My Grandmother is a very talented seamstress and my late Grandfather was a very talented tailor. Even in Russia they had “His and Hers” sewing machines. When Grandpa was sewing, I had to be extra, extra quiet.
This story – my childhood favorite, was told to me by my Grandmother to keep me from bothering my Grandfather, while he was sewing.
My Grandmother’s Grandfather (Father of her Mother) was a poor tailor. The kind of tailor that could take your last year’s second-best coat, turn it inside out, trim it a bit and make it look like a brand new one. Of course, he was not the only tailor in his little town. Others were more famous, more successful, but he made his living and life went on.
Now, as usual, in such cases there was also a very rich merchant living in this town. He traveled all over – even as far as Poland and Germany. One year, just before Pesach (Passover) this merchant brought home a wonderful piece of fabric from those “foreign parts”. The fabric was proudly exhibited by the rich man’s family. It was truly a thing of beauty and perfection. It was destined to become the rich man’s new holiday coat.
There was only one problem – besides being rich – the man was also very stingy. The fabric was expensive, so the man did not buy enough. One by one different tailors were invited to take a look. One by one they gave a verdict – “not enough fabric”.
Finally the only one left was my Grandmother’s Grandfather. The commission for making the coat was very large. He had nothing to loose, so he looked at the fabric, and decided to try it.
For a week he sat over the fabric trying to figure out the placement of different parts of the coat. It did not work. There was simply not enough cloth. Then one night the solution came to him in the dream. He knew it would work. There might even be something leftover. He woke up, and he still remembered the “plan”, so in the middle of the night he lit a candle, grabbed the fabric, his scissors and started cutting. At some point the rooster started its wake-up screech. Annoyed with the bird that was disturbing his concentration my Grandmother’s Grandfather stretched out his arm and sniped off Ruster’s hear with his heavy scissors. I guess, it meant that the chickens lived in the house with the family.
Finally, as the the sky lit up, he finished the cutting out and went to sleep happy with his accomplishment.
When he woke up in a few hours and looked at his work, he discovered that it was perfect, except for one little thing… There was no back.
In the end the rich man ended up wearing a coat with a very fancy front and sleeves and an ordinary back, made from a much cheaper fabric.
I do not know if the tailor got payed.