Once upon a time there was a princess who was ever so proud: if any man came to woo her she would set him a riddle, and if he couldn't guess it he was laughed to scorn and sent packing. She also had it made known that whoever did guess the answer to her riddle should marry her, no matter who he might be. And indeed, in the end it so happened that three tailors were making the attempt at the same time. The two eldest reckoned that as they had already successfully sewn many a delicate stitch, they could hardly go wrong and were bound to succeed here as well; the third was a feckless, giddy young fellow who didn't even know his trade properly but thought he was bound to have luck in this case, for if not, then what luck would he ever have in any other case. The two others said to him: "You'd better just stay at home, you with your feather-brain won't get far." But the young tailor wouldn't be put off, saying that he had set his heart on this enterprise and would manage all right; and off he went, sauntering along as if the whole world belonged to him.
So all three of them appeared before the princess and asked her to put her riddle to them: she would find, they said, that she had met her match this time, because their wits were so sharp that you could thread a needle with them. So the princess said: "I have two kinds of hair on my head, what colours are they?" "That's easy," said the first, "I think they're black and white, like the cloth they call pepper and salt. "The princess said: "You've guessed wrong; let the second of you answer." So the second said: "If it's not black and white, then it's brown and red like my respected father's frock-coat." "Wrong again," said the princess. "Let the third of you answer, I can see he knows it for sure." So the young tailor stepped forward boldly and said: "The princess has silver and gold hair on her head, and those are the two colours." When the princess heard that, she turned pale and nearly fainted away in alarm, for the young tailor had guessed right, and she had been convinced that no one in the world would be able to do so. When she had recovered herself she said: "This still doesn't give you the right to marry me, there's something else you must do first. Down in the stable there's a bear, and you must spend the night with him. If you're still alive when I get up tomorrow morning, then you shall marry me." But she thought that she would get rid of the young tailor in this way, because no one had ever got into this bear's clutches and lived to tell the tale. But the young tailor wasn't to be daunted. "Nothing venture, nothing win," he commented cheerfully.