Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
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Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
 
The Tailor in Hell
Humorous Ballad (End of 18th Century)
 
A TAILOR ’gan to wander
One Monday morning fair,
And then he met the devil,
Whose feet and legs were bare:
“Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,        5
Come now with me to hell—oh,
And measure clothes for us to wear,
For what you will is well, oh!”
 
The tailor measured, then he took
His scissors long and clipped        10
The devils’ little tails all off,
And to and fro they skipped.
“Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
Now hie thee out of hell—oh,
We do not need this clipping, sir:        15
What you will is not well, oh!”
 
The tailor took his iron out,
And tossed it in the fire;
The devils’ wrinkles then he pressed;
Their screams were something dire:        20
“Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
Now get thee out of hell—oh,
We do not need this pressing,
What you will is not well, oh!”
 
“Keep still!” he said, and pierced their heads        25
With a bodkin from his sack.
“This way we put the buttons on,
For that’s our tailor’s knack!”
“Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
Now hie thee out of hell—oh,        30
We do not need this dressing:
What you will is not well, oh!”
 
With thimble and with needle then
His stitching he began,
And closed the devils’ nostrils up        35
As tightly as one can.
“Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
Now hie thee out of hell—oh,
We cannot use our noses,
Do what we will for smell, oh!”        40
 
Then he began to cut away—
It must have made them smart—
With all his might the tailor ripped
The devils’ ears apart:
“Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,        45
Now march away from hell—oh,
We else should need a Doctor,
If what you will were well—oh!”
 
And last of all came Lucifer
And cried: “What horror fell!        50
No devil has his little tail;
So drive him out of hell:
Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
Now hie thee out of hell—oh,
We need to wear no clothes at all—        55
What you will is not well, oh!”
 
And when the tailor’s sack was packed,
He felt so very well—oh!
He hopped and skipped without dismay
And had a laughing spell—oh!        60
And hurried out of hell—oh!
And stayed a tailor-fellow;
And the devil will catch no tailor now,
Let him steal, as he will—it is well, though!
 
 
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