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Thread Devil


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ver such a long time ago... How long ago? - Really long ago, then? I don't know! Once upon a time there was a splendid castle on a very large Hungarian royal estate; there was a ruler, a powerful magnate who had a lovely daughter called Wondersweet, and - a thread devil. Thread devil? Certainly not: Thread devil was no monster, but just a thin little tailor, so thin that everybody laughed when they caught sight of him, and laughed and laughed. He was poor as a church mouse, but excessively vain; this skinny little man considered himself far superior to everybody else. As he walked though the streets and lanes he always sang:

Cobbler, brewer, linen maker
Kaiser, king and undertaker
Peasant, scribe and nobleman
Merchant, joiner, sacristan:
Of all these types from life's full cup
Only the tailor 's one man up.

Only rogues are modest! This diminutive little tailor had taken it into his head, without a by your leave, that the said prince's daughter, the lovely Wondersweet, was to become his wife. To pursue his aims, he dressed up like a bridegroom. He had taken great pains in making himself a tall pointed cap, a coat, breeches and shoes made of peacock-blue material which fitted him as closely as the skin of an eel. He had a nickel watch attached to his waistcoat with a little silver chain. This watch, his Pappy Pockety, was his pride and joy. He treated this at the time rather rare instrument as a mysterious talisman, and everywhere he went it was regarded with the greatest respect. Thus equipped and armed, he made his way to the castle. Picture 77. Thread Devil and the Sentinel However, the beautiful heir to the throne, Wondersweet, was well looked after. He was stopped at the very first gate by an armed servant of the magnate, a ruffian in a scarlet outfit with a voice of thunder and drawn sword in his hand. He roared with laughter when he saw the tailor: "Hahahaha! What kind of an awkward, spindle-shanked specimen have we got here?! Haha haha! Where? To the prince? Haha haha! Are you sure you don't want to see our lovely little princess? Haha haha hahaha ..." The mercenary was in fits of laughter. But when Thread Devil called out: "Pappy Pockety", and started winding his watch, and when this began to creak, the laughter had already got stuck in the soldier's throat and choked him. The little tailor attributed the lethal effect not to his grotesque appearance, but to his Pappy Pockety. Proud as Punch he stepped over the dead warrior and headed for the castle. Here he encountered the castle guards, who reacted similarly when they caught sight of him. They nearly split their sides laughing. Thread Devil let his Pappy Pockety creak, and he passed through without hindrance. The king's personal pysician crossed the tailor's path unter the big arch, he laughed so much that his intestines became twisted and no cure could be found for him. - The watch creaked, and Thread Devil made his way ever further into the castle. The ladies-in-waiting and the ladies' maids screamed with laughter, collapsing into each other's arms, sobbing with hilarity in major and minor tones. But before they knew what was happening, the grotesquely thin little man with his creaking Pappy Pockety had hopped over them, run up the gold-ornamented staircase, had reached Princess Wondersweet's chamber and swept through the keyhole like a gale of wind. Picture 78. Before King and CourtThe beautiful little princess fell down in a dead faint when she saw the misshapen tailor. The tailor hid the lovely girl, and then, whistling merrily, he hopped saucily down to the throne room. Here, where the magnate had gathered his courtiers around him, the little tailor had the impact of an explosive: one burst of laughter followed the other. And when the court jester took the mannikin by the scruff of the neck and introduced him as "Prince Thread Devil from Asia Minor and Twinor!" such a tidal wave of laughter broke out that the towers of the castle began to shake. "My little princess simply must see this spider's leg!" gurgled the prince, half choked with laughter. Everybody called out: "But where is Princess Wondersweet?" Princess Wondersweet was nowhere to be found. Thereupon the most enigmatic smile in the world appeared on the tailor's face: "Pappy Pockety! Pappy Pockety!" The mysterious creaking of the watch could be heard and the laughter died away. "My noble prince and all you noble ladies and gentlemen - you will not find her! No wonder! She is here at my side invisible!" The smart tailor pretended she really was at his side; he stroked her cheeks, tapped her on her little nose, and even kissed her noisily. That was the end of the laugher: dead silence ensued. "You despicable fool, you!" said the magnate, enraged, and drew his sword. The little tailor again smiled so enigmatically that the prince lowered his sword, being afraid of hurting his beloved princess. "What do you want, you miserable sorcerer?" her father cried, greatly worried and full of dread and horror. - "Me? I demand nothing whatever. It is your little princess who is making demands! She loves me and she insists on having me as her husband!" Picture 79. The Princess Loves Dresses When they heard the tailor's statement, their tears of laughter turned into tears of grief, and the entire court wept a torrent of tears, as nobody could bear the thought of no longer having the magnate's lovely daughter among them. The ruler had no choice but to agree to the deal. The smart tailor secretly roused the princess from her faint by bending over her, holding the creaking watch to her ear and croaking softly: "Pappy Pockety! Pappy Pockety!" She came to. She also thought she had been invisible and accepted her fate. Thread Devil reigned for a long time, and knew how to live in peace with his beautiful wife. You ask how he managed that? The most beautiful dresses made by him of the most costly materials made her appear even more lovely than she already was. The other princesses even envied her her bony, skinny husband, because no tailor in the whole of Hungary was able to make such splendid robes.