The valiant little tailor



One summer morning a little tailor was sitting on his board near the window, and working cheerfully with all his might, when an old woman came down the street crying, "Good jelly to sell! good jelly to sell!" The cry sounded pleasant in the little tailor's ears, so he put his head out of the window, and called out, "Here, my good woman, come here, if you want a customer."

So the poor woman climbed the steps with her heavy basket, and was obliged to unpack and display all her pots to the tailor. He looked at every one of them, and lifting all the lids, applied his nose to each, and said at last, "The jelly seems pretty good; you may weigh me out four half ounces, or I don't mind having a quarter of a pound." The woman, who had expected to find a good customer, gave him what he asked for, but went off angry and grumbling. "This jelly is the very thing for me," cried the little tailor; "it will give me strength and cunning; "and he took down the bread from the cupboard, cut a whole round of the loaf, and spread the jelly on it, laid it near him, and went on stitching more gallantly than ever.

All the while the scent of the sweet jelly was spreading throughout the room, where there were quantities of flies, who were attracted by it and flew to partake. "Now then, who asked you to come?" said the tailor, and drove the unbidden guests away. But the flies, not understanding his language, were not to be got rid of like that, and returned in larger numbers than before. Then the tailor, not being able to stand it any longer, took from his chimney-corner a ragged cloth, and saying, "Now, I'll let you have it!" beat it among them unmercifully. When he ceased, and counted the slain, he found seven lying dead before him. "This is indeed somewhat," he said, wondering at his own gallantry; "the whole town shall know this." So he hastened to cut out a belt, and he stitched it^ and put on it in large capitals "Seven at one blow!"

"The town, did I say!" said the little tailor; "the whole world shall know it!" And his heart quivered with joy, like a lamb's tail. The tailor fastened the belt round him, and began to think of going out into the world, for his workshop seemed too small for his worship. So he looked about in all the house for something that it would be useful to take with him, but he found nothing but an old cheese, which he put in his pocket. Outside the door he noticed that a bird had got caught in the bushes, so he took that and put it in his pocket with the cheese. Then he set out gallantly on his way, and as he was light and active he felt no fatigue.

The way led over a mountain, and when he reached the topmost peak he saw a terrible giant sitting there, and looking about him at his ease. The tailor went bravely up to him, called out to him, and said, "Comrade, good day! there you sit looking over the wide world! I am on the way thither to seek my fortune: have you a fancy to go with me?"

The giant looked at the tailor contemptuously, and said, "You little rascal! you miserable fellow!" - "That may be!" answered the little tailor, and undoing his coat he showed the giant his belt; "you can read there whether I am a man or not!" The giant read: "Seven at one blow!" and thinking it meant men that the tailor had killed, felt at once more respect for the little fellow. But as he wanted to prove him, he took up a stone and squeezed it so hard that water came out of it. "Now you can do that," said the giant, "that is, if you have the strength for it."

"That's not much," said the little tailor, "I call that play," and he put his hand in his pocket and took out the cheese and squeezed it, so that the whey ran out of it. "Well," said he, "what do you think of that?"

The giant did not know what to say to it, for he could not have believed it of the little man. Then the giant took up a stone and threw it so high that it was nearly out of sight. "Now, little fellow, suppose you do that!"

"Well thrown," said the tailor; "but the stone fell back to earth again, I will throw you one that will never come back." So he felt in his pocket, took out the bird, and threw it into the air. And the bird, when it found itself at liberty, took wing, flew off, and returned no more. "What do you think of that, comrade?" asked the tailor. "There is no doubt that you can throw," said the giant; "but we will see if you can carry." He led the little tailor to a mighty oak-tree which had been felled, and was lying on the ground, and said, "Now, if you are strong enough, help me to carry this tree out of the wood."

"Willingly," answered the little man; "you take the trunk on your shoulders, I will take the branches with all their foliage, that is much the most difficult." So the giant took the trunk on his shoulders, and the tailor seated himself on a branch, and the giant, who could not see what he was doing, had the whole tree to carry, and the little man on it as well. And the little man was very cheerful and merry, and whistled the tune: "There were three tailors riding by" as if carrying the tree was mere child's play. The giant, when he had struggled on under his heavy load a part of the way, was tired out, and cried, "Look here, I must let go the tree!"

The tailor jumped off quickly, and taking hold of the tree with both arms, as if he were carrying it, said to the giant, "You see you can't carry the tree though you are such a big fellow!"

They went on together a little farther, and presently they came to a cherry-tree, and the giant took hold of the topmost branches, where the ripest fruit hung, and pulling them downwards, gave them to the tailor to hold, bidding him eat. But the little tailor was much too weak to hold the tree, and as the giant let go, the tree sprang back, and the tailor was caught up into the air. And when he dropped down again without any damage, the giant said to him, "How is this? haven't you strength enough to hold such a weak sprig as that?"

"It is not strength that is lacking," answered the little tailor; "how should it to one who has slain seven at one blow! I just jumped over the tree because the hunters are shooting down there in the bushes. You jump it too, if you can." The giant made the attempt, and not being able to vault the tree, he remained hanging in the branches, so that once more the little tailor got the better of him.

Then said the giant, "As you are such a gallant fellow, suppose you come with me to our den, and stay the night." The tailor was quite willing, and he followed him. When they reached the den there sat some other giants by the fire, and each had a roasted sheep in his hand, and was eating it. The little tailor looked round and thought, "There is more elbow-room here than in my workshop." And the giant showed him a bed, and told him he had better lie down upon it and go to sleep. The bed was, however, too big for the tailor, so he did not stay in it, but crept into a corner to sleep.

As soon as it was midnight the giant got up, took a great staff of iron and beat the bed through with one stroke, and supposed he had made an end of that grasshopper of a tailor.

Very early in the morning the giants went into the wood and forgot all about the little tailor, and when they saw him coming after them alive and merry, they were terribly frightened, and, thinking he was going to kill them, they ran away in all haste.

So the little tailor marched on, always following his nose. And after he had gone a great way he entered the courtyard belonging to a King's palace, and there he felt so overpowered with fatigue that he lay down and fell asleep. In the meanwhile came various people, who looked at him very curiously, and read on his belt, "Seven at one blow!" - "Oh!" said they, "why should this great lord come here in time of peace? what a mighty champion he must be." Then they went and told the King about him, and they thought that if war should break out what a worthy and useful man he would be, and that he ought not to be allowed to depart at any price.

The King then summoned his council, and sent one of his courtiers to the little tailor to beg him, so soon as he should wake up, to consent to serve in the King's army. So the messenger stood and waited at the sleeper's side until his limbs began to stretch, and his eyes to open, and then he carried his answer back. And the answer was, "That was the reason for which I came," said the little tailor, "I am ready to enter the King's service." So he was received into it very honourably, and a separate dwelling set apart for him. But the rest of the soldiers were very much set against the little tailor, and they wished him a thousand miles away. "What shall be done about it?" they said among themselves; "if we pick a quarrel and fight with him then seven of us will fall at each blow. That will be of no good to us." So they came to a resolution, and went all together to the King to ask for their discharge. "We never intended," said they, "to serve with a man who kills seven at a blow." The King felt sorry to lose all his faithful servants because of one man, and he wished that he had never seen him, and would willingly get rid of him if he might. But he did not dare to dismiss the little tailor for fear he should kill all the King's people, and place himself upon the throne.

He thought a long while about it, and at last made up his mind what to do. He sent for the little tailor, and told him that as he was so great a warrior he had a proposal to make to him. He told him that in a wood in his dominions dwelt two giants, who did great damage by robbery, murder, and fire, and that no man durst go near them for fear of his life. But that if the tailor should overcome and slay both these giants the King would give him his only daughter in marriage, and half his kingdom as dowry, and that a hundred horsemen should go with him to give him assistance. "That would be something for a man like me 1"thought the little tailor, "a beautiful princess and half a kingdom are not to be had every day."

And he said to the King, "Oh yes, I can soon overcome the giants, and yet have no need of the hundred horsemen; he who can kill seven at one blow has no need to be afraid of two."

So the little tailor set out, and the hundred horsemen followed him. When he came to the border of the wood he said to his escort, "Stay here while I go to attack the giants." Then he sprang into the wood, and looked about him right and left. After a while he caught sight of the two giants; they were lying down under a tree asleep, and snoring so that all the branches shook. The little tailor, all alive, filled both his pockets with stones and climbed up into the tree, and made his way to an overhanging bough, so that he could seat himself just above the sleepers; and from there he let one stone after another fall on the chest of one of the giants. For a long time the giant was quite unaware of this, but at last he waked up and pushed his comrade, and said, "What are you hitting me for?"

"You are dreaming," said the other, "I am not touching you." And they composed themselves again to sleep, and the tailor let fall a stone on the other giant. "What can that be?" cried he, "what are you casting at me?"

"I am casting nothing at you," answered the first, grumbling. They disputed about it for a while, but as they were tired, they gave it up at last, and their eyes closed once more. Then the little tailor began his game anew, picked out a heavier stone and threw it down with force upon the first giant's chest. "This is too much!" cried he, and sprang up like a madman and struck his companion such a blow that the tree shook above them. The other paid him back with ready coin, and they fought with such fury that they tore up trees by their roots to use for weapons against each other, so that at last they both of them lay dead upon the ground. And now the little tailor got down. "Another piece of luck!" said he, "that the tree I was sitting in did not get torn up too, or else I should have had to jump like a squirrel from one tree to another." Then he drew his sword and gave each of the giants a few hacks in the breast, and went back to the horsemen and said, "The deed is done, I have made an end of both of them: but it went hard with me, in the struggle they rooted up trees to defend themselves, but it was of no use, they had to do with a man who can kill seven at one blow."

"Then are you not wounded?" asked the horsemen. "Nothing of the sort!" answered the tailor, "I have not turned a hair." The horsemen still would not believe it, and rode into the wood to see, and there they found the giants wallowing in their blood, and all about them lying the uprooted trees. The little tailor then claimed the promised boon, but the King repented him of his offer, and he sought again how to rid himself of the hero. "Before you can possess my daughter and the half of my kingdom," said he to the tailor, "you must perform another heroic act. In the wood lives a unicorn who does great damage; you must secure him."

"A unicorn does not strike more terror into me than two giants. Seven at one blow! - that is my way," was the tailor's answer. So, taking a rope and an axe with him, he went out into the wood, and told those who were ordered to attend him to wait outside.

He had not far to seek, the unicorn soon came out and sprang at him, as if he would make an end of him without delay. "Softly, softly," said he, "most haste, worst speed," and remained standing until the animal came quite near, then he slipped quietly behind a tree. The unicorn ran with all his might against the tree and stuck his horn so deep into the trunk that he could not get it out again, and so was taken. "Now I have you," said the tailor, coming out from behind the tree, and, putting the rope round the unicorn's neck, he took the axe, set free the horn, and when all his party were assembled he led forth the animal and brought it to the King.

The King did not yet wish to give him the promised reward, and set him a third task to do. Before the wedding could take place the tailor was to secure a wild boar which had done a great deal of damage in the wood. The huntsmen were to accompany him. "All right," said the tailor, "this is child's play." But he did not take the huntsmen into the wood, and they were all the better pleased, for the wild boar had many a time before received them in such a way that they had no fancy to disturb him.

When the boar caught sight of the tailor he ran at him with foaming mouth and gleaming tusks to bear him to the ground, but the nimble hero rushed into a chapel which chanced to be near, and jumped quickly out of a window on the other side. The boar ran after him, and when he got inside the door shut after him, and there he was imprisoned, for the creature was too big and unwieldy to jump out of the window too. Then the little tailor called the huntsmen that they might see the prisoner with their own eyes; and then he betook himself to the king, who now, whether he liked it or not, was obliged to fulfil his promise, and give him his daughter and the half of his kingdom. But if he had known that the great warrior was only a little tailor he would have taken it still more to heart. So the wedding was celebrated with great splendour and little joy, and the tailor was made into a king.

One night the young queen heard her husband talking in his sleep and saying, "Now boy, make me that waistcoat and patch me those breeches, or I will lay my yard measure about your shoulders!" And so, as she perceived of what low birth her husband was, she went to her father the next morning and told him all, and begged him to set her free from a man who was nothing better than a tailor. The king bade her be comforted, saying, "To-night leave your bedroom door open, my guard shall stand outside, and when he is asleep they shall come in and bind him and carry him off to a ship, and he shall be sent to the other side of the world." So the wife felt consoled, but the king's water-bearer, who had been listening all the while, went to the little tailor and disclosed to him the whole plan. "I shall put a stop to all this," said he.

At night he lay down as usual in bed, and when his wife thought that he was asleep, she got up, opened the door and lay down again. The little tailor, who only made believe to be asleep, began to murmur plainly, "Now, boy, make me that waistcoat and patch me those breeches, or I will lay my yard measure about your shoulders! I have slain seven at one blow, killed two giants, caught a unicorn, and taken a wild boar, and shall I be afraid of those who are standing outside my room door?" And when they heard the tailor say this, a great fear seized them; they fled away as if they had been wild hares, and none of them would venture to attack him. And so the little tailor all his lifetime remained a king.
夏季一个阳光明媚的早晨,一个小裁缝坐在靠窗的台子旁,竭尽全力地做着手中活儿。 这时,街上走来一个农家妇女,边走边吆喝:"买果酱啦!物美价廉呀!"小裁缝觉得这声音挺悦耳,于是就将一头卷发的脑袋伸出了窗外,喊叫道:
农妇手提沉甸甸的篮子,跨上台阶,来到小裁缝跟前,按照他的吩咐打开一只又一只的罐子。 小裁缝挨个仔细察看,还把罐子举到鼻子跟前闻了又闻,最后才说道:"给我来四盎司,亲爱的太太,半镑也行。"
他从柜子里拿出面包,切了一片下来,把果酱涂在上面。 "我心里有数,不会不可口的,"他说,"不过我得先做完这件背心再吃。"
于是,他把涂了果酱的面包放在身旁,继续缝了起来,心里感到美滋滋的,针脚就一针比一针大了。 这时,果酱香甜的气味招引来了一群聚在墙上的苍蝇,它们纷纷落在面包上,要品尝一下这美味佳肴。
"哪有你们的份啊?"小裁缝说着把苍蝇赶跑了。 苍蝇才不理睬他说了什么,怎么也不肯走,于是落在面包上的苍蝇越来越多了。 这下子,小裁缝火冒三丈,随手抓起一条毛巾,朝着苍蝇狠命地打了下去,打死了整整七只苍蝇,有的连腿都给打飞了。
小裁缝把腰带系在腰间,打算出去闯世界,因为在他看来,凭着他的英勇无畏精神,再留在小小的作坊里,就大材小用啦。 动身前,他四下里搜寻了一番,看看有没有值得带上的东西,却只发现了一快陈干酪,就随手装进口袋里。 在门前,他发现灌木丛中绊住了一只小鸟,便捉来放进装干酪的口袋里。
随后,他得意洋洋地上了路。 由于个子矮小,他身轻如燕,走起来一点儿也不感到累。 走着走着,来到一座大山上。 他到了山顶一看,发现一个力大无比的巨人正坐在那儿,悠然自得地环顾左右。 小裁缝壮着胆子走到巨人跟前,跟他打招呼:
"啊哈,你这么小看我,是吗?你再往这儿瞧瞧!"小裁缝回答道。 说着解开上衣,露出腰带来给巨人看。 "你念一念就知道我是何等人啦。"
巨人念了起来:"一下子打死七个"。 以为这位裁缝一下子打死的是七个人,心里不禁对小裁缝产生几分敬意。 不过,他决心要和小裁缝先试试身手,于是,就拣起一快石头来,用手使劲一捏,捏得石头滴出了水。
巨人看了不知说什么才好,却怀疑这么个小人儿是不是真有那么大的力气。 随后,他又拣起一快石头来,朝空中猛地一抛,石头飞得那么高,用肉眼几乎看不见了。
说罢,他从口袋里把那只小鸟抓出来,往空中一扔。 重获自由的小鸟欢欢喜喜地飞走了,头也不回地一下便无影无踪。 "喂,伙计,这一手还行吧?"小裁缝问道。
他把小裁缝领到一棵已砍倒在地的大橡树跟前。 "你要是真有力气,就帮我把这棵树从林子里抬走。"
巨人扛起树干,小裁缝却坐在了一根树枝上面。 巨人没法回头看,不得不整个扛着大树,还扛着坐在树枝上的小裁缝。
他们一快儿往前走着,来到一棵樱桃树前,树冠上挂满了熟透的樱桃。 巨人一把抓住树冠,拉低后递给小裁缝,让他吃个够。 可小裁缝哪有这么大的力气抓住樱桃树呢,巨人一松手,树就忽地一下直起了身,小裁缝也随着被弹到了空中。
巨人试了一下,却没能跳过去,而被挂在了枝丫间。 这样一来,小裁缝又占了上风。
小裁缝很愿意,就跟着他去了。 他们来到洞中,只见还有一些巨人围坐在火堆旁,个个手里拿着一只烤羊,像吃面包似的在吃着。 小裁缝心想:"这儿可比我的作坊好多啦。"巨人指给他一张床,叫他躺下休息。 可这张床对小裁缝来说,实在是太大了,他没有躺在床中间,而是爬到了一个角落里。 半夜时分,那个巨人以为小裁缝睡熟了,抓起一根大铁钉,照准床上猛地扎了下去,以为把这个小蚱蜢给解决了。
第二天拂晓,巨人们动身到林子里去,把小裁缝忘得一干二净。 小裁缝仍然像往常一样活蹦乱跳,无忧无虑,朝他们走去。 巨人们一见,以为小裁缝要打死他们,个个吓得屁滚尿流,拔腿就跑。 小裁缝呢,继续赶他的路,一直往前走去。
走了很久,小裁缝来到一座王宫的院子里。 这时,他已累得精疲力尽,便倒在地上睡着了。 他正躺在那儿睡的时候,不少人过来,看见了他腰带上绣的字:"一下子打死七个!""哎呀!"他们心想,"这一定是位了不起的英雄。和平时期他到这里来干什么呢?"他们立即去向国王禀报,说一旦战争爆发,此人大有用场,千万不能放他走呵。
国王很赞赏这个主意,便差了一位大臣去找小裁缝,等他一醒来,就请他在军队里效力。 这位使者站在一旁,眼睁睁地看着熟睡中的小裁缝,直等到小裁缝伸了伸懒腰,慢慢睁开了双眼,才向他提出请求。
他于是受到了隆重的接待,得到了一处别致的住所。 可是其他军官却很妒嫉,巴不得他早点儿远远地离开这里。 "要是我们和他打起来,"他们交谈着,"他一下子就能打死我们七个,这可怎么是好呢?我们一败涂地呀。"后来,他们决定,一快儿去见国王,提出集体辞职。 "我们这号人呐,"他们跟国王解释说,"无法和一位一下子就打死七个人的大英雄共事。"
因为一个人而要失去所有忠心耿耿的军官,国王感到十分难过,希望压根儿就没见过这个小裁缝,巴不得能早早把他打发走。 可是,国王却没有这个胆量把他赶走,担心小裁缝把他和他的臣民都打死,自己登上王位。 他绞尽脑汁,冥思苦想,终于想出一个主意。 他派人去告诉小裁缝,说小裁缝是一位出类拔萃、英勇无畏的英雄,因此希望向他做如下提议:
在他的领地上,有一座大森林,林中住着两个巨人,他们俩烧杀抢劫无恶不作,为害极大,可是至今却没有谁敢冒生命危险去和他们较量。 要是小裁缝能制服和杀死这两个巨人,国王就答应把自己的独生女儿许配给他,并赐给他半个王国,而且还准备给他派去一百名骑士,为他助阵。
小裁缝出发了,后面跟着一百名骑士。 他们来到森林前,他对这些骑士说:"你们就呆在这儿,我一个人去收拾那两个家伙。"说罢,他独自跑进了林中,一边走着,一边环顾左右。 没多大一会儿,就发现了那两个巨人。 他们俩躺在一棵大树下正睡觉呢,鼾声如雷,树枝都快被震掉了。 小裁缝忙着把两个口袋装满石头,然后爬到树上。 爬到一半时,他悄悄地攀上一根树枝,树枝下边就是那两个熟睡中的巨人的脑袋。 接着,他把石头接二连三地朝一个巨人的胸口使劲砸下去。 这位大家伙有好一会动也不动一下,后来终于醒了,用力推了推身边的同伴,问道:"你干嘛打我?"
说完,他们俩又躺下睡了。 这回,小裁缝把一块石头朝第二个巨人砸了下去。
他们争吵了几句,却因为感到困乏,又闭上眼睛睡了。 小裁缝呢,故伎重演,选了一块最大的石头,朝第一个巨人狠命砸了下去。
"这太不像话啦!"第一个巨人吼了起来。 他疯了一样地从地上一跃而起,把他的同伴朝树上猛地一搡,撞得大树都摇晃起来了。 第二个分毫不让,以牙还牙,两个家伙怒不可遏,把一棵棵大树连根拔起,朝着对方猛扔过去,最后他们两败俱伤,都倒在地上死了。
小裁缝立即从树上跳了下来。 "真是万幸,"他说道,"他们没有拔掉我刚才上的那棵树。"
小裁缝带着一根绳索和一把斧头便动身去了森林,告诉他的随从们在森林外等着。 他没找多大功夫,便发现那头独角兽就在眼前,并且正向他直冲过来。
他纹丝不动地站在那里,等独角兽逼近了,敏捷地一下子跳到树后。 独角兽发疯似的朝大树撞过来,把角牢牢地戳进了树干里,怎么拔也拔不出来,就被捉住了。
"伙计,这回我可逮住你啦,"小裁缝从树后转出来后说道。 他用那根绳索把独角兽的脖子捆了起来,然后用斧头劈开树干,松开兽角,牵着独角兽回去见国王。
谁知国王还是不肯把答应给小裁缝的奖赏赐给他,又提出了第三个条件。 他必须再到森林里去把一头危害很大的野猪逮住,然后才举行婚礼。
野猪一见小裁缝,就口里冒着白沫,咬着牙,朝他猛冲过来,想一头把他撞倒在地。 谁知勇敢的小裁缝敏捷地跳进了旁边的一座小教堂,眨眼之间,又从窗口跳了出去。 野猪追进了教堂,小裁缝从教堂后面几步跑了过来,把门关住,气势汹汹的野猪又重又笨,没法从窗口跳出去,就这样被擒住了。
他们的婚礼隆重举行,欢笑却很少。 不过,小裁缝还是当上了国王啦。
不久,年轻的王后在一天夜里听见丈夫说梦话。 小裁缝在梦中大声地嚷嚷着:"徒弟,快点儿把这件背心缝好,再把这条裤子补一补,不然我就让你的脑袋尝尝尺子的厉害。"这样一来,她便弄清了她的君主和丈夫是什么出身。 第二天一早就对父亲大发牢骚,抱怨国王给她选择的丈夫只不过是一个下贱的裁缝。
到了晚上,小裁缝像往常一样按时上床就寝,躺在妻子身边。 她以为他已经入睡,就从床上爬起来,打开了化妆室的门,然后又躺在床上。 小裁缝只是在装睡,这时便开始尖着嗓子喊叫起来:"徒弟,把这件背心缝好,再把这条裤子补一补,不然我就让你的脑袋尝尝尺子的厉害。我一下子打死了七个,杀死了两个巨人,捉住了一头独角兽,还逮住了一头大野猪,难道我还怕化妆室里的哪一个不成?"听到了小裁缝的这一番话,打算把他捆绑起来的那几个人,个个吓得要死,拔腿就逃走啦。 从此,再没有谁敢碰他一根毫毛。 就这样,勇敢的小裁缝继续当他的国王,一直当到离开人世。

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