Journey With Story


Journey With Story

Four Clever Brothers:E171

Four Clever Brothers

Four Clever Brothers:E171

Four clever brothers set off into the world to learn a special skill.  One learns how to be an honest thief, another learns how to hunt, another learns the art of stargazing and the youngest learns how to be a master tailor.  Now, how can they use these talents to rescue a beautiful princess who is imprisoned by a fierce dragon?   (Duration – 15 minutes) An episode from storytelling podcast, Journey with Story.

If your little listener wants to ask a question or share a drawing inspired by one of our episodes, please connect with us on Instagram@journeywithstory    Or at  We love hearing from our listeners!

Do you love Journey with Story?  Subscribing or writing reviews helps us grow.

Did you know Kathleen is also a children’s picture book author? You can find out more about her books here  

Discover How Four Clever Brothers Use Their Smarts to Rescue a Princess in this Fun Fairytale 

Four Clever Brothers

E171 – January  13, 2022 

Do you have a special skill for something?  Maybe you are really good at gymnastics, or cooking, or singing?  Is there some skill that you would really, really like to learn – such as playing the flute, or climbing mountains, or flying an airplane? 

Hello everyone, I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. Today’s story is a Brothers Grimm’s Fairytale about four brothers who each learn a very special skill that helps them rescue a princess from danger. 

Thanks to all of you who have been sending us your drawings and to all the grown ups who have been rating and reviewing this podcast.  If you haven’t already done so, you can do it today wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks ever so much. 


Let’s take a journey with –Four Clever Brothers. 

‘Dear children,’ said a poor man to his four sons, ‘I have nothing to give you; you must go out into the wide world and try your luck. Begin by learning some craft or another, and see how you get on.’  

So the four brothers took their walking sticks in their hands, and their little bundles on their shoulders, and after bidding their father goodbye, they all went out at the gate together.  

After some time, they came to four crossways, each leading to a different country. The eldest brother said, ‘Here we must part; but this day four years from now, we will come back to this same spot.  In the meantime each of us must try to learn what he can do for himself.’ 

So each brother went his way; and as the eldest was walking along the road, he met a man, who asked him where he was going, and what he wanted.  

‘I am going to try my luck in the world, and should like to begin by learning some art or trade,’ answered the brother. 

‘Then,’ said the man, ‘come with me, and I will teach you to become the most cunning of thieves that ever was.’  

‘No, no,” said the brother, ‘that is not an honest calling, and what can one hope to earn by it except to be thrown into prison?” 

‘Oh!’ said the man, ‘you need not fear being sent to prison; for I will only teach you to steal what will be fair game: I meddle with nothing that belongs to other people or will land you in trouble.” 

So the young man agreed to learn this trade.  Soon, he showed himself to be so clever, that nothing could escape him, once he had set his mind to have it.  

The second brother also met a man, who asked him what craft he meant to follow. ‘I do not know yet,’ answered the young man 

‘Then come with me, and be a star gazer. It is a noble art, for nothing can be hidden from you, when once you understand the stars.’  

The plan pleased they young man very much.  Soon he became such a skillful star gazer, that when he had served out his time, and wanted to leave his master, the master gave him a special glass, saying, ‘With this you can see all that is passing in the sky and on earth, and nothing can be hidden from you.’ 

The third brother met a huntsman, who invited him to learn his craft.  It was not long before this young man became skilled in the craft of the woods. And when it came time for him to take leave of his master, the master gave him a special bow, saying, ‘Whatever you shoot at with this bow you will be sure to hit.’ 

The youngest brother likewise met a man who asked him what he wished to do. ‘Wouldn’t you like to be a tailor?” 

‘Oh, no!’ said the young man; ‘sitting cross-legged from morning to night, working backwards and forwards with a needle and thread, will never suit me.’   

‘Oh!’ answered the man, ‘that is not my sort of tailoring; come with me, and you will learn quite another kind of craft from that.’   

Not knowing what better to do, the youngest brother agreed to learn all he could about tailoring. When it came time to leave and set off back into the world, his master gave him a special needle, saying,  ‘You can sew anything with this, be it as soft as an egg or as hard as steel; and the joint will be so fine that no seam will ever be seen.’ 

Now after four years had passed, at the time agreed upon, the four brothers met at the four cross-roads; and having welcomed each other, they set off towards their father’s home, where they told him all that had happened to them, and how each had learned some craft. 

The next day, as they were sitting before the house under a very high tree, the father said, ‘I should like to see what each of you have learned about your craft.”  

So he looked up, and said to the second son, ‘At the top of this tree there is a chaffinch’s nest; tell me how many eggs there are in it.’  

The star-gazer took his glass, looked up, and said, ‘Five.’  

‘Now,’ said the father to the eldest son, ‘take away the eggs without letting the bird that is sitting upon them and hatching them know anything of what you are doing.’  

So the cunning thief climbed up the tree, and brought away to his father the five eggs from under the bird; and it never saw or felt what he was doing, but kept sitting on at its ease.   

Then the father took the eggs, and put one on each corner of the table, and the fifth in the middle, and said to the huntsman, ‘Cut all the eggs in two pieces at one shot.’  

The huntsman took up his bow, and at one shot struck all the five eggs as his father wished. 

‘Now comes your turn,’ said he to the young tailor; ‘sew the eggs and the young birds in them together again, so neatly that the shot shall have done them no harm.’  

Then the tailor took his needle, and sewed the eggs as he was told; and when he had done, the thief was sent to take them back to the nest, and put them under the bird without its knowing it.  

Then she went on sitting, and hatched them: and in a few days they crawled out, and had only a little red streak across their necks, where the tailor had sewn them together. 

‘Well done, sons!’ said the old man; ‘you have made good use of your time, and learnt something worth the knowing. Surely you will all find a way now to use your skills for a good purpose in the world.” 

Not long after this there was a great commotion and uproar in the country; for the king’s daughter had been carried off by a mighty dragon, and the king mourned over his loss day and night, and made it known that whoever brought her back to him should have her for a wife. 

Then the four brothers said to each other, ‘Here is a chance for us; let us try what we can do.’ And they agreed to see whether they could not set the princess free.  

‘I will soon find out where she is’ said the star gazer, as he looked through his glass; and he soon cried out, ‘I see her afar off, sitting upon a rock in the sea, and I can spy the dragon close by, guarding her.’  

Then he went to the king, and asked for a ship for himself and his brothers; and they sailed together over the sea, till they came to the right place. There they found the princess sitting, as the star gazer had said, on the rock; and the dragon was lying asleep, with his head upon her lap.  

‘I dare not shoot at him,’ said the huntsman, ‘for I might kill the beautiful young lady also.’   

‘Then I will try my skill,’ said the thief, and went and stole the princess away from under the dragon, so quietly and gently that the beast did not even know it, but went on snoring. 

Then they hurried off with the princess, jumped into their boat and set sail.  But it was not long until…they heard the mighty roar of the dragon, flying overhead, ready to dive below and scoop up the princess in his scaly claws.  But the huntsman immediately picked up his bow, took aim and fired his arrow, piercing the dragon in his shoulder.  Down, down, down, he plummeted right on top of their boat, causing it to flip over and tossing them all into the waves, where they struggled to stay afloat upon a few stray planks from the bottom of the boat. 

So the tailor took his needle, and with a few large stitches put some of the planks together; and he sat down upon these, and sailed about and gathered up all pieces of the boat; and then tacked them together so quickly that the boat was soon ready, and they were able to climb aboard and set of for home once more.  

The king was overjoyed to be reunited with his dear daughter and he said to the four brothers, ‘One of you shall marry her, but you must settle amongst yourselves which it is to be.’  

Then there arose a quarrel among the brothers; and the star-gazer said, ‘If I had not found the princess out, all your skill would have been of no use; therefore she ought to be mine.’  

‘Your seeing her would have been of no use,’ said the thief, ‘if I had not taken her away from the dragon; therefore she ought to be mine.’  

‘No, she is mine,’ said the huntsman; ‘for if I had not killed the dragon, he would, after all, have torn you and the princess into pieces.’  

‘And if I had not sewn the boat together again,’ said the tailor, ‘you would all have been drowned, therefore she is mine.’  

(I wonder – which brother do you think should marry the princess?)  

Then the young princess herself spoke up and said, “Good sirs, I am grateful to all of you, but I have no mind to marry any of you. You have given me a taste for adventure.  And so now, I want each of you to teach me your crafts and skills, so I can set off into the world to make it a better place.  In return, I will have my father give each of you half a kingdom.” 

The four brothers happily agreed to teach the princess all that they had learned. As it turned out, she became so skilled at all four of their crafts: star-gazing, honest thieving, hunting and tailoring, that the four brothers were able to spend the rest of their days taking good care of their father and her father, the king.   

Meanwhile the princess set off into the world, using her newly learned skills to make it a little better and brighter for all she met. 

So, which one of those skills would you like to learn, I wonder?  And I wonder what adventures our princess encountered as she set off into the world with her new skills….hmm, that might make for fun story to write or tell or act out?   

Don’t forget to send us your drawings so we can share with others at 

Cheerio then, join us next time for Journey with Story. 

Recent Podcasts