THE TWO TRAVELERS
ILL and vale do not come together, but the children of men
do, good and bad. In this
way a shoemaker and a tailor once met with each other
in their travels.
The tailor was a handsome little fellow who was always
merry and full of enjoyment.
He saw the shoemaker coming toward him from the other
side, and as he observed by
his bag what kind of a trade he plied, he sang a little
mocking song to him:
Sew me the seam,
Draw me the thread,
Spread it with pitch,
Knock the nail on the head.
The shoemaker, however, could not endure a joke. He
pulled a face as if had drunk
vinegar, and made a gesture as if he were about to
seize the tailor by the
But the little fellow began to laugh, reached him his
bottle, and said, "No harm was meant,
take a drink, and swallow your anger
The shoemaker took a very hearty drink, and the storm
on his face began to clear
 He gave the bottle back to the tailor, and said, "I
spoke civilly to you.
One speaks well after much drinking, but not after much
thirst. Shall we travel
"All right," answered the tailor, "if only it suits
you to go into a big town where this is no lack of
"That is just where I want to go," answered the
"In a small nest there is nothing to earn; and in the
country, people like
to go barefoot."
They traveled therefore onward together, and always set
one foot before the other
like a weazel in the snow.
Both of them had time enough, but little to bite and to
break. When they reached a
town, they went about and paid their respects to the
Because the tailor looked so lively and merry, and had
such pretty red cheeks, every
one gave him work willingly. And when luck was good,
the master's daughters
gave him a kiss beneath the porch, as well. When he
again fell in with the
shoemaker, the tailor had always the most in his
The ill-tempered shoemaker made a wry face, and
thought, "The greater the
rascal the more the luck,"
But the tailor began to laugh and to sing, and shared
all he got with his comrade.
If a couple of pence jingled in his pockets, he ordered
good cheer, and thumped the
table in his joy till the glasses danced, and it was
lightly come, lightly go, with
When they had traveled for some time, they came to a
great forest through which
passed the road to the capital. Two footpaths,
however, led through it, one of them
a seven day's
jour-  ney and the other only two. But neither of the
travelers knew which way was the
They seated themselves beneath an oak-tree, and took
counsel together as to what
they should do and for how many days they should
provide themselves with bread.
The shoemaker said, "One must look before one leaps. I
will take with me
bread for a week."
"What!" said the tailor, "drag bread for seven days on
one's back like a beast of burden, and not be
able to look about. I shall
trust in God, and not trouble myself about anything!
The money I have in my pocket
is as good in summer as in winter; but in hot weather
bread gets dry and mouldy into
the bargain. Even my coat does not go as far as it
might. Besides, why should we
not find the right way? Bread for two days, and
Each, therefore, bought his own bread. And then they
tried their luck in the
It was as quiet there as in a church. No wind stirred,
no brook murmured, no bird
sang, and through the thickly-leaved branches, no
sunbeam forced its way.
The shoemaker spoke never a word, the heavy bread
weighed down his back until the
perspiration streamed down his cross and gloomy face.
The tailor, however, was quite merry; he jumped about,
whistled on a leaf, or sang a
song, and thought to himself, "God in Heaven must be
pleased to see me so
This lasted two days, but on the third the forest would
not come to an end, and the
tailor had eaten up all his bread, so
 after all his heart sank down a yard deeper. In the
meantime, he did not lose
courage, but relied on God and on his luck.
On the third day, he lay down in the evening hungry
under a tree, and rose again
next morning hungry still.
So also passed the fourth day, and when the shoemaker
seated himself on a fallen
tree and devoured his dinner, the tailor was only a
If he begged for a little piece of bread the other
laughed mockingly, and said,
"You have always been so merry, now you can try for
once what it is to be
sad. The birds which sing too early in the morning
,are struck by the hawk in the
evening," in short he was pitiless.
But on the fifth morning, the poor tailor could no
longer stand up, and was hardly
able to utter one word for weakness. His cheeks were
white, and his eyes red.
Then the shoemaker said to him, "I will give you a bit
of bread to-day,
but in return for it, I will put out your right eye."
The unhappy tailor, who still wished to save his life,
could not do it in any other
way. He wept once more with both eyes, and then held
them out. The shoemaker, who
had a heart of stone, put out his right eye with a
The tailor called to remembrance what his mother had
formerly said to him when he
had been eating secretly in the pantry, "Eat what one
can, and suffer what
When he had consumed his dearly-bought bread, he got on
his legs again, forgot his
misery and comforted himself with the thought that he
could always see enough with
 But on the sixth day, hunger made itself felt again,
and gnawed him almost to the
heart. In the evening he fell down by a tree, and on
the seventh morning he could
not raise himself up for faintness, and death was close
Then said the shoemaker, "I will show mercy and give
you bread once more,
but you shall not have it for nothing. I shall put out
your other eye for
And now the tailor felt how thoughtless his life had
been, prayed to God for
forgiveness, and said, "Do what you will, I will bear
what I must, but
remember that our Lord God does not always look on
passively, and that an hour will
come when the evil deed, which you have done to me and
which I have not deserved of
you, will be requited. When times were good with me, I
shared what I had with you.
My trade is of that kind that each stitch must always
be exactly like the other. If
I no longer have my eyes and can sew no more, I must go
a-begging. At any rate, do
not leave me here alone when I am blind, or I shall die
The shoemaker, however, who had driven God out of his
heart, took the knife and put
out his left eye. Then he gave him a bit of bread to
eat, held out a stick to him,
and drew him on behind him.
When the sun went down, they got out of the forest, and
before them in the open
country stood the gallows. Thither the shoemaker
guided the blind tailor, and then
left him alone and went his way.
Weariness, pain, and hunger made the wretched man fall
asleep, and he slept the
whole night. When day dawned he awoke, but knew not
where he lay.
 Two poor sinners were hanging on the gallows, and a
crow sat on the head of each of
them. Then one of the men who had been hanged began to
speak, and said, '
Brother, are you awake?"
"Yes, I am awake," answered the second.
"Then I will tell you something," said the first; "the
dew which this night has fallen down over us from the
gallows, gives every one who
washes himself with it, his eyes again. If blind
people did but know this, how many
would regain their sight who do not believe that to be
When the tailor heard that, he took his
pocket-handkerchief, pressed it on the
grass, and when it was moist with dew, washed the
sockets of his eyes with it.
Immediately was fulfilled what the man on the gallows
had said, and a couple of
healthy new eyes filled the sockets.
It was not long before the tailor saw the sun rise
behind the mountains. In the
plain before him, lay the great royal city with its
magnificent gates and hundred
towers. The golden balls and crosses which were on the
spires began to shine. He
could distinguish every leaf on the trees, saw the
birds which flew past, and the
midges which danced in the air. He took a needle out
of his pocket, and as he could
thread it as well as ever he had done, his heart danced
He threw himself on his knees, thanked God for the
mercy he had shown him, and said
his morning prayer.
Then he took his bundle on his back, and soon forgot
the pain of heart he had
endured, and went on his way singing and whistling.
The first thing he met was a brown foal running about
 fields at large. He caught it by the mane, and wanted
to spring on it and ride into
The foal, however, begged to be set free. "I am still
young," it said, "even a light tailor such as you are
break my back in two—let me go till I have grown
strong. A time may come when
I can reward you for it."
"Run off," said the tailor. "I see you are still a
He gave it a touch with a switch over its back,
whereupon it kicked up its hind legs
for joy, leapt over hedges and ditches, and galloped
away into the open country.
But the little tailor had eaten nothing since the day
before. "The sun to
be sure fills my eyes," said he, "but the bread does
not fill my
mouth. The first thing that comes across me and is
even half eatable, will have to
suffer for it."
In the meantime a stork stepped solemnly over the
meadow toward him.
"Halt, halt!" cried the tailor, and seized him by the
"I don't know if you are good to eat or not, but
my hunger leaves
me no great choice. I must cut your head off, and
"Don't do that," replied they stork; "I am a
sacred bird which brings mankind great profit, and no
one ever does me an injury.
Leave me my life, and I may do you good in some other
"Well, be off, Cousin Longlegs," said the tailor.
The story rose up, let its long legs hang down, and
flew gently away.
"What's to be the end of this?" said the tailor
himself at last; "my hunger grows greater and greater,
and my stomach
 more and more empty. Whatsoever comes in my way now is
At this moment, he saw a couple of young ducks which
were on a pond, come swimming
"You come just at the right moment," said he, and laid
one of them and was about to wring its neck.
On this an old duck, which was hidden among the reeds,
began to scream loudly and
swam to him with open beak, and begged him urgently to
spare her dear children.
"Can you not imagine," said she, "how your mother
would mourn if any one wanted to carry you off, and
give you your death
"Only be quiet," said the good-tempered tailor; "you
shall keep your children," and he put the prisoner
back into the
When he turned round, he was standing in front of an
old tree which was partly
hollow, and saw some wild bees flying in and out of it.
"There I shall at once find the reward of my good
the tailor; "the honey will refresh me."
But the Queen-Bee came out, threatened him and said,
"If you touch my
people, and destroy my nest, out stings shall pierce
your skin like ten thousand
red-hot needles. But if you will leave us in peace and
go your way, we will do you
a service for it another time."
The little tailor saw that here also nothing was to be
dishes empty and nothing on the fourth is a bad
He dragged himself therefore with his starved-out
 into the town. It was just striking twelve, all was
ready-cooked for him in the
inn, and he was able to sit down at once to dinner.
When he was satisfied, he said, "Now I will get to
He went round the town, sought a master, and soon found
a good situation. As he had
thoroughly learned his trade, it was not long before he
became famous, and every one
wanted to have a new coat made by the little tailor,
whose importance increased
"I can go no further in skill," said he, "and yet
things improve every day."
At last the King appointed him court-tailor.
But how things do happen in the world! On the very
same day his former comrade, the
shoemaker, also became court-shoemaker. When the
latter caught sight of the tailor,
and saw that he had once more two healthy eyes, his
conscience troubled him.
"Before he takes revenge on me," thought he to
"I must dig a pit for him."
He, however, who digs a pit for another, falls into it
In the evening when work was over and it had grown
dusk, he stole to the King and
said, "Lord King, the tailor is an arrogant fellow and
has boasted that he
will get the gold crown back again, which was lost in
"That would please me very much," said the King.
He caused the tailor to be brought before him next
morning, and ordered him to get
the crown back again, or to leave the town for ever.
"Oho!" thought the tailor, "a rogue gives more than he
 got. If the surly King wants me to do what can be done
by no one, I will not wait
till morning, but will go out of the town at once,
He packed up his bundle, but when he was without the
gate, he could not help being
sorry to give up his good fortune and turn his back on
the town in which all had
gone so well with him. He came to the pond where he
had made the acquaintance of
At that very moment the old one whose young ones he had
spared was sitting there by
the shore, pluming herself with her beak. She knew him
again and asked why he was
hanging his head.
"You will not be surprised when you hear what has
replied the tailor, and told her his fate.
"If that be all," said the duck, "we can help you.
The crown fell into the water, and lies at the bottom.
We will soon bring it up
again for you. In the meantime just spread out your
handkerchief on the
She dived down with her twelve young ones. And in five
minutes she was up again
with the crown resting on her wings. The twelve young
ones were swimming round
about and had put their beaks under it, and were
helping to carry it. They all swam
to the shore and put the crown on the handkerchief.
No one can imagine how magnificent the crown was. When
the sun shone on it, it
gleamed like a hundred thousand carbuncles. The tailor
tied his handkerchief
together by the four corners, and carried it to the
King, who was full of joy, and
put a gold chain round the tailor's neck.
When the shoemaker saw that one stroke had failed, he
con-  trived a second, and went to the King and said, "Lord
King, the tailor has
become insolent again. He boasts that he will copy in
wax the whole of the palace,
with everything that pertains to it, loose or fast,
inside and out."
The King sent for the tailor and ordered him to copy in
wax the whole of the royal
palace, with everything that pertained to it, movable
or immovable, within and
without. And if he did not succeed in doing this or if
so much as one nail on the
wall were wanting, he should be imprisoned for his
whole life under ground.
The tailor thought, "It gets worse and worse! No one
that!" and threw his bundle on his back, and went
When he came to the hollow tree, he sat down and hung
his head. The bees came
flying out, and the Queen-Bee asked him if he had a
stiff neck, since he held his
head so awry.
"Alas, no," answered the tailor, "something quite
different weighs me down," and he told her what the
King had demanded of
The bees began to buzz and hum amongst themselves, and
the Queen-Bee said,
"Just go home again. But come back to-morrow at this
time, and bring a
large sheet with you, and then all will be well."
So he turned back again, but the bees flew to the royal
palace and straight into it
through the open windows, crept round about into every
corner, and inspected
everything most carefully.
Then they hurried back and modeled the palace in wax
with such rapidity that any one
looking on would have thought it was growing before his
eyes. By the evening all
 And when the tailor came next morning, the whole of the
splendid building was there,
and not one nail in the wall or tile of the roof was
wanting, and it was delicate
withal and white as snow, and smelt sweet as honey.
The tailor wrapped it carefully in his cloth and took
it to the King, who could not
admire it enough, placed it in his largest hall, and in
return for it presented the
tailor with a large stone house.
The shoemaker, however, did not give up, but went for
the third time to the King and
said, "Lord King, it has come to the tailor's
ears that no water
will spring up in the courtyard of the castle. He has
boasted that it shall rise up
in the midst of the courtyard to a man's height
and be clear as
Then the King ordered the tailor to be brought before
him and said, "If a
stream of water does not rise in my courtyard by
to-morrow as you have promised, the
executioner shall in that very place make you shorter
by the head."
The poor tailor did not take long to think about it,
but hurried out to the gate,
and because this time it was a matter of life and death
to him, tears rolled down
Whilst he was thus going forth full of sorrow, the foal
to which he had formerly
given its liberty, and which had now become a beautiful
chestnut horse, came leaping
"The time has come," it said to the tailor, "when I
can repay you for your good deed. I know already what
is needful to you, but you
shall soon have help. Get on me, my back can carry two
such as you."
The tailor's courage came back to him. He
jumped up in one bound; and the
horse went full speed into the town, and
 right up to the courtyard of the castle. It galloped
as quick as lightning thrice
round it, and at the third time it fell violently down.
At the same instant there
was a terrific clap of thunder, a fragment of earth in
the middle of the courtyard
sprang like a cannon ball into the air, and over the
castle. Directly after it, a
jet of water rose as high as a man on horseback, and
the water was as pure as
crystal, and the sunbeams began to dance on it.
When the King saw that he arose in amazement, and went
and embraced the tailor in
the sight of all men.
But good fortune did not last long. The King had
daughters in plenty, each one
prettier than the other, but he had no son.
So the malicious shoemaker betook himself for the
fourth time to the King, and said,
"Lord King, the tailor has not given up his arrogance.
He has now boasted
that if he liked, he could cause a son to be brought to
the Lord King through the
The King commanded the tailor to be summoned, and said,
"If you cause a
son to be brought to me within nine days, you shall
have my eldest daughter to
"The reward is indeed great," thought the little
would willingly do something for it, but the cherries
grow too high for me. If I
climb for them, the bough will break beneath me, and I
He went home, seated himself cross-legged on his
worktable, and thought over what
was to be done.
"It can't be managed," cried he at last. "I
will go away. After all I can't live in peace
 He tied up his bundle and hurried away to the gate.
When he got to the meadow, he
perceived his old friend the stork, who was walking
backward and forward like a
philosopher. Sometimes he stood still, took a frog
into close consideration, and at
length swallowed it down.
The stork came to him and greeted him. "I see," he
"that you have your pack on your back. Why are you
The tailor told him what the King had required of him,
and how he could not perform
it, and lamented his misfortune.
"Don't let your hair grow gray about that,"
stork. "I will help you out of your difficulty. For a
long time past, I
have carried the children in swaddling-clothes into the
town. So for once, I can
fetch a little Prince out of the well. Go home and be
easy. In nine days from this
time repair to the royal palace and there will I come."
The little tailor went home, and at the appointed time
was at the castle. It was
not long before the stork came flying thither and
tapped at the window. The tailor
opened it, and Cousin Longlegs came carefully in, and
walked with solemn steps over
the smooth marble pavement.
He had a baby in his beak that was as lovely as an
angel, and stretched out its
little hands to the Queen. The stork laid it in her
lap, and she caressed it and
kissed it, and was beside herself with delight.
Before the stork flew away he took his traveling bag
off his back and handed it over
to the Queen. In it there were little paper parcels
full of colored sweetmeats, and
they were divided amongst the little Princesses.
 The eldest, however, had none of them, but got the
merry tailor for a husband.
"It seems to me," said he, "just as if I had won the
highest prize. My mother was right after all; she
always said that whoever trusts
in God and his own fortune can never fail."
The shoemaker had to make the shoes in which the little
tailor danced at the wedding
festival. After which he was commanded to quit the
town for ever.
The road to the forest led him to the gallows. Worn
out with anger, rage, and the
heat of the day, he threw himself down. When he had
closed his eyes and was about
to sleep, the two crows flew down from the heads of the
men who were hanging there,
and pecked his eyes out.
In his madness he ran into the forest and must have
died there of hunger, for no one
has ever either seen him again or heard of him.
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