GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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Then the little man journeyed on, always following his nose, as the saying is; till, after wandering a long time, he arrived at the entrance court of a king's palace. Feeling very tired, he lay down on the grass, and soon fell fast asleep.
While he lay there, the people passing read on his girdle, " Seven at one stroke." " Ah," exclaimed one, " what can a great warrior like this want here in time of peace? He must be a great hero."
So they went and told the king, and suggested to him that in case a war should break out, it would be a great advantage to secure the services of such a wonderful and clever man at any price.
The king listened to this counsel, and sent one of the gentlemen of the court to tell the little man, as soon as he awoke, that he wished to enlist him in his service.
The messenger remained by him, and waited till he at last opened his eyes and stretched his limbs; then he delivered his message.
"Ah, yes," exclaimed the little man, "that is exactly what I came for; I wish to be enlisted in the king's service."
Then was he received at the palace with high honours, and handsome apartments prepared for his use.
But the military men at the court were jealous of the little tailor, and wished him thousands of miles away. " What will become of us," they said one to another, " if we should quarrel with him, or attempt to fight him ? if he can kill seven at one blow, there will soon be an end of us all." So they formed a resolution, and went together to the king, and resigned their commissions, saying " they could not associate with a man who could kill seven men at one blow."
The king was very much vexed when he heard this determina­tion, for he did not like the idea of losing all his old and tried servants on account of this stranger, and began to wish he had never seen the tailor.
But how to get rid of him he knew not, for he might kill them all and place himself on the throne. The king reflected long and deeply on the subject, till at last a plan suggested itself. So he sent for the tailor, and told him that, as he was such a great hero, he wished to make a proposal to him.
" In a forest, not far from here," he said, " two giants dwell, who have committed so many dreadful deeds of robbery, murder, and