Bibliographic Information (best version for telling): “The Tailor and the Devil.” In Scottish Legendary Tales, retold by Elisabeth Sheppard-Jones.  Thomas Nelson Printers, Ltd., 1962, 89-92.


Ethnic Origin: Scotland


Running Time: 10 minutes


Power Centers:

1)      The frustration the Tailor feels when the Lord will not stop disturbing him

2)      The uneasiness evident the first time the Tailor hears the voice 

3)      The fear of the Devil when the Tailor is being chased


Why I chose these power centers:

1)      The Tailor wants to be left alone to do his work and it is annoying that the Lord will not leave because he wants to jabber about something as ridiculous as a haunted graveyard.  The level of frustration shown here legitimizes the Tailor’s decision to bet against the Lord (a main plot of the story), so he will leave him alone.

2)      The Tailor was not worried about the graveyard being haunted before hearing the voice.  The voice not only threatens to prove him wrong about the graveyard but also begins to make him doubt being there at all.  This feeling of uneasiness is important because the audience will also begin to feel uneasy at this point (one of the overall goals of the story is to scare the audience and put them in a Halloween/telling ghost stories state of mind and this begins to do so).

3)      The Tailor finally realizes at this point that his life is at risk.  His level of fear should translate to the audience here in order to take them well into a spirit of Halloween/telling ghost stories.


Characters: The Lord, the Tailor, and the Devil



1)      The Tailor’s shop where the Lord speaks to the Tailor

2)      The graveyard where the Tailor sits and sews trousers

3)      The street where the Tailor runs from the Devil

4)      The Lord’s house where the Tailor gets away from the Devil and then explains to the Lord what happened to him


Synopsis: A Tailor is working in his shop when he is interrupted by his friend, a Lord who will not stop talking about a haunted graveyard.  The Lord offers the Tailor a bag of gold coins if he will sit alone in the haunted graveyard through a full night.  Not believing that the graveyard is haunted and wanting to show the Lord up, the Tailor agrees not only to sit in the graveyard but also to sew a pair of trousers while doing so.  The Tailor also agrees to the bet because it will not only get the Lord to stop bothering him but he will also receive a bag of gold coins for it!  That night he goes to the graveyard and when he sits and begins to sew he hears a voice.  The voice continues and finally when the Tailor finishes the trousers, the Devil appears and chases him away.  Luckily the sun begins to rise causing the Devil to disappear, and in the end after proving to the Lord what happened, the Tailor gets the bag of gold.     


Rhymes/Special Phrases/”Flavor”:  There is one phrase that is repeated over and over in “The Tailor and the Devil”.  The phrase, “Aye, aye, I’m seeing it..” is repeatedly said by the Tailor in response to the voice.  The word Aye gives the story flavor because it is word often associated with the Scottish dialect.  The repetition of this phrase enables the audience to gradually become more and more enthralled in the story and the fear of what will happen next.


Audience (appropriateness):  This story is fitting for an audience of early adolescents for many reasons.  According to Elizabeth Fenwick and Tony Smith in the handout we received in class, adolescents between the ages of eleven and fourteen feel the importance of their friends as independence from their parents becomes important. “The Tailor and the Devil” complements these characteristics because the story is about a man and his friend there is no mention of family or children in the story.  In some ways the Tailor is trying to look courageous to the Lord by going through with the bet, which early adolescents can relate to because as the Carnegie Council on Adolescence Development states, adolescents want to feel a sense of personal self-worth.  In the class handout, Melanie Rapp explains how middle and late adolescents are more independent and mature than early adolescents.  For this reason, this story is perfect for early adolescents because it would be too frightening for young children who are dependent and immature but not scary enough for older adolescents to be interested in it.


Bibliographic information on other versions/variants: “The Tailor and the Kilnure Animated Corpse.”  In Highland Fairy Legends, retold by Reverend James MacDougall.  Redwood Burn Ltd., 1978, 72-76.  ISBN 0-85991-038-5


The Kilnure Corpse.” Tales of the Scottish Highlands, retold by Gerald Warner.  Biddles, Ltd., 1982, 190-191. ISBN 0-85683-060-7           


Brief comparison of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm, “tell-ability” “flavor,” content, etc:  The differences between “The Tailor and the Devil” and “The Tailor and the Kilnure Animated Corpse” is that the second version of the story is written in more Olde English language than the first one.  The negative thing about this type of language is that it is harder to comprehend. Words like “trews” and “cock-crow” may be authentic to Scotland but would not have been recognized by the audience.  Also, in this second version, the voice of the spirit repeats the phrase “See the great, moldy corpse, and it is so hungry looking tailor” which would not make much sense to the audience either, as it did not make much sense to me.  Contextually, this story does not flow as well as the version I chose either because it gives unneeded information and details that would confuse a young audience. 

            Another version, “The Kilnure Corpse”, is even more difficult for an audience to understand.  Not only does this version use hard to understand vocabulary but it also makes many references to areas and streets in Scotland that an American teenager would probably be unfamiliar with.  Also written in Olde English style, this shorter less detailed version is too brief to create an entranced audience.  Finally, the basic storyline of this version is different because it is set in a church and the ending does not come together as nicely as that in the chosen version.  The lacking ending would make it scarier for teenagers because as they are not as mature as adults, it would be harder to walk away from a scary story without a somewhat uplifting ending.