Journey With Story


Journey With Story

The Sprightly Tailor E159

The Sprightly Tailor

The Sprightly Tailor E159

In order to receive a handsome reward, a sprightly tailor agrees to his laird’s challenge – to sit on a haunted graveyard in the middle of the night and sew a special pair of “trews” for the laird.  A great way to teach children the meaning of the word sprightly and…how to conquer their fears and muster their courage!  Perfect to add to your Halloween stories -but parents – this is slightly spooky – recommended for kids ages 7 and up.  (best to listen first to see if it is suitable) (duration 13 minutes)

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

Enjoy a Slightly Spooky Scottish Tale to Celebrate Halloween-Storytelling Podcast for Kids-The Sprightly TailorE159

October 21, 2021 

Episode 159  

Sprightly Tailor Episode 

Oh, a big thanks to all of you who entered  our contest to win a free 30 minute Zoom Author’s visit for you child’s class. 

You can see the list of lucky winners in our episode notes.  Congratulations to all of you – I am looking forward to meeting all of you very soon and being able to share some tips about how to link literature to life – how to show our children that what makes us better readers and writers can also help us life this life more gladly, compassionately, and joyfully! 

Do you know what the word sprightly means?  Here, let me say it in a sentence for you so you can guess.  The sprightly old woman walks two miles every day.  Yes, it means full of life and vigor and energy.  Do you know anyone who you would call sprightly? 

Hello everyone.  I’m Kathleen Pelley.  Welcome to Journey with Story.  Today’s episode is an old Celtic tale  called The Sprightly Tailor – so a tailor is someone who stitches clothes with needle and thread and this sprightly tailor is full of life and energy.  Now since we are celebrating Halloween very soon – remember that word means holy evening –because the ancient Celts celebrated the Feast of All Saints on November 1st and so the evening before that (Halloween) was called All Hallows Eve.  So this story is definitely a good Halloween tale and is slightly spooky  – Mums and Dads – if you have very little ones – you might want to skip this episode and choose another. 

Let’s take a journey with…

The Sprightly Tailor 

Long ago in Scotland, a wealthy laird by the name of Macdonald, hired a sprightly tailor to come to his castle and make him a special pair of trews.   In olden times, those trews consisted of a vest and trousers all  sewn together in one piece and decorated with fringes.  They were very popular with the gentlemen because they were comfortable to wear whether you were walking out across the wind swept moors or whether you were dancing a fling at the village Ceilidh.  

Now Macdonald had told the tailor, that if he would make the trews by night in the church, he would get a very  handsome reward. For it was thought that the old ruined church was haunted, and that fearsome things were to be seen there at night. 

The tailor was well aware of these stories; but he was a sprightly man, and when the laird dared him to make the trews by night in the church, the tailor was not at all afraid. Rather he was determined to prove himself and earn this handsome reward. 

So, when night fell, he set off up the glen, about half a mile distance from the castle, till he came to the old church.  

There he picked out a gravestone for a seat,  lit his candle, pulled his thimble over his thumb, and set to work at the trews; his needle flashed in and out of the cloth as the he began to imagine what he might buy with the laird’s fine reward. 

So absorbed was he with his work and his imaginings that he completely forgot to be worried or afraid of any ghostly happenings… until he felt the ground all of a tremble under his feet; and looking about him, but keeping his fingers at work, he saw a great human head rising up through the stone pavement of the church. And when the head had risen there came from it a great, great voice. And the voice said: “Do you see this great head of mine?” 

“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 its neck appeared. And when its neck was shown, the thundering voice came 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 shoulders and chest were shown above the ground. And again the mighty voice 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 the creature kept rising through the pavement, until it shook a 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 making long stitches, when he saw the creature 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, that he was nearly finished altogether with the trews, when the creature began to drag up its other leg. 

But before it could pull the leg out of the pavement, the sprightly tailor had finished his task; and, blowing out his candle, and springing from off his gravestone, he buckled up, and ran out of the church with the trews under his arm.   

Then the fearsome thing gave a loud roar, and stamped with both his feet upon the pavement, and out of the church he went chasing after the sprightly tailor. 

Down the glen they ran, faster than the stream when the flood rides it; but the tailor had got a head start and he had a nimble pair of legs, and he had no intention of losing out on the laird’s reward now.  

So though the thing roared at him to stop, the sprightly tailor was not the man to be scared off by this monster. 

He clutched his trews tight, and raced like the wind until her reached the laird’s castle.  No sooner had he slipped inside the gate and shut it, than….the awful thing appeared right behind him. With a roar of rage it banged the wall above the gate, leaving its  mark of five great fingers, before it disappeared in a puff of gray mist.  To this very day, you can see the mark of those five fingers about the castle gate, if you peer close enough. 

And the sprightly tailor gained his reward: Macdonald paid him handsomely for the trews, and if he ever noticed that a few of the stitches were somewhat long, well, he never said a word – after all the sprightly tailor had proved himself to be as brave as he was sprightly. 

So- what do you think this story’s souvenir is?  That little nugget of truth about what it means to be human? 

Yes, it could be something to do with the fact that being sprightly – full of life and energy – can come in very useful at times, especially when you have to outrun something scary!   

Seriously though – being sprightly, I think, is indeed a wonderful thing to be –isn’t it great to be full of a zest for life – to be full of energy and enthusiasm for the gift of life.  Here’s hoping we can all try to be more sprightly and life life to the fullest. 

Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story 

Recent Podcasts