The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE CLEVER TAILOR.                        323
Once upon a time there lived an exceedingly proud princess. If any suitor for her hand ventured to present himself, she would give him some riddle or conundrum to guess, and if he failed to do so he was hunted out of the town with scorn and derision. She gave out publicly that all comers were welcome to try their skill, and that who* ever could solve her riddle should be her husband.
Now, it happened that three tailors had met together, and the two elder thought that after having successfully put in so many fine and strong stitches, with never a wrong one among them, they were certain to do the right thing here too. The third tailor was a lazy young scamp who did not even know his own trade properly, but who thought that surely luck would stand by him now, just for once, for, if not, what was to become of him?
The two others said to him: "You just stay at home. You'll never get on much with your small allowance of brains." But the little tailor was not to be daunted, and said he had set his mind on it and meant to shift for him­self, so off he started as though the whole world belonged to him.
The three tailors arrived at court, where they had themselves duly presented .to the princess and begged she would propound her riddles. "For," said they, "here are the right men at last, with wits so sharp and so fine you might almost thread a needle with them." Then said the princess: "I have on my head two different kinds of hair. Of what colors are they?"
"If that's all," said the first tailor, "they are most likely black and white, like the kind of cloth we call pepper-and-salt."
"Wrong," said the princess.
"Then," said the second tailor, "If they are not black and white, no doubt they are red and brown, like my father's Sunday coat*"-
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