The Blacksmiths Apron


In todays world we probably call them Tool & Die men, not blacksmiths. Just like the tool & die guys don’t make horseshoes, but the blacksmiths could fabricate different types of metal and other things that only a man with the knowledge of these guys could.

Everyone knows that a blacksmith wore a leather apron and you must have noticed that this apron had a slit and fringes at the bottom.

Well, there is on old english legend that tells us the story. So once upon a time, Alfred the Great called all the trades men together to appoint a trade king. He declared that he would make that man King who could be self-sufficient and operate without assistance from anyone else.

Alfred organized a feast and asked a workman from each trade to come and bring a specimen of his work and the tools used to make it. The blacksmith, brought a hammer and a horseshoe. The Tailor, brought his shears and a new coat. The Baker brought his peel and loaf of his finest bread. The Shoemaker brought his awl and a new pair of shoes. The Carpenter brought his saw and a nice box he had built. The Butcher, brought his knife and sliced ham. The Mason, brought his chisels and a carved stone.

The Tailor’s coat was such beautiful garment, that all the guests thought they had already lost when it was displayed. The horseshoe, bread, shoes and the carpenter’s box were quietly laid to the side.

The Tailor, was pronounced Trades King by Alfred the Great, and was now recognized by all. The Blacksmith was angry and declared that he would no longer work while the Tailor was KIng of the Tradesmen. He closed the blacksmith shop and went home.

Then one day King Alfred was riding along on his horse when it lost a shoe and needed the services of the Blacksmith, but the shop was closed. Then all the other tradesmen attempted shoe the King’s horse and all failed. They didn’t just fail but broke their precious tools while attempting to shoe the horse and could no longer practice their own trade until their tools had been repaired.

King Alfred and the tradesmen decided to brake open the shop and attempt to shoe the horse themselves with the blacksmiths tools. The King tried to shoe the horse the tailor tried to repair his shears while the other tradesmen attempted to repair their own tools.

About this time the Blacksmith returned to his shop, looking at all the others with a scowl on his face. The King made a humble bow and said: I was wrong to be led away by the bright colors of a coat, and I now change revoke my decision and declare the Blacksmith, King of the Tradesmen.

All of the other tradesmen except the Tailor, begged the blacksmith to repair their tools so they could practice their trade. So he shod King Alfred’s horse and mended all of the other tools. I order to show his big heart he even made the tailor a new pair of sheers.

The Tailor, however didn’t reciprocate the Blacksmiths kindness and while the others singing crawled under the tables and slit the blacksmiths apron and cut the lower edges into fringes.

From that day on, no true Blacksmith ever thought of wearing an apron that wasn’t slit and fringed at the bottom

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