Grimms' Fairy Tales
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Grimms' Fairy Tales Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Tale.Page)
When the bear saw this, he felt like having some nuts too. So the little tailor reached into his pocket and gave him a handful. However, these were not nuts but small stones. The bear put them into his mouth and could not crack open any of them, no matter how much he tried. (The Clever Little Tailor.381)
Yes, my friends, this tailor was clever enough to outwit a bear. And not just any bear, but a talking bear. Let's see you do that, Dwight Schrute.
Gretel ran to see who was there, and when she saw the guest, she put her finger to her lips and whispered, "Shhh, be quiet! Get out of here as quick as you can! If my master catches you, you'll be done for. It's true he invited you to dinner, but he really wants to cut off both your ears. Listen to him sharpening his knife!" (Clever Gretel.265)
Gretel, the servant, eats both the chickens intended for dinner that night, and tricks both the master and his guest into thinking something else is afoot. An early form of class-consciousness, or good clean fun?
However, he granted her one last request; she could take the dearest and best thing that she could think of with her, and that was to be her parting gift. […] Then she embraced him, kissed him, and asked him to drink to her parting. He agreed, and she ordered a strong sleeping potion. The king took a big swig, but she only drank a little. Soon he fell into a deep sleep, and […] she drove him to her house and put him to bed. (The Clever Farmer's Daughter.321)
There sure are a lot of tales with "clever" in the title, aren't there? In this case, interpreting a command literally is a way of getting away with something, and one-upping the commander when it comes to cunning.