Thursday, January 12, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #2 - The Brave Little Tailor

Before I share my second fairy tale post of the year, I thought I would share some wintery pictures from my garden.  We still have not had snow here in the valley, but the weather is getting colder and colder, and the last two mornings Jack Frost has been at work.  The weather man reports we may have snow this weekend!  I would love for it to look a little bit more like winter, at least for a couple of days, it has been feeling a bit too much like Spring for mid January.

The Red Barberry berries look pretty among the frost thorny branches.

The angels on the little birdbath have spiky ice crystal hair, and the glass floats have frozen in place.

All of the leaves have wispy little ice fringe.

I love the way the frost looks on the fence post.

Maybe I'll get to post some snow pictures soon...

I have been enjoying planning out my 52 weeks of Fairy Tales that I will be reading and crafting through this year.   Last week was the first week, here is a link to 52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #1.  This week, since I have been working on hand sewing projects, I thought that the perfect fairy tale for this week would be The Brave Little Tailor.

(Picture from The Book of Classic Fairy Tales by Kincaid)

The Brave Little Tailor is about a young tailor who has a delicious piece of bread with jam waiting for him to snack on after he finishes up some work.  Some pesky flies smell the delicious bread and jam, and try to get a taste, but the tailor quickly swats them away, and manages to kill seven of the flies in one blow.  He is quite proud of his accomplishment, and quickly sets about sewing a belt with the words "Seven in one blow" embroidered on the front.  Feeling confident, the Brave Little Tailor decides to set out and tell the world.  He tucks a piece of cheese in his pocket for a snack, and heads out.  Along the way he finds a little brown bird trapped in a bush, and removes the bird and tucks the bird in his other pocket.

On his journey, he encounters a giant, the giant assumes the "seven in one blow" is seven men that the tailor killed.  The brave tailor is quite confident, so the giant decides to test the tailor.  First the giants picks up a large rock and squeezes it so hard that water drips from the rock- then asks the tailor if he can do that.  The brave tailor is clever, and pretends to pick up a rock, but instead pulls out his cheese, which he squeezes until it drips water- the giant is impressed, and gives the tailor another test.  The giant picks up a stone, and throws it quite far away, again the tailor pretends to pick up a rock, but instead pulls out the little brown bird from his pocket, when he throws the bird it flies away making it look like the tailor was able to throw much further than the giant.  So the giant tells the tailor if he is so strong, then he can help him carry a giant tree home, the tailor agrees, and says he will carry the roots, since they are the heaviest part.  The giants picks up the tree and the tailor pretends to be carrying the end, but really just jumps up onto the trunk and the giant carries him home, he jumps down before the giant can see, so the giant believes that the tailor has helped with the large tree.

(Picture from The Book of Classic Fairy Tales by Kincaid)

By now, the giant is a little worried about the brave little tailor, if he is that strong, maybe he will endanger the giant?  So the giant invites the tailor to stay at his house and meet the giant's brothers.  The tailor agrees.  That night the tailor goes to sleep in a giant bed, because the bed is so big, he crawls into the corner, which is very fortunate, because the giant and his brothers came in and beat the bed with an iron bar in order to kill the tailor.  The giants thought that they had rid themselves of the tailor who killed seven in one blow, but were very frightened the next morning when the tailor came out for breakfast.  All of the giants ran away.

(Picture from The Book of Classic Fairy Tales by Kincaid)

Feeling confident, the brave little tailor then enters the royal service in a nearby kingdom.   The knights, who also believe "seven in one blow" are men that the tailor has killed,  are frightened of the tailor, and ask the king to send him away.  The king is concerned this may make the tailor angry, so instead sends him on a quest to rid the kingdom of two troublesome giants, thinking the giants will kill the tailor.  The king promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the person who rids the kingdom of these giants.  The Tailor again uses his wits, climbs up in a tree above the two giants, who happen to be napping, and drops rocks on one giant, the giant thinks it is the other giant, and tells the other giant to stop throwing things at him, they go back to sleep and the tailor throws rocks at the other giant this time, who wakes up, and gets into a fight with the other giant.  The two giants end up fighting each other to death.  The king is impressed witht he tailor, but gives him another quest before he gives the tailor his daughter's hand in marriage- the tailor must trap a unicorn.  Again the tailor achieves the quest by tricking the unicorn into charging him and getting his horn stuck in a tree trunk.  The Tailor is then sent on one more quest- the trap a wild boar.  The nimble tailor had the boar chase him right into a chapel, and the tailor jumped out a window, and the boar was trapped inside.

Finally the king agrees to let the tailor marry his daughter.  After they are married, the princess hears the tailor talking about being a tailor in his sleep.  The next day she asks her father to send him away because he is only a common tailor.  By this point the brave little tailor has made good friends with a squire, who overhears the kings plans to bind the tailor, and send him on a ship far away, the squire tells the tailor.  So that night the tailor pretends to be asleep, and in his sleep calls out commands to his men and his tailor, making it seem as though he was a powerful leader.  The knights who were going to take him away become frightened and leave.  No one ever bothers the brave little tailor again, and eventually he became a great king.

This fairy tale is one of the tales collected by the Grimm Brothers, and is also known as The Valiant Tailor.

This was a fairy tale I read often as a child.  I used to love that the Brave Little Tailor was so clever.  Today I read this tale from the original Grimm's Fairy Tales, as well as a version from my childhood Book of Classic Fairy Tales by Eric and Lucy Kincaid.

Because these tales were originally passed down orally, through story telling, I think it is important to become familiar enough with fairy tales that you could tell a version of the story without a book if needed.  When you include Fairy Tales often in your children's story time, they will start to remember them, and be able to tell them back to you, or at least parts.  I think this kind of learning is a wonderful exercise for everyone.  As I noted in my last Fairy Tale post, most of the Grimm's Stories are online for free, including this story.  The Brave little Tailor is included in most Grimm collections, as well as Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book.

I had a very fun time making a little Brave Little Tailor Doll this week, along with his "7 in 1 Blow"  Belt.  This is the first boy doll I have ever made, I am happy how he turned out.  Here are a couple of pictures.  I am looking forward to sharing this story with my family, as well as bringing both my Rapunzel doll, and My Brave Little Tailor doll when I go visit my young niece and nephew so I can have a story time with them as well.

I am looking forward to the weekend, and the possibility of some snow!  Anyone else waiting for some snow, or have you already had snow and are ready for the spring?


Mummyzilla said...

What a cool idea. I also do one project a week. Reading fairy tales as an adult I'm always concerned about the way women are portrayed - often mean and grasping, or passive objects that don't have a say in their lives (I have two girls). Its so interesting to read these kind of things with a different eye.

April's Homemaking said...

Mummyzilla, I am really enjoying having a weekly project, I will have to check out yours as well :) I was raised by a single mother in an all female household, we read fairy tales all of the time, and somehow the way that women were portrayed never affected me negatively. In fact, I often think that fairy tales empower young people, because the main character is often a child or weak member of society who triumphs.

Here is a very interesting article on why Fairy Tales can be very beneficial for children, when introduced correctly, fascinating read -

I do understand your concerns though, as a mother of a daughter myself. Interesting topic for sure :)

Jane said...

Your frost pictures are so beautiful, April! We were supposed to get a major snowstorm last night but it missed us. I miss the snow and even love shoveling it. Thank you for the story time! Actually never heard this particular story before. I think your little dolls are wonderful. My grandmother used to make dolls and it was a special treat to play with them when we visited.

April's Homemaking said...

Thank you Jane. I hope you get some snow soon, we never get quite enough to shovel, my husband has memories of shoveling snow from growing up in Chicago. I think if would be fun to have that much snow, but most people around here are not prepared for too much snow. Glad you enjoyed the story, your Grandmothers dolls sound wonderful, I hope to one day build memories like that with my own grandchildren.

softearthart said...

Wonderful Story and doll, cheers Marie

Nicole Elizabeth said...

Great job! Another lovely figure :) I have never heard that story before so I will need to check him out!

Kelly said...

April, I love your idea of a fairytale a week. Your brave little tailor is beautiful! We love that story here. Beautiful wintry pictures. It has been so mild here in UK. We are in for a cold spell starting this evening though!

anna said...

What a beautiful post! I love your wintery garden pics. It seems almost impossible to me - we're right in the middle of summer here. I thought I knew most fairy tales but I didn't know this one. Such a fascinating story. Forgive me if you've blogged about this elsewhere, but I wonder if you've read Women Who Run With the Wolves? It changed fairytales for me forever (in a good way!) And finally, I love your little creation. He's just gorgeous.

Carrie said...

April, what a wonderful story. I actually don't think I ever have read it. I love your little tailor craft as well.

April's Homemaking said...

Thanks everyone, for all of the positive comments.

Kelly~ Overall, our weather has been very mild as well, we usually have a little snow by now. The weather man reports that we should have snow this weekend, which I am eagerly hoping for!

Anna~ I have never read the book you suggested, I just searched it, and it sounds very interesting, I will have to get a copy to read, thanks for the suggestion.

Now I'm off to start working on a nice pot of soup, hope everyone has a nice Saturday!

K said...

Well - you should drop me a post if you do see snow, because that COULD mean we'll see it too. We're downstream from you. And we were 54 degrees yesterday. Salt Lake is more in the direct stream, but we are hoping to have white mountains instead of brown ones very soon. If it happens too much later, the river in OUR valley will be threatening my home, and that is never fun.

Mom and Kiddo said...

What a great challenge to read all those tales and those are some lovely photos!

Beth ( said...

I love that you are doing this series on Fairty tales!!! So wonderful for your kids! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week,
Beth =-)

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

How wonderful your fairy tale project is! We are just about overflowing with fairy tales in our home.
And such beautiful frosty wintry pictures! We are hoping for more snow soon...

Laurinda said...

Very nice. I love the artwork in that book. Thanks for sharing!

Rebekah said...

Beautiful doll!! I love the fairytale theme.
Your frost pictures are gorgeous. Makes me wish I had such a view out our window. I especially loved the fringed leaf picture.

MiaB said...

Once upon a time's and fairytales are always good for learning and lessons for little ones :) Thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us on Sharing Saturday. Hope you have a great week.


Raising a Happy Child said...

Your dolls are beautiful. My daughter would love something like this, but I am not as crafty :) I enjoy following your fairy tales stories. Thanks for sharing them with Afterschool!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

gorgeous photos - what a fun idea.

Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you this week.