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The Story of a Clever Tailor

When the bear heard the music he could not help dancing, and after he had danced some time he was so pleased that he said to the tailor, 'I say, is fiddling difficult?' 'Mere child's play,' replied the tailor; 'look here! you press the strings with the fingers of the left hand, and with the right, you draw the bow across them, so--then it goes as easily as possible, up and down, tra la la la la--'

'Oh,' cried the bear, 'I do wish I could play like that, then I could dance whenever the fancy took me. What do you think? Would you give me some lessons?'

'With all my heart,' said the tailor, 'if you are sharp about it. But just let me look at your paws. Dear me, your nails are terribly long; I must really cut them first.' Then he fetched a pair of stocks, and the bear laid his paws on them, and the tailor screwed them up tight. 'Now just wait whilst I fetch my scissors,' said he, and left the bear growling away to his heart's content, whilst he lay down in a corner and fell fast asleep.

When the Princess heard the bear growling so loud that night, she made sure he was roaring with delight as he worried the tailor.

Next morning she rose feeling quite cheerful and free from care, but when she looked across towards the stables, there stood the tailor in front of the door looking as fresh and lively as a fish in the water.

After this it was impossible to break the promise she had made so publicly, so the King ordered out the state coach to take her and the tailor to church to be married.

As they were starting, the two bad-hearted other tailors, who were envious of the younger one's happiness, went to the stable and unscrewed the bear. Off he tore after the carriage, foaming with rage. The Princess heard his puffing and roaring, and growing frightened she cried: 'Oh dear! the bear is after us and will certainly catch us up!' The tailor remained quite unmoved. He quietly stood on his head, stuck his legs out at the carriage window and called out to the bear, 'Do you see my stocks?

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Category: Andrew Lang
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