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Jack the giant killer.
From English Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs (coll. & ed.)
Start of Story
The giant cried out again: "Art thou that villain who killed my
kinsmen? Then I will tear thee with my teeth, suck thy blood, and
grind thy bones to powder."
"You'll have to catch me first," quoth Jack, and throwing off his
invisible coat, so that the giant might see him, and putting on his
shoes of swiftness, he ran from the giant, who followed like a walking
castle, so that the very foundations of the earth seemed to shake at
every step. Jack led him a long dance, in order that the gentlemen and
ladies might see; and at last to end the matter, ran lightly over the
drawbridge, the giant, in full speed, pursuing him with his club.
Then, coming to the middle of the bridge, the giant's great weight
broke it down, and he tumbled headlong into the water, where he rolled
and wallowed like a whale. Jack, standing by the moat, laughed at him
all the while; but though the giant foamed to hear him scoff, and
plunged from place to place in the moat, yet he could not get out to
be revenged. Jack at length got a cart-rope and cast it over the two
heads of the giant, and drew him ashore by a team of horses, and then
cut off both his heads with his sword of sharpness, and sent them to
After some time spent in mirth and pastime, Jack, taking leave of the
knights and ladies, set out for new adventures. Through many woods he
passed, and came at length to the foot of a high mountain. Here, late
at night, he found a lonesome house, and knocked at the door, which
was opened by an aged man with a head as white as snow. "Father," said
Jack, "can you lodge a benighted traveller that has lost his way?"
"Yes," said the old man; "you are right welcome to my poor cottage."
Whereupon Jack entered, and down they sat together, and the old man
began to speak as follows: "Son, I see by your belt you are the great
conqueror of giants, and behold, my son, on the top of this mountain
is an enchanted castle, this is kept by a giant named Galligantua, and
he by the help of an old conjurer, betrays many knights and ladies
into his castle, where by magic art they are transformed into sundry
shapes and forms. But above all, I grieve for a duke's daughter, whom
they fetched from her father's garden, carrying her through the air in
a burning chariot drawn by fiery dragons, when they secured her within
the castle, and transformed her into a white hind.
And though many
knights have tried to break the enchantment, and work her deliverance,
yet no one could accomplish it, on account of two dreadful griffins
which are placed at the castle gate and which destroy every one who
comes near. But you, my son, may pass by them undiscovered, where on
the gates of the castle you will find engraven in large letters how
the spell may be broken." Jack gave the old man his hand, and promised
that in the morning he would venture his life to free the lady.
In the morning Jack arose and put on his invisible coat and magic cap
and shoes, and prepared himself for the fray. Now, when he had reached
the top of the mountain he soon discovered the two fiery griffins, but
passed them without fear, because of his invisible coat. When he had
got beyond them, he found upon the gates of the castle a golden
trumpet hung by a silver chain, under which these lines were engraved:
"Whoever shall this trumpet blow,
Shall soon the giant overthrow,
And break the black enchantment straight;
So all shall be in happy state."
Jack had no sooner read this but he blew the trumpet, at which the
castle trembled to its vast foundations, and the giant and conjurer
were in horrid confusion, biting their thumbs and tearing their hair,
knowing their wicked reign was at an end. Then the giant stooping to
take up his club, Jack at one blow cut off his head; whereupon the
conjurer, mounting up into the air, was carried away in a whirlwind.
Then the enchantment was broken, and all the lords and ladies who had
so long been transformed into birds and beasts returned to their
proper shapes, and the castle vanished away in a cloud of smoke. This
being done, the head of Galligantua was likewise, in the usual manner,
conveyed to the Court of King Arthur, where, the very next day, Jack
followed, with the knights and ladies who had been delivered.
Whereupon, as a reward for his good services, the king prevailed upon
the duke to bestow his daughter in marriage on honest Jack. So married
they were, and the whole kingdom was filled with joy at the wedding.
Furthermore, the king bestowed on Jack a noble castle, with a very
beautiful estate thereto belonging, where he and his lady lived in
great joy and happiness all the rest of their days.