The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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308                  THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR
"While he lay there the people came, and looking him all over read on his girdle : ' Seven at a blow.' ' Oh ! ' they said,' what can this great hero of a hundred fights want in our peaceful land? He must indeed be a mighty man of valour.' They went and told the King about him, and said what a weighty and useful man he'd be in time of war, and that it would be well to secure him at any price. This counsel pleased the King, and he sent one of his courtiers down to the little tailor, to offer him, when he awoke, a commission in their army. The messenger remained standing by the sleeper, and waited till he stretched his limbs and opened his eyes, when he tendered his proposal. ' That's the very thing I came here for,' he answered; ' I am quite ready to enter the King's service.' So he was received with all honour, and given a special house of his own to live in.
But the other officers resented the success of the little tailor, and wished him a thousand miles away. ' What's to come of it all'?' they asked each other; ' if we quarrel with him, he'll let out at us, and at every blow seven will fall. There'll soon be an end of us.' So they resolved to go in a body to the King, and all to send in their papers. ' We are not made,' they said, ' to hold out against a man who kills seven at a blow.' The King was grieved at the thought of los­ing all his faithful servants for the sake of one man, and he wished heartily that he had never set eyes on him, or that he could get rid of him. But he didn't dare to send him away, for he feared he might kill him along with his people, and place himself on the throne. He pondered long and deeply over the matter, and finally came to a conclusion. He sent to the tailor and told him that, see­ing what a great and warlike hero he was, he was about to make him an offer. In a certain wood of his kingdom there dwelt two giants who did much harm; by the way they robbed, murdered, burnt, and plundered everything about them; ' no one could ap­proach them without endangering his life. But if he could over­come and kill these two giants he should have his only daughter for a wife, and half his kingdom into the bargain ; he might have a hundred horsemen, too, to back him up.' ' That's the very thing for a man like me,' thought the little tailor; 'one doesn't get the offer of a beautiful princess and half a kingdom every day.' ' Done with you,' he answered; ' I'll soon put an end to the giants. But I haven't the smallest need of your hundred horsemen ; a fellow who can slay seven men at a blow need not be afraid of two.'
The little tailor set out, and the hundred horsemen followed
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