The Story of a Clever Tailor
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 whoever 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 amongst 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 were 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 colours 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.'
'Wrong again,' said the Princess; 'now let the third speak. I see he thinks he knows all about it.'
Then the young tailor stepped boldly to the front and said, 'The Princess has one silver and one golden hair on her head, and those are the two colours.