020. The Brave Little Tailor

by crfricke

*This post is part of A Grimm Project, a series of short fiction pieces using each of the Brothers Grimms’ Nursery and Household Tales as writing prompts. For more information about the project, click here. For more about the story which inspired this freewrite, click here.*

We sisters met at nightfall, something our husbands had ever been too thick, or too puffed up with bravado, to consider. We giants’ wives do not enjoy showing off our bulk. And so it was in shadows that we whispered — what are we to do about the tailor?

I’ll rip his head off his lanky neck with my own hands, said Hattie. I don’t care if anyone else comes with me.

Hush now, counseled Bertha. He killed seven men with one blow, and our husbands with less than the same.

My husband cowers in his cave since the tailor’s visit, said Elspeth. He’s never been in such a fright.  And not a word of vengeance for his friends! The children shouldn’t see him like this, reduced to a whimpering babe. I wish I didn’t have to.

Bertha’s right, whispered Minnie. He’s too much for any one of us. But all the more reason we should unite.

Yes, it’s up to all of us now, we all agreed. If any one of us were to claim that we were unafraid, it would have been a falsehood. The tailor, it seemed, was in possession of a fearsomeness that mere strength, size, and blood lust could not contend with. He had clearly outwitted our men, and wit is the most fearsome weapon.

But here’s what most forget, about a giant’s wife: she is clever. A giant’s wife is the one who soothes her violent husband while an Englishman hides in the pantry baskets. She is enormous, with brains proportionate to her size, unlike her mate. And the tailor, god willing, had already played his tricks.

We changed into our husbands’ leathers and breastplates and, for good measure, nabbed their clubs and spears as well. All the doing would need, though, once the man was caught, was but a one of our heavy fists. It was the catching — yes, that was where Death waited for us, ready to take his chance should we be led astray by one of the tailor’s ploys. But we knew where the man slumbered. We were ready.

Cate Fricke
June 2014

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

Illustration by Arthur Rackham