A long time ago in Tallinn, on the beach, there lived a poor widow named Kala-Mai and her son Toomas. Mai sold fish to the local citizens, and she used to leave for the city very early each morning. When the sun rose, the town gates were opened and the drawbridge was lowered. The guards knew Kala-Mai and her son very well, since while Mai was selling fish in the city, she left Toomas together with the guards in the watchtower.
Toomas always had a great time there. He studied the arms of the guards very carefully, but was still too small either to lift a spear or to discharge an arrow from the bow. The guards said, “We’ll make a special bow and spear for you, ones which will be suitable for a small man!“ And they did make them for him.
When Toomas became sixteen, he had already been walking to the city and selling fish himself. Being thankful for the fish, one old monk taught Toomas to read and count. Toomas had also not forgotten his archery and frequently practiced near the city walls together with the guards, who also taught him how to protect oneself from being hit by a spear and how to use a sword.
In those times, every spring, the Parrot Shooting Festival was held in Tallinn. In the Rose Garden, a wooden bird, called a “parrot“, was placed on top of a high pole. The competitor who managed to shoot the bird down was chosen to be the King of the Archers for the whole year. Toomas was waiting in the Rose Garden for the festive cortege of hunters to arrive. It had happen several times in the past that before the archers arrived, some daredevils had tried to shoot the parrot down. However, no one had ever succeeded.
In spite of the fact that the people standing around Toomas thought that he was just a boy, he did manage to shoot down the bird. After it happened, the news spread very quickly, and Toomas’ name became known all over the town. The head of the guards asked Toomas if he wanted to become one of them. Toomas gladly agreed. In his life, Toomas was such a brave and responsible town guard, that after his death people started calling the figure of a town guard on the top of the Town Hall tower Vana Toomas – to commemorate the brave guard.