UW – Grimm’s Unicorn

In the Grimms' Fairytale about the brave Little Tailor, a King tries to dispose of the hero by setting him impossible tasks, starting with the slaying of two giants that have been terrorizing the land and rashly promising the tailor half the kingdom and his daughters hand in marriage if he succeeds. Well, the wily tailor disposed of the giants by climbing a tree above their heads while they slept and tossing rocks at them, so each giant thought the other was doing it. Then in the fight that followed ( egged on by timely rocks thrown from above ) they ended up killing each other in their rage. 

Then the tailor demanded his reward of the King, who regretted his rash promises, despite relief at the giants deaths, and thought of a new plan to shake off the hero. 

"Before I can give you my daughter and half my kingdom" said he, "you must first rid us of another menace to our realm because we'll have no peace until then. In the forest there lives a unicorn that kills everyone it meets. Catch the beast and bring him to me, and then you can have your reward". 

"I'm less frightened of a unicorn than two giants!" said the tailor coolly and, gathering a rope and an axe, he set off gaily towards the forest with a troop of the Kings soldiers. Once there he told his reluctant companions to wait on the outskirts and went on in alone. It did not take long for the unicorn to scent him and circle around, looking for an opening to charge. 

"Steady! Steady!" cried the Tailor. "You're not going to have me that easily". He lined himself up carefully and when the beast charged he ran for all he was worth and when it was right on his heels, thundering and screaming like a steam train, the Tailor sprang nimbly behind the tree he was aiming for. The unicorn, too slow to turn, ran straight into the tree and its horn rammed deep into the trunk and stuck fast. 

"Now I have you", cried the tailor; and with much care, he came back, tied up the unicorn with his rope and then cut the horn free with his axe. Then he led the the hobbled creature in triumph out of the woods and back to the palace to claim his reward and the hand of his princess. 

Nigel Suckling

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