: Stories To Tell Children

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 when 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
m able to do it." For, it seems the

king had promised his daughter and a great lot of money to anyone 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 in to hide whenever the people come to fetch me to the mill or the

kiln, so that they won't see me; for they tire me out doing work for


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

He brought his spade and shovel, and he made a hole, and he asked the

old white horse to go down into it so that he could 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 can come up

out of the hole here, whenever I am 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 to make a court for the king."

"Would you make a place for me where I can hide?" said the fox. "The

rest of the foxes are always beating me, and they will not allow me to

eat anything with them."

"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 so that he could see whether it would fit

him. The fox went into it, and when the tailor had 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," said he.

The tailor went forward the next day, and he had not walked very far

when he met a lion; and the lion greeted him.

"God save you," said the lion.

"God save you," said the tailor.

"Where are you going?" said the lion.

"I'm going to Dublin to make a court for the king if I am 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 got the lion to go in

under the plough so that he might see if he was any good as 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


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


The tailor said he would not loose him until he came back himself. He

left him there then, and he came to Dublin.

When he arrived, he engaged 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 giants came near to it. The workpeople then went home, 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 arrived at

the place where the tailor was in hiding up above, and one of them

struck a blow with his sledge on the place where he was. The tailor

threw down the stone, and it fell on him and killed him. The other two

went home then and left all of the court that was remaining without

throwing it down, since their companion was dead.

The workmen 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, but as soon as they began, the

tailor commenced manoeuvring until he was able to throw down the great

stone, so that it fell upon the skull of the giant that was under him,

and it killed him. After this there was only the one giant left, and he

never came again until the court was finished.

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 had killed the other

giant, for he said that it was not by his strength he had killed the two

giants before, 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 should be no delay at all about


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


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

They went to their dinner then, and when they had eaten it, the giant

asked the tailor "would he dare to swallow as much boiling broth as

himself." The tailor said, "I will certainly do that, but you must give

me an hour before we commence." The tailor went out then, and he got a

sheepskin, which he sewed up until he made a bag of it, and he slipped

it down under his coat. He came in then and told the giant first to

drink a gallon of the broth himself. The giant drank that up while it

was boiling. "I'll do that," said the tailor. He went on until it was

all poured into the skin, and the giant thought he had drunk it. 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 you will not dare 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


"Now you do that," 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, saying that he would throw down the court again if he did not

do so immediately. 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 away from him again. The people who went

after him followed him until 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 you will loose me now, I am swifter than

you, and I will follow them until I overtake them." When they heard

that, they released the lion.

The lion and the people of Dublin went on, and pursued the tailor, 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 you will

loose me, I am swifter than you, and I will follow them, and overtake

them." They therefore set the fox free.

The lion and the fox and the army of Dublin went on then, trying to

catch the tailor, and they kept going until they came to the place

where the old white garraun was, and the old white garraun told them

that the tailor and his wife were there in the morning, and "Loose me,"

said he; "I am swifter than you, and I'll overtake them." They released

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, and it was

not long before they came up with 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 on the ground, he

said, "That's the position he was in when he made the hole for me, that

I couldn't get out of, when I went down into it. I'll go no nearer to


"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 left him then and returned. The tailor and his wife came home

to Galway.