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And he went back to the princess and said
to her:

"Will you play me for this tablecloth?"

And she said: "It may be a very beautiful tablecloth but it isn't
quite equal to me."

Then he laid it on a table and said, "Cloth, cover thyself." And there
was a most delicious dinner spread upon it.

But, as the princess knew she would be able to beat him, she agreed to
play him for the tablecloth, and, sure enough, by means of the mirror,
she won the tablecloth from him.

The same thing happened when he borrowed the whistle from the private
and tried his luck with the princess again. But this time he watched
what she was doing, and knew that she had cheated him though he dared
not say so. He lost again and went back to his comrades and asked them
to forgive him, but he could not help it as the princess had cheated
him. So his friends forgave him, and they all went their various
ways.

Now the sergeant wandered along, and wandered along, and wandered
along, till he came to the bank of a stream on which there grew fig
trees, white and black. And he gathered some of these figs from the
different trees, and sat down by the bank to eat them. And he ate a
black fig, and then, feeling thirsty, went down to the stream to drink
some of the water, and as he looked in he found that he had two horns
on the side of his head just like a goat, instead of two ears. He
didn't know what to do; but as he was still hungry he ate one of the
white figs; and when he went to drink again he found the horns had
disappeared. So then he knew that the black figs brought the horns and
the white figs took them away. So he gathered some more of them and
went back to the palace of the princess, and sent her up some of the
black figs as a present from an admirer.

And after a while there was a rumour spread around the city that the
princess had horns in her head, and would give anything to any one who
could remove them.

So the sergeant went up to the palace and presented himself before the
princess and said to her:

"I can remove your horns, but I want my purse, and my tablecloth, and
my whistle back."

Then she ordered them to be brought and promised to give them back to
him as soon as the horns were removed.

So he gave her a white fig, and as soon as she had eaten it the horns
disappeared; and he took up the purse, the tablecloth, and the
whistle. Then he said to her:

[Illustration: The Princess Finds Horns on her Head]

"Now, will you marry me?"

"No," she replied, "why should I?"

"Because you didn't win these fairly."

"That may be, or that may not be, but I see no reason why I should
marry you."

Thereupon he blew his whistle, and the palace was filled with a
regiment of soldiers. And the sergeant said:

"If you do not marry me these men shall seize your father and I will
seize his throne."

So the princess married him, and he sent for the corporal and the
private and made them rich and prosperous, and they all lived fairly
happily together.




[Illustration: The Unicorn]

A DOZEN AT A BLOW


A little tailor was sitting cross-legged at his bench and was
stitching away as busy as could be when a woman came up the street
calling out: "Home-made jam, home-made jam!"

So the tailor called out to her: "Come here, my good woman, and give
me a quarter of a pound."

And when she had poured it out for him he spread it on some bread and
butter and laid it aside for his lunch. But, in the summer-time, the
flies commenced to collect around the bread and jam.

When the tailor noticed this, he raised his leather strap and brought
it down upon the crowd of flies and killed twelve of them
straightway. He was mighty proud of that. So he made himself a
shoulder-sash, on which he stitched the letters: A Dozen at One Blow.

When he looked down upon this he thought to himself: "A man who could
do such things ought not to stay at home; he ought to go out to
conquer the world."

So he put into his wallet the cream cheese that he had bought that day
and a favourite blackbird that used to hop about his shop, and went
out to seek his fortune.

He hadn't gone far when he met a giant, and went up to him and said:
"Well, comrade, how goes it with you?"

"Comrade," sneered the giant, "a pretty comrade you would make for
me."

"Look at this," said the tailor pointing to his sash.

And when the giant read, "A Dozen at a Blow," he thought to himself:
"This little fellow is no fool of a fighter if what he says is true.
But let's test him."

So the giant said to the tailor: "If what you've got there is true, we
may well be comrades. But let's see if you can do what I can do."

And he bent down in the road and took up a large stone and pressed it
with his hand till it all crushed up and water commenced to pour out
from it.

"Can you do that?" said the giant.

The tailor also bent down in the road, but took out from his wallet
the piece of cheese and pretended to pick it up.

When he took it in his hand he pressed and pressed till the cream
poured forth from it.

The giant said: "Well, you can do that fairly well. Let's see if you
can throw."

He took another stone and threw it till it went right across the river
by which they were standing.

So the little tailor took his blackbird in his hand and pretended to
throw it, and of course when it felt itself in the air it flew away
and disappeared.

The giant said: "That wasn't a bad throw. You may as well come home
and stop with us giants, and we'll do great things together."

As they went along the giant said: "We want some twigs for our night
fires. You may as well help me carry some home." And he pointed to a
tree that had fallen by the wayside and said: "Help me carry that,
will you?"

So the tailor said, "Why certainly," and went to the top of the tree,
and said: "I'll carry these branches which are the heavier; you carry
the trunk which has no branches."

And when the giant got the trunk on his shoulders the tailor seated
himself on one of the branches and let the giant carry him along.

After a time the giant got tired and said: "Ho there, wait a minute,
I'm going to drop the tree and rest awhile."

So the tailor jumped down and caught the tree around the branches
again and said: "Well, you are easily tired."

At last they got to the giant's castle and there the giant spoke to
his brothers and told them what a brave and powerful fellow this
little tailor was. They spoke together and determined to get rid of
him lest he might do them some harm. But they determined to kill him
in the night because he was so strong and might kill twelve of them at
a blow.

But the tailor saw them whispering together, and guessing that
something was wrong went out into the yard and got a big bladder which
he filled with blood and put it in the bed which the giants pointed
out to him.

Then he crept under it, and during the night they brought their big
clubs and hit the bed over and over again till the blood spurted out
onto their faces.

Then they thought the tailor was dead and went back to sleep.

But in the morning there was the tailor as large as life. And they
were so surprised to see him that they asked him if he had not felt
anything during the night.

"Oh, I don't know, there seemed to be plenty of fleas in that bed,"
said the tailor. "I do not think I would care to sleep there again."
And with that he took his leave of the giants and went on his way.

After a time he came to the King's court and fell asleep under a tree.
And some of the courtiers passing by saw written upon his sash, "A
Dozen at One Blow."

They went and told the King who said: "Why, he's just the man for us;
he will be able to destroy the wild boar and the unicorn that are
ravaging our kingdom. Bring him to us."

So they woke up the little tailor and brought him to the King, who
said to him: "There is a wild boar ravaging our kingdom. You are so
powerful that you will easily be able to capture it."

"What shall I get if I do?" asked the little tailor.

"Well, I have promised to give my daughter's hand and half the kingdom
to the man who can do it, and other things."

"What other things?" said the little tailor.

"Oh, it will be time to learn that when you have caught the boar."

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.



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