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Contents > Author > Sara Cone Bryant > The Tailor and the Three Beasts 1873- Unknown
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Sara Cone Bryant
The Tailor and the Three Beasts
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[From Beside the Fire, Douglas Hyde (David Nutt, London)]

There was once a tailor in Galway, and
he started out on a journey to go to the
king's court at Dublin.

He had not gone far till he met a white
horse, and he saluted him.

"God save you," said the tailor.

"God save you," said the horse. "Where
are you going?"

"I am going to Dublin," said the tailor,
"to build a court for the king and to get a
lady for a wife, if I am able to do it." For,
it seems the king had promised his daughter
and a great lot of money to any one who
should be able to build up his court. The
trouble was, that three giants lived in the
wood near the court, and every night they
came out of the wood and threw down
all that was built by day. So nobody could
get the court built.

"Would you make me a hole," said
the old white garraun, "where I could go
a-hiding whenever the people are for bringing
me to the mill or the kiln, so that they
won't see me; for they have me perished
doing work for them."

"I'll do that, indeed," said the tailor,
"and welcome."

He brought his spade and shovel, and
he made a hole, and he said to the old white
horse to go down into it till he would see
if it would fit him. The white horse went
down into the hole, but when he tried to
come up again, he was not able.

"Make a place for me now," said the
white horse, "by which I'll come up out
of the hole here, whenever I'll be hungry."

"I will not," said the tailor; "remain
where you are until I come back, and I'll
lift you up."

The tailor went forward next day, and
the fox met him.

"God save you," said the fox.

"God save you," said the tailor.

"Where are you going," said the fox.

"I'm going to Dublin, to try will I be
able to make a court for the king."

"Would you make a place for me where
I'd go hiding?" said the fox. "The rest
of the foxes do be beating me, and they
don't allow me to eat anything with

"I'll do that for you," said the tailor.

He took his axe and his saw, and he
made a thing like a crate, and he told the
fox to get into it till he would see whether
it would fit him. The fox went into it,
and when the tailor got him down, he
shut him in. When the fox was satisfied at
last that he had a nice place of it within,
he asked the tailor to let him out, and the
tailor answered that he would not.

"Wait there until I come back again,"
says he.

The tailor went forward the next day,
and he had not walked very far until he
met a modder-alla; and the lion greeted

"God save you," said the lion.

"God save you," said the tailor.

"Where are you going?" said the lion.

"I'm going to Dublin till I make a court
for the king if I'm able to make it," said
the tailor.

"If you were to make a plough for me,"
said the lion, "I and the other lions could
be ploughing and harrowing until we'd
have a bit to eat in the harvest."

"I'll do that for you," said the tailor.

He brought his axe and his saw, and he
made a plough. When the plough was
made he put a hole in the beam of it, and
he said to the lion to go in under the plough
till he'd see was he any good of a ploughman.
He placed the lion's tail in the hole
he had made for it, and then clapped in a
peg, and the lion was not able to draw out
his tail again.

"Loose me out now," said the lion, "and
we'll fix ourselves and go ploughing."

The tailor said he would not loose him
out until he came back himself. He left
him there then, and he came to Dublin.

When he came to Dublin, he got workmen
and began to build the court. At the
end of the day he had the workmen put a
great stone on top of the work. When the
great stone was raised up, the tailor put
some sort of contrivance under it, that he
might be able to throw it down as soon as
the giant would come as far as it. The
workpeople went home then, and the tailor
went in hiding behind the big stone.

When the darkness of the night was come,
he saw the three giants arriving, and they
began throwing down the court until they
came as far as the place where the tailor
was in hiding up above, and a man of them
struck a blow of his sledge on the place
where he was. The tailor threw down the
stone, and it fell on him and killed him.
They went home then and left all of the
court that was remaining without throwing
it down, since a man of themselves was

The tradespeople came again the next
day, and they were working until night,
and as they were going home the tailor
told them to put up the big stone on the
top of the work, as it had been the night
before. They did that for him, went home,
and the tailor went in hiding the same as
he did the evening before.

When the people had all gone to rest, the
two giants came, and they were throwing
down all that was before them, and as soon
as they began, they put two shouts out of
them. The tailor was going on manoeuvring
until he threw down the great stone,
and it fell upon the skull of the giant that
was under him, and it killed him. There
was only the one giant left in it then, and
he never came again until the court was

Then when the work was over, the tailor
went to the king and told him to give him
his wife and his money, as he had the court
finished; and the king said he would not
give him any wife until he would kill the
other giant, for he said that it was not by
his strength he killed the two giants
before that, and that he would give him
nothing now until he killed the other one
for him. Then the tailor said that he
would kill the other giant for him, and
welcome; that there was no delay at all
about that.

The tailor went then till he came to the
place where the other giant was, and asked
did he want a servant-boy. The giant said
he did want one, if he could get one who
would do everything that he would do himself.

"Anything that you will do, I will do
it," said the tailor.

They went to their dinner then, and
when they had it eaten, the giant asked
the tailor "would it come with him to swallow
as much broth as himself, up out of
its boiling." The tailor said, "It will come
with me to do that, but that you must give
me an hour before we begin on it." The
tailor went out then, and he got a sheep-
skin, and he sewed it up till he made a bag
of it, and he slipped it down under his
coat. He came in then and said to the giant
to drink a gallon of the broth himself first.
The giant drank that up out of its boiling.
"I'll do that," said the tailor. He was
going on until he had it all poured into the
skin, and the giant thought he had it drunk.
The giant drank another gallon then, and
the tailor let another gallon down into the
skin, but the giant thought he was drinking it.

"I'll do a thing now that it won't come
with you to do," said the tailor.

"You will not," said the giant. "What
is it you would do?"

"Make a hole and let out the broth
again," said the tailor.

"Do it yourself first," said the giant.

The tailor gave a prod of the knife, and
he let the broth out of the skin.

"Do that you," said he.

"I will," said the giant, giving such a
prod of the knife into his own stomach
that he killed himself. That is the way
the tailor killed the third giant.

He went to the king then, and desired
him to send him out his wife and his money,
for that he would throw down the court
again unless he should get the wife. They
were afraid then that he would throw down
the court, and they sent the wife to him.

When the tailor was a day gone,
himself and his wife, they repented and
followed him to take his wife off him again.
The people who were after him were
following him till they came to the place
where the lion was, and the lion said to
them: "The tailor and his wife were here
yesterday. I saw them going by, and if ye
loose me now, I am swifter than ye, and I
will follow them till I overtake them."
When they heard that, they loosed out the

The lion and the people of Dublin went
on, and they were pursuing him, until they
came to the place where the fox was, and
the fox greeted them, and said: "The tailor
and his wife were here this morning, and
if ye will loose me out, I am swifter than
ye, and I will follow them, and overtake
them." They loosed out the fox then.

The lion and the fox and the army of
Dublin went on then, trying would they
catch the tailor, and they were going till
they came to the place where the old white
garraun was, and the old white garraun
said to them that the tailor and his wife
were there in the morning, and "Loose me
out," said he; "I am swifter than ye, and
I'll overtake them." They loosed out the
old white garraun then, and the old white
garraun, the fox, the lion, and the army
of Dublin pursued the tailor and his wife
together, and it was not long till they came
up with him, and saw himself and the wife
out before them.

When the tailor saw them coming, he
got out of the coach with his wife, and he
sat down on the ground.

When the old white garraun saw the
tailor sitting down on the ground, he said,
"That's the position he had when he made
the hole for me, that I couldn't come up
out of, when I went down into it. I'll go
no nearer to him."

"No!" said the fox, "but that's the way
he was when he was making the thing for
me, and I'll go no nearer to him."

"No!" says the lion, "but that's the very
way he had, when he was making the plough
that I was caught in. I'll go no nearer
to him."

They all went from him then and
returned. The tailor and his wife came home
to Galway.


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