The Sprightly Tailor
A sprightly tailor was employed by
the great Macdonald, in his
castle at Saddell, in order to make the laird a pair of
in olden time. And trews being the vest and breeches united
piece, and ornamented with fringes, were very comfortable,
suitable to be worn in walking or dancing. And Macdonald
had said to
the tailor, that if he would make the trews by night in
he would get a handsome reward. For it was thought that
ruined church was haunted, and that fearsome things were
to be seen
there at night.
The tailor was well aware of this - but he was a sprightly
when the laird dared him to make the trews by night in
the tailor was not to be daunted, but took it in hand to
prize. So, when night came, away he went up the glen, about
mile distance from the castle, till he came to the old
he chose him a nice gravestone for a seat and he lighted
and put on his thimble, and set to work at the trews - plying
needle nimbly, and thinking about the hire that the laird
to give him.
For some time he got on pretty well, until he felt the
floor all of
a tremble under his feet - and looking about him, but keeping
fingers at work, he saw the appearance of a great human
up through the stone pavement of the church. And when the
risen above the surface, there came from it a great, great
And the voice said, "Do you see this great head of
"I see that, but I'll sew this!" replied
the sprightly tailor - and
he stitched away at the trews.
Then the head rose higher up through the pavement, until
appeared. And when its neck was shown, the thundering voice
again and said, "Do you see this great neck of mine?"
"I see that, but I'll sew this!" said
the sprightly tailor - and he
stitched away at his trews.
Then the head and neck rose higher still, until the great
and chest were shown above the ground. And again the mighty
thundered, "Do you see this great chest of mine?"
And again the sprightly tailor
replied, "I see that,
but I'll sew
this!" and stitched away at his trews.
And still it kept rising through the pavement, until it
great pair of arms in the tailor's face, and said, "Do
you see these
great arms of mine?"
"I see those, but I'll sew this!" answered
the tailor - and he
stitched hard at his trews, for he knew that he had no
time to lose.
The sprightly tailor was taking the long stitches, when
he saw it
gradually rising and rising through the floor, until it
lifted out a
great leg, and stamping with it upon the pavement, said
in a roaring
voice, "Do you see this great leg of mine?"
"Aye, aye, I see that, but I'll sew this!" cried
the tailor - and his
fingers flew with the needle, and he took such long stitches,
he was just come to the end of the trews, when it was taking
other leg. But before it could pull it out of the pavement,
sprightly tailor had finished his task - and, blowing out
and springing from off his gravestone, he buckled up, and
ran out of
the church with the trews under his arm. Then the fearsome
gave a loud roar, and stamped with both his feet upon the
and out of the church he went after the sprightly tailor.
Down the glen they ran, faster than the stream when the
it - but the tailor had got the start and a nimble pair
of legs, and
he did not choose to lose the laird's reward. And though
roared to him to stop, yet the sprightly tailor was not
the man to
be beholden to a monster. So he held his trews tight, and
darkness grow under his feet, until he had reached Saddell
He had no sooner got inside the gate, and shut it, than
apparition came up to it - and, enraged at losing his prize,
the wall above the gate, and left there the mark of his
fingers. Ye may see them plainly to this day, if ye'll
But the sprightly tailor gained
his reward - for Macdonald paid him
handsomely for the trews, and never discovered that a few
stitches were somewhat long.