Europa: A Dozen at a Blow (cont.)

This story is part of the Europa unitStory source: Europa's Fairy Book by Joseph Jacobs and illustrated by John Batten (1916).

A Dozen at a Blow (cont.)

Then the little tailor went out to the wood where the boar was last seen, and when he came near him, he ran away, and ran away, and ran away, till at last he came to a little chapel in the wood into which he ran, and the boar at his heels. He climbed up to a high window and got outside the chapel, and then rushed around to the door and closed and locked it.

Then he went back to the King and said to him: "I have your wild boar for you in the chapel in the woods. Send some of your men to kill him, or do what you like with him."

"How did you manage to get him there?" said the King.

"Oh, I caught him by the bristles and threw him in there as I thought you wanted to have him safe and sound. What's the next thing I must do?"

"Well," said the King, "there's a unicorn in this country killing everyone that he meets. I do not want him slain; I want him caught and brought to me."

So the little tailor said, "Give me a rope and a hatchet, and I will see what I can do."

So he went with the rope and hatchet to the wood where the unicorn had been seen. And when he came towards it, he dodged it, and he dodged it, till at last he dodged behind a big tree, till the unicorn, in trying to pierce, ran his horn into the tree where it stuck fast.

Then the little tailor came forth and tied the rope around the unicorn's neck, and dug out the horn with his hatchet, and dragged the unicorn to the King.

"What's the next thing?" said the little tailor.

"Well, there is only one thing more. There are two giants who are destroying everybody they meet. Get rid of them, and my daughter and the half of my kingdom shall be yours."

Then the little tailor went to seek the giants and found them sleeping under some trees in the woods. He filled his box with stones, climbed up a tree overlooking the giants, and when he had hidden himself in the branches, he threw a stone at the chest of one of the giants, who woke up and said to his brother giant, "What are you doing there?"

And the other giant woke up and said, "I have done nothing."

"Well, don't do it again," said the other giant, and laid down to sleep again.

Then the tailor threw a stone at the other giant and hit him a whack on the chin. That giant rose up and said to his fellow giant, "What do you do that for?"

"Do what?"

"Hit me on the chin."

"I didn't."

"You did."

"I didn't."

"You did."

"Well, take that for not doing it."

And with that, the other giant hit him a rousing blow on the head. With that they commenced fighting and tore up the trees and hit one another till at last one of them was killed, and the other one was so badly injured that the tailor had no difficulty in killing him with his hatchet.

Then he went back to the King and said: "I have got rid of your giants for you; send your men and bury them in the forest. They tore up the trees and tried to kill me with them, but I was too much for them. Now for the Princess."

Well, the King had nothing more to say and gave him his daughter in marriage and half the kingdom to rule.

But shortly after they were married the Princess heard the tailor saying in his sleep: "Fix that button better; baste that side gore; don't drop your stitches like that."

And then she knew she had married a tailor. And she went to her father weeping bitterly and complained.

"Well, my dear," he said, "I promised, and he certainly showed himself a great hero. But I will try and get rid of him for you. Tonight I will send into your bedroom a number of soldiers that shall slay him even if he can kill a dozen at a blow."

So that night the little tailor noticed there was something wrong and heard the soldiers moving about near the bedroom. So he pretended to fall asleep and called out in his sleep: "I have killed a dozen at a blow; I have slain two giants; I have caught a wild boar by his bristles, and captured a unicorn alive. Show me the man that I need fear."

And when the soldiers heard that, they said to the Princess that the job was too much for them and went away.

And the Princess thought better of it and was proud of her little hero, and they lived happily ever afterwards.

(900 words)

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