had a special gift and would defeat them all at once.

The Little Tailor continued to travel the world. When he was tired, he lay down to sleep in the grass of a palace garden. People who passed by saw his belt with “Seven in One Blow.” Everyone said he must be a brave hero. They told the King.

He offered the Little Tailor to work for him in the army. He also got his own house. “That’s exactly what I came for,” said the little man. But the soldiers didn’t want anything to do with him; they were afraid he would defeat them with “Seven in One Blow.” They resigned from the King immediately. The King was sad, but he didn’t dare fire the Little Tailor. He was also afraid. After much thought, he sent him a message.

He offered him his daughter’s hand in marriage and half the kingdom as a dowry if he would kill two angry, murderous giants. He would also get a hundred riders. The Little Tailor agreed. He said, “I can handle those giants, and you’ll see that I don’t even need those hundred riders.”

He rode into the forest with the horsemen. There, two giants were sleeping under a tree, snoring so loudly that the branches were shaking. The Little Tailor filled his pockets with stones and climbed the tree. He threw the stones from a branch onto the chest of one of the giants. At first, the giant didn’t notice anything. Then he woke up and said to the other giant, “Why are you hitting me?” “I’m not hitting you, you’re dreaming,” replied the other giant. The giants went back to sleep.

The Little Tailor now threw a stone on the chest of the other giant. “Why are you throwing at me?” grumbled the giant. “I’m not throwing,” said the first one. They bickered for a while and went back to sleep. The Little Tailor threw more stones. The giants had a huge fight and even pulled trees out of the ground. Luckily not the tree in which the Little Tailor was sitting. He drew his sword and gave the giants a few firm blows to their chests. He told the horsemen that he had killed the giants. The horsemen found the giants in the forest, bathed in blood amidst the uprooted trees.

The Little Tailor went to the king to claim the promised prize. But the King regretted his promise and demanded another heroic deed. He had to catch a unicorn in the forest. “No problem,” said the Little Tailor, “Seven at one blow is my strength.” He took an axe and a rope with him to the forest. The unicorn approached him, but the Little Tailor quickly jumped behind a tree. The unicorn ran at full speed into the tree. He got stuck with his horn. Thus, he was caught. The Tailor put a rope around his neck, cut the horn out of the tree, and brought it to the King.

The king still regretted his promise and made a third demand. The Little Tailor had to catch a difficult wild boar with the hunters before the wedding. “No problem,” he said and even went into the forest alone. When the wild boar saw the Tailor, it came foaming at the mouth with its threatening tusks towards him. The little hero jumped into a small forest chapel and out through the window on the other side. The wild boar trotted in, but the Tailor quickly closed the door. Now, the furious boar was trapped. It was too stupid and too fat to jump out of the window.

The King was very sad but had to keep his promise. He gave him half the kingdom and his daughter. If he had known that this little man was not a hero but a tailor, he would have been even sadder. The wedding was celebrated with great splendor. There was just no fun. Now the Little Tailor was King.

After a while, the Queen heard her husband talking in his sleep at night: “Boy, sew the jacket first and then the pants quickly, or you’ll get a whack with the ruler.” Now she knew who her husband really was. She complained to her father.

The King said, “Leave the bedroom door open tonight. My footmen will put him in chains while he sleeps. He will be put on a ship and sail the wide world.” One of the footmen who liked the young king had heard everything and informed the Little Tailor of the plan.

“We’ll put a stop to that,” said the Little Tailor. That evening, he pretended to be asleep. His wife opened the door. He pretended to still be sleeping and shouted, “Boy, first sew the coat, then the trousers, or you’ll get the yardstick!” “Seven at one blow, I killed two giants, caught a unicorn, and trapped a wild boar. Do you think I’m afraid of those lackeys at the door?”

When the lackeys heard him say this, they were terrified and fled, never to return.

And so, the Little Tailor remained king for the rest of his life!