Episode 24 – Seven at One Stroke

Episode 24 Show Notes

Source: Grimm’s Fairy Tales

  • This week on MYTH, we’ll be finishing up the holiday season with a story that has a nice mix of comedy and weirdness.  I thought we could use a little levity for the end of this dumpster fire of a year with a story about making a new beginning.  You’ll learn that some people will kill for a nice jam, that Spongebob Squarepants is a badass, and that heart disease really is the number one killer.   Then, in Gods and Monsters, you’ll discover why self-reliant women are basically demons.  This is the Myths Your Teacher Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures from around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them.  This is Episode 24, “Seven at One Stroke”.  As always, this episode is not safe for work.
  • This is a story I’ve been looking forward to telling since I started this podcast.  It’s one of the more upbeat stories from the Brothers Grimm, although a lot of the humor comes from the bizarre situations.  It’s a classic fairy tale kind of story, with a plucky but poor protagonist who is able to make the best of a bad situation with little more than grit, moxie, and a fuck the world attitude.  The tale was turned into a DIsney short, starring Mickey Mouse, though with most of the gore removed and the whole thing Disneyfied.
  • One summer morning, a little tailor was sitting at his workbench sewing and patching the clothes from the local villagers.  He was poor, and his shop was small, but the work was steady and the man (who doesn’t have a name in this story) was in high spirits.  The summer heat had started to rise, so he had opened a window to let in a little breeze as he worked.  From the street, he heard a quavery old woman’s voice calling “Jams!  Good jams, and cheap! Everyone knows the best jams are sold cheaply in the street!”  The tailor was starting to get a bit peckish, and jam sounded like it would be delicious.  “I’ll take some jam, old woman!”  
  • The woman hobbled over to the window with her heavy basket, laden with jars of jam, and pulled one out.  The tailor made a sour face.  “I’m not sure that’s the best one.  Can you take all of the jars out of that surprisingly large basket and set them out so I can inspect the virtually identical jars of virtually identical jams to make my pick.”  He looked closely at each jar, and opened each to take a big sniff.  He finally picked one, and said “These all smell great, but this one is the best.  Go ahead and measure out four ounces, although if you bump it up to a quarter pound, I’m cool with it.”  The woman gave him a look that would have curdled milk, but did as she was asked.  After all of the man’s picky bullshit, she’d hoped to make a much, much better sale.  She scooped out exactly four ounces and hobbled away muttering under her breath “Lousy no good cheap ass sonuvabitch asshole…”
  • The tailor paid the angry woman no mind, and took the jam back to his workbench, then went to the cupboard to get some bread.  He had a loaf of fresh, delicious brown bread, and he cut himself a nice, thick slice.  Then, he slathered his four ounces of jam over the bread and sniffed deeply.  “This smells delicious, and I want a nice big bite, but I bet anticipation will make it all the sweeter, so I’ll finish sewing this jacket before I eat.”  He set the bread on the edge of the table, next to him, and sewed on.  The smell was intoxicating, to the extent that you could almost see the smell turning into a cartoon hand and grabbing him by the nose.
  • The plan backfired a little, in that the little tailor was so excited about the prospect of eating his bread that his stitches started getting bigger and sloppier.   He tried harder to focus on his work, and therefore he didn’t notice that his tasty treat was gathering a shitload of flies.  The buzzing finally caught his attention, and he shooed them away.  “Who the fuck invited you assholes?”  Unfortunately, the story specifies that the flies do not understand any German (maybe they were American tourists), so they do whatever the hell they want.  Every time he turned back to try and work, the flies came back.  And they brought friends.  
  • Finally, the little tailor got fed up.  He grabbed a scrap of cloth from the other end of his workbench and turned on the flies.  “If you want it so bad, I’ll give it to you.”  Quick as lightning, he smashed the cloth against the wall, trying to kill the thieving flies.  He pulled it back and examined his handy-work.  The crushed, quivering corpses of no fewer than seven flies were breathing their last on the scrap of cloth in his hand.  
  • “Would you look at that.  That’s impressive, if I do say so myself.”  The longer he looked, the more impressed with his own skill and bravery he got.  “This is too incredible.  I need to let the whole town know about this!”  He grabbed up a belt from the corner of the workshop that he had been making for a local man, and he embroidered on it, in huge gold letters, ‘Seven at One Stroke!’
  • The belt looked magnificent, perfect for a man as incredible as himself.  “Fuck the town.  The whole goddamned world needs to hear about this!”  Swelling with completely unearned pride (I mean damn, dude, it was just some flies), he put on his belt with all the ceremony of a championship wrestler.  He looked around his workshop, and decided it was much too small for a man like him, clearly destined for greatness, so he decided to abandon his life and go see the world.  Fuck the people who had paid him to fix their clothes.  They’d figure it out eventually.
  • Before he left, he grabbed everything useful from the room he lived in behind the shop.  Of course, since he was very poor, that wasn’t saying much.  He ended up with an old block of cheese, rounded with age, which he put in his shirt pocket.  As he was leaving the house, he heard the struggles of a small bird caught in a briar patch next to the road.  He freed it from the thorns, and added it to his pocket with the cheese, which is an odd thing to do with a wild bird, but that’s why it’s a fairy tale.  Then he hit the road, looking for adventure, kidnapped bird marinating in old cheese in his pocket and a song in his heart.
  • He walked along briskly, a small skip in his step, and felt so full of excitement that he didn’t feel any fatigue from walking farther from his home than he had ever been in his life.  The road led him up the side of a mountain, which he had always seen in the distance from town.  Near the peak, in a clearing next to the road, sat a powerful looking giant.  Now, you’re probably expecting this giant to be a dick right out the gate, maybe give some rhyming couplet about smelling the blood of an Englishman, but he didn’t (and not just because the tailor was German).  No, he was just sitting there peacefully, watching the day pass.
  • The little tailor immediately walked up to the giant, and poked him in the leg.  “Hey, big guy!  You look awfully comfortable there, sitting and overlooking the whole world spread out before you.  I am headed over that way (although I don’t exactly have a plan as to where I’m going), and I thought you might want to come with me.  You seem cool enough to hang with someone as awesome as me.”
  • The giant focused slowly on the very tiny man standing next to his knee.  “The fuck you say, little man?  Why the hell would I want to go anywhere with a puny piece of shit like you?”  Okay, so the giant was a little bit of a huge dick right out of the gate, but it is more than a little odd to be approached by a complete stranger and asked to go off to nowhere in particular for no reason in particular, so maybe his annoyance is a little justified.
  • “Fair enough, buddy.  Here, take a look at this and see just what kind of man I am.”  He pulled back his coat and thrust out his hips so that the giant could more easily read the belt he made for himself.  The giant thought to himself “Seven at one stroke, huh?  Damn, this little asshole killed seven men at once?  No wonder he’s so unafraid of me.  Maybe I should show him a little respect after all.  Of course, he could be lying.  You can write just anything on a belt.  I’ll test him first.”  No sooner thought than begun, he grabbed a large stone and squeezed it so hard that water dripped out of it and ran down his hand.  “Your turn, tiny.  Do the same, if you’re not too weak.”
  • Now, any rational person would make a small meep of fear and try to talk their way out of this situation, or maybe just run the hell away, but the little tailor was very clever, and more than a little bit insane.  “Is that all?  Child’s play.”  He put his hand into his shirt pocket and drew out the old cheese.  He held up his fist for the giant to see, and squeezed until liquid dripped out of it and ran down his fist.  Then he put the cheese back in his pocket  The giant was shocked.  Not only had he managed it, but he had actually gotten more water out of a smaller rock than the giant!  He wasn’t quite ready to call it quits though.
  • He took the stone that was still in his hand, and he hurled it straight upwards.  It sailed high up into the clouds until it was too small to see.  “Bet you can’t do that.”  “Not bad, Mr. Giant, but it will after all come crashing back to earth in a few more moments.  I can do you one better.  I can throw a rock so high that it never comes back down.”  The little tailor reached into his pocket again, but this time he took out the little bird, which had decided to just hang out there for reasons that I’m sure made sense to a bird’s mind.  He hurled the poor thing straight upwards.  Naturally, it didn’t want to fall to its death, so it took wing and sailed off.  The giant followed it until it was out of sight, but even well after his own stone had fallen again, the little bird didn’t come back.  “How does that grab you, buddy?”
  • “You certainly can throw, I’ll give you that you insect of a man.  There’s still one more test of true strength though.  Let’s see if you can carry a proper heavy weight.”  He heaved himself to his feet and walked over to a massive oak tree that had fallen in a storm not long ago.  “Here you are, wee man.  If you’re as strong as you say you are, you should have no problem helping me carry this tree out of the forest and down the mountain.”  “No problem, my good giant.  You grab the trunk up front there, and I’ll grab the branches and twigs back here, which are so abundant that they are definitely the heaviest part.”
  • The giant heaved the trunk onto his shoulders, and as soon as it was settled, the little tailor seated himself in a crooked branch right behind the giant.  If you’ve ever seen a muscle-bound bro at the gym, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the giant was far too swole to be able to look over his shoulder and see if the little man was helping or not.  Given how long his stride was, he had assumed he would quickly outpace the man, or maybe drag him along in his wake.  Instead, the little tailor spent the entire journey singing an annoyingly cheerful tune about three tailors (and no, I have no idea what the song is).  
  • The giant carried the heavy burden (and the little tailor to boot) as far as he could until, panting and puffing, he called out “I can’t go any farther.  I gotta drop it here!”  Immediately, the tailor hopped to the ground and wrapped his arms around the branches as though he had been carrying them the whole time.  “You sure, man?  I can keep going if you want.  For such a big man, you sure have shitty endurance.”
  • The giant was really not sure what to make of this.  He’d never met a human who could outperform him this way before.  He decided to journey with the man for a little ways, at least until he caught his breath.  The two soon came to a cherry tree, and the giant, who had actually done quite a bit of work rather than just faking it, grabbed the very top of the tree, where the ripest fruit was, and bent it down so that the little tailor could get some too.  Once the tailor put his hands on it, the giant let it go fully expecting that this monster of a man would be able to hold it.  Of course, he absolutely couldn’t because this wasn’t something he could easily fake.
  • The tree sprang upwards like a catapult, and threw the little tailor up into the air, over the tree, and into some bushes on the other side.  The giant frowned, confused.  “Hey, little man, what the fuck?  You were able to carry that huge tree, but you couldn’t hold on to this little sapling?  Are you that weak after all?”  THe tailor, thinking quickly, shook his head.  Even though he was a little battered from his fall into the bushes, his mind was a quick as ever.  “It’s not a lack of strength, dumbass.  Do you think a man who struck seven at one blow couldn’t handle such a minor task?  I leapt over the tree because the huntsmen are shooting down in that thicket.  And what about you, giant?  Do you think you can jump over the tree the way that I clearly just did?”
  • The giant, angered at being called out by such a wee man yet again, lost the train of thought he’d been building towards maybe realizing he was being tricked, crouched down and leapt as hard as he could at the tree.  He only made it about halfway, and got hung up in the branches.  Once again, the little tailor had done something the giant could not (or at least made it look that way), and the giant climbed down in shame.  “Alright, little guy.  If you’re as brave as you say, I doubt you’ll mind coming with me to spend the night in my cave with all of my giant friends.”
  • The tailor shrugged.  What had a man who killed seven at one blow to fear from a cave full of potentially pissed off giants?  “Lead the way, Tiny.”  He followed the giant to the cave, near the base of the mountain.  Inside, many giants were sitting around a bonfire, each holding an entire sheep that had been roasted over the roaring flames.  The tailor looked around.  He didn’t think “My, that’s a lot of giants.”  He didn’t think “I might possibly have shot my mouth off one too many times.”  No, he thought “This is nice.  Much bigger than my old workshop.”
  • They gave him some of their sheep, and the giant he had demeaningly nicknamed Tiny showed him to a spare bed near the back of the cave.  The flames had mostly died down by now, and the other giants all went for their own beds.  The little tailor climbed up the bedpost and onto the huge, lumpy mattress.  It had been sized for a giant, so it was far too large for a man, and a small one at that.  He found the least lumpy part he could, near the bottom corner, curled up, and went to sleep.
  • Around midnight, when the cave was as still, as dark, and as quiet as the grave, the giant rose from his bed in perfect silence.  For such large creatures, they could move shockingly quietly, and he crept and skulked until he lurked over the bed where the little tailor slept.  In the faint light of the nearly dead fires, steel gleamed as the giant raised a great iron bar he had sharpened on the stones until it did a fair impression of a Scottish claymore.  With a grunt of effort, he brought the blade slashing down, slicing the bed (and presumably the annoying little asshole lying in it) in two messy pieces.  Then, the giant went back to his bed and slept an untroubled, dreamless sleep.
  • The sun rose in the morning, and woke the giant from the best sleep he’d had in awhile.  He stretched, and turned to admire his handiwork.  The bed was every bit as destroyed as he’d thought, and he chuckled at the destruction he had wrought.  “Guess the little bastard wasn’t as tough as he thought, huh?”  Still chuckling evilly, he went with the other giants as they wandered off into the forest to search for food and do whatever it is that giants do when no one is watching, completely forgetting about the cooling corpse of the dead tailor.
  • He was therefore more than a little shocked and terrified when the little tailor strolled out of the cave and sauntered up to his murderous host.  All of the giants knew what the first one had been up to, and they had all seen the severed bed, so this tiny, apparently indestructible man terrified them (it apparently never occurred to them that, even though they split the giant bed in half, they could easily have missed the diminutive man).  Convinced that he was about to start dancing death amongst them (and having killed seven at one stroke, he could totally do it), they fled panicked into the forest.  The little tailor watched them go, bemused, and continued on his way.  If the guy was going to try to kill him, he wouldn’t have made a good companion anyway.
  • He wandered down the first road he stumbled across, with absolutely no fucking clue where it went.  He honestly didn’t much care.  After many hours of walking, he came to a city, and then on to the courtyard of a royal palace.  It had been a long day, and that lumpy bed hadn’t been great for sleeping (not to mention an assassination attempt), so he decided this grassy knoll was the perfect place to drop down and take a nap like the homeless man he now basically was.
  • It wasn’t long before people started to notice the man taking a nap just outside the palace, and they all read the magnificent belt the tailor had made himself.  No one, they thought, would possibly have wasted so much money on such a gaudy belt if it weren’t true.  And no one, they also thought, would be able to afford to wander the countryside and fall asleep in public with no fear of thieves unless he were a truly great warrior.  In fact, as you know, he was just a poor man who made himself a ridiculous trophy for a stupid victory and was too naive to be scared of the things that should frighten him.  “Why would a mighty warrior come here in peace time?  He must be a powerful lord.”
  • The palace guards soon heard the crowd’s mutterings, and carried the rumors inside the palace to the king.  His advisors told him that, although they weren’t actually at war at the moment, it could break out at any minute; if it did, the kingdom would need such a dangerous warrior to fight on its side.  After all, if they let him leave, the next kingdom might snatch him up and send the fighter against this kingdom!  That simply couldn’t be allowed.  
  • The king nodded sagely, and agreed that this was good advice.  He sent one of them down to offer a place in the military to the sleeping warrior when he woke up.  The poor guy had to stand there, watching a stranger sleep as the crowd shuffled by, for several hours before the little tailor finally yawned and stretched his way awake.  The advisor passed on the king’s proposal to the little man, who considered it.  The little tailor smiled.  “That seems like more or less the reason I came this way, I guess.  I’ll take it!”  He was escorted into the palace with an honor guard, and given a special room in the barracks, bigger and nicer than that of most of the soldiers.
  • This pissed off the local soldiers, naturally enough.  “Who the fuck is this asshole?  I’ve been working my way up the ranks for ten years now, and this bastard falls asleep in the yard and is immediately promoted above me?  Above all of us?”  A second soldier punched him in the shoulder.  “Yeah, it’s be great if he was a thousand miles away, but he’s not.  What the hell do you want us to do, huh?  If we fight him, he’ll kill seven of us with every sword swing.  You saw that belt!  They don’t just give those away!  None of us can possibly survive a fight against him.”  The first soldier’s face fell.  “Yeah, you’re probably right, buddy.  We don’t really stand a chance against him.  Honestly, with him around?  What good are we?”  
  • They talked it over, and the soldiers all came to the decision that the combination of feeling worthless and afraid of the new swordsman was enough that they all needed to resign immediately.  They went to the king to let him know that the entire army was going to quit.  The king was not pleased about this.  These soldiers had all given good service for years, and one man, no matter how good, is not an army.  He began to wish he’d never seen the little man.  He thought about firing him, but he was worried that if he pissed the man off, he’d lay waste to his guard and execute him, and there was nothing any of them could do to stop it.  The man would probably be able to put himself on the throne at that point, and who would say no?
  • He thought about this thorny problem for a long time, and at last came to a solution he thought was a good one.  He summoned his new warrior.  “My new friend, I have a request to ask of you.  Since you are such a great warrior, you might be able to succeed where the platoon of soldiers I sent before failed.  In a nearby forest, there live two giants who are total dicks.  They rob and/or murder everyone that they happen across, and they pillage, rape, and burn the villages whenever they get bored.  If you can conquer and kill these two dangerous creatures, I will marry you to my beautiful daughter and give you half my kingdom as dowry.  I’ll even send 100 horsemen as backup for you.  Will you do it?”
  • The little tailor thought it over.  “This is a pretty incredible offer.  It’s not every day that you get a chance to marry a princess and get half a kingdom in the bargain.  I’d be an idiot not to go fight these massive, bloodthirsty giants who have totally killed better soldiers than I.  They clearly weren’t as clever or as awesome or as clearly destined for greatness, and they couldn’t kill seven at one blow.  It’ll work out, because I believe in myself.”  I think it’s important to reiterate here that the only thing he’s ever fought and killed in his life are some flies, but he believes in the power of positive thinking.  If he was a fry cook instead of a tailor, he’d basically be Spongebob Squarepants.
  • “Your highness, of course I will kill the giants.  It’s a task worthy of someone as great as I am.  I won’t need your 100 horsemen though.  They’d just get in the way of someone who can hit seven with one blow.  I have no need to fear only two.”  The king was happy to hear that he wouldn’t have to lose a bunch of good men to get the little bastard good and killed.  He sent the man off with his blessing, accompanied by the horsemen, who had orders to stay back safely from the giants while the little warrior went to kill them.
  • When they reached the outskirts of the forest, the little tailor told everyone else to wait there for him to come back.  “I’ll be back soon.  Two giants won’t be much of a challenge.”  He marched boldly into the forest, and the horsemen were sure they had seen the last of him.  They started taking bets on how long it would be before they heard him start to scream.
  • After about fifteen minutes of searching, the little tailor found the giants sleeping under a massive tree.  Therir snores sounded like a handful of change getting sucked into a garbage disposal, and were so powerful that the very branches of the tree swayed with each breath.  He grabbed enough stones to fill both his pockets, and then he quietly climbed the tree until he was directly above the giants, half way up the tree.  He sat on a branch, judged the angles, and then dropped a stone right on the forehead of one of the sleeping giants.
  • The sleeping giant awoke, grumpy and with the beginnings of a headache.  He looked over at the form of his friend, apparently asleep next to him.  With a muttered curse, the first giant slapped the second giant in the chest.  Hard.  “Here now, burv.  Why the fuck did you hit me in my bloody face while I was sleepin’ and then try an’ pretend you was sleepin’ your own self?”  I’m not entirely sure why I made the giants bad British stereotypes, but it just felt right, you know?  The second giant shoved the first.  “Cor blimey, you bell end!  I wasn’t do nuffin afore you went an’ slapped me!  You musta been dreamin’.  Go back to sleep.”
  • Unsatisfied, they each gave the other a mistrustful look, and then laid back down to sleep.  In a few minutes, the snores had started up again, somehow even louder than before.  The little tailor took aim again, and dropped a stone on the chest of the second giant.  He woke up with a start, and slapped his sleeping friend upside the head.  “The fuck you do that for?  I told you, you wanker, I didn’ do nuffin!  Why are you smacking me?”  The first giant woke up with his bell rung, and rubbed the side of his head, strongly considering ripping his friend’s arm off and beating him about the shoulders with it.  “I ain’t peltin’ you!  You started this shit, so fuck off.  Get back to sleep.”  They both laid down to sleep, but kept a mistrustful eye on each other until they each dozed off yet again.  
  • The little tailor stifled a chuckle and picked out the biggest, sharpest rock he had in his pockets.  He took aim and let fly.  It dropped hard right in the first giant’s babymaker.  His eyes flew open, though he was a bit cross-eyed, and he jumped to his feet.  “That’s bloody well it!  I’ll kill you, arsehole!”  He grabbed his friend off the ground and threw him against the tree.  The second giant was having none of this, since he knew he hadn’t done whatever the first giant thought he had.  He punched his friend square in the jaw.  After that, both giants were out for blood.  
  • They got into such a rage that their fight tore up all of the trees near the one they’d been sleeping under, and made a thunderous racket that could be heard for miles.  The two were equal fighters, though, and neither one would give up first, so they fought until both had exhausted themselves.  Eventually, the strain proved too much for them and both of their hearts gave out, almost simultaneously, and they collapsed, dead, against the tree the little tailor was still hiding in.  Fortunately, it had somehow escaped the devastation (because it’s far better to be lucky than good), so he was able to climb down unharmed.  “It’s lucky they didn’t knock my tree down.  Of course, if they had, I would have just leapt into another nearby one, because we tailors are so nimble.”  
  • He climbed up onto the dead giants, drew his sword, and stabbed both of them repeatedly in the chest and neck.  Then, covered in the blood of the desecrated corpses, he walked out of the forest to meet the horsemen who were sure he was dead.  Each and every face went pale as they saw the bloody ghost of the tailor coming to haunt them for leading him to his doom.  It wasn’t until he gave a cheerful wave that they realized he was, in fact, alive and unharmed.
  • “It’s done, guys.  Both of them are dead.  You can go check it out yourselves, if you like.  They put up one hell of a fight, and ripped up a lot of the trees in the struggle, but the outcome was never in doubt, not against someone who, like myself, can kill seven at one blow.”  “Jesus, you’re not even wounded!”  “Damn straight.  They didn’t even muss up my hair.  They did bleed real good though.  Anyone got a towel I can use?”
  • The horsemen reasonably suspected a trick, so they rode into the forest to see for themselves.  Of course, they are in fact being tricked, but not the way they’re expecting, so it works.  They find the two giant corpses, covered in stab wounds, and are forced to conclude that the tiny, unarmored man did in fact just fight two giants to the death and win in a fair, stand up fight.  They escorted him back to the king, more terrified of him than they had been before they left (and they had already been scared enough to want to quit a well-paying job with no tangible skills to get another).
  • He went back to see the king and demanded the promised reward.  He had, in fact, killed the giants, so honestly, I think he’s completely entitled to it.  The king disagreed.  He had originally wanted this brute gone simply to keep his army intact.  Now, he was genuinely terrified of what the man was capable of.  He had killed two blood-thirsty giants single-handedly, so a puny king would be no problem.  So his mind raced, trying to think of a way to get this dangerous asshole killed before he became violent.
  • “You have proven yourself to me, o great warrior, but you must also prove yourself worthy to my daughter.  In the forest of our kingdom roams a unicorn, and it’s a danger to the kingdom.  You must catch it, and capture my daughter’s heart.”  The little tailor scoffed.  “Is that all?  Seven at one stroke is more my speed, so this will be a breeze.”  The crazy part about this whole thing is that, to the tailor, this isn’t pure bravado.  He genuinely thinks killing seven flies makes him the shit, and anything else will be easy.  The even crazier part is that he seems to be able to back it up with clever thinking and massive balls.
  • The little tailor grabbed an axe and some rope from the palace tool room, and then headed out into the forest.  Again, the king sent an escort to check the body once the man was dead, and again the tailor told them to hang out at the edge of the forest until he came back.  It didn’t take him long to track down the unicorn.  It stood in a clearing, beautiful and majestic.  It took notice of the little man, whinnied, and charged at him, horn leveled at his chest, trying to gore him to death at the first pass.
  • Now, you were probably expecting this to be about trying to track down the unicorn and cleverly trapping it, but it’s not.  In a lot of the old stories, unicorns are fucking dangerous beasts.  Unless you happen to be a virgin (and from the unicorn’s reaction, the tailor has got his share of pussy in the past), unicorns will go wild and try to kill any unlucky son of a bitch they happen upon.
  • The tailor watched the unicorn charging him.  “Seriously?  You can’t think I’ll make it that easy on you, do you beasty?”  He stood his ground, and waited until the unicorn was almost on him before springing nimbly behind the tree he’d kept at his back.  The unicorn was a big animal, and it couldn’t change its course very quickly, so it plowed into the tree at full speed, burying its horn in the wood.  It screamed and jerked, but its horn was caught fast.  The tailor had caught the unicorn, just like that.  He carefully approached the unicorn, mindful of its hooves, and tied the rope around its neck.  Then, using his axe, he cut into the tree until the horn could be pulled out again.  The unicorn was smart enough to be scared of this man, so it didn’t put up much fight as he led it back to the king.
  • The king could hardly believe his eyes.  Who the fuck WAS this guy?  Since this is a fairy tale, you know the king had to try to kill him a third time.  These old stories take the rule of threes seriously.  “You truly are as great as your reputation says, my soon to be son, and my daughter is as impressed as I am.  We will start the wedding preparations immediately, but there is one little problem.  A man as amazing as you deserves a great wedding feast, and we don’t have anything appropriate in the larders.  There is, however, a massive wild boar roaming the kingdom and doing great harm to my people, which would make a fine feast.  Could you go and catch him?  Make sure you bring him alive so we can keep him fresh until the wedding day.  You will, of course, have the help of my huntsmen.”
  • The tailor smiled.  He’d never had wild boar before.  “Child’s play, your kingliness.  I won’t need any help.”  A third time he rode to the forest, and a third time he bade the soldiers to stay at the edge of the forest and rode in alone.  The king had tried to have this boar killed before, and the soldiers there had lost friends to his wicked tusks, so they were more than happy to stay the fuck out of it.
  • The usual procedure is to find the boar, get it to charge you, and have it impale itself on a massive spear you set against the ground as it charges you.  The little tailor didn’t know this, and wouldn’t have cared if he did.  He went in with his usual blase manner, and soon spotted the boar, who spotted him right back.  It bellowed, and charged the tailor, foaming at the mouth.  He could see the razor sharp tusks on the beast, stained with the blood of all the creatures it had killed before.  The tailor turned and ran, and the beast gave chase.  
  • The tailor dashed into a nearby chapel he had spotted, down the aisle, and out the small window in the back in a single nimble leap.  He raced around the side and slammed the door shut with the boar inside.  The boar was far too large and heavy to follow the tailor out the window, and too dumb to smash its way out of the now-closed door, so it was stuck.  He went to the huntsmen and asked them to come see his prize and take it back to the kingdom to be slaughtered while he went to the king to declare his third victory.  
  • The king was out of excuses and delays, so the wedding was duly organized and, shortly thereafter, the little tailor was married to the princess and made queen of half the kingdom, which now belonged to the little tailor.  It’s probably good for the king’s pride that he didn’t know that he had been bested by a poor tailor, who was now a king himself.
  • If this weren’t a Grimm story, it would probably end there.  But it is, so it doesn’t.  A few weeks went by of wedded something.  Not bliss.  Definitely not bliss.  The young queen wasn’t entirely happy about being married off to a stranger in a desperate, failed gambit to get rid of him, and she was, in truth, kind of a spoiled bitch.  Imagine any rich villainess from an 80s teen movie, and you’ll get a good idea of her personality.  One night, she lay in bed unable to sleep.  Her husband had dozed off right away, snoring softly.  She was trying to resign herself to being married to this guy, but there was something about him she didn’t like.  She couldn’t figure out what exactly.  
  • As they lay there, the king began to mumble in his sleep: “Boy, make me a doublet, and patch these pants!  Quickly now, or I will beat you upside the head with my measuring stick!”  The queen was immediately suspicious.  No rich person would have a dream like that.  They wouldn’t have the context.  Now she knew what had been bothering her.  She could smell poverty on someone from a mile away.  
  • The next morning, she had a trusted servant do some digging into her mysterious husband, and soon learned the whole story.  Then, she did the thing every spoiled rich bitch does when things go wrong.  She went crying to daddy.  “Daddy, why did you marry me off to a commoner?  And a poor one at that?”  The king was understandably confused.  “You mean the giant-killing, unicorn-trapping, boar-capturing hero?”  “Yes, daddy.  He’s a dirt poor commoner!  Fix it, daddy!  Fix it now!”  The king tried to comfort his crying, hysterical, spoiled daughter and think of a plan at the same time.  It was a challenge, but he finally decided on a plan of action.
  • “When you go to bed, my dear, leave your bedroom door open.  I’ll have servants stand outside your room once it gets dark and wait for the snores.  When they’re sure he’s asleep, they’ll sneak in, tie his ass up, and shanghai him.  Literally.  He’ll be dropped on a ship headed for Shanghai.  He’ll be lost in the wide, wide world and never bother us again.  The young queen thought this was a fine idea, and agreed to it.
  • They would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for the king’s armor bearer.  Royalty (at least, royalty that was never a commoner) tends to not see servants, so he was in the room the whole time, listening.  He rather liked the new king, and he rather hated the young queen (who was a total bitch to the common man, as we’ve already seen in her reaction to her husband’s background).  He thought about his options for all of about ten seconds, and then he decided to spill the beans to the little tailor king.  
  • “Thanks for letting me know, Klaus.  It means a lot that you’d help me like this.  And forewarned, I’m going to put a screw in their plan.  This’ll be fun.”  That night, he went to bed with his beautiful, frigid wife as usual.  He pretended to fall asleep, complete with the light snores his wife had complained about several times.  Once his wife heard that, she got up quietly, opened the door, and lay back down.  
  • The little tailor began to mutter in his faux-sleep.  “Boy, make me a doublet, and patch these pants!  Quickly now, or I will beat you upside the head with my measuring stick!  I smote seven at one blow.  I killed two giants, I snared a unicorn, and I caught a wild boar, so am I to fear the men waiting for me right outside my door?”  He sat bolt upright and glared at the door.  The soldiers heard this and saw him glaring at them.  “Holy shit!  He’s a deadly warrior AND he’s psychic!  Run away!”  None of them were willing to try anything else against the tiny man, and the story spread and grew through the barracks, and by the next night, no one was willing to raise a hand against the little tailor.  And so, he remained a king to the end of his days, married to a queen who pretty much hated him.  
  • It’s as close to a happy ending as you’re going to get in a Grimm’s fairy tale, so that makes it time for Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.  This week’s monster is the drude.
  • The word’s origins are disputed, but it refers to a Germanic demon with a straight-up fetish for virgins and young girls (so he’d fit right in to the modern political climate).  It’s a malevolent nocturnal spirit, sometimes considered to be either an elf, a kobold, or a night hag, commonly associated with nightmares.  The poor possessed girls would have no idea that they were carrying a demon parasite inside them, but it would manifest by making the women more assertive and self-reliant (because naturally, the only reason a woman would ever want to assert herself or be thought of as an equal is because she is possessed by an evil demon right?).
  • While the woman sleeps, the drude can separate itself from the host body, and wander on its own, either in human form or as a vaporous mist.  It’s natural form, when not possessing a woman and making her evil (and by evil, I just mean assertive), is a fat, ugly, disgusting hag or witch because again, people thought women thinking they were people was dangerous and ugly.  
  • The wandering spirit of female empowerment will then wander the village and look for a helpless, sleeping man to destroy (because that’s what weak, scared dudes think powerful women want even today).  It will turn to vapor to pass through the crack in the door, then it will sit on the chest of its victim and crush the life out of them (similar to the Popobawa from way back in Episode 2).  
  • The drude is also one of the creatures known to participate in the Wild Hunt, a European folk myth about a group of ghostly huntsmen who ride the night sky looking for people to track and kill.  The participants are usually fairies and elves, or sometimes spirits of the dead, and is led by a single, powerful figure.  This is usually a form of Odin, from Norse mythology, but can also be a historical or legendary figure, such as the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, or biblical figures such as Herod, Cain, Gabriel, or the Devil himself (the specifics vary by region, and this legend extends through Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.  Seeing the Wild Hunt was believed to be a sign of some great catastrophe on the horizon, such as a war or plague, or sometimes just the impending doom of the unlucky witness (if they weren’t killed by the hunt straight off).  
  • The only way to kill the drude is to entice it to enter a domestic pet that happens to be a virgin (which is kind of a weird thing).  The drude will get stuck, and will die when the pet does (although the pet will become willful and disobedient from that point on).  Some stories claim that the pet doesn’t need to actually be a virgin as long as the pet’s owner is a virgin instead.  So if you’re worried that your virgin girlfriend has started to think of herself as a real person, A, you should probably reassess why you are afraid of strong women you dick and B, you should buy her a brand new puppy.  If it doesn’t kill the drude maybe living inside her, you’ll at least have a new puppy to distract her from having thoughts and opinions.
  • That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, on Stitcher or on TuneIn, or you can follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth and on Instagram as Myths Your Teacher Hated Pod.  You can also find news and episodes on our website at myths your teacher hated dot com.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes.  These reviews really help increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any gods or monsters you’d want to learn about, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.
  • Next time, we’ll be doing a listener request and telling one of the earliest stories known to mankind, a myth from ancient Assyria and Babylon.  You’ll learn that gods don’t want to work they just want to bang on their drums all day, that ancient gods had some pretty freaky orgies, and that if you’re a god, you should never trust your children.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s an ancient evil made famous in a modern(ish) horror film.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.