#The Brave Little Tailor

The Brave Little Tailor

Retold by Stephen Krashen ©2010, Illustrated by Beniko Mason ©2016


One summer morning a little tailor was sitting on his table near the window, cheerfully sewing with all his might.

Taking a break, he took a loaf of bread, cut a large slice and spread it with jam. He decided, however, to eat the bread after he finished sewing a jacket he was working on, and laid the bread aside and continued sewing. Meanwhile, a number of flies were attracted by the smell of the jam, and landed on the bread.

“Who invited you?” said the little tailor, and he waved the flies away. More and more flies, however, arrived and landed on the bread. This made the tailor angry. Taking a napkin, he slapped at the flies. He then took a step back and was amazed to discover that seven flies were lying dead, with their legs stretched out.

7 Flies


“I must be quite a guy,” he said to himself, “I’m going to tell everyone in town.” He quickly cut out a banner and embroidered it with large letters, Seven with one blow. “Why should I just tell everyone in town,” he thought. “I’ll tell the whole world!” The tailor tied the banner around his body went out, taking with him only a piece of cheese that he put into his pocket. Outside the town gate he found a bird that was caught in a bush. He put it in his pocket with the cheese.

Seven with one blow


Soon he came to a mountain road, and when he reached the top of the mountain, he saw a huge giant sitting contentedly.

The little tailor went up to him cheerfully and said, “Greetings! Why are you just sitting around? I’m on my way to see the world, looking for challenges. Would you like to come with me?” The giant looked at the little tailor with contempt, and said, “You are truly pathetic!”

“You think so?” answered the tailor, taking off his coat. He showed the giant his banner. “Now you can see what kind of a man I am!”

The giant read Seven with one blow, and thought that the tailor had killed seven men, and was very impressed. But he still wanted to put him to the test. He picked up a stone, and squeezed it until water dripped from it. “Now do what I just did,” said the giant, “if you can.”

He sqeezed it

“That’s child’s-play,” said the tailor. He reached into his pocket and took out the soft cheese, and squeezed it until liquid ran out. “That was a little better, wasn’t it?” he said. The giant did not know what to say; he couldn’t believe that the little man could do such a thing.



Then the giant picked up a stone and threw it so high that it was hardly visible. “Now you do that, little man,” said the giant.

“Good throw,” said the tailor, “but the stone came back down. I’ll throw one that will not come back.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out the bird, and threw it into the air.

Happy to be free, the bird flew up and away, and did not come back. “How did you like that?” asked the tailor.


“Well, you certainly can throw pretty well, “ said the giant, “but now let’s see if you can carry something that’s really heavy.”

He led the little tailor to a huge oak tree that had been cut down and was lying on the ground. “If you are strong enough,” he said, “help me carry this tree out of the forest.”

“I’ll be happy to,” answered the small man. “Put the trunk on your shoulder, and I’ll carry the branches. After all, they are the heaviest.”

The giant lifted the trunk onto his shoulder, but the tailor sat down on a branch. The giant couldn’t see behind himself, and had to drag the entire tree, with the little tailor sitting on top. The little tailor was very happy, and whistled a song, as if carrying a tree were child’s play.


The giant, after dragging the heavy load a little way, could not go any further, and he called out, “Wait, I have to let the tree go.” The tailor jumped down quickly, took hold of the tree with both arms, as though he had been carrying it, and said to the giant, “You are such a big guy, and you can’t even carry a tree.”

They walked on together until they came to a cherry tree. The giant took hold of the treetop where the ripest fruit was hanging, bent it down, and put it into the tailor’s hand, inviting him to eat a piece of fruit. However, the little tailor was much too weak to hold the tree, and when the giant let go, the tree sprang upward, throwing the tailor into the air.

When he fell back to earth, unharmed, the giant said, “What? You don’t have enough strength to hold that little branch?”

“Oh I have plenty of strength,” answered the little tailor. “Do you think that that would be a problem for someone who killed seven with one blow? I jumped over the tree because there are hunters down there in the forest. Jump over it yourself, if you can.”


The giant tried, but could not clear the tree and got stuck in the branches.

The giant said, “If you are such a brave man, then come with me to our cave and spend the night with us.” The little tailor agreed and followed him.

When they reached the cave, other giants were sitting there by a fire. Each one had a roasted sheep in his hand and was eating from it.

The little tailor looked around and thought, “There is a lot more room here than in my workshop.” The giant showed him a bed where he could lie down and sleep. But the bed was too big, so he slept in a corner of the cave. At midnight the giant thought that the little tailor was fast asleep, so he got up, took a large iron bar, and with a single blow smashed the bed in two, thinking he had killed the tailor.


Early the next morning the giants went into the woods, having completely forgotten about the little tailor, when he confidently and cheerfully approached them. The giants were frightened. Thinking that the tailor might kill them, they ran away. ##PART 3

The little tailor continued on his way. He came to the courtyard of a palace, and lay down in the grass and fell asleep. While he was lying there people came and looked at him and read his banner, Seven with one blow.

“Oh,” they said, “what is this great hero doing here? He must be a powerful lord.” They told the king about him, thinking that in case of war, this would be a good person to have around.


The King agreed. He sent a messenger to the tailor to offer him a position as soon as he woke up. The tailor accepted the offer, saying, “That is precisely why I came here. I am ready to enter the king’s service.” The tailor was welcomed with honor and given a special place to live.

The King’s soldier, however, were not pleased. “What will happen,” they said among themselves, “if we have a disagreement with him, and he attacks us? Seven of us will fall with each blow.” So they came to a decision, and they went to the king and asked to be released from his service. “We were not made,” they said, “to stand up to a man who kills seven with one blow.”


The King didn’t want to lose his faithful soldiers, and wished he had not offered the tailor a position. He wanted to get rid of the tailor, but did not dare to simply fire him because he was afraid that he would kill him and all his people and make himself King.

He came up with a plan. He thought long and hard, and finally found an answer. He sent a message to the little tailor, informing him that because he was such a great war hero he would make him an offer.

There were two giants in the forest who were robbing and killing people. No one could do anything about it. If he could deal with the two giants, the tailor could marry the king’s daughter and have half of his kingdom. The king also offered him a hundred horsemen to help him with the task.

“Yes,” he replied. “I will take care of the giants, but I don’t need the hundred horsemen. Anyone who can strike down seven with one blow has no reason to be afraid of two.”


The little tailor started on his way, and the hundred horsemen followed him. At the edge of the forest, he said to them, “You stay here. I will deal with the giants myself.”

He soon saw the two giants, asleep under a tree, snoring loudly. The little tailor filled both of his pockets with stones and climbed the tree. He climbed out onto a branch, until he was exactly above the sleeping giants. Then he dropped one stone after another onto one of the giant’s chest.

For a long time the giant did not feel anything, but finally he woke up, shoved his companion, and said, “Why are you hitting me?” “You’re dreaming,” said the other one. “I am not hitting you.”

They fell asleep again, and the tailor dropped a stone on the second one. “What is this?” said the other one. “Why are you throwing things at me?” “I’m not throwing anything at you,” answered the first one, grumbling. They argued for a while, but because they were tired, they fell asleep again.


Then the little tailor began his game again. Choosing his largest stone, he threw it at the first giant with all his might, hitting him in the chest. “That’s too much!” shouted the giant. He jumped up like a madman and pushed his companion against the tree until it shook. And then the fight began. The two giants pulled up trees and hit each other with powerful blows until they both fell to the ground dead.

The little tailor climbed down from the tree. “I was lucky,” he thought, that they didn’t pull up the tree I was sitting on.” Drawing his sword, he gave each one a few good blows to the chest, then went back to the horsemen and said, “It’s over. I finished off both of them, but it was hard.

“Are you OK?” asked the horsemen. “I’m fine,” answered the tailor. “They didn’t harm a single hair on my head.”

The soldiers, however, did not believe him, and went to see for themselves. There they found the giants swimming in their own blood, and all around lay the uprooted trees.

##PART 4

The little tailor asked the king for his reward, but the King still regretted his promise, and once again he began to think of a way to get rid of the little hero. “Before you marry my daughter and receive half the kingdom,” he said, “you must do another heroic deed. There is a unicorn in the woods that is causing a lot of damage. You have to capture it.

“I am even less afraid of a unicorn than I was of two giants,” said the tailor. “Seven with one blow, remember?” Taking a rope and an ax, he went into the woods. Again, he told those who went with him to stay behind and wait.


The unicorn soon appeared, jumping at the tailor as if it wanted to spear him at once.

“Take it easy,” said the tailor. “Not so fast.” He waited until the animal was very near, then jumped quickly behind a tree.

The unicorn ran right into the tree, sticking its horn into the trunk so tightly that it couldn’t pull it out again. It was easily captured. The tailor tied the rope around the unicorn’s neck, then cut the horn out of the tree with the ax. He then brought the animal to the King.

The king still did not want to give him the promised reward and presented a third challenge. This time tailor had to capture a wild boar that was causing great damage in the woods. The King was willing to give him hunters to help him. “No problem,” said the tailor, “it’s going to be child’s-play.”


He didn’t take the hunters into the woods with him. The hunters were relieved, because they had encountered the wild boar before and had no desire to do so again.

When the boar saw the tailor, he charged him immediately, full of rage. But our hero ran into a nearly church, and then quickly jumped out of a window. The boar ran in after him, but the tailor ran around the church and slammed the door. The boar was captured; it was much too heavy and awkward to jump out the window.

Now the King, whether he wanted to or not – had to keep his promise and give him his daughter and half the kingdom. The wedding was thus held with great ceremony but with little joy, and the tailor became a king.



Some time later the young queen heard her husband talking in his sleep: “Boy, make the jacket for me, and patch the trousers!” She then realized that he was not of noble blood. The next morning she asked her father to help her get rid of him. After all, he was nothing only a tailor.

The king comforted her, saying, “Leave your bedroom door unlocked tonight. My servants will stand outside, and after he falls asleep they will go inside, tie him up, and put him on a ship that will take him far away.”
The young queen was happy with this plan, but the King’s squire, who liked the new king, overheard the plot and told him everything.


“I’ll take care of it,” said the little tailor. That evening he went to bed with his wife at the usual time. When the young queen thought he was asleep she got up, opened the door, and then went back to bed. The little tailor, who was only pretending to be asleep, began crying out with a clear voice: “Boy, make the jacket for me, and patch the trousers! I have killed seven with one blow, I have slain two giants, and have captured a unicorn and a wild boar. And now I am supposed to be afraid of those standing just outside the bedroom!”

When the servants heard this, they were so frightened that they ran away. None of them ever dared try anything like this again, and the little tailor remained a King as long as he lived.


The End


###Part 1

  1. brave: 勇敢な
  2. tailor: 仕立屋
  3. cheerfully: 楽しそうに
  4. sew: 縫う
  5. with all his might: 一生懸命
  6. take a break: 休憩する
  7. a loaf of ~: 一塊の
  8. slice: 一切れ
  9. spread: 塗る
  10. jam: ジャム
  11. decide: 〜することにする
  12. lay ~ aside: 〜を横に置く
  13. continue: 〜し続ける
  14. meanwhile: その間に
  15. a number of ~: 相当数の
  16. fly (flies): 蠅
  17. be attracted by: 引きつけられる
  18. smell: 匂い
  19. land: 着地する(とまる)
  20. invite: 招待する
  21. wave ~ away: 払いのける
  22. more and more ~: 更に多くの
  23. make ~ angry: 怒らせる
  24. napkin: 小さいタオル
  25. slap at: ぴしゃりと打ち付ける
  26. take a step back: 一歩下がる
  27. be amazed: びっくりさせられた
  28. discover: 発見する
  29. seven: 7匹の
  30. dead: 死んでいる
  31. stretch out: 長々と手足の伸ばして横になる
  32. must be ~: 〜に違いない
  33. quite a guy: 並外れた奴
  34. cut out: 〜を切り抜く
  35. banner: 垂れ幕
  36. embroider: 刺繍をする
  37. letter(s): 文字
  38. seven with one blow: 一撃で7
  39. whole world: 世界中
  40. tie ~ around ~: 〜の周りに縛る
  41. cheese: チーズ
  42. bird: 鳥
  43. huge: 巨大な
  44. giant: 巨人
  45. contentedly: 満足そうに
  46. go up to ~: 〜のところへ行く
  47. with contempt: 軽蔑して
  48. pathetic: 哀れな
  49. impressed: 感心する
  50. put ~ to the test: 〜を試す
  51. stone: 石
  52. squeeze: 絞る
  53. drip: ぽたぽた落ちる
  54. child’s play: 子供の遊び
  55. liquid: 液体
  56. run out~: 〜から流れ出る

###Part 2

  1. throw ~ up: 投げ上げる
  2. hardly: ほどんど〜ない
  3. visible: 見える
  4. come back down: 落ちてくる
  5. reach into: 〜に手を入れる
  6. happy to be free: 自由になって嬉しくて
  7. how did you like that?: どうだい?
  8. heavy: 重い
  9. oak tree: オーク(常緑樹)
  10. I'll be happy to: 喜んで〜する
  11. trunk: 幹
  12. branch: 枝
  13. after all: 結局
  14. heaviest: 最も重い
  15. behind: 〜の後ろに
  16. whistle: 口笛を吹く
  17. drag: 引っ張る
  18. load: 荷
  19. further: さらに遠くに
  20. entire: 全部、全体
  21. treetop: 木のてっぺん
  22. ripest: 最も熟した
  23. bend ~ down: 曲げて下ろす
  24. let go: 放す
  25. spring upward: 上に飛び上がる
  26. unharmed: 傷つかずに
  27. strength: 力
  28. get stuck: はまる
  29. cave: 洞窟
  30. in a corner: 角に
  31. fast asleep: ぐっすり眠る
  32. iron bar: 鉄棒
  33. smash: 粉砕する
  34. in two: 二つに
  35. confidently: 自信を持って、大胆に
  36. approach: 接近する
  37. frightened: 怯える
  38. run away: 走り去る

###Part 3

  1. continued on: 〜し続ける
  2. courtyard: 中庭
  3. hero: 英雄
  4. powerful lord: 強力な領主
  5. in case of war: 戦争の場合に
  6. messenger: 使者
  7. offer: 提供する
  8. position: 地位、身分
  9. accept: 承諾する
  10. precisely: まさに
  11. enter ~’s service: 〜に雇われる
  12. be welcomed: 歓迎される
  13. with honor: 令をもって
  14. however: しかしながら
  15. be pleased: 喜ぶ
  16. what will happen if ~?: もし〜なことがあったらどうなる?
  17. disagreement: 意見の相違、不一致
  18. release: 解放する
  19. stand up to ~: 〜に恐れずに立ち向かう
  20. lose: 失う
  21. faithful: 忠実な
  22. get rid of ~: 除去する
  23. dare to ~: 〜をする勇気がある
  24. simply: 簡単に
  25. fire: 解雇する
  26. come up with ~: 〜を提案する
  27. think long and hard: 長い間よく考える
  28. inform: 告げる
  29. offer: 申し入れ
  30. rob: 盗む
  31. deal with ~: 〜と取引する
  32. half of ~: 〜の半分
  33. kingdom: 王国
  34. horseman: 騎手
  35. help ~ with ~: 〜が〜するのを助ける
  36. task: やるべき課題
  37. edge: はずれ、境界
  38. snore: いびきをかく
  39. fill: いっぱいにする
  40. climb out onto: 〜の上にのぼり出る
  41. branch: 枝
  42. exactly: ちょうど
  43. above ~: 〜の上
  44. drop: 落とす
  45. one ~ after another: 次々と
  46. chest: 胸
  47. shove: 押しやる
  48. companion: 仲間
  49. Why are you hitting me?: なぜ君は僕を殴るのか?
  50. You're dreaming.: 君は夢をみている
  51. I am not hitting you.: 僕は君を殴っていない
  52. What is this?: これは何だ?
  53. Why are you throwing things at me?: なぜ君は僕に物を投げるんだ?
  54. I'm not throwing anything at you.: 僕は何も君に投げていない
  55. grumble: ぶつぶつ不平をこぼす
  56. game: 策略
  57. largest stone: 一番大きな石
  58. with all his might: 力ずくで
  59. That's too much!: やりすぎだ!
  60. shout: 叫ぶ
  61. jump up: 飛び上がる
  62. like ~: 〜のように
  63. madman: 気のふれた人
  64. push ~ against~: 〜を〜の方に押す
  65. fight: けんか
  66. pull up: 引き抜く
  67. lucky: 幸運な
  68. draw: 引く
  69. sword: 刀
  70. It's over: 終了する
  71. finish off: とどめを刺す
  72. They didn't harm a single hair on my head.: 彼らは僕の頭の髪の毛一本も傷つけなかった。
  73. believe: 信じる
  74. swim in one’s own blood: 自分自身の血に浸かる
  75. all around: 其の周り全体に
  76. uprooted trees: 引き抜かれた木