THE VALIANT LITTLE TAILOR
One summer's morning a little tailor was sitting on his table by the window, he was in good spirits, and sewed with all his might. Then came a peasant woman down the street crying, good jams, cheap. Good jams, cheap. This rang pleasantly in the tailor's ears, he stretched his delicate head out of the window, and called, come up here, dear woman, here you will get rid of your goods.
The woman came up the three steps to the tailor with her heavy basket, and he made her unpack all the pots for him. He inspected each one, lifted it up, put his nose to it, and at length said, the jam seems to me to be good, so weigh me out four ounces, dear woman, and if it is a quarter of a pound that is of no consequence. The woman who had hoped to find a good sale, gave him what he desired, but went away quite angry and grumbling. Now, this jam shall be blessed by God, cried the little tailor, and give me health and strength. So he brought the bread out of the cupboard, cut himself a piece right across the loaf and spread the jam over it. This won't taste bitter, said he, but I will just finish the jacket before I take a bite.
He laid the bread near him, sewed on, and in his joy, made bigger and bigger stitches. In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam rose to where the flies were sitting in great numbers, and they were attracted and descended on it in hosts. HI, who invited you, said the little tailor, and drove the unbidden guests away. The flies, however, who understood no german, would not be turned away, but came back again in ever-increasing companies. The little tailor at last lost all patience, and drew a piece of cloth from the hole under his work-table, and saying, wait, and I will give it to you, struck it mercilessly on them.
When he drew it away and counted, there lay before him no fewer than seven, dead and with legs stretched out. Are you a fellow of that sort, said he, and could not help admiring his own bravery. The whole town shall know of this. And the little tailor hastened to cut himself a girdle, stitched it, and embroidered on it in large letters, seven at one stroke. What, the town, he continued, the whole world shall hear of it. And his heart wagged with joy like a lamb's tail. The tailor put on the girdle, and resolved to go forth into the world, because he thought his workshop was too small for his valor.
Before he went away, he sought about in the house to see if there was anything which he could take with him, however, he found nothing but an old cheese, and that he put in his pocket. In front of the door he observed a bird which had caught itself in the thicket. It had to go into his pocket with the cheese. Now he took to the road boldly, and as he was light and nimble, he felt no fatigue. The road led him up a mountain, and when he had reached the highest point of it, there sat a powerful giant looking peacefully about him. The little tailor went bravely up, spoke to him, and said, good day, comrade, so you are sitting there overlooking the wide-spread world. I am just on my way thither, and want to try my luck. Have you any inclination to go with me. The giant looked contemptuously at the tailor, and said, you ragamuffin. You miserable creature.
Oh, indeed, answered the little tailor, and unbuttoned his coat, and showed the giant the girdle, there may you read what kind of a man I am. The giant read, seven at one stroke. And thought that they had been men whom the tailor had killed, and began to feel a little respect for the tiny fellow. Nevertheless, he wished to try him first, and took a stone in his hand and squeezed it together so that water dropped out of it. Do that likewise, said the giant, if you have strength. Is that all, said the tailor, that is child's play with us, and put his hand into his pocket, brought out the soft cheese, and pressed it until the liquid ran out of it. Faith, said he, that was a little better, wasn't it. The giant did not know what to say, and could not believe it of the little man. Then the giant picked up a stone and threw it so high that the eye could scarcely follow it. Now, little mite of a man, do that likewise. Well thrown, said the tailor, but after all the stone came down to earth again, I will throw you one which shall never come back at all. And he put his hand into his pocket, took out the bird, and threw it into the air. The bird, delighted with its liberty, rose, flew away and did not come back. How does that shot please you, comrade, asked the tailor.