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Title: A Book of Giants - Tales of very Tall Men of Myth, Legend, History, and Science.
Author: Lanier, Henry Wysham
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Book of Giants - Tales of very Tall Men of Myth, Legend, History, and Science." ***

Transcriber's Notes: Variations in spelling and hyphenation have
been left as in the original. Words in italics in the original are
surrounded with _underscores_. Ellipses match the original. A row of
asterisks represents a thought break.

                       _THE LIBRARY OF ROMANCE_

                           A BOOK OF GIANTS


                       _THE LIBRARY OF ROMANCE_

                           A BOOK OF GIANTS

                    TALES OF VERY TALL MEN OF MYTH,
                     LEGEND, HISTORY, AND SCIENCE


                          HENRY WYSHAM LANIER


    "_And there we saw giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the
    giants: and we were in our sight as grasshoppers, and so we
    were in their sight._"--NUMBERS: xiii, 33.

                               NEW YORK
                        E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY
                           681 FIFTH AVENUE

                            Copyright, 1922
                       By E. P. Dutton & Company

                         _All Rights Reserved_



Thanks are due to the Frederick A. Stokes Company for permission to
use, in Part III, three tales from volumes published by them: Chapter
XX, The Biter Bit, from "Hero Tales and Legends of the Serbians," by
Vojislav M. Petrovic; Chapter XXI, The Peach's Son, from "Myths and
Legends of Japan," by F. Hadland Davis; and Chapter XXIII, The Stone
Giantess, from "The Myths of the North American Indians," by Lewis

In a number of cases the text of the original romance or "history" has
been followed as closely as possible, to retain the flavor of the old



  CHAPTER                                                   PAGE

     II. THE GIANT WHO SHINES IN THE SKY                     18

    III. THE OUTWITTING OF POLYPHEMUS                        46

     IV. WHEN THOR WENT TO JOTUNHEIM                         68

      V. THE GIANT PYRAMID-BUILDER                           90

     VI. THE FATAL PRIDE OF VUKUB                            95

    VII. OG, KING OF BASHAN                                 102

   VIII. A SON OF ANAK                                      108


     IX. FERRAGUS, WHO OWNED THE BRAZEN HEAD                119

      X. THE GIANT OF ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT                   128

     XI. SIR LAUNCELOT AND TARQUIN                          146

    XII. THE ADVENTURES OF YVAIN                            161

   XIII. THE TURKE AND GAWAIN                               191

    XIV. AMADIS AMONG THE GIANTS                            202

     XV. GOGMAGOG                                           216

    XVI. THE GIANT BEHIND THE WATERFALL                     235



  XVIII. THE GIANT HAND (IRISH)                             255


     XX. THE BITER BIT (SERBIAN)                            275

    XXI. THE PEACH'S SON (JAPANESE)                         290

   XXII. THE MAN WHO LOST HIS LEGS (KOREAN)                 295



   XXIV. SOME REAL GIANTS                                   305



_Man in his youth was so fond of giants that, not finding them large
or plentiful enough, he created a bounteous supply. He gave them
precedence of himself. In the frozen North they came even before the
gods: in the East, after the celestials but before the creation of the
world; in Greece they sprang into being just after the Olympians and
fiercely disputed the sovereignty of Zeus._

_Many ancient gods were vast in size: witness, for instance, the
colossal statues of Egypt, China or the South Seas. But the palm for
bigness must go to those giant beings whom we find amid Chaos in the
East: like that Tiamat from whom the Babylonian god Bel formed heavens
and earth; and Purushu of the Hindu Vedas, whose severed head was
sufficient for making the sky, his feet for the earth, his eye for the
sun, and his mind for the moon._

_Somehow, these are too large; nowadays one can hardly digest a giant
like that. Even those huge and terrible beings with bodies of stone
who once descended upon the Iroquois Indians seem more like Djinn or
Rakshasas: they do not fascinate as does that monstrous black warder of
the bridge at Mantrible, who was fifteen feet tall with "tuskes like a
bore" and head "like a liberde."_

_The scholars quarrel over the question whether or not the very word
originally meant "earth-born"; but be that as it may, the giants
exhibited in these pages (collected after wider search than even Mr.
Barnum ever prosecuted for such prodigies) are all creatures of earth,
at least in part. Their feet are on the earth, even if like Og, King
of Bashan, their heads tower high enough to drink straight from the

_They all have a semblance of human beings, as they should. If this
seems doubtful remember Ea-Bani. His story is certainly the first to
be put on record, for it was baked in clay at least 2500 years ago,
the twelve tablets being found among King Assur-bani-pal's library at
Nineveh. Ea-bani was a huge giant, who lived with the wild animals, and
who defied every attempt to capture him--until King Gilgamesh abandoned
force and sent a very beautiful woman to stand quietly near one of the
hairy creature's lurking places. At first sight of her the colossal
wild man falls in love; accompanies her meekly back to civilization:
and, giving up his beloved forest, takes a humble second part in the
subsequent stirring adventures of the King. No doubt about the human
nature of that!_

_Considering that he made them, it does seem as if man had been
somewhat unfair to the giants. In the beginning, they won enduring
glory: Typhon conquered Zeus in hand-to-hand fight and drove the other
gods to wander over Egypt disguised as animals; even Atlas had at least
the dignity of holding up the heavens upon his head and hands forever.
The Frost-giants more than once outwitted Thor and the other dwellers
in Valhalla; and but the other day, historically speaking, Gargantua
could swallow five pilgrims as a salad._

_But what a humiliating portion has been allotted to the successors of
these awe-inspiring monsters. First they made gods tremble; then they
were slain by demigods and heroes; next they became a measure of the
prowess of every knight of chivalry; presently they were the sport of
the childish Jack the Giant-killer;--and now for a hundred years we
have relegated them to our circuses and museums. Worst of all, the wise
men insist that "giantism" is merely a disease._

_It really isn't quite fair. Besides the inconvenience of being a
giant--just think of the difficulty of getting enough to eat and
clothes to wear--what a disgrace to have one's head inevitably cut off
by some little whipper-snapper up to one's waist or knees. And then to
be such a by-word for stupidity. Amycus, who used to kill each newcomer
with a single blow, was at once dispatched by Polydeuces, the skilful
boxer: that sort of an awkward ineffectiveness was bad enough; but
what of Polyphemus, who had not sense enough to explain to his Cyclop
brethren the transparent trick of Ulysses in calling himself "Noman"?
One can't help feeling sorry for such helpless hulks._

_And perhaps the unkindest cut of all is the true tale related by
Patin, the famous French surgeon. "In the Seventeenth Century, in order
to gratify a whim of the Empress of Austria, all the giants and dwarfs
in the Germanic empire were assembled at Vienna. As circumstances
required that all should be housed in one building, it was feared that
the imposing proportions of the giants should terrify the dwarfs; and
means were taken to assure the latter that they were perfectly safe.
But the result was most unexpected. The dwarfs teased, insulted and
even robbed the giants to such an extent that the latter complained in
tears to the officials; and sentinels had to be stationed to protect
them from their tiny comrades."_

_However, the fascination of these Very Tall Men still continues. And
these tales relate to the adventures of some of the famous of all ages
and all lands._

_Those lovers of the colorful old days, who mourn the departure of
the giants before the sceptical eye of science and the camera, may be
comforted to learn that in the rugged country of Northern Scotland the
folk are better informed than we. There where Sutherland rocks meet
the sea, east from Cape Wrath, the wise ancients will tell you that
the giants are not really all dead, but only sleeping in the great
Hall of Albyn. In proof whereof, know that a man of these parts once
ventured into a great cave by the sea-shore. It opened to a vast and
lofty apartment, where there were many huge men lying fast asleep on
the stone floor. In the center of the room was a table, on which lay
an ancient horn. The man put the horn to his lips and blew one blast.
The enormous figures stirred. He blew a second time. One of the giants
rubbed his eyes and said in a voice that rumbled through the cave:_

"_If you blow once more, we shall wake._"

_The man fled in terror. Though by singular bad luck he could never
again find the mouth of that cave, it is something to know that our
tall friends are there, only waiting for three bold blasts to return to






We think of Zeus as the mightiest god of Greece, accompanied by his
servants Force, Might and Victory,--the Cloud-gatherer, the Rain-giver,
the Thunderer, the Lightning-hurler, the Sender of Prodigies, the
Guider of Stars, the Ruler of other gods and men, whom even Poseidon
the Earth-shaker must obey. The very name reverberates with majesty,
power, dominion.

But the beginnings of this vast deity were in darkness and danger.

True, the reign of his father Kronos was that Golden Age when, in the
fresh morning of the world, "Heat and Cold were not yet at strife, the
Seasons had not begun their mystic dance, and one mild and equable
climate stretched from pole to pole; when the trees bore fruit and
the vine her purple clusters all the year, and honey-dew dripped from
the laurel and juniper which are now so bitter; when flowers of every
hue filled the air with perpetual fragrance, the lion gambolled with
the kid, and the unfanged serpent was as harmless as the dove"; when
over-curious Pandora not yet having released her boxful of ills, men
had neither care nor sickness nor old age, but, after centuries of
blissful calm, faded like flowers and became kindly spirit-guardians of
their successors.

Yet amid this charming serenity Kronos could never forget the curse
of his father Uranus whom he had overthrown, and the prophecy that he
himself should in his turn be cast down by his own children.

"Wherefore being resolved to defeat that prophecy, he swallowed each
child his wife Rhea brought forth, as soon as it was born. When
Rhea had thus lost five babes,--Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and
Poseidon--and knew herself about to bear yet another, she made her
prayer to Uranus her ancient sire, imploring counsel and aid.

"But only a faint, vast murmur thrilled through the sky:

"'_My voice is but the voice of winds and tides, no more than winds
and tides can I avail. Pray thou to thy puissant Mother: in me,
dispossessed of godhead, is no succor more._'"

So the Titaness betook her to Earth, and the mighty Mother gave her
counsel how to outwit grim Kronos. And Rhea fled through the swift,
dark night to a secret thicket upon a hill of Arcadia. There was born a
mighty babe, whom she called Zeus. At her prayer Mother Earth smote the
mountain, and there gushed forth a bounding stream, in which she laved
the infant. Then she gave him to the nymph Neda who bore him swiftly
across the sea to Crete, hiding him in a cave upon a dense and wooded
mountain named Ida.

She entrusted the child to Adrastea and Ida, nymphs of the mountain,
to be reared in secret. But Rhea took a huge stone and wrapped it in
swathes, and brought it to Kronos, then sovereign of the gods, saying:
"Behold, I have borne my lord another son."

"Naught said he, but snatched the stone and greedily swallowed it,
nothing doubting that it was the new-born child. Thus his wife deceived
him, for all his cunning."

Rhea might not so much as see her babe, lest Kronos should spy her
from his throne on high; but the child throve, laid in a golden
winnowing-fan for a good omen, tended by the gentle nymphs, and
nourished on the wild honey they gathered for him and on the milk of
a mountain goat. Around him danced the fierce Curetes, Earth-born
warriors, who performed their war-dances, rattling and clashing their
weapons whenever the infant cried, lest Kronos should overhear him.

"So the child Zeus increased daily in beauty and stature, nor was it
long before he gave proof of his godhead in wondrous wise. Two years
his goat foster-mother suckled him: snow-white she was, with jet black
horns and hooves, the most beauteous of her kind, and her name was
Amalthea. Then, on a day, while the young god played with her after
his wont, he grasped one of her curved horns as she made pretence of
butting, and broke it clean off.

"Tears stood in the creature's eyes, and she looked reproachfully on
her fosterling. But the little god ran to her and threw his arms about
her shaggy neck, bidding her be comforted, for he would make amends;
with that he laid his right hand on the goat's head, and immediately a
new horn sprouted full-grown. And he took up the horn he had broken,
and gave it to the nymphs, saying, 'Kindly nurses, in recompense of
your care, Zeus gives you Amalthea's Horn which shall be to you a horn
of plenty. As for her, when I come into my kingdom, I will be mindful
of my foster-mother; she shall not die but be changed into one of the
bright signs of Heaven.' Thus Zeus promised, and fulfilled his word in
the aftertime, for faithful and true are the promises of the Immortals.
But when the nymphs had taken the Horn of Amalthea, behold they found
it brimful of all manner of luscious fruits, of the finest wheat flour,
and sweet butter, and golden honeycomb. They shook all out, laughing
in delight, and one cried: 'Here were a feast for the gods, had we but
wine thereto!' No sooner said she this than the Horn bubbled over with
ruby wine; for this was the magic in it, that it never grew empty, and
yielded its possessors whatsoever food or drink they desired.

"Now when Earth saw that Zeus was come to the prime of his mighty
youth, she sent to him one of the daughters of Oceanus named Metis,
which is, being interpreted, 'Counsel.' And Metis came and stood before
him in the Idaean Mount and said: 'I have an errand unto thee, O king
that shalt be hereafter.'

"And Zeus said: 'Is it a foe's errand, or a friend's? Who sent thee
hither, and who art thou?'

"And she said: 'Metis is my name, a daughter of Oceanus the old, and
my errand is from Earth, the All-Mother. She bids thee take this herb
I bring and go straight to Kronos in his golden house on high; tell
him not who or whence thou art, but cause him to swallow the herb
unweeting, and it shall work mischief to him and good to thee. Delay
not, for the hour is at hand when Kronos must pay full measure for the
outrage he did his sire, as it is ordained.'

"'Tell me,' said Zeus, 'how knows Earth that such an hour is at hand,
and by whom is the vengeance ordained?'

"Metis answered: 'There are Three Sisters, daughters of Primeval
Night, Grey Virgins, older than Time, who sit forever in the shades
of underground, spinning threads of divers colors from their golden
distaffs; and the threads are the lives of gods and men. As the sisters
twine them, sad-hued or bright, so is the lot of each living soul,
mortal or immortal; there is none among the gods, nor shall be, that
may escape the lot spun for him, nor avail to turn those spinners from
their task. Hasting not, resting not, without knowledge, without pity,
the Three Fates work on. But as they twirl the spindles, they sing the
Song of the Morrow; and Earth, she only, understands that song; hence
it is she knows what is coming upon Kronos.'

"Then Zeus arose and went up to the heavenly palace halls; there he
found Kronos feasting, and quaffing honey-colored nectar, wine of the
gods. Kronos asked him who he was, and Zeus answered: 'I am Prometheus,
son of Iapetus thy brother, who greets thee well by me.' Then Kronos
bade him welcome, and they drank and caroused together. But when they
had well drunk, Zeus put the herb of Earth into his father's cup,
unmarked of him.

"And Kronos no sooner swallowed it than a marvel past thought befell;
for he disgorged from his giant maw first the stone Rhea gave him
(which stone was ever afterwards preserved as a pious memorial at
Delphi) and then her two sons and daughters three, no longer babes but

"Forthwith Zeus made himself known to his brethren, and the young gods
seized their father and bound him in chains. But ancient Kronos cried
for aid to his Titan kindred, with a voice like the tempest's roar; and
they came swiftly in their might; and the young gods could not stand
before them, but fled out of heaven to the cloudy top of Mount Olympus,
that great peak robed in eternal snows."

There they abode as in a citadel, and thence it is that Zeus and the
family of Zeus are called "the Olympians" to this day.

The Titans occupied Mt. Othrys to the south, and the broad plains of
Thessaly in between show even yet the shattered rocks and rent surface
from the struggle which ensued.

"For now there was war in heaven; ten years the Elder Gods fought
against the Olympians and neither side could win the mastery. But one
amongst the Titans would not fight against Zeus; for being endued with
wisdom and foresight about all gods, he perceived that the day of
Kronos must shortly have an end and his sceptre pass to another. This
was Prometheus, whom Asia, daughter of Oceanus, bore to Iapetus, son of
Earth. Fain would he have dissuaded his father and brother from taking
arms in a lost cause, and for the sake of one who, himself a usurper,
must now reap as he had sown; but they would not heed, trusting in
their own giant strength.

"At last Zeus sought counsel of Mother Earth and she spake this oracle
unto him out of the cave that is in rocky Pytho--'_He that will conquer
in this strife, let him set free the captives in Tartarus_.' For Earth
had long borne Kronos a grudge, because he would not release the
Hundred-handed and the Cyclopes from that abyss of darkness; therefore
she willingly revealed to Zeus the secret of victory. But naught knew
he of those giants or their fate, nor so much as the name of Tartarus,
which none among the heaven-dwelling gods will utter for very loathing;
so the saying of Earth was dark to him, and he was much disheartened.
Then Prometheus, knowing what had befallen, came to Zeus on Olympus
and said: 'Son of Kronos, though fight I may not against my kin, fight
against thee I will not, for that were idle folly, seeing the Fates
will have thee Lord of all. Let there be peace between me and thee, and
I will interpret the oracle Earth has given thee.'

"And Zeus heard him gladly, and said: 'For this good turn, count me thy
debtor and fast friend evermore.'

"Then straightway they two fared through the Underworld to the gates
of unplumbed Tartarus, where by the Titan's aid Zeus slew the snake
Campé, their grisly warder, and delivered the captives."

And amazed was the leader of the younger gods at the sight of
these monstrous first children of Earth. For each of the three
Hundred-handed, Briareus, Cottus and Gyges, had moving ever from his
shoulders a hundred arms, not brooking approach, while above this
threatening display rose fifty heads. As for the Cyclopes, Brontes,
Steropes and Arges, they resembled the Titans, save that each had a
single round eye in the centre of his forehead. They had shown from
birth such overbearing spirit and terrific strength, tossing whole
hills with their forests about like balls, that even Uranus had feared
them and thrust them into Tartarus ere they were grown.

Zeus rejoiced at these mighty allies. But fell fighters as they were,
their greatest aid was not in their strength but their skill. For the
Cyclopes made themselves a smithy in the glowing heart of Mt. Ætna, and
there they wrought such gifts for their deliverers as only they could
fashion. To Poseidon they gave his trident with prongs of adamant; and
to Hades a cap of darkness whose wearer was invisible to gods and men;
while for Zeus himself they forged the kingliest weapons of all: the
thunderbolts and the blasting, zig-zagged lightning.

Then Zeus set before them all the nectar and ambrosia of the gods, and
addressed them:

"Hear me, illustrious children of Earth and Heaven, that I may speak
what my spirit within my breast prompts me to speak. For a very long
time have we been fighting for the mastery, the Titan gods and we who
are sprung from Kronos. Now show your invincible might against the
Titans, in gratitude for your deliverance to the light from bondage in
murky gloom."

The blameless Cottus answered: "Excellent Lord, we are aware that thy
wisdom is most high, and thy mind, and that thou hast been to the
immortals an averter of destruction. Wherefore we will now protect thy
dominion in fell conflict, fighting stoutly against the Titans."

And all the gods applauded, female as well as male, and they rushed to
combat. The Titans on their side were no less eager, and as the battle
joined, the boundless sea re-echoed terribly, and earth resounded,
and broad heavens groaned as it shook, and vast Olympus swayed on its
base, and even to murky Tartarus came the hollow sound of feet and
battle-strokes. And as the two sides came together, their great war-cry
reached to the starry heaven above.

Now Zeus loosed his fury, and the bolts with thunder and lightning
shot so fast and fiercely from his mighty hand that earth crashed in
conflagration, and the forests crackled with fire; ocean's streams
began to boil, while the vapor encircled the Titans, and the incessant,
dazzling flashes bereft their eyes of sight, gods as they were.

Fearful heat spread everywhere, and it seemed as if earth and heaven
were clashing together and falling into ruins. At the same time the
winds spread abroad smoke and battle-cry and crash of missiles, as the
Hundred-handed, insatiable in war, advanced, hurling three hundred vast
rocks at a time against the enemy.

Before this combination of terrors even the Titans could not stand.
They were dashed from their battlements and fell like shooting stars
nine days and nights to earth, then on down for nine days and nights
more to Tartarus. Here were they bound and cast into that dismal abyss,
behind a triple brazen wall built by Poseidon, around which Night is
poured in three rows. And the Hundred-handed were set to guard them.

Kronos and a few others escaped to the North, and there made head for
a time, sheltered against Zeus's thunderbolts in caverns of the hills.
But there came to the Olympians two mighty twin Shapes, Force and
Might, followed by their sister, beauteous-ankled Victory (from whose
shoulders waved great eagle's wings)--all children of Styx; and those
two illustrious ones announced to Zeus that henceforth they were his
servants, and that their sister, Victory, would ever follow them.

So with these ministers, Zeus went forth once more; and the remainder
of the Titans fled westward beyond the utmost limits of earth. But huge
Atlas, brother of Prometheus, was overtaken, and him Zeus stationed
on the very verge of the earth, before the clear-voiced Hesperides,
sentencing him to bear forever on his shoulders the weight of the vast

Having thus achieved the victory, Zeus gave to Hades dominion over the
Underworld, to Poseidon the Sea, and took himself the realm of the
Æther and the Earth, rewarding all those who had assisted him, and
especially honoring Styx, mother of Force, Might and Victory, so that
thenceforth the most sacred and inviolable oath for an immortal was to
swear by Styx.

Mother Earth was far from pleased at this outcome. Her imprisoned
first-born children had been released only to have her other beautiful
Titan sons and daughters take their places in Tartarus. In revenge
she brought forth a brood of Giants to war with the young gods. These
were huge and invincible creatures with ghastly faces and long, thick,
matted hair hanging from their heads and chins; instead of feet they
had scaly dragon's tails. Their birth-place was in Phlegra or Pallene.
The most redoubtable among them were Porphyrion and Alcyoneus. The
latter was immortal so long as he fought on the same part of the earth
on which he was born, and he soon distinguished himself by carrying off
the cattle of the Sun and Moon.

With these and their brethren--Enceladus, Pallas, Clytius, Polybotes,
Hippolytus and others--were joined Otus and Ephialtes, children of
Poseidon, who, says Homer, grew nine inches every month, and who when
they were only nine years old had captured war-god Mars himself and
held him prisoner more than a year.

Now the oracle revealed to the gods that the giants could be destroyed
only in combat with a mortal. Gæa (Earth) had learned this, and sought
by means of magic herbs to make her offspring invulnerable also to

But Zeus anticipated her: he forbade the Dawn, the Moon and the Sun
to shine, cut off the medicinal herbs with which Earth had plastered
her offspring, and sent Athena to summon Heracles to take part in the

This savage group of Giants then attacked the Olympians, hurling great
masses of rock, tree-trunks lashed together, and blazing brands against
the sky. But the distance was too great for them to do much damage, so
they tried to scale Heaven itself. When their trees fastened together
proved too short, Otus and Ephialtes set about another attempt:
upsetting Mt. Ossa they began to roll it toward Mt. Olympus, intending
to pile the lofty peak of Pelion on that, and thus reach their enemies.

Then Zeus rose in his majesty. With a thunderbolt he hurled the
mountain back to its former place, the Olympians all dashed down,
riding on the winds, and a mighty battle followed which lasted a whole

Heracles drew his great death-dealing bow and slew Alcyoneus with an
arrow. But as soon as he touched the earth he rose with renewed life
and strength. Whereupon wise Athena counseled the hero to grasp the
monster by the foot and drag him out of Pallene, his birthplace. He did
so, and Alcyoneus died.

At this Porphyrion in hot rage hurled the island of Delos at Zeus and
rushed upon Heracles and Hera. As the giant laid hold of the goddess's
swathing veils, she cried out for help, and the thunderbolt of Zeus and
Heracles' arrow smote Porphyrion simultaneously.

As for the rest, Apollo shot out the left eye of Ephialtes, and
Heracles the right. Dionysus killed Eurytus with his sacred wand,
while Clytius was thrust through by Hecate or Hephæstus with glowing
ironstone. Enceladus fled across the sea, but Athena seized a great
triangle of rock and cast it upon him--and when trees and soil formed
on this, it was called the island of Sicily.

As Virgil's wandering hero, Æneas, sings:

    Here, while from Aetna's furnaces the flame
    Bursts forth, Enceladus, 'tis said, doth lie,
    Scorched by the lightning. As his wearied frame
    He shifts, Trinacria, trembling at the cry
    Moans through her shores, and smoke involves the sky.

Athena, terrible in her battle-wrath, next killed and flayed Pallas and
put his skin over her own body while the combat lasted,--whence comes
her name of Pallas Athene. Polybotes, chased by Poseidon over the sea,
came to Cos; here the sea-god tore off a piece of the island and buried
him under it, where now is Nisyron.

Hermes, concealed by the helmet of Hades, killed Hippolytus, while
Artemis slew Gration. So the Fates ended Agrius and Thoon with brazen
clubs. The rest Zeus crushed with thunderbolts, and Heracles finished
with his deadly arrows.

Then in hot wrath Earth brought forth the most terrific monster yet
seen. Typhon was he called, the greatest of Earth's children, half man
and half animal: he was human to the loins and was so huge that he
towered over the mountains while his head knocked against the stars.
His outstretched arms reached from sunrise to sunset, and a hundred
dragon heads shot from his shoulders. Instead of legs he moved on
vast, rustling snaky coils; his whole body was feathered; bristly hair
floated in the wind from his head and chin, and fire streamed from his

Such a monster was Typhon.

Hurling clusters of rocks up at heaven, he ran with hisses and screams,
while a red mass of flame bubbled from his mouth.

When the gods saw him charge on heaven, they fled to Egypt, where they
wandered about in the shapes of animals, pursued by him.

Zeus hurled thunderbolts as long as he was afar off. When he came
nearer, the god's iron sickle made him flee, and Zeus pursued him to
the Caucasus that towers over Syria. There he came up with him, covered
with wounds, and joined in a hand-to-hand grapple.

But Typhon held him off, wrapping his snaky limbs around him, snatched
away the sickle, and cutting out the sinews of the god's hands and
feet, put him on his shoulders and carried him across the sea to

Here in a cavern he threw him down, put away the sinews wrapped in a
bear-skin, and set as a guard over the helpless god, Delphyne, a young
she-dragon, half human, half animal.

But cunning Hermes stole away the sinews and secretly replaced them in
Zeus's wrists and ankles. Then Zeus gathered himself together, and his
former powers came upon him, and he rose to his seat in heaven in a
car drawn by winged horses.

Again he hurled his thunderbolts upon Typhon and pursued the monstrous
giant to Mt. Nysa, where the Fates outwitted the fugitive: for,
persuaded by them that he would thereby get greater powers, he ate of
the ephemeral poison fruits.

Then the chase became more furious. They came to Thrace where Typhon
fought with whole peaks of the Hamus Mountains; and when these were
hurled back on him by the Thunderer, his blood gushed out over them so
that these are called the "bloody mountains" to this day.

And at last, as Typhon was compelled to flee across the Sicilian sea,
Zeus threw the towering mountain of Ætna on top of him and buried him
there forever. Here he lies still, turning and groaning at times, while
fires blaze up from the hurled lightnings.

After that there was nobody in heaven, earth or the underworld who
dared dispute the supreme dominion of Zeus.



In the days when the Olympians still walked at times among men, Zeus
and Poseidon and Hermes once found themselves benighted in a lonely
region of the rough Bœotian country.

As darkness fell, they passed a little hut by the roadside. The farmer
stood in the doorway, enjoying the cool of the evening after his day's
toil; and seeing the wayfarers plodding along, he invited them in to
pass the night.

"My house is poor enough," said he, "but such as it is, it is yours."

The three gods entered. The farmer, Hyrieus by name, set food and drink
before them, waited upon them, gave up his own pallet to make them
comfortable and entertained these nameless wanderers like distinguished
guests, all with the utmost simplicity and good feeling.

The Olympians were touched by this rough herdsman's fine hospitality.
They consulted together in whispers when they had finished their meal.

Then: "Is there anything you wish for, host?" enquired Hermes as

Hyrieus started. "Well," said he, "of course there is, but that's past

"What is it?" persisted Hermes.

"I had a wife," said the herdsman, "whom I loved so that when she died
I vowed never to marry again. So all these years I have lived alone,
and alone I shall live till the end. Yet a man cannot help wishing for
a son to drive away the loneliness of the winter evenings and to be a
prop to him in his old age. Probably you will laugh at me for a foolish
person: for I mean to keep my vow, and yet I wish for a son."

"Those who know do not laugh at honesty," replied Hermes. "And I say
to you that he who gives all freely never fails to receive. I noticed
that you killed your only ox to provide meat for our meal: bring me his

Hyrieus stared at him, doubtful. He feared he was being made the butt
of some jest. But the stranger's open smile promised something quite
different. Much wondering, he went out into the darkness and after
a while returned with the hide of the ox which he had sacrificed to
hospitality. He did not regret the act, but he could not help thinking
of the morrow as he handled the still warm skin of this faithful
companion and servant. What would he do without its aid? And what did
this mysterious person mean by his odd request? He spoke as a man
having authority, however, and there was nothing for it save to obey
and see what might befall.

Hermes took the hide, and bade him fetch a spade. The three mysterious
visitors went out into the night. Hyrieus, peering out after them, saw
them bury the ox skin in front of his house, with strange and secret
ceremonies. Without knowing why, he trembled. He trembled still more
when they returned, for the strangers seemed to have become suddenly
majestic, awe-inspiring.

The bearded one, who had not spoken hitherto, looked solemnly upon the
herdsman. Instinctively the Bœotian fell into an attitude of worship.

"You shall have your wish," announced this one, in tones that filled
the low-raftered room like a mighty wind. "Next spring you shall have a
son--and such a son as mortal never yet had."

The three retired for the night. When Hyrieus woke, as usual, with the
dawn, they had disappeared. He went about his labors, sorely increased
by the loss of his ox, pondering deeply on what had occurred. Many
a time he looked at the little patch of freshly-turned earth, but
something forbade him to investigate. And then the fall rains came and
obliterated the spot; and the winter snows covered all; and everything
was as it had been, save for the insistent recollection in the farmer's
heart. Many times he laughed at his folly; yet in the still evenings as
he sat before his fire, he knew that he expected--something.

Winter passed at length. Spring painted the hills with yellow and white
and pink blossoms. And its soft unfolding promises seemed to reinforce
that secret hope, which defied reason, and which persisted in the heart
of Hyrieus. As he sat outdoors in the long twilight evenings, instead
of crouching close to his scanty fire, every sound of the reawakening
earth had a new meaning. Even the still white calm of snow-capped
Parnassus, far to the west, seemed to presage some great happening. For
the first time since his youth he really heard the shrill voices of the
frogs in the neighboring marsh: it was as if even these tiny creatures
were repeating the promise made him by his mysterious visitors. And
then he would smile sadly at his senile credulity and, remembering the
reality of the morrow's hard work, would plod stiffly into his solitary
hut and seek on his pallet bed that dream land where all things are

One morning he rose with even more than his usual reluctance to
exchange for the hard grubbing reality the vague but delightful fancies
which had filled the night. Force of habit made him swallow a few
mouthfuls of his coarse breakfast. Mechanically he stepped outside
towards the day's work that awaited him.

The sun was just rising over the low ridge that thrust itself into the
bend of the Asopus River. Instinctively his gaze went towards the spot
where the strange trio had performed their mysterious rites, past which
gurgled a little stream.

He stopped short, startled out of his dreamy reverie. His eyes rounded
in astonishment.

That spot of earth had remained bare, though all around it the lush
grass and many-colored flowers had woven an intricate tapestry. It was
this strange fact which had continually reinforced his wonder and his
superstitious belief.

But overnight a sudden transformation had taken place. The whole space
was one mass of asphodels in full bloom. The sun's level rays fell upon
their white blossoms, amid which the meandering threads of crimson
looked like blazing hieroglyphics.

Hyrieus looked in bewilderment, mixed with a kind of awe. Slowly he
advanced towards this bed of blossoms which had appeared so suddenly.
Then he cried out.

For there, cradled in the asphodels, lay a babe--such a child as his
eyes had never yet beheld. Shapely and beautiful, and of such size as
made one think of the Heroes of legend, he slept peacefully.

Overcoming his timidity at last, Hyrieus gently picked up the sleeping
infant. When the big blue eyes opened and a sleepy smile came over the
child's face, the honest farmer's heart overflowed with joy at this
realization of his wildest dreams. Marveling again at the weight of his
burden, he took this earth-born son into his cottage, laid him on his
own bed, and sat watching his slumber in a sort of ecstacy. From that
time he was father and mother both to the child, carrying it with him
when he went about his necessary labor afield, and watching over it
with an anxious care into which his whole existence seemed concentrated.

The boy was well worth these pains and pride. He never cried; and he
seemed perfectly happy and contented when couched in a nest of soft
grass and dry leaves under the open sky, where his foster-father, as
he toiled, could keep an eye on him. Moreover, the youngster grew
like some sturdy young bull. He had no teething troubles; presently
he was eating the same food that served Hyrieus himself--with all
the choicest portions for his share; and he found his legs almost as
quickly as a young partridge.

In fact, by the time when ordinary children are beginning to toddle
uncertainly, this boy, whom Hyrieus had named Orion, was as tall as
his foster-father. Nor did he cease his prodigious growth when he
reached the ordinary limits of mankind: not even Otus and Ephialtes,
who rebelled against the gods and strove to set Mt. Ossa upon Pelion
that they might scale Olympus itself,--not even these gigantic youths
could compare with Orion. And we have the word of Odysseus who beheld
them among the shades in Hades that those portentous twins were at nine
years of age fifty-four feet in height and some thirteen across the

He was as handsome as one of the immortals, too, this Orion. Well
proportioned and graceful in spite of his size, he roamed the woods and
fields with the agility and tirelessness of one of the wild creatures
whose ways seemed to have an endless fascination for him.

Hyrieus began to fare better than ever before, for the boy would
return from these expeditions with rabbits and hares, with quail, wood
pigeons, partridges and ducks, which he had snared or caught with his
hands by some sudden pounce after a long stalk.

Presently his foster-father showed him how to make a bow and arrows;
and one day the youngster proudly appeared before the hut with a
roebuck upon his shoulders. It was not long before he had learned
to outwit the great red stags of the hills, to chase successfully
the long-horned wild goats, and even to bring back chamois from the
precipitous fastnesses of rocky, fir-clad Mt. Cithæron, or the crags of
two-peaked Helicon. By the time he had reached his early teens he was
already a mighty hunter, who had met and vanquished the lynx, the wolf
and the brown bear, who could stand up to the charge of an infuriated
wild boar, and whose chief desire was to take in fair fight the lion
skin he wished for a cloak.

Fierce as he was, however, in attacking some snarling wild beast
with his great club, he was always gentle and thoughtful to his
foster-father; and Hyrieus many a time blessed the day when his
hospitality had fallen upon such fruitful soil. To be sure, as the good
farmer grew old, his unbounded pride in the feats of this stripling
cast at times a reflected glory upon himself: there were moments when
he looked upon Orion's great muscles and the trophies of his strength
and fleetness almost as if these were to be credited to his very own
flesh and blood. Yet in the bottom of his heart there was ever a slight
feeling of awe at this prodigy who had come to comfort his old age; and
this was deepened when he learned of one strange power which the youth

Exulting in his own swiftness of foot, Orion was one day chasing a
roebuck, endeavoring to run down the bounding little creature on equal
terms. The deer made for the river, and finding itself hard pressed,
sprang in and swam the wide stream. Orion, close behind, excitedly
plunged in after his quarry; and though the water was far above his
head, he actually gained upon the deer in crossing, caught it on
the opposite shore, and bore the carcass home in triumph. It seemed
perfectly natural to him to be able to walk through the water, without
touching bottom, almost as easily as on dry land; but Hyrieus was
filled with astonishment at his story and could scarcely credit it
until he saw the youth a few days later perform the same miraculous
feat in the neighboring lake, advancing with great strides through
fifty feet of water, only his head showing above the surface. Unknown
to either of them, this was the natal gift of Poseidon, god of the
sea and waters. Orion troubled himself little enough about whence it
came or its singularity; but from that hour rivers and lakes were no
obstacle to him, and when he roamed further and reached the great
sea itself, he found himself master of even this, and able to travel
through the salt surge and the heaving waves of Poseidon's own domain.
Thereafter, the farthest confines of Greece, nay even Thrace, Macedon
and remote Illyria, could not satisfy this passion for wandering. He
learned to know the aspect of inaccessible Olympus from the north and
west as well as the familiar one from the south. The unknown, with its
new animals and fresh landscapes, ever called him on to wider and wider
swings from his Bœotian home.

When he reached young manhood, all who beheld him agreed that he was
handsomest among the sons of men--if indeed he were of human origin.
The maidens of Tanagra, Thebes and Platæa did not say so much, but
their eyes spoke for them when the swift-footed young hunter sped
past. As for him, he seemed to see none of them save Side, whose tall
beauty and dignity marked her out among all the graceful girls of that
land; and he only knew that when he looked upon her he was filled with
a vague unrest.

The time came for the festival of the Great Dædala, when, once in sixty
years, all the folk celebrated the reconciliation of Zeus and Hera.

From every corner of Bœotia the people gathered. In solemn
procession, headed by the priests, they fared forth into an ancient
forest, where giant oaks stood shoulder to shoulder so that their
mighty boles were in sunless gloom.

The priest set some boiled meat on the ground. Breathlessly the great
assemblage watched in silence as the birds dropped through the air to
their feast.

Presently a raven appeared. A long sigh of expectant excitement went
up from the crowd. The glossy black bird lit near the meat, and walked
awkwardly towards it, cocking an impudent eye towards the motionless
creatures who watched him so intently. Assured of their harmlessness,
he seized a piece of this heaven-sent dinner and flapped away with his
prize. Every gaze was focussed upon him.

As he lit on the lower branch of a huge oak some distance off, a
tremendous shout from hundreds of throats rang through the gloomy
forest. Everyone rushed to the tree thus selected. Amid songs and
clamor, men with axes cut down this giant growth. And when it crashed
to earth, another shout alarmed the birds and beasts for miles about.

Swiftly the skilled axemen hewed out an image from a section of the
trunk. With deft fingers the women dressed this image in snowy bridal

When all was ready, it was lifted into a clumsy wain, with solid
hewed-out wheels, drawn by a white bullock. Beside it was seated
the most beautiful virgin as bridesmaid; and Orion's heart throbbed
violently as he saw the stately Side take her place in this seat of

The wain started back out of the wood, followed by a piping and
dancing throng of worshippers. At the edge of the forest they were
met by another procession, escorting the thirteen other images which
commemorated all the Little Dædala festivals since the last great

Chanting and dancing, the whole multitude moved down to the Asopus
River; after a ceremony of purification, they set out for Mt. Cithæron.

Here the fourteen wains were dragged to the very summit of the
mountain. The images were placed on the altar of square blocks of
wood, and brush-wood was heaped over all. After sacrifices had been
performed,--a he-goat to Zeus, and a cow to Hera--a torch was set to
this sacred pile, and in a moment the whole was a vast pillar of fire,
leaping a hundred feet into the air and visible for miles and miles in
every direction.

It was a prodigious and awe-inspiring spectacle. But Orion saw only
Side in her calm and lofty beauty. For the first time he realized that
there were other things necessary to his happiness besides chasing the
red deer and the snarling wolf.

He sought her parents and demanded her. And when they found that Side,
so sure of herself and so scornful of all suitors, had lost her heart
to this tall, impetuous youth, they gave their consent.

The wedding was the occasion of another celebration almost as joyous
as one of the lesser Dædala, for all the countryside was proud of the
unmatched beauty of Side, and Orion's renown had spread far and wide.

Each guest seemed to vie with all the others in complimenting Side,
who had never looked more lovely or more unapproachable than in her
bridal array. So loud and extravagant was this chorus of praise that it
aroused the jealousy of some of her comrades.

"After all," broke out a black-eyed maiden spitefully, "she is the
daughter of crooked-legged Alpheus. One might think, to hear them go
on, that it was Hera herself who was being married to this wild man."

Orion, beside his bride, heard the taunt, and turned upon the speaker.

"I have never seen Hera," said he. "But I have seen Side--and she is
beyond compare with any mortal I know. Until I behold the Goddess face
to face and find I am mistaken, I shall believe that even on Olympus
there is none that can challenge my bride."

The guests gasped and drew back a space at this audacious sacrilege.
Side, however, smiled, well pleased. For in her secret heart she
thought her ardent lover spoke but the truth, and that had she been in
Hera's place there would have been no need of the reconciliation with
Zeus, for which the Dædala was held.

The large-eyed Queen of Heaven heard the rash speech and saw the
presumption of this earth-born maiden. Her majestic brows knit in
anger--and it was as if a cloud passed across the face of the sun.
Sternly she refused the wedding sacrifice to herself, the Perfecter and
Fulfiller, and all the folk were aghast at this portent.

But Side still smiled, serene in her blind conceit.

"Am I not perfect enough for you to worship?" said she softly to Orion.

His ardent answer was interrupted by a crash of thunder from the
clear sky. Swiftly a great darkness fell upon the smiling plain.
The merrymakers were blanched with fear as this blackness engulfed
everything. They spoke in strained whispers. Darker and darker it
grew, till one could not see his terrified neighbor's face. Even the
murmurings ceased. All waited for some dread happening, they knew not

The silence was pierced by a sudden scream.

"Side!" cried Orion. "Side! Where are you?" He rushed wildly about,
upsetting all in his path.

There was the sound of a rushing wind, nothing more. Then the gloom
lifted as mysteriously as it had come.

But the bride was nowhere to be found. The wedding party crept to their
homes. No earthly eye ever again beheld the presumptuous Side. The wise
ones whispered that the enraged Hera had cast her into Hades for her
sacrilege. Once more Orion roamed the forests, more fiercely than ever.

It chanced one day, as he crashed through the thick bushes beside a
river in hot chase of a noble stag, that he came suddenly upon a group
of seven nymphs who, garlanded with flowers, were dancing upon the
carpet of green moss.

They ceased their song at sight of him and huddled together behind the
tallest in affright. This one, however, looked at him in bold defiance.
She was Maia, eldest of these seven daughters of Atlas, and such was
her beauty that it had already touched the heart of the Father of
the Gods himself. Straight and slender she stood, gazing under level
brows at the intruder as if challenging him to approach one under the
protection of Zeus.

There was something about her proud carriage and the perfect oval
of her face that made Orion think of his lost Side. The stag was
forgotten. Impulsively he stepped forward to speak to her.

As this giant youth, with his torn and shaggy skin garment, and all
flushed with the excitement of his chase, came closer, even Maia's
bravery forsook her. She gave a cry of alarm, and all the seven turned
and fled through the forest. Orion pursued them, as instinctively as he
would have dashed after a startled roe. But to his surprise and chagrin
they proved almost as fleet-footed as himself. He would hear them
ahead, or catch a glimpse of them between the tree trunks, and plunge
toward the spot--only to be baffled time and again. At length, after
hours of pursuit, he was compelled to own himself beaten and give up
for the time.

The next day found him casting about like any deerhound for this
elusive quarry. Yet they were as wary as he, and while he sighted
them across a valley and renewed his efforts to the utmost, he never
succeeded in drawing even as close as the first time, since the
frightened nymphs had a trick of twisting and turning when hard pressed
that always succeeded in carrying them out of sight and hearing.

This went on day after day till it became his main occupation, and
while hunting game the thought of the fair Maia ever kept him on the
alert. More than once he almost outwitted her and her sisters, and his
determination became only hotter as time passed.

At last his opportunity came--five years after that first memorable
meeting. From a hilltop he spied the group in the lush meadow by the
river, pelting each other with anemones. Cautiously he crept along back
of the ridge till he reached a point where he felt sure he could cut
them off from the protecting forest. Then he leaped to his feet and
started down the steep hillside as he had never run before.

Watchful from many alarms, they saw him almost immediately. With
shrieks of terror they fled up the gentle slope. As he had foreseen,
it became a race to see which should first reach the nearest tongue of
forest that thrust towards the river.

Breathless but triumphant, Orion found himself at the edge of the
tangled thicket. The group of maidens halted fifty feet away, all
except Maia weeping and crouching to the ground. In the open they were
absolutely at his mercy.

Slowly he advanced towards them, wondering more than ever at the grace
and charm of the leader, who faced him this time with less defiance,
yet without any of the despair shown by her sisters. She called aloud
upon Zeus for aid.

Closer and closer Orion approached, with never a word. Then with the
same swift motion in which he was wont to pounce upon a trembling hare,
he caught at his prize--and remained in this position, staring stupidly
at seven white pigeons that fluttered away just out of his grasp and
soared upward till they disappeared into the blue of the sky.

Zeus had listened to the prayer of Maia, and in his sovereign power he
caught up all the seven into the firmament and translated them into
stars, the shining Pleiades.

For the second time in his life Orion realized with dull resentment
that there were unseen powers beyond his own. Like some wounded wolf
he sought a couch in a cave, beneath a great overhanging rock in the
nearby ravine, and lay there nursing his grievance.

When he finally came forth, the fair land of Hellas had become
distasteful to him. He set forth to find some country beyond the seas
where he might still be mightiest of all, and where naught could remind
him of these rebuffs.

Wide were his wanderings across the mighty sea. Even to Scylla and
Charybdis he came, and there left perpetual memorials of his might.
For on the Sicilian coast, where fell Charybdis threatened every
mariner, he built a sickle-shaped strip of protecting rock that formed
the safe harbor of Zancle, where, thanks to this shelter, the great
city of Messina was to rise. Also, across the strait from hideous,
six-headed Scylla he hurled into the open sea a rocky mass that juts
from the shore as the promontory of Pelorus--whereon he reared a temple
to his protector Poseidon, in which the inhabitants religiously adored
the sea-god for thousands of years thereafter. For a time he dwelt in
the mountains of Hera, whence fiery Ætna could be seen to the north,
rumbling and spouting forth flame as the colossal Enceladus still
struggled beneath its weight.

But, he could not long be content in any one place; so when he had
mastered all the difficulties of rugged Sicily, he set forth once more.

This time he fared eastward again till he came into the smiling waters
of the Ægean, and reached the craggy isle of Chios, where fig tree,
palm and vine grew under the soft Ionian sky.

King Œnopion ruled this land of ease and plenty, and his daughter
Merope was famed through all Ionia for her beauty.

Hardly had Orion beheld this princess when he found his heart burn
within him at the sight or thought of her. Boldly he demanded her in

But King Œnopion, proud of his lineage as son of Dionysus and
Ariadne, thought it far from fitting that his daughter should wed this
wandering woodsman, superhuman as his strength might be. Not venturing
to express his feeling openly to his formidable, self-invited guest, he
still managed to delay giving a decisive answer.

After the fashion of lovers of all times, Orion made offering of his
special capacities. The wild creatures of Chios had a hard time, for
not only must skins and furs and venison be laid at the feet of the
beautiful Merope, but he caught at the suggestion of the King that he
should free the island from the lions and other dangerous beasts which
then ravaged it and held all the inhabitants in terror.

To Œnopion's disappointment he proved fiercer than the bears and
lions, even than the dreaded sharks of the sea. Instead of being
devoured as the King had hoped, he brought back one trophy after
another, always demanding, with outdoor directness, the thing he had
set his heart on.

His scanty patience was exhausted long before the wily monarch's stock
of pretexts. His nature and habit had ever been to seize what he
wanted: in his usual headlong fashion he attempted openly to carry off
Merope by force; and failing in his first effort, made no secret of his
intention to try again.

The wily Œnopion concealed his resentment and bade the headstrong
suitor to a banquet. In friendly fashion he plied him with heady wine
from the luscious grapes of Ariusia.

Then, when even his giant strength was relaxed, the royal slaves set
upon him, blinded him, and cast him out upon the seashore to perish.

As the salt spray dashing over his face brought him to full
consciousness, he roared aloud in pain and wrath. The people in the
city miles away trembled at that sound; and Œnopion regretted to the
bottom of his cowardly heart that he had not slain this giant when he
was in his power.

Orion bathed his face in the lapping waves and got slowly on his feet.
His first instinct was to grope his way back to the palace and take
swift revenge upon the King for his treachery. But a few faltering
steps convinced him of the folly of attempting this in his helpless

He turned again toward the sea, in which he now felt almost as much at
home as on land. Keeping the fresh breeze full in his face, and calling
aloud upon Poseidon, he waded into the waves. With no clear idea of
where he was going, he set forth.

Northward he fared, finding relief in his mighty strides through the
cool waters, and in the wind that blew full upon his fevered eyes. Hour
after hour he sped on tirelessly, his thoughts still in such a ferment
of rage that he could make no calm or reasoned plan.

Without knowing it, he arrived off the western point of Lesbos.
Suddenly there broke upon his fantastic plans for revenge a mighty
pulsing beat, which came muffled, from far away, through water and air.
Instinctively he proceeded towards the sound; and as he advanced it
grew ever louder, till he fancied it seemed like the clangor of a vast
anvil under the strokes of some super-smith.

In fact he was approaching the isle of Lemnos, where dwelt and labored
the cunningest of all smiths, the lame god Hephæstos. Here, in a cavern
stretching down beneath the ocean floor, he had had his workshop ever
since Zeus had hurled him from Olympus, and here he wrought such
marvels as the arms of Achilles, the sceptre of Agamemnon, and the
fatal necklace of Harmonia.

Guided by the ringing hammer strokes, Orion at length reached this
subterranean forge and told his story. The immortal craftsman was moved
to see such bodily perfection marred and helpless through loss of sight.

He called one of his workmen. "Take Cedalion with you," he said. "He
will guide you to the spot where the Sun rises. I know Helios well: did
I not make the golden boat which carries him back each night, along
the border of the earth, to the East once more? Before his gleaming
eyes every darkness must retreat; for the All-seer pierces through any
blackness. It is from him alone that you may recover your eye-sight."

Overjoyed at any definite hope, Orion placed Cedalion on his shoulders,
hastened up from the cavern, and once more plunged into the rolling

Directed by him he carried, he journeyed eastward, eastward ever. Past
many a strange land he sped, holding to the mark as a homing-pigeon
holds towards his distant remembered cote.

Long and weary was the way; but nothing mattered save to press on
towards the god of light. And at last he reached that lovely bay in
the ultimate East where Helios mounts the sky each morn behind his
snow-white steeds.

Here he placed Cedalion on his feet again. The latter prostrated
himself face to earth, lest he be smitten by the terrible brilliance of
the Sun-god. But Orion stood erect, awaiting the coming of the Day.

The brooding night trembled and drew back. Through the morning mist
appeared Eos, goddess of the dawn and herald of her brilliant brother.
New-risen from her ocean-couch, with ruddy hair streaming above her
saffron-colored mantle, she advanced in her golden chariot, while her
rosy fingers sprinkled dew upon the earth from the vase she carried.
The dawn breeze struck mysterious notes of music from her tresses like
those of an Æolian harp.

Orion could not see this gracious vision as he stood there stark and
expectant. Yet some influence of the colorful morning freshness which
faced him softened his countenance into a smile of pleasure.

And as Eos looked upon the perfectness of his strong, beautiful youth,
she loved him. Bending down, she pressed a kiss upon his forehead,
whispering: "Be of good heart. Helios comes."

She passed on. The heavens blazed with purple and crimson and gold
streamers, shooting up to the zenith from the coronal of the rising

Out of the rippling blue waters of the bay lifted his majestic visage.
The intolerable gleam of his eyes fell full upon the sightless orbs of

Instantly the blinded giant saw once more. But seeing, he was
constrained for the first time in his life to bow his head before that
fiery glance. When the god had whirled on upward, he picked up the
trembling Cedalion, set him on his shoulders again, and turned back
towards Lemnos, for his wrath still burned hotly against Œnopion.
Yet amid his grim thoughts of vengeance, ever and again there sounded
those faint music-breaths that had come to him when Eos passed by; and
ever and again he would feel her soft lips against his brow.

Like some dripping sea monster, he stepped upon the beach of Chios.
Overbearing all who would stay him, he drove on towards the palace.
Œnopion, however, had been warned of his coming and had hastily
hid himself in a labyrinthine cavern beneath the ground. Search as he
might, Orion could not discover his enemy, and was reluctantly forced
to forego the retribution he had planned.

He thought then to leave this ill-omened isle. But the next morning
Eos, who had not forgotten him, carried him off to Delos. Since her
Titan husband had been slain by the lightnings of Zeus, she claimed
the right to marry this handsome hunter. But the council of the gods
rejected her plea. She dared not resist this supreme decree, so
sorrowfully she left him.

Now this tiny isle of Delos had been the birthplace of Apollo and
Artemis. Formerly called Ortygia, it had floated hither and thither
before the winds; but when Leto came to give birth to these twin
children of Zeus, and found no refuge elsewhere in all the world, the
mighty ruler of Olympus fixed it firmly in its place by four chains
of adamant; and forever after it was sacred to the three divinities,
though more particularly to Apollo.

Little reverence or awe was there in Orion's mind, however, when he
found himself alone upon this rocky islet. He realized that for a third
time invisible powers had come between him and the woman he thought
his; worst of all, there was no one against whom he could direct the
hot resentment that flexed every mighty muscle of his body.

His consuming wrath made some action a necessity. He started up the
craggy slope of Mt. Cynthos, bursting through the tangled thicket,
leaping from one boulder to another, striding across deep clefts in the
rock,--with a vague idea that from the commanding summit of the hill he
might spy one of these hidden enemies who thus thwarted him.

As he squeezed through a narrow pass at the foot of a riven face of
rock, his hunter's eye caught the black spot marking a cave entrance;
and the grizzly hairs at the opening told him it was a wolf's den. He
paused instinctively and peered into the gloom of the cavern. A chorus
of high yapping barks proclaimed the presence of a family of cubs.

He hesitated a moment, wondering if he could force his broad shoulders
through the opening. Then he sprang to his feet and faced about, as he
heard behind him a snarl that threatened instant danger.

A few feet away, the head of a huge she-wolf protruded from the glossy
green leaves of the dense laurel. The creature had just dropped a fawn
it had been bringing home, and the bleeding carcass lay unheeded at
the edge of the thicket. Its green eyes blazed with deadly intention;
the long hair on its neck bristled up straight around the blood-spotted
jaws into a Medusa's head of terror.

Orion had barely time to throw up one guarding arm, when the fierce
brute sprang at his throat. Even the wild boar at bay has no fury
comparable with that of the hunting wolf-mother, protecting her young.
But for the giant's instinctive defensive movement, it might have gone
badly even with him. As it was, the dripping teeth caught hold of a
fold of his skin garment, and he staggered against the rock wall at the
impact of the animal landing on his shoulder.

This death-grapple quite suited the hunter's own savage mood. His eyes
blazed as balefully as those of the wolf. With a motion as swift as
that of a panther he gripped the animal's upper jaw with his right
hand. Heaving it free from his shoulder, his left hand caught the lower
jaw before those wicked fangs had time to close upon his fingers.

Then, putting forth his full might, he fairly tore the struggling
beast's jaws asunder, and dashed it lifeless against a boulder.

He was a superb figure as he stood there in the full vigor of his
aroused powers. It might have been one of the Titan brood defying any
force of earth or heavens. Yet instead of being monstrous, he was
beautiful--manhood in its perfection though enlarged far beyond common

"Well done!" said a clear voice behind him. "A fitting end for the

Orion turned--and to his surprise, his limbs trembled as they had not
done at sight of the attacking brute.

A tall maidenly figure stood beside a cypress tree whose twisted roots
disappeared into a rock crevice. She held a bow, and her right hand
still gripped the long arrow which she had clearly been holding sighted
against the wolf, ready to discharge the instant the man seemed to be
getting the worst of the struggle.

Her embroidered chiton was girt to the knees; her long hair,
intricately woven about her head was bound by a fillet on which shone
a silver crescent; upon her feet were Cretan sandals, whose crossing
thongs were held by embossed silver clasps. Slender, youthful, alive
with vitality, with sparkling great eyes and smiling lips, she seemed,
as she replaced the arrow in her quiver, to breathe forth that very
spirit of the forest which had ever drawn Orion into the most intimate
depths of nature's wildnesses. Indeed, as he gazed stupidly at this
radiant creature, she appeared like the very embodiment of all his
deepest longings, unexpressed and even unrealized by himself.

"Ai!" she exclaimed. "Never have I seen such a one among the sons of
men. I am Artemis. Henceforth we shall hunt together, you and I."

For the first time in his life Orion felt humble. It was not that she
named herself daughter of Zeus: but to have the companionship of this
Shining One in the life he loved was a boon which no strength of his
could win; and his heart beat with lowly gratitude.

Then the self-sufficient man reasserted himself. "Let us go," said he.
"There is no creature of the woods that can escape or defy me."

The goddess smiled, as if pleased with his boastfulness. "This isle
will hardly contain such hunters as we. Let us go to Crete. There are
mountains that dwarf Ossa and Pelion. There we may range from the
perpetual snow of Ida to the olive-filled vales of Iardanos."

Joyfully Orion strode beside her down the rugged side of Cynthos. He
hoped they might encounter some monster, that he might at once protect
his companion and show his power. And Artemis, perceiving his thought,
smiled again in pleasure.

Southward, across the sea they journeyed to the land of Minos. And here
they spent long golden days in roaming over the length and breadth
of this isle of mountains and caves and upland pasture plateaus and
fertile sea-level valleys. They waged relentless war against the
killers that preyed upon the wild herds whom Artemis held under her
protection: till to this day it is recorded that not a wolf can be
found in Crete, plentiful as they still are in neighboring lands.

Orion was well content. Life had become an infinitely richer thing than
he had ever imagined, even when he had thought it at the full. For once
he was willing to wait patiently for that which he most desired.

For this Comrade was the true woman he had ever sought. Daughter of
Zeus though she was, terrible as was her wrath, proud as she might
be of her title of Parthenos, he felt sure she belonged to him, and
that each new day's varied experience bound them together the more

And it is written that the Goddess herself felt the bond. She
recognized her mate according to the decrees of nature. And she made no
secret of her intention to wed this earth-born one.

Then bright Apollo, twin brother of the huntress, waxed wroth and
determined to avert this disgrace. And because even he hesitated to
thwart her openly, he had recourse to guile.

It chanced towards dusk one summer's eve that Artemis stood by the
seashore. Contrary to his wont, Orion had gone off alone on an
expedition to a neighboring island.

He was now returning, progressing through the water with mighty
strides, but so distant that his head seemed but a tiny speck upon the

Suddenly Apollo descended to his sister's side. Playfully he began to
rally her upon her vaunted skill with the bow, at which he himself was

When her pride was aroused, he declared that she could not hit that
black spot which seemed to move toward them--probably a porpoise.

Quickly the piqued Goddess seized an arrow from the quiver on her
shoulder. Steadily she drew her bow till the arrow-head touched her
finger. Firmly she loosed it. The string gave a mighty twang. The shaft
sped seaward, true to the mark.

Artemis turned in triumph, but Apollo had vanished. A vague uneasiness
filled her breast. The surf seemed to beat against the sands in
lamentation, growing louder and yet louder.

Then urged on by Poseidon, the waves passed from one to another, and
presently laid at her feet--the dead body of her Comrade, whom she had
thus unwittingly slain.

At that the Huntress knew what it was to weep, even as the daughters of
men. Bitterly she reproached Apollo, wildly she reproached herself.

Hope sprang up again within her as she thought of Asclepius. Well
she knew the skill of this child of Apollo, who had added to his
inheritance all the wisdom of Chiron the centaur. His feats of healing
had approached miracles, and it was whispered that he had even essayed
with success the final miracle of restoring the dead to life. He could
not refuse his aid to her.

Swiftly she bore away the body across the sea to Argolis, where the
temple of Asclepius stood near Epidaurus.

Unwillingly the sage of healing hearkened to her plea, for he feared to
exercise his art upon one who had presumed to alliance with divinity.
Yet to his father's twin he could refuse nothing.

He set about his work. Skilfully he compounded elixirs; solemnly he
performed the mystic rites of his craft.

But at the moment of consummation, his forebodings proved but too well
founded. All-seeing Zeus perceived the confusion that must result on
earth if such resurrection were permitted; so he hearkened to the
protests of Hades, and suddenly slew the too-wise physician with one of
his thunderbolts.

So far the Thunderer did listen to the prayers of Artemis: he placed
the beautiful giant on high as a constellation in the sky.

There you may see him still if you are of the hunting craft and
sally forth after wildfowl before Eos flushes the eastern sky. The
three stars in a straight line in his jeweled belt gleam as the most
conspicuous ornament of the spangled sky; below an even larger white
star, Rigel, marks the giant's left foot; while topaz Betelgeuse blazes
on his shoulder at an equal distance above. At his heels follows his
faithful dog, where Sirius now gleams white, but looked redly down some
thousands of years ago. Before him, with fair Maia chief among them,
still fly the Pleiades, though he heeds them not.

Thus, "gliding through the silent sphere . . . and girt with gold," the
giant hunter seeks his lost Artemis still.



Troy had fallen. After ten years' siege by a hundred thousand of
Greece's mightiest warriors, the ramparts built by Poseidon had still
proved impregnable to assault; the fell arrows of Heracles added to
this host had failed to accomplish what Heracles himself had done
single-handed. But finally, at the appointed time, stratagem had
succeeded where force had proved of no avail: the monstrous wooden
horse, within which crouched wily Odysseus and his chosen band, had
wrought Ilium's downfall,--leaving the world even till this day a
pregnant proverb: to beware the enemy bearing gifts.

Among the Greeks summoned by King Menelaus to recapture Helen the
incomparable, there was none to equal Odysseus as a combined warrior,
leader and counsellor. To him had been awarded the celestial arms of
Achilles; it was he who secretly stole away the Palladium, the guardian
image whose presence made Troy invulnerable; through his counsel and
under his leadership, the fateful wooden horse had brought the final

He had done his utmost to evade the call to Troy in the first place,
for the oracle had foretold that if he went, it would be twenty years
before he should again see his beloved isle of Ithaca.

It had already taken half of this daunting term to complete the object
of the expedition. But now the Trojan stronghold was a fiery memory.
Helen was restored to her rightful husband. There remained merely the
voyage of a few hundred miles back, through the island-studded Ægean
and around the Peloponnesus, to bring him once more to his own kingdom,
to that patient Penelope who awaited his return, and the baby son, (now
a baby no longer but the "discreet" Telemachus), to whom his sire was
but a name. Surely the soothsayer must have erred: it could not take
years for his galleys to cover the distance over which his heart and
thoughts sped so swiftly.

Yet it was with a solemn countenance that the hero made offerings to
the Gods, and bade his followers loose the sails of his twelve stout
ships before the southwest breeze. For none knew better than he how
little might the utmost human skill and wisdom avail against the
decrees of Olympus.

No such forebodings clouded the minds of his islanders. The thought
of home, after these years of toil and peril, ran through their veins
like an elixir. With shouts of joy, as dawn broke fresh and clear, each
crew raced its long-keeled, high-prowed galley down the sloping beach.
Dripping, they scrambled aboard, every man to his thwart. In unison the
oars hit the water with powerful strokes, to the measure of an exultant
chant. The yards were hoisted, sails unclewed, lowered and made fast.
Under the following wind and the rowers' vigor, the vermillion-cheeked
galleys leaped like live things across the quiet waters that curled
about their prows.

It was not so quiet as they passed out of the protected harbor, for
the stiff breeze was beginning to make the leaping waves blossom into
white; but with yards braced and oars bending, they stood away stoutly
into the northwest. Between Lemnos and Imbros they passed, forced ever
more to northward by the growing wind, till they could see the wooded
heights of Samothrace to leeward; and while most of the unthinking
rejoiced to feel the plunging vessels speed so fast through the waves,
Odysseus was far from satisfied, realizing that they were now headed
almost directly away from their proper course.

He was glad enough as darkness began to fall, to see ahead the
mountainous shore of Thrace, and to beach his vessels beneath the stars
on the sandy strip, near the mouth of a cove, which his careful eye had

Morning showed them hard by the chief town of the Ciconians, who
inhabited those shores. They were barbarians, these Thracians, and
proper spoil for warlike Greeks. Launching his galleys and leaving
guards aboard, Odysseus led his Ithacans against this city of Ismaurus,
sure of an easy victory as had been theirs so often before.

In one swift assault they overwhelmed the place, sacked it, and divided
the booty. Then the prudent leader ordered an instant retreat to the
waiting vessels.

But his inflamed soldiers, who had drunk deep of Thracian wine, could
no longer be controlled. They began to slaughter the crook-horned oxen
and the sheep, preparing by the shore for a triumphant carouse. All
night the wild feast lasted.

Then, when discipline was relaxed, what had been foreseen by their
leader came to pass. The Ciconians who had escaped had called upon
their neighbors for aid. At dawn these began to gather, on horseback,
in war chariots, on foot, thick as leaves and flowers in spring.

The Greeks now listened to their leader. It was too late to take to
the swift ships, but they set themselves in battle array as the enemy
burst upon them. Stoutly they fought, while the brass-tipped spears
carried death to both sides. For nearly the whole day they managed to
hold their ground against the pressing multitude; but towards sunset
the numbers of the foe began to tell. The Grecian line was turned; man
after man went down; and when they finally fled aboard the galleys in
rout, seventy-two of their company were missing.

Glad to have escaped alive, the survivors did not leave till they had
performed the last sacred rites, calling aloud three times to each of
their slain comrades by name that their spirits might be guided back to
Hellas. Then, with aching hearts, they sped from that ill-omened shore,
while Odysseus prayed to Zeus for a favoring north wind.

The Cloud-gatherer heard, but answered in anger. The sky to northward
grew black and lowering. So suddenly did the storm-clouds overspread
the heavens that it seemed as if night had tumbled headlong upon
the quaking fleet. Suddenly the wind leaped upon them, hurling the
galleys apart as by a giant hand. The sails were torn to tatters by
the tempest; the fury of the gale and the overwhelming rain forced the
crews below, while the ships pitched and wallowed as they drove before
the wind. Seeing that their only chance for life was to get under the
lee of some protecting shore, the crews came up once more, each rower
staggered to his seat, and they set to work to force their laboring
craft towards land.

Two days and nights they toiled, till even their tough hands were
blistered and raw, and their exhausted muscles could scarcely grip the
oars. They reached the shelter of a promontory at length and rested
there, amazed to find themselves still afloat.

By the next morning the gale seemed to have blown itself out, so they
hoisted their yards, set sail, and stood south before a following wind
and sea.

Again the hopes of all ran high, as they coasted along the mountainous
shores of Eubœa, and turned southwest towards the long point of the

Still the favoring breeze swept them on. They doubled the dreaded cape
of Maleia, and held west, now doubting not at all that in two days at
the most their straining eyes would behold the rock cliffs of Ithaca.
Only the face of Odysseus was stern and set, as he pondered in his mind
the doleful prediction which had clouded his thoughts so many years.

Indeed, he was hardly surprised when, as they swept around the next
jutting point, they were suddenly thrown aback by a squall from the
north, accompanied by such a head sea that they were forced to put
about and run before it, as far back as Cythera.

Even here they could make no harbor but drifted on helplessly before
the furious gale. Nine days and nights they were tossed about, not
knowing where they were or whither they were being carried.

On the tenth the fury of the wind abated, and they sighted an unknown
shore. Odysseus stood in close to land, anchored, and sent a party
ashore for fresh water. They prepared food on the beach, and ate and
drank greedily after their exhausting vigil.

The leader then despatched two sailors inland, with a third as a
herald, to see what manner of folk inhabited these shores.

They did not return, so he set out after them himself. He soon came
upon them amid a company of the natives, and perceived that the trouble
arose from the friendliness of these, not from any desire to harm
the visitors. For this was the famed land of the Lotus-eaters, and
after their custom they had given the sailors their own flowery food:
straightway the wanderers had lost all remembrance of their errand, of
ships, comrades, leader and home; they desired naught save to eat of
the lotus forever in this place of pleasant dreams.

Finding that they hearkened neither to his commands nor entreaties,
Odysseus dragged them weeping back to the ships by very force, bound
them fast, and stowed them under the rowers' benches. In haste he bade
his crews embark, lest they too eat of this insidious food; and the
moment they were safely aboard, the oars beat the water into foam, as
they swept ahead to whatever might next await them.

On they cruised, across strange seas, with no knowledge of how to
steer, but impelled ever forward on a chance course. It did not seem to
matter particularly when they ran into a fog so thick that they could
scarcely see far enough about to keep together.

Murky night settled down upon them. The blore of wind and sea seemed
to increase and fill all space; yet there was no sign of rocks or
breakers ahead, nor could straining eyes make out anything to steer by.
They could but hold on their course, in dread of what any moment might
bring, while the all-pervading roar grew ever more threatening.

Then, as if by magic, the tossing galleys suddenly rode peacefully on
calm water. The thunderous roar was stilled, so that one might hear
the ripple of the curling wavelets about the bows. And presently the
staunch galleys slid gently up on a sloping beach.

Still they could see naught about them. But it was enough for those
hardened wanderers that they were once more safe for the moment.
Lowering all the sails, they stumbled ashore, lay down on the sand, and
fell into the heavy sleep of passed fatigue and danger.

Rosy-fingered dawn opened their eyes upon a scene of beauty. They lay
at the head of a landlocked basin, through whose narrow entrance,
between tall cliffs, they had unwittingly steered safely in the
blackness of the night. Close beside them a silvery stream rippled its
way to the bay, from a cleft in the rock set about with dark poplars.
Lush meadows, suitable for plough land and vineyards, stretched from
the shore back to the wooded hills that hemmed in their refuge.
Everything that nature unaided could provide was there, awaiting only
the labor of men to turn it all into fruitfulness and homes; and the
hearts of these storm-tossed mariners relaxed in pleasure as they gazed
upon the charming prospect.

On making a circuit of the island, they found its forest-covered rocks
even more immediately interesting than the meadows about the harbor.
For innumerable wild goats made it their home, and the sight of these
bounding figures turned their thoughts to hunting and food.

Bows and hunting spears were quickly brought from the ships; and
separating into three bands, they entered ardently upon the chase.
Nor was it long before they returned to the beach heavily laden with
toothsome game. Nine goats there were for each of the twelve galleys,
and to the leader were allotted ten more. Then, until the setting of
the sun, they sat and feasted on this welcome meat, with ruddy wine
from the ample store which they had brought away in jars as part of the
spoil from the citadel of the Ciconians.

There was no sign of human beings on their island. But from the ridge
they had marked a much larger one just behind it, with a wide harbor,
across the mouth of which their resting-place lay. These rugged shores
rose cliff-like from the water, carrying the eye back to higher and
higher mountains, till it rested in wonder upon a gigantic peak that
seemed to pierce the very sky. From the snows about its crest rose a
threatening column of smoke--for this was that veritable Ætna with
which all-powerful Zeus had at last overwhelmed the fleeing Typhon who
had once driven the gods from Olympus.[54:1]

     [54:1] See Chapter I.

In the calm of the evening the Greeks could hear across the narrow
channel the bleat of sheep and goats, and sounds like those from the
dwellings of men, but tremendous and awe-inspiring. Wondering what
manner of folk these might be, they laid them down upon the beach and

At dawn Odysseus held a council.

"You, my friends," said he, "stay here, while I with my own crew
explore this neighboring isle. I must first discover whether its
people be churlish and savage, or if they observe the sacred rites of
hospitality to strangers."

Quickly the cables were loosed, the rowers took their places at the
pins, and the galley leaped forward out of the bay and around the point
of the island. In a short time they were entering the harbor on the
opposite shore.

Hardly had they passed the outer point when they stopped rowing
in wonder. High up above them was a great cave in the face of the
mountain. Dense masses of laurel grew all about its entrance. In front
was an enclosure, walled in by huge boulders and by massive trunks of
tall pine and oak trees. Clearly this was the abode of some creature
who kept flocks and herds: but what sort of being must it be who could
build such a colossal wall or need such quarters?

Odysseus bade his crew stay on the galley and guard it with their
lives. Twelve men, upon whom he could rely, he picked to accompany him.
In a goatskin bottle he carried his choicest offering--some of the dark
sweet wine given him by the priest of Apollo at Ismaurus, in gratitude
for his protection when they had despoiled the Ciconians; it had been
reserved for the priest himself and two others only of his household,
and so potent was it that, when a cupful was mixed with twenty times as
much water, its aroma still filled the nostrils.

Cautiously the adventurer climbed up the ascent, followed by his twelve
companions. No human being was in sight as they passed through the
enclosure; but when they entered the cave, there were plentiful signs
of recent habitation. On one side were pens filled with lambs and kids,
the new-born in one, each older group to itself. Milking pails, huge
bowls of milk set for cream, others of curd and of whey, and crates
filled with cheeses stood all about, in vast size and profusion like
everything else.

All they saw was so suggestive of an owner far outside the limits of
ordinary men, that his followers at once besought him to make off
with as many cheeses, lambs and kids as they could carry aboard, and
to hasten quickly from that terrifying abode. But Odysseus refused.
Confident in the powers of his tongue and sword, he resolved to await
the return of this mighty cave-dweller, both to satisfy his own
curiosity and in the hope of receiving the customary gifts. Bitterly
was he to regret his decision before many hours had passed.

Meanwhile, under his bidding, the Greeks kindled a fire, made burnt
offering to the gods, and satisfied their hunger with some of the
cheese. Then they sat about in the gloomy cave, awaiting its master's

Everything combined to make them apprehensive, and the nerves of all
save Odysseus soon became taut enough. Hardened as they had become to
danger and the unknown, they started in spite of themselves at every
sound from the forest and thicket outside. And each time they would
cast sidelong glances at one another and at their unmoved leader,
striving to appear as unconcerned as he.

The sun in the west had begun to throw a long slanting tongue of light
through the rock portal when unmistakable evidence came to their ears.
Amid the bleating of returning flocks, there sounded the regular beat
of what could only be mighty footsteps--footsteps which made even the
solid rock quiver, and for which only the sights about them could have
prepared their minds. Nearer and nearer they came, and even those
bronzed faces grew pale.

Suddenly the sunlight streaming into the cave was darkened by a vast
shape. It did not enter, but tossed in the whole bole of a blasted
pine, whose dry limbs crashed and splintered as it fell. The tumbling
Greeks sprang back to a dark corner: even their awed imaginations had
not conceived of such gigantic strength.

Presently a mass of ewes began to jostle in through the doorway;
clearly the rams and he-goats were to be left outside, and these were
the milkers of the herd.

Behind them came the monstrous creature, and to the crouching watchers
it appeared as if some mountain peak from the range they had seen
were walking in upon them. Yet this prodigy, which seemed to fill the
whole cave, was built like a man in all respects save one: one great
eye only he bore, in the centre of his forehead. Savage and uncouth he
was, with matted hair, and yellow tusks at the corner of his mouth like
some ancient wild boar. And wise Odysseus knew that this was one of the
famed Cyclopes who acknowledged not even the sovereignty of Olympus.

That baleful eye apparently did not perceive the terrified group
huddled into the shadow. The monster turned as he entered, and laid
hold of a huge stone which stood beside the portal. Such was its size
that a score of ox-teams could not have started it from its place; but
the intruders saw him wrap his great arms about the mass: the muscles
stood out like cables as, lifting the boulder clear from the floor,
he placed it in front of the entrance for a door stone, completely
blocking the exit.

Dark as it now was within, he at once set to work at milking, placing
half the milk in vessels for curdling, and filling with the rest a bowl
in which two ordinary men could have stood upright and which would have
held ten amphoræ of wine of ten gallons each. This done, he put the
lambs and kids beneath their mothers.

Breaking off great limbs of the tree he had brought in as if they were
twigs, he kindled a roaring fire. The leaping flames lit up the gloomy
cavern. As the giant turned, the baleful glance of his single eye fell
upon the cowering Ithacans.

"Ha!" he roared, in a voice that beat upon them like a gale of wind.
"Who are you? Where have you come from across the seas? You look to me
like some of those sea-rovers who bring no good to those they visit."

Though his companions, stout men all, seemed utterly overwhelmed by the
savage's voice and aspect, Odysseus made answer boldly:

"We are Achæans, homeward bound from Troy, but driven by adverse winds
across the sea. Through many wanderings Zeus has brought us hither.
Subjects of Agamemnon are we, most famous of men, so great a city he
took. Here by chance, we ask of you food and shelter, and the gift
which is the stranger's due. Even you, O mighty one, must respect the
gods. And Zeus is the protector of the stranger and suppliant."

Rough was the monster's reply:

"Stupid or ignorant you must be to threaten me with the gods. The
Cyclopes care not for Zeus or his ægis: we are mightier than he, and in
this world the strong is the master. Not for the wrath of Zeus would
I spare you. But where is your ship? On this shore or the far one?

Odysseus was not to be beguiled so simply. "Poseidon, the Earth-shaker,
wrecked my ship," he declared, "and cast her on the rocky point at the
island's end. Only I, with these men, escaped."

Without a word, the Cyclops leaped forward. His hairy arms shot
forth. In each huge hand he seized one of the startled seamen. Before
the luckless ones had time so much as to call aloud, he had dashed
out their brains upon the rocky floor. Then, like some lion of the
mountains, he tore them limb from limb and devoured them, washing down
his horrible meal with draughts of milk.

Paying no heed to the sighs and tears and calls upon Zeus of the
survivors, he stretched his gorged bulk at full length among his flock
and slept, filling the cave with the sound of his noisome breathing.

Shaken with wrath at the outrage and the contempt, Odysseus was about
to creep upon the sleeping horror and thrust his sharp sword into his
vitals. He had marked the very spot, resolving to make sure first by
feeling for the heart beat with his hand. But he reflected that this
meant certain destruction for all, since they could by no possibility
move the enormous door-stone. As best they might then, he and his
crushed followers waited for the dawn.

They were not long left in doubt as to the monster's intentions toward
the rest of them. At daybreak he stretched himself, rose yawning, and
kindled the fire. Again he milked his herd and cared for them. Again he
seized two struggling victims and slaughtered and devoured them for his
morning meal.

Moving aside the boulder, he drove out goats and sheep, and replaced
the door-stone as one might put the lid on a quiver. They heard his
vast footfalls dying away, and his hoarse calls to his flock, as he
drove them over the hills to pasturage. Penned up inexorably, they must
await his return and its fresh horrors.

Sick at heart as he was, Odysseus thought only of revenge. Earnestly he
besought Athene for wisdom. Studying every object in the place, his eye
returned again and again to the bole of a green olive tree which lay
beside the pen. In size it was fit for the mast of a merchant ship of
twenty oars, breasting the open sea; yet clearly the Cyclops was drying
it out to use for a club-like staff.

Long did the hero ponder. And at last his jaw set and a grim smile
played upon his face. His plan was made.

While his followers bemoaned their fate, he stepped across the cavern,
drew his short sword and hacked off a six-foot section of this
tree-trunk. Rolling it across to his men, he bade them shape it down.
When it was smooth, he pointed the tip and charred it in the blazing
fire till the point was hard. This weapon he hid carefully beneath the
dry dung with which the cave was littered.

He explained to his wondering comrades that his idea was to thrust this
great stake into the giant's eye while he slept; and he suggested that
they choose by lot four of their number who should help him in this
daring attack. They did so, and Odysseus noted with satisfaction that
chance had given him the very resolute helpers he would have selected.
Heartening them as best he could, through the long trying hours of
inaction, the leader awaited their jailer's return.

Towards evening they heard those same portentous sounds of the
monster's coming. The door-stone was lifted aside. In poured the
jostling flocks. To the delight of Odysseus not a sheep was left
outside: that fitted in exactly with his crafty scheme. He contained
himself while the giant performed his evening tasks; even when two more
of the Greeks were slain and devoured, he made no sign.

When this ghastly meal was despatched, however, he stepped forward,
holding in his hands a bowl filled with the dark Ciconian wine.

"Here, Cyclops," said he. "Drink after your meal and see what we had
aboard our ship. I brought it as an offering, thinking it might move
you to send me home. But you defy the laws. How shall a stranger ever
come to you again from any people after such a wicked deed?"

The giant drained the bowl at one draught, and a look of pleasure
spread over the horrible features.

"Give me more, friend," he said. "And tell me your name that I may
please you with a stranger's gift. The Cyclops' fruitful fields bear
grapes with delicious wine in their heavy clusters; but this is truly
nectar and ambrosia."

Odysseus refilled the bowl with the sparkling wine, and again the giant
gulped it down. A third time it was replenished, and quickly emptied.
Noticing that the potent drink was beginning to affect even that huge
body, Ulysses answered his question:

"You ask my name: I will tell it, and do you fulfil your promise of a
stranger's gift. My name is Noman. Noman am I called by mother, father
and all my comrades."

With a drunken chuckle the Cyclops answered:

"Noman I will eat last, after all his comrades: that is the stranger's

With that, he sank back, overcome by the wine. In a few moments he was
sleeping, gorged and intoxicated, horrible to see and hear.

The moment had come. Odysseus seized the clumsy stake, and thrust the
point into the embers of the fire, urging his men to be of stout heart
and take their one chance.

When the point of the green olive trunk was aglow and ready to burst
into flame, he snatched it from the fire. His four helpers took it like
a battering-ram. Odysseus himself, standing on a projecting point of
rock, grasped the butt firmly.

At the word of command, as if they were boring a ship-beam with a
drill, the four plunged the smouldering point into the giant's eye with
all their strength, while their leader twisted the weapon violently.

The effect was startling. Blood bubbled around the point. The great
eye-ball hissed like water into which a smith has plunged hot iron to
temper it. With a roar that almost deafened them, the giant came to
life, and his mighty upheaval hurled the men hither and thither. He
wrenched the stake from his eye and hurled it from him in a frenzy.
But the breathless and terrified sailors perceived with relief that the
work had been well done: the monster was blind.

Beside himself with pain and anger he shouted at the top of his voice
to his fellow Cyclopes who lived in the other caves along the windy
heights. The hearts of the Greeks stood still with fear as they felt
the earth quiver beneath running feet, and heard the cries of the
gathering giants.

Presently a mighty voice from without demanded:

"What has happened to you, Polyphemus, that you rend the night with
your screams and keep us all from sleep? Is someone carrying off your
flocks? Are you being murdered by craft or force?"

"Friends," fairly blubbered the giant. "Noman is murdering me by craft.
Force there is none."

"If no man harms you," came the reply, "the ill must come from Zeus and
that you cannot fly. Pray to your father Poseidon."

Despite the calls and curses of the wounded one, the terrific company
strode off, never suspecting the truth; and Odysseus laughed in his
heart at the success of his simple stratagem.

Groaning in agony, Polyphemus groped about with his hands till he
found the door-stone, moved it aside and seated himself with hands
outstretched, to lay hold of his enemies in case they tried to escape
with the sheep.

But Odysseus had foreseen this contingency, and now set quickly about
the final move of his careful plan. He had observed that some of
the rams were of a specially fine breed, very large, and covered
with a long, heavy blue fleece. Separating these from the rest, he
quietly bound them together in groups of three with willow withes
from the Cyclops' bed. The middle one of each of these three carried
a man beneath him, guarded on each side by an unridden animal. The
largest of the flock he selected to carry himself, hanging beneath
his shaggy belly and gripping his back from each side with arms and
hands completely buried in the enormous fleece. Having made their
preparations in absolute silence, they anxiously awaited the coming of
the day.

As the first ruddy streaks of dawn became visible through the cave
mouth, the rams hastened out, eager for pasture, while the unmilked
ewes bleated in distress about the enclosure.

Polyphemus, moaning and muttering threats, ran his hands over the back
of every sheep before he would permit it to go out. Stupidly, he never
thought of feeling beneath, where the trembling seamen hung in dread of
being detected.

One after another passed safely out of that gloomy cavern into the
fresh freedom of the morning. Last of all came the great leader ram
with its human freight.

"What, my pet!" exclaimed the Cyclops as he felt the creature's back.
"Why are you the hindmost of the flock? You were never a laggard, but
always first to crop the tender grass, first to drink at the stream,
first to turn homeward at night. Ah, you miss your master's eye,
which that villain and his vile crew have put out. Noman it was--but
I will have him yet. If only you could speak and tell me where he is
skulking, how quickly would I dash out his brains. That would help some
in the misery that scoundrel has brought upon me."

He freed the ram and it trotted quickly out. The moment they were
safely away from the enclosure, Odysseus dropped to earth and helped
his comrades to free themselves. Then they hastily drove off the fat
rams towards the shore, casting many an anxious glance behind them, for
they feared that at any moment the Cyclops might discover the trick and
come down upon them.

They reached the ship where their staunch comrades welcomed them as
men returned from the dead. Checking their laments for the luckless
ones who had perished, Odysseus ordered them to toss the rams aboard as
quickly as they might. The rowers leaped to their places; the oars hit
the water in unison; the galley sped away from that accursed shore.

When they had reached the limit of hailing distance, Odysseus stood up
on the poop and shouted to the cave above:

"Cyclops, those were not a weakling's comrades upon whom you wrought
your brutality. It was destined that your crime should find you out,
wretch who dared to devour a guest within your house. For this has Zeus
chastised you, Zeus and all the gods of Olympus."

The giant heard, and knew himself outwitted. Frantic with rage, he
sprang forth from the cabin, tore up a boulder that looked like a whole
hilltop, and hurled it towards the sound of the taunting voice.

The mass of rock fell in front of the galley; and it sent such a wave
surging backward that the vessel was washed clean back to shore.

It would have fared badly then with the adventurers had the giant been
able to see their plight, for they were easily within his grasp. But
Odysseus seized a setting pole and shoved off again, making signs with
his head to the rowers to pull their hardest.

They put twice as wide a space as before between them and the enemy.
Then Odysseus rose again to speak to him. Beneath their breath his men
implored him to desist:

"O foolhardy one, why rouse this savage who even now drove us back to
shore with his missile? We thought all was over then. Had he heard but
a whisper he would have crushed us beneath some jagged mass of granite."

Their leader was not to be moved.

"Cyclops," he cried proudly, "if ever man asks you of your blinded eye,
say it was the deed of Odysseus, spoiler of cities, Laertes' son, whose
home is Ithaca."

At that Polyphemus groaned dolefully.

"Surely the ancient oracles are come upon me! A soothsayer once dwelt
here, Telemus the renowned. He told me I should lose my sight through
one Odysseus; but I watched for some mighty one--and now this miserable
pigmy has blinded me after overcoming me with wine. Nevertheless, come
hither, Odysseus, that I may bestow on you the stranger's gift and beg
the Land-shaker to speed you on your journey. His son am I; he can heal
me if he will."

Odysseus laughed in scorn. "Would I might as surely strip you of life
and send you to Hades as it is sure the Earth-shaker will never heal
your eye."

Then for the first time in his life the monster prayed, stretching
forth his hands to the sky:

"Hear me, thou girder of the land, dark-haired Poseidon. If I am truly
thine, and thou art called my father, vouchsafe no coming home to this
Odysseus, spoiler of cities, Laertes' son, whose home is Ithaca. Yet
if it be his lot to see his friends once more, and reach his stately
home and native land, late let him come, in evil plight, with loss of
all his crew, on the vessel of a stranger, and may he at his home find

He finished. His anger burst forth fiercely once more. Heaving up
another rock far larger than the first, he swung it back and forth,
put forth his utmost strength and hurled the mountainous mass out to
sea. It struck behind the galley, which shot up as if lifted by a tidal
wave. Odysseus called his order; the oars struck the water; the tough
shafts bent with the strain; but in a few moments the galley was riding
safe beyond the whirlpool and speeding toward the outer island.

But through all the rejoicings with which they met their comrades
in the other ships, through the feast, and through the propitiatory
sacrifice, the heart of Odysseus was heavy within him.

It was with a solemn brow that he loosed sail at dawn next day and set
forth to accomplish what remained of his amazing destiny.



Odin, he of the nine-and-forty names, dwelt in bright Asgard with his
fellow Æsir and Asynjar. Father of gods and men though he was, born
though he was of a giant mother, there was bitter strife between him
and the vast Frost and Mountain Giants, the seed of Ymir's feet. They
alone ventured openly to dispute his sovereignty.

Mightiest of the other twelve Æsir was the All-father's eldest
Earth-born son, Thor. Two goats of magical powers drew his chariot;
iron gauntlets he had with which to grasp Miolnir, the hammer that none
might withstand; when he girded about his loins the belt of strength,
even his god-like might was doubled. He alone of all the gods must
wade the mist-rivers and ascend into Asgard on foot, lest his flaming,
thundering chariot destroy Bifrost, the trembling rainbow bridge over
which all the rest of the celestial company rode daily to and from the
judgment-seat below.

Many a Frost-giant had been dashed down into the gloom of Nifelhel by
this Miolnir-hammer, which the dwarf artist Sindre had forged for the
Asa god; but this monster race held the secrets of black sorcery, and
in this way they were at times a match for the powers of Asgard.

So Thor discovered on a certain expedition.

One day he left his vast mansion Bilskirnir, with its five hundred
and forty halls, and accompanied by Loki, set out towards Jotunheim.
Northward they journeyed a whole day, in the goat-drawn car, till they
came to Alfheim, where the sons of Ivalde guarded the southern shores
of the great sea against the giants who dwelt beyond it, lest these
attempt to attack Asgard from his side.

As was his custom, Thor stopped for the night at the house of Egil, the
master archer, able to travel on his skiis over both snow and water:
brother, too, he was to Volund, craftiest of smiths, who was later
to forge the sword of victory, fatal even to the gods. There dwelt
with Egil his foster-son Thialfi, who had been found as an infant on
a tide-washed sandbar of the sea: he was swiftest of foot of all who
lived in Midgard, the home of men; for in truth he was that same Frey
who afterwards sat in Asgard. He and his sister Roska were very dear to

Right welcome was Thor to Egil. Yet when meal time came there was a
scarcity of food for the company.

"Little shall that trouble us," cried Thor, with his rumbling laugh
that shook the hall. "The meat I like best is that which carries me
when I do not carry it."

Followed by Loki and the wondering Thialfi, he strode out into the
darkness to where his strong-horned goats were stalled.

Smiling at the boy's amazement, he killed the beautiful creatures,
skinned them, cut up the carcasses with great care, and put the flesh
into the kettles to stew. When the meal was ready, he invited all to
join, and while Thialfi found it hard to forget the trim and graceful
animals, so full of life and spirit, he had to admit that he had never
before tasted such delicious fare.

"Eat your fill, everybody," said Thor. "None need go hungry when
Tanngniast and Tanngrisnir are on the board. But one caution I must
give: not a bone must be broken. When we are through, let the boy
gather every bone, sort out the two sets, and put one pile in each of
the skins by the hearth yonder."

When all were satisfied, Thor and Egil fell to talk, recounting their
expeditions against the foes of the gods in Jotunheim, while Thialfi
obediently gathered together the bones, and arranged them in the hides.

An evil smile flitted over the thin face of crafty Loki as he perceived
that the two warriors had become completely absorbed in their tales of
past exploits. Thor was now reminding Egil of that famous adventure
when he himself, wounded in the forehead, had borne his companion with
a frozen foot across the foggy Elivagar water and its magic terrors.
He was lost to everything that went on around him, laughing aloud
and smiting his great thigh as he lived over those moments of tense

As Thialfi knelt at the other end of the wide hearth, painstakingly
striving to complete his task, he started at a low whisper from the
shadow beyond.

"Did you like the meat?"

"Yes," answered the boy in surprise, looking up. He could hardly see
the features of his questioner, but the eyes gleamed, almost like the
blaze from the burning logs in the fire-place.

"You have not tasted the best yet," said the smooth voice. "The real
strength and sweetness is in the marrow."

Thialfi stared at him.

"Yes, that is like honey, and he who eats of it can go for days without
any other nourishment. Nor can I imagine why he was so stingy as to
withhold the best."

Still the youth did not know what to say.

"Better try it," continued Loki. "That long leg-bone there is just full
of sweetness."

"Oh no," said Thialfi, involuntarily lowering his voice to the same
pitch. "He forbade us to break any of them."

"What nonsense. Why should you be so careful of that rubbish? You saw
yourself what he did to the living animals: how could he really mind
after that if just one picked bone were a little chipped? You'll never
have another chance to taste such fare as only those in Asgard know."

"I don't like to," whispered the boy. "He might be angry."

"Angry! He'll never know. Why should he poke about and find a piece at
the bottom of the pile? And if he should notice it, it would simply be
an accident that might have happened a dozen times already."

Thialfi hesitated.

"It makes no difference to me, of course," went on the tempter. "But
I don't see why you should be deprived of the best part when it can't
possibly hurt anybody to take it. Besides, I've heard you were a
wonderful runner, and I have an idea that the one who tastes of that
marrow will find his powers marvellously increased."

The youth's eyes shone: he was proud of his ability to outstrip all
with whom he had raced, and he could not resist this idea.

Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the pair still deep in their
reminiscences. With a sudden impulse he thrust the leg bone beneath his
skin coat, and went quietly out into the darkness. Gently he chipped
off a piece of the bone and sucked out the marrow. It was delicious,
as Loki had said, and his excited imagination made him fancy he could
already feel a waxing of vigor in his muscles. Yet it was with a guilty
feeling that he stole back and hid the fractured piece at the bottom of
one of the piles. Well pleased was Loki, for he believed he had without
danger to himself sown enmity between these two defenders of Asgard.

Presently all went to bed. Silence fell upon the great hall and the
sleeping-rooms; but Thialfi trembled and started and tossed, a prey to
terrifying dreams.

It was still dark within the hall when Thor rose, though outside the
dawn light began to show in the east. He kindled the fire on the
spreading hearth, and the leaping flames soon brightened the place.
Thialfi awoke. From his couch he could see past the drawn skin curtain
into the large apartment. A feeling of panic crept over him as he saw
the huge distorted shadow which the fire threw against the wall, now
shrinking, now shooting up to monstrousness. For the shadow was busy
with something that lay beside the hearth--and the youth remembered
only too well that all was not right with the contents of those skins.

Thor placed the two goats' pelts before him. He took out his great
hammer, Miolnir, and waved it solemnly over the piles, muttering potent
words. Thialfi stretched forward breathlessly to see.

What was his amazement when the bundles of dead bones began to stir.
The hides moved and stretched and rounded. Before his unbelieving eyes
the two trim goats stood up alive, vigorous and handsome as ever.

But no! One was not as he had been. The poor creature was lame; it
limped, dragging one hind leg, as it moved.

Thialfi crouched down again, trembling, as he saw the big man bend
swiftly to examine the injured leg.

Then there was a roar of anger which shook the beams. Everybody was
running in. Miolnir was out once more, not to restore life this
time--far from it: Thor was vowing vengeance and threatening to destroy
his friend Egil and the whole household for the injury done to this
cherished possession; his red hair stood out like flames about his
massive head; he gripped the terrible hammer so hard that the joints of
his fingers showed white in the firelight.

At that Thialfi dragged himself forward. Half dead with fear, he
confessed what he had done, saying not a word of Loki's tempting.

Egil, as much disturbed as his guest, protested his desire to make

"Payment is due," said he. "It is for you to state the price."

The sight of the frightened youth had somewhat calmed Thor's anger.
This graceful, slender body was no fit object for Miolnir's weight.
Slowly his vast muscles relaxed.

"It is the law," said he. "Let him pay who committed the fault: he and
his sister shall be my bond-servants from this day forth."

This punishment seemed mild enough to Thialfi; for he was secretly
drawn to this open-faced mighty one whose blue eyes harbored no
meanness, and who was clearly good-natured despite his sudden bursts of
fierceness. Moreover, the prospect of roaming abroad with him was far
from displeasing. As for the beautiful Roska--she had nothing to say
about it. Anyhow, where Thialfi went was the place she would choose to

So peace was restored, and all sat down to the morning meal content,
save crafty Loki.

Leaving the goats with Egil, Thor and his companions set forth on
foot. The chill mists and unfathomed depths of the Elivagar sea had
no terrors for him; but when they had passed over its expanse, they
came to a strange and gloomy country surrounding the stronghold of the

Endlessly the forest stretched away; and all day they wandered through
its pathless mazes without sight of any human being. There was no sign
of even beast or bird, and while swift-footed Thialfi, who carried
Thor's wallet, scoured the thickets on either side, all his wood-craft
failed to discover anything in the way of food.

Darkness settled down upon them almost as soon as the sun disappeared.
The question of a place to spend the night became urgent. Searching
on all sides in the gathering dusk, they finally came upon a large
structure with an entrance that took up the whole width of one end.

No one appeared or answered to their shouts; so they entered and lay
down in the main hall, glad of any place to lay their heads after their
exhausting day.

Towards midnight, when they were all slumbering soundly, they were
rudely awakened by an earthquake which shook the whole building.
Leaping to their feet, they staggered to and fro over the heaving
floor, expecting each moment to feel the roof fall upon their heads.
But the swaying stopped presently and Thor bade them seek some place of

To the right they found a smaller chamber, without any door or curtain;
and the three crept into the farthest corner of this and dropped down,
trembling with fear. Thor, however, remained at the entrance. Holding
Miolnir ready, he stayed on guard the rest of the night, listening to
an extraordinary noise like a rushing wind which he could hear outside
from time to time.

As soon as it was light, he stepped out of the building to investigate
this roaring sound.

There, stretched out on the ground, was a monstrous creature, so huge
that he looked like the fallen trunk of some primeval fir tree. He was
fast asleep, and it was his snoring which had sounded like a howling
winter gale.

Many a giant as Thor had seen and encountered, the bulk of this
man-mountain made him pause in astonishment. Then he quietly girded
about him the belt of strength, for if ever he needed to double his
powers it was now.

Just then the giant opened his eyes, which looked like muddy lakes. He
yawned, stretched himself and stood up--and his head was almost lost in
the tops of the trees.

For the only time in his history Thor hesitated to join in open battle.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"My name is Skrymir," said the other. His voice was like the bellow of
the thunder, and Loki, Thialfi and Roska ran to the entrance and looked
out at the reverberating sound.

"As for you," continued the giant, "I know you well: you are Asa-Thor.
But what have you done with my glove?"

With that he stretched down his big hand towards the awed group of
three, which scattered before him; and they realized that the building
in which they had lodged was the creature's glove, the smaller room to
which they had fled being the thumb.

"Shall we travel together?" asked Skrymir, smiling in a way that made
Thor's cheeks burn.

"As you will," replied the latter.

Thereupon the giant sat down, opened a prodigious wallet, and fell to
his breakfast; but Thor and his comrades drew apart by themselves and
shared their scanty stock of provisions.

When they had finished--

"Here," said Skrymir, "let me carry your food. It will not weigh me

So saying, he thrust Thor's wallet into his own and started off through
the forest with such tremendous strides that they could hardly keep in
sight of him.

All day long he led them at this pace amid the endless woods; and
Roska for one was more than glad, despite her brother's aid, when dusk
brought him to a halt beside an ancient oak.

"We have loitered along slowly enough," he said, "yet I suppose it is
time to sleep. I am not hungry; you can take the wallet and get your
own meal. If you need a roof over your heads, my glove is there."

He stretched himself out and presently was snoring so that one could
have heard him a mile away.

Dark and silent, Thor finally took the leather bag, to get out their
food. His feelings were not smoothed when he found he could not untie
the knots. In growing anger he worked away at the stubborn thongs,
but he could make no impression on the hard knots. Then, his patience
exhausted, he tried to break the fastenings. Still they defied his

Enraged at being thus trifled with, he grasped Miolnir, stepped
forward, and dashed it at the giant's head.

Skrymir stirred himself slightly.

"What was that--a leaf?" he asked sleepily. "Have you little ones
supped yet? Have you gone to sleep?"

"We are just lying down," muttered Thor. Puzzled and upset, he strode
off and lay down under another oak.

But he could not sleep. The stertorous snores of the giant seemed to
mock him.

Finally he sprang up again and walked cautiously back. The moonlight
shone full on the giant's bulky form. Heaving his hammer aloft, he
launched it with such violence that the head buried itself in Skrymir's

"What's happening?" called out the giant, rolling over. "An acorn
dropped right on my head. How do you fare, Thor?"

"All right," called back the other, stealing away behind the tree
trunks. "I woke when you called out. There is plenty of time to sleep

Again all was quiet, except in Thor's breast, where rage and
humiliation contended in a turmoil. He forced himself to lie still,
calming his burning wrath with the assurance that when the moment came
for a third blow, he would take ample revenge for this disgrace. The
creature did not exist who could treat Asa-Thor in this manner.

A long time he waited both to recover his poise and to be sure the
other was really asleep again. At length, a little before daybreak, he
rose softly, and again approached the slumbering giant.

His hands ran over the magic belt as if to draw from it the last bit
of aid. Gripping Miolnir with both hands, he summoned up every power
of his heaving muscles. The remembrance of his failures burned in his
veins and seemed to double his strength and determination.

He whirled the irresistible Miolnir about his head, and brought it down
with his utmost force upon the sleeper. To his grim satisfaction, he
saw it smash into the giant's cheek up to the very handle.

To his consternation, Skrymir sat up and appeared to brush something
from his face.

"There must be birds roosting in this tree," said he disgustedly. "How
can one sleep when they are scratching moss and bark loose so that it
falls over one's head?"

He looked about.

"What! Are you awake, too, Thor? I suppose it is time to get up anyhow;
for you say you want to get to Utgard. The city is not far now. I must
warn you, though, of one thing. I have heard you whispering together
as if you thought my size was something remarkable; but if you go to
Utgard, you will see many far taller than I. So I counsel you against
making much of yourselves, for Utgard-Loki's men will have little
patience with the boasting of such mannikins. Indeed, if you are wise,
you will turn back at once. However, if you persist in your folly,
your road lies east. I go northward, to those cliffs in the distance

He threw his wallet over his shoulder and went off, unheeding Thor's
resentful glare.

Following his directions, the party presently passed out of the forest,
and travelled over a wide plain.

Towards noon they came upon the city of Utgard. So lofty were its walls
and buildings that their heads bent back on their necks as they gazed
up to the pinnacles of the towers.

When they came close, they saw nobody; but a vast gate of ponderous
bars closed the way. It was locked and bolted. After trying for some
time to call a keeper, and then to unfasten the gate, Thor and his
comrades squeezed between the bars and entered the silent city.

They went through one deserted street after another, till they saw
before them a magnificent palace, whose door stood wide. Walking boldly
in, they found themselves in a hall that dwarfed anything they had ever
beheld. Sitting on benches were ranged two lines of men, the first
glance at whom convinced the travellers that Skrymir had spoken truly.

Advancing to the raised seat, they saluted the ruler, Utgard-Loki. But
the king gazed at them with a smile. Thor was by no means accustomed
to such scornful treatment, and his companions could perceive his heat
growing as this contemptuous silence continued.

At length the king spoke:

"It is tedious to ask for tidings of a long journey; yet if I mistake
not, that little one there must be Asa-Thor."

"Possibly," he went on, addressing Thor directly, "you may be more
than you appear. What can you do, you and these with you? No one stays
in Utgard unless he can in some feat of skill or strength excel all

"I have a feat," spoke up Loki. "I can eat quicker than any here. I am
ready to prove it against all."

"That will be worth seeing, if you can make your boast good," said the
giant king. "It shall be put to the test."

He called to one named Logi, sitting on a further bench. A trough
filled with fresh meat was brought in, and placed between the two. At
the signal, both began to eat, one from each end.

Loki strove his utmost, and yet when he reached the middle of the
trough he met his antagonist there. Moreover, it was seen that while he
had devoured all the flesh on his side, Logi had consumed flesh, bone
and the trough to boot. There could be no gainsaying that the visitor
was vanquished.

"And what can you do?" asked Utgard-Loki, looking at Thialfi.

"I can run," said the youth.

"We shall soon see about that. Let us go outside to the course."

The whole company went forth to a level stretch of plain. A slim youth
whom they called Hugi took his place beside Thialfi. The latter, who
had never been beaten in swiftness, smiled confidently.

The word was given. The two runners were off like arrows from the bow.
But Thialfi could hardly credit his eyes when, before he had covered
half the distance to the turning-point, he met Hugi coming back already.

"You will have to ply your legs better than that," said Utgard-Loki,
"if you expect to win in this company."

A second course was run. Thialfi strained every nerve and muscle to the
utmost. His heart beat as if it would burst through his ribs. Yet Hugi
reached the goal when he was still a bowshot off.

"You run bravely," remarked the king. "Still, it seems to me this match
will not be yours. The third trial must decide."

Once more they toed the mark and sped away. Thialfi did his best, but
he was wearied with his last effort; his swift adversary crossed the
finish line ere he had quite gone halfway.

The whole assemblage declared there was no need of further trial.
Utgard-Loki turned to Thor.

"We have heard much of your prowess, Asa. What is your choice to prove
to us that rumor's tales are true?"

"I will drink a draught with any of you," growled Thor between his

"Excellent," returned the king. He led the way back into the hall, and
bade his cup-bearer bring the drinking-horn. It was borne forth.

"A good drinker," remarked Utgard-Loki, "empties this at a single
draught. Some men make two of it. The puniest of all can take it off in

Thor looked at the horn critically. It did not appear of extra size,
though the end stretched away behind the bearer. Moreover, he was very
thirsty. So little doubt had he of emptying it at a draught, that he
did not pause to take breath, but set it to his lips and pulled long
and deeply.

He set it down with a clatter, thinking to ask for more. To his
chagrin, he could hardly perceive any lowering of the liquor.

"Well!" exclaimed the king. "Surely that is not much for Asa-Thor to
boast of. I would not have believed it if it had been told me. Perhaps,
though, you were saving yourself for a second draught."

Without answering, Thor seized the horn once more and quaffed a mighty
draught. Yet on looking in, it seemed as if he had made less impression
than before. Still the vessel could now be carried without spilling.

The king shook his head. "A man must use his own sort of skill.
Certainly, though, you have left most of the task for your last
attempt. I fear your reputation here will hardly match what you have in
Asgard if this is a sample of your prowess."

Too angry to speak now, Thor grasped the horn again. Tilting it back,
he drank and drank till he thought he would burst with the effort. But
when he could do nothing more, he found he had emptied only the top
inch or two.

He handed the horn back to the cup-bearer.

"I see plainly," said Utgard-Loki, "that what we have heard of you was
a traveller's tale. Still, do you wish to try something else? I confess
it does not seem likely that you will bear away many prizes here."

"I know," Thor replied doggedly, "that such draughts would not be
accounted small among the Æsir--but I will attempt another feat. What
have you to propose?"

"We have a game here, a sort of childish exercise. Before witnessing
this last performance, I would scarce have dared mention it to
Asa-Thor. It is merely lifting my cat from the floor."

A large gray cat walked out, its tail held high.

Thor looked at it, uncertain.

"He is large--for a cat," said the king.

Stung to the quick, Thor stepped forward, put a hand under the beast's
belly and lifted hard.

The cat arched his back, not resisting at all. Heave and strain as he
might, Thor could only get one paw off the floor.

"I imagined as much," said Utgard-Loki. "Even my cat is too large for
such a little one."

"Little I may be," cried Thor. "Yet let me see the man here who will
wrestle with me at this moment."

Utgard-Loki looked at the massive figures ranged along the benches.

"I see no one small enough for that. If you must wrestle, however--call
old Elli, the nurse. She has thrown many a better man than you have yet
proved yourself."

In came a bent, withered, toothless old crone. At the king's bidding,
she grappled with the aroused Thor.

Violently he strove, till the muscles on his arms and legs stood out
like ropes. Locking his mighty arms, he strained this way and that. The
more he put forth his power, the firmer did the frail old woman seem to

Then Thor began to feel an inexorable grip tightening upon himself. He
struggled as if his very life hung on the issue. Yet his legs began to
bend. Presently he was forced down upon one knee.

Old Elli released him and hobbled off. With heaving breast, dripping
sweat, and vastly ashamed, Thor stood up before them.

"We need hardly further trial," said Utgard-Loki. "Besides, it grows
late. Show them to the guest seats."

They were made welcome, and feasted that night with good cheer.

Next morning they prepared to depart. Utgard-Loki saw that they were
bountifully provided with food and drink. He himself conducted them to
the gate of the city.

"Well, Asa-Thor," said he, as they were about to separate, "are you
satisfied with your visit to Utgard? Have you seen more powerful rulers
elsewhere on your journeys?"

"Truly," replied honest Thor, "I have brought great shame upon the
Æsir. Justly will ye say that I am one of little worth."

"Hardly that," said the giant king. "Now that you are outside of my
city--which with my consent you will never enter again--I must tell
you the truth. Had I imagined your powers and how near they would have
brought me to disaster, you would by no means have seen the inside of
it this time.

"Know, then, that I have deceived you all along with illusions.

"The wallet you could not open in the forest was bound with invisible
iron wire. The least of the three strokes of your hammer would have
ended my days: I brought before me a rocky mountain which you could not
see; in this you will find three deep ravines, made by those blows.

"The contests here were illusions likewise.

"Though Loki ate like hunger, Logi who outmatched him was ardent fire

"Hugi was thought: how could even swift Thialfi keep pace with him?

"The horn you tried to empty reached to the sea; when you come to the
shore you will see your draughts have caused the ocean itself to ebb.
When we saw you lift one of the cat's paws from the floor, we were all
terror-stricken: for the cat was in reality the great Midgard serpent
which encompasses the whole earth. Nurse Elli was in fact old age--and
never yet has man wrestled with her as have you.

"Therefore, let us never meet again. For in spite of all the marvels
of your strength, you can never prevail against me because of my

Wild with anger, Thor laid hold of Miolnir. But Utgard-Loki had
vanished. He would have destroyed the city, but even that had
disappeared, leaving only a smooth and verdant plain.

There was no help for it save to return to their own land; and in truth
as the Asa reflected upon what had happened, he was not so ill pleased
as before.

Especially did he recall his feat of lifting the Midgard serpent; and
the remembrance of his incredible exploit fired him with a resolution
to match himself once more against this monstrous world-encircling
progeny of Loki.

It was not long thereafter when he determined to wait no more for this.
So hastily did he set out that he took neither car, nor goats, nor

In the semblance of a young man he travelled forth, and at dusk came to
the dwelling of a giant named Hymir, who lived by the Elivagar water.

Here he passed the night. At the evening meal he alone ate two of the
oxen Hymir had prepared.

"I shall have to go fishing tomorrow to feed you," grumbled the host.

In the morning Hymir made his boat ready to go fishing. Thor offered to
accompany him.

"Much use a midget like you would be," returned the giant. "You
can eat, of a certainty; but rowing is quite another matter. Worse
than that, you would get cold and terrified if I go out to my
fishing-grounds and stay as I am accustomed to."

Sorely tempted to try Miolnir on the giant's skull, Thor dissembled:

"I will row as far as you say. We shall see which wishes to turn back
first. What bait do we use?"

"Get a bait for yourself," returned the surly fellow.

Thor walked off to where the herd of oxen grazed. The leader was a huge
coal-black bull. Seizing the beast by its horns, the Asa wrung off its
head, carried it back to the boat and threw it in.

"Better if you had sat still," grumbled Hymir.

They pushed the boat through the breakers and put out to sea, each
rowing with a pair of oars. Thor was aft, and Hymir was amazed to see
how the boat shot through the waves, even against the strong wind.

Before long the giant pulled in his oars.

"Here is where I catch flat fish," said he.

"No, no; further out," said Thor, pulling harder than ever.

"Stop!" cried Hymir after a while. "We are getting near the dwelling of
the Midgard serpent."

"Further out is better fishing," declared Thor; and he rowed on in
spite of his companion's protests.

He stopped at last. Muttering, Hymir threw out his line. Presently he
drew up a whale. Then another took hold.

Meanwhile Thor had taken out a line and hook, the size of which caused
the giant to stare. Fastening the gory bull's head on the hook, he
dropped it far down into the depths, till it actually reached the

He did not have to wait long. Something far down there seized the bait.
The line tautened. Thor jerked violently. When the monster felt the
hook, it pulled so hard that Thor was forced to hold on to the rowing
pins to avoid being dragged overboard.

Then the Asa's spirit waxed high. He hauled at the line so that his
feet went through the bottom of the boat and down to the ocean floor.
Yet ever he pulled, so stoutly that presently the hideous head of the
Midgard snake appeared above the surface.

Nothing daunted by the floods of venom which the beast spouted out at
him, Thor darted fiery glances at his enemy, still striving to lift the
head into the boat.

Hymir, however, terrified beyond measure and feeling the craft sink
beneath him, took his knife out of the sheath and cut the line just as
Thor launched his hammer.

The monster fell back and sank again to his immemorial abode.

We know not whether those speak truly who declare that Miolnir struck
off its head at the bottom of the sea, or whether it still lies
encircling the earth. But it is related among the exploits of Alexander
the Great that being lowered in a glass cage to the depths of the
ocean he beheld a prodigious monster going past, and sat for two days,
watching its body ooze along all the time, before its "tail and hinder
parts" appeared. Which sounds as if Thor had not made a thorough job of

Certain it is, however, that Hymir said no word till they were again at
the shore. Then he muttered:

"Do your share: carry the whales in or make the boat fast."

Whereupon Thor picked up boat, oars, whales and all, and bore the whole
thing up the wooded hillside to the Jotun's dwelling.



If you travel through that beautiful land of lakes and mountains north
of the City of Mexico, you will hardly fail to visit the ancient sacred
city of Cholula. Nor can you fail to marvel at the remains of that
incredible Pyramid, four times as large as the famous Pyramid of Cheops
in Egypt.

Cortes and his followers wondered at the fifty-acre structure nearly
four centuries back. Humboldt measured it, studied it and speculated
about it a hundred years ago. The general belief was that it had always
been devoted to the worship of Quetzal, that Fair God of old Mexico.
But there were once wise ancients among the Acolhuan Indians who
remembered the truth passed down by tradition from times immemorial.

This is the tale of the Pyramid-builder.

As everyone knows, for 4800 years after the creation of the world the
land of Anahuac was inhabited by a race of vast giants. (Have not their
mighty bones, dwarfing those of modern men, been dug up time and again
through the centuries?)

These monsters were enemies both of gods and men. Fierce were the wars
waged against them by the people of Tlascala, and many a giant was
overcome by their multitudes, or driven forth into the wilderness to
perish of starvation.

Always, however, there were enough of the dreadful race left to keep
the land in an uproar; and particularly one Xelhua and his six brothers
defied all attempts against them, holding themselves above laws, and
doing only that which pleased their own ruthless cruelty. Very crafty
as well as very strong they were, and the land of Anahuac groaned
beneath their devastating tread. Finding there was none alive who might
resist them, they waxed arrogant past belief, and scorned the very gods
above, confident that there was no power in earth or heaven which could
resist their will.

But at last the heavenly rulers grew wearied of this senseless
tumult below. They determined to put an end to it all, and poured
forth an overwhelming deluge on the earth. The clouds burst wide and
precipitated their inexhaustible reservoirs; the irresistible ocean
itself was loosed from its bounds; the underground rivers shot up from
beneath the earth upon men and giants alike, and those who were not
drowned were transformed into fishes.

All except crafty Xelhua and his six brothers: as the flood from above
met the rising sea, they fled northward, climbed the lofty slopes
of Mt. Tlaloc and hid themselves in seven caverns within its sides,
rolling huge boulders in front of the openings to shut out the waters
should they rise so high. Here they lay secure while the deluge raged
unchecked throughout the universe.

When the appointed time came, the destroying waters withdrew to their
stations above the clouds, beneath the earth, and in the ocean. Xelhua
and his brothers came forth from their caves of refuge, the only living
creatures, and by their arts peopled the earth with a new race, who
were to be their servants.

They were now more arrogant than before,--for had they not succeeded
in evading the utmost wrath of the gods? So Xelhua, who was skilled in
building, determined to erect a structure such as the world had not yet
seen--to serve not only as a perpetual memorial of his triumph, but
also as an easier means of escape from any future attempt made against
him by the lords of the winds and waters.

On the plain of Cholula this edifice was staked out, four sided, in
girth like some great hill, in height planned to pierce the very clouds

In far-away Tlamanalco, at the foot of the Sierra, a multitude of men
were set to work at digging clay, shaping it in moulds, and burning
it into bricks. Instead of having these heavy loads carried across
the hills, Xelhua stationed a line of workmen all the way from the
brickyard to Cholula: these passed the bricks from hand to hand
continually, so that the builders never lacked a supply. Bitumen too
was similarly brought from a great distance to plaster the bricks
firmly in place.

Under the hands of these myriads of workers the foundation of the
incredible Pyramid grew as if it were a living thing. Day by day it
mounted upwards, and the heart of Xelhua waxed high with pride when
even he had to climb laboriously to reach the dizzy level where the
swarming ant-like laborers still built themselves aloft bodily. Looking
upwards, he regretted that he had not planned an even larger base:
for surely that was the only thing which in any way limited this
monument to his power and guarantee of future security. There was one
consolation: when this reached the apex of its sloping sides, he could
build another, infinitely larger and loftier. Meanwhile, a future
deluge must be worse than the former one to reach him upon the summit
of this almost completed structure.

But the gods do not sleep, though they be long silent.

With rising wrath they beheld the growth of this presumptuous edifice
and the increasing audacity of its builder. Still they bided their
time, and the pyramid of Xelhua crept upwards till the low-hanging
clouds often lay far beneath its upper courses.

The day came when a man might easily count the space of time still
needed to complete the structure. Xelhua urged on his host of workers.

Then suddenly the heavens opened. A huge mass of flaming rock fell with
irresistible force upon the proud pyramid and those that built it. The
upper portion crashed down in ruins, carrying to destruction thousands
of the laborers and the master-builder Xelhua himself.

Wherefore men doubted no longer that there were eternal powers on
high. The fragment of the building which remained was dedicated
thenceforth to the Fair God, Quetzal. And down to the time of that
worthy Dominican, Pedro de los Rios, the priests showed to unbelievers
a portion of the very thunderbolt, a stone shaped like a toad, which
had confounded the mad presumption of Xelhua; while the dancing
celebrants sang in their festival hymn the tale of these happenings,
that reverence might no more perish among men.

Moreover, since that day the tribes have no longer spoken the same
tongue, but each has a language of its own, unintelligible to the



The Maya race, now living mostly in Guatemala and Yucatan, seem to be
the descendants of a people whose civilization was old long before the
appearance of those Aztecs whom Cortes found ruling in Mexico.

Their wise men, like those of Cholula, knew from their fathers that
there was a time when the earth had not yet recovered from the effects
of the flood, and when mighty giants walked abroad. Nay, more, they
took the pains to set down the facts in the only native American book
we have which dates back to the times before Columbus--the Popol Vuh,
or Collection of Written Leaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

The submerging waters had returned to their appointed places on, above,
and below the earth; but the face of both sun and moon were still
veiled, and shone not with their wonted splendor.

In this twilight period there lived a gigantic being named Vukub-Cakix,
for his countenance shone with seven times the brilliance of flame.

His eye-balls gleamed like silver set with precious stones; the enamel
of his teeth was so brilliant that to look at them was like gazing at
some gleaming emerald, or the light-filled face of the sky. There was
nothing in all the world that gave forth light like the eyes and teeth
of Vukub.

Great as was his radiant beauty, his pride was greater still. Orgulous
was he and puffed-up. And he said:

"Of a truth, only those have been saved from the flood who were above
their fellow men. And of all those left alive there is not one like
unto me. I am their sun, their dawn, and their moon. It is my splendor
by which men come and go. I can see to the limits of creation, and it
is so."

Thus he spoke in his arrogance. Nor was his pride lessened when he
looked upon his two giant sons: Zipacna, who ruled the cloud-piercing
peaks, and Cabrakan, at whose word the mountains belched forth fire,
and the earth trembled in sudden convulsions. Moreover, there was none
who dared deny that only when he advanced from his throne did the world
come to life.

But the gods on high were not deaf to this boasting. They heard and
smiled when Vukub said: "I am the Sun"; they smiled when Zipacna said:
"I heaped-up and rule the mountains"; and again they smiled when
Cabrakan said: "I shake the sky and earth."

Nevertheless, when they perceived that all on earth bowed in assent
before these vain boasters, they stirred up against them the hearts
of the marvellous twin brothers Hun-Apu and Xbalanque. Miraculously
born of an earthly princess, these brethren had become heroes of many
surprising adventures; none might compete with them at tlachtli, that
universal form of hockey by which a man's prowess was measured; deadly
were the long blow-pipes they carried over their shoulders; and withal
they were very crafty.

"It is not good that this should be," said the brethren, when they
heard the vaunts of Vukub. "Let us put an end to the jewels by reason
of which he is so puffed-up."

Now, next to his light-giving features, the thing dearest to Vukub was
a huge nanze tree, a tapal, loaded with its round, yellow, aromatic
fruit; and each morning he was wont to breakfast on this delicious fare.

Coming one day as usual, he climbed up to the summit of the lofty tree
that he might take his choice of the most luscious fruit. Very wrathful
was he this morning, when he perceived that the spreading branches were
almost completely stripped of the bountiful supply which had hung there
the day before.

He glared about to see who had dared to do this thing, and his anger
grew ten times greater when he perceived the twins, almost hidden in
the thick foliage.

Before he could attack them, Hun-Apu raised the blow-pipe to his mouth
and sped a dart which buried itself in the giant's cheek. With a
frightful screech he fell from the tree-top to the ground.

Quickly the brothers descended, and ran to seize the groaning giant;
but he grasped the arm of Hun-Apu with so fell a grip that he tore it
completely away from the shoulder; whereupon they fled from him in

Still holding his enemy's arm, and pressing his hand against the
wounded jaw, Vukub made his way home, groaning aloud.

"What has happened to my lord?" asked his wife.

"Those wicked ones have shot a dart into my cheek which tortures me
beyond endurance. But I have torn off the arm of one of them; and I
shall revenge myself by roasting it over the fire till the pain drives
that demon to come for it."

So he suspended the arm before the fire, bidding his wife never cease
turning it over the blazes, and lay down groaning more than ever: for
the teeth of which he was so proud now caused him an anguish he could
not bear. Moreover, the pain had extended even to his shining eye-balls.

Meanwhile the brothers, in order to combat this magic torture, had
consulted a pair of mighty sorcerers. Man and wife were this ancient
couple; their hair was white as the snows upon the mountain peaks, and
the woman was bent double when she sat or stood or walked. Between them
they fashioned a subtle plan.

Vukub lay before his golden throne, moaning and howling with the pain
that affected him, so that his cries could be heard afar off without
the palace.

There came one who told him that two doctors were at the door,
enquiring who it might be that suffered so greatly. He ordered that
they should be admitted.

In hobbled a very ancient white-haired man and woman. Even in his agony
the heart of Vukub was pleased to notice that the woman bowed almost
double as she came before him.

"Who are you, and what do you wish?" said the giant king.

"We are doctors, mighty Lord. Hearing one cry out we stopped to enquire
the trouble: for we make our living by curing ailments."

"Who are those behind you--your sons?" demanded Vukub suspiciously,
noticing two slim figures, dressed in skins, in the rear.

"Not so, lord. These are our grandchildren. Their father and mother are
both dead, and they follow us everywhere as we go about to heal, since
only thus can we get food for us all."

"What can you heal? Can you ease this pain which devours me?"

"Doubtless we can, for we are wise in all arts--though our special
knowledge is that of removing aching teeth."

"Teeth!" exclaimed the king, groaning afresh, and scarcely able to
speak. "That is what is killing me--they and my eyes."

"Let me see," said the old man. He bent forward and examined the
wounded cheek. "Ah, you have a bad wound there. No wonder you suffer."

"It was those demons who shot me with a blow-pipe," said Vukub thickly.
"Cure me if you can, and you shall not complain of your reward."

"It will be necessary to remove those teeth," said the sorcerer. "Also
I think the eye-ball is diseased already."

"What! Remove my teeth which give light to all the world! Impossible."

"Are they not loose in the jaw anyhow?"

"Yes, yes, they move in their sockets--and when they do so, deadly
pains run throughout my body."

"You see they must come out. But have no fear: such is our skill that
we will replace them with others more beautiful by far. More, we will
remove them all, so that the new set will be alike. Even the eye-balls
we will match as before."

"If you are sure--," began Vukub. Then, as the pain gripped
him,--"Quick! Do as you say. I cannot eat; not once have I slept
since those evil ones shot me; surely I shall die if I be not healed
speedily. But use all your arts: for it is because of the beauty of my
teeth and my eyes that I am king."

"Rest assured. Pure and strong and polished will be the new teeth that
we shall put in their place."

"Hurry," said Vukub.

Then the two cunning sorcerers, aided by the disguised twins, removed
the shining teeth, while the giant howled and wept. And in place of
them they inserted only grains of white maize.

Immediately his splendor fell. He knew within himself that he was no
longer the dawn and the moon. Nor was he able to resist when they
proceeded to remove the gleaming eye-balls which still gave lustre to
his countenance.

But when these also were gone, Vukub-Cakix ceased to be. For without
his colossal pride he was not.

All this time his wife had been busily turning the severed arm over
the fire, to increase the torments of its absent owner. Hun-Apu now
snatched the arm, and with the aid of powerful incantations by the
sorcerers, replaced it firmly in its socket. Whereupon the brothers
went away, well content in that they had humbled the pride of Vukub.

       *       *       *       *       *

And it is set down in the Written Leaves how later on they overcame
through craft both of those gigantic sons of the Proud One, so that the
seed of the earth-giants perished utterly from among the Mayas.



The Hebrew chroniclers tell us that the giants of their land were the
children of the fallen angels who took to themselves wives from the
beautiful daughters of men. When these huge beings had consumed the
possessions of their neighbors, they began to devour even the human
beings themselves; and from this horrible example men came to kill and
eat birds, animals and fishes.

Of these terrific and wicked ones, merely to glance at whom made one's
heart grow weak, the most celebrated was Og. His mother Enac was a
daughter of Adam. Like all of his race he was by nature half mortal:
for being part angel, part human, these monsters, after a very long
life, found themselves with but half a body, the rest having withered
away; and with the prospect of remaining forever in this uncomfortable
state, they were wont either to plunge into the sea or to end this
miserable half existence by means of a magic herb, the secret of which
had been transmitted by their celestial ancestors. Og, however, was
destined, in this as in other matters, for a different fate from that
of his brethren.

When the wickedness and arrogance of the Cainites brought the Flood
upon the earth, Noah, as commanded, gathered his family and the animals
into the ark he had built. All the rest of the miserable folk perished
in the waters--with the single exception of the giant Og. The latter
had persuaded Noah to save him by promising that he and his descendants
would in return serve the family of Noah forever. But when they came
to embark, it was discovered that the vessel was not large enough to
accommodate this huge creature; so he was permitted to sit on top of
the ark; and during those weary months when the waters covered the face
of the earth, those within passed food to the giant through a hole in
the roof.

There are, indeed, writers who declare that Og escaped because his
stature was such that the deluge at its deepest reached only to his
knees, he being accustomed to drink water direct from the clouds.
In fact, Abba Saul avers: "I once hunted a stag which fled into the
thigh-bone of a dead man. I pursued it and ran along three parasangs"
(about eight miles!) "of the thigh-bone, yet had not yet reached its
end"--and this bone proved to be a portion of Og's skeleton. In Moses'
time, however, the giant's great iron-bedstead--"is it not in Rabbath
of the children of Ammon?"--was a mere thirteen or fourteen feet long.
Whatever his height, his breadth was half as great, instead of only
one-third as in the normal man.

There was also one animal too large to enter the ark, the reëm or
unicorn. It was therefore tied to the stern and "ran on behind."
Undoubtedly this difficult mode of travelling proved fatal, since we
have no authentic record of that beast since then.

Og had better fortune. Whether wading or bestriding the vessel, he
won through; for we find him again some hundreds of years later as the
slave of Abraham, to whom he had been presented by Nimrod. (He was, say
the rabbins, that very steward called Eliezer in the Bible account.)
Finally, after these centuries of servitude, his master freed him as a
reward for bringing back Rebekah as a bride for his son Isaac.

"God also rewarded him in this world, that this wicked wight might not
lay claim to a reward in the world to come. He therefore made a king
of him." He had also received another doubtful reward for a difficult
service. Hearing that Abraham's nephew Lot had been carried away into
captivity, he sped with the news, and stood by when all others were
fearful, thinking in his heart that his master would hasten to his
kinsman's help, and would be killed by the marauding kings--which would
leave the beautiful Sarah as his own prize. Consequently he was granted
another five hundred years of life, but on the conclusion of that term
he was to be completely mortal.

Long did this gigantic monarch of gigantic adventures reign in Bashan,
east of the Jordan River. Sixty walled cities did he found, and great
was his power and fame in all that land. Of his own race to the south
was Sihon, King of the Amorites; and across the Dead Sea was another
family of his blood, Anak and his sons and daughters. All the kings
of Canaan paid tribute to Og of Bashan in return for the defence of
their borders by his might. Even had he known of it, he would have
been little troubled to hear that the Israelitish slaves of Pharaoh
had escaped from bondage in Egypt, and were slowly moving northward
through the desert towards Canaan.

Great indeed would have been his amusement had he seen the slinking
spies sent out by Moses, when they reached the "City of Four"
(Kiriath-Arba, or Hebron), where dwelt Anak and his mighty brood. At
the mere shout of one of the sons the spies fell down as dead men; and
one day the Israelites heard the Anakim roar to each other as they
looked toward the trembling strangers: "There are grasshoppers by the
trees that have the semblance of men."

But in spite of the timorous report of most of these scouts--"we be not
able to go up against these people; for they are stronger than we"--the
day arrived when word came to Og that this band of wanderers had
smitten the Amorites, and killed Sihon and his son, and captured the
impregnable city of Heshbon, and taken possession of all that region.

This brought the invaders to the very edge of Og's dominions, and when
they had rested, they pressed on against the stronghold of Edrei.

Toward night they reached the outskirts, and Moses prepared to attack
the following day. At dawn he rose and went forward to reconnoitre; but
as he looked ahead through the grayness he cried out:

"Behold, in the night they have built up a new wall about the city!"

Then the light grew gradually stronger, and he perceived that what he
had taken for a new fortification was the giant king himself, who sat
upon the wall with his feet touching the earth.

Sore dismayed was the Israelitish host at sight of this incredible
being, who gazed upon them with scornful confidence. Even Moses himself
hesitated and began to feel doubtful. Not only did ordinary weapons
seem unavailing against such a prodigy, but he reflected that this
giant was reputed to have lived for hundreds of years: "Surely he could
never have attained so great an age had he not performed meritorious
deeds." He reflected too that Og was the only one of the original giant
brood who had escaped the sword of the angel Amraphel, and it seemed
therefore as if he must be under some sort of divine protection.

While he thus communed with himself and sought for guidance in prayer,
he seemed to hear from on high a direct answer to his questionings:

"What matters to thee Og's gigantic stature? He is as a green leaf in
thy hand."

At this he took courage. Yet he could not understand in what manner he
might come at the monster, since apparently no weapon he could handle
would come anywhere near reaching to his knees.

So he waited, considering this matter. And presently the giant
bestirred himself and set about bringing the issue to a close in
characteristic fashion. For, noting closely the size of the encampment
of the Israelites, he heaved up a huge rock, like a veritable mountain,
vast enough to cover the entire camp. Bearing this upon his head, he
strode forward, clearly intending to crush the entire force of his
enemies at one blow.

Ill would it have fared with the band under Moses that day had they
been dependent upon their own might alone. But as the giant advanced,
and all waited in terror for the catastrophe, the colossal mass of rock
was seen to settle down over his head. He stood still, blinded and
bewildered, endeavoring to throw off this imprisoning bulk; but all his
efforts were unavailing.

Then Moses, perceiving that the enemy was delivered into his hands,
seized a mighty axe, and ran forward, and leaped into the air higher
than an ordinary man's head, and dealt such a blow upon Og's leg that
he crashed to earth with the rock on top of him.

Thus died Og, King of Bashan, last of the giants who were before the

And the warriors of Israel fell upon the army which had accompanied
him, and conquered it utterly, and took possession of all that land.



There was war many years between the children of Israel and the

And it came to pass while Saul was King that the Philistines gathered
together a great army, and marched into the land of Judah against the
Israelites, and encamped in a plain near Shochoh. So Saul also drew
out his army and hurried forward, and occupied a hill overlooking this
plain; whereupon the Philistines were forced to leave their position
and to establish themselves on another hill across the valley of Elah
from Saul's camp.

While the armies thus faced each other, there came one day out of the
ranks of the Philistines a champion named Goliath. Very terrible he
was to behold, for he was of the race of those sons of Anak for fear
of whom the Israelites under Moses had murmured and had been therefore
condemned to wander forty years in the wilderness. And while Joshua had
finally led them across the Jordan after the death of Moses, and had
smitten the Anakim and overcome them, there had remained three cities
where their seed still dwelt,--Gaza, and Gath and Ashdod; and it was
from Gath that this Goliath had come with the invading army.

He was half as tall again as an ordinary man, something over nine feet.
His brazen breastplate alone weighed as much as a man; on his head was
a helmet of brass; and he carried over his shoulder a mighty spear
which looked like a weaver's beam and the head of which alone weighed
twenty-five pounds. Brazen greaves were upon his legs, and he bore a
shield of gleaming brass.

This daunting figure advanced boldly into the plain, between the two
armies drawn up in battle array, and in a great voice cried out:

"Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine
and ye servants of Saul? Choose you a man for you and let him come down
to me.

"If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your
servants: but if I prevail against him and kill him, then shall ye be
our servants, and serve us.

"I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight

Now this was quite customary in the olden times: many a great issue had
been decided by the combat of two champions. Moreover, there were brave
men enough in the army of the Israelites, for Saul had had war all his
days, against the children of Moab and the Amalekites, against Ammon,
Edom and Zoab; and when he had seen any strong or valiant fighter among
his people, he had straightway taken him unto him. But at the sight
of this huge, brazen warrior, his hardiest veterans turned pale and
trembled--for was it not a saying passed on from father to son for
many generations: "Who shall stand before the sons of Anak?"

So, among all those thousands there was not found one so much as to
answer to the giant's challenge. Which, when he perceived, he reviled
them and returned to his own people.

The next day he came forth again, morning and evening, and the day
after that, and each day following, always repeating his challenge
in the face of all the force, and taunting them bitterly. Wherefore
Saul was greatly troubled, for he knew well that this open fear of the
giant would fight more overwhelmingly against his soldiers, when battle
was joined, than the mighty Philistine himself and all his host. He
offered, therefore, great riches to any man who would go forth against
the challenger; whosoever should slay him should have the king's
daughter to wife, and his father's house should be free in Israel. Yet
even this could not prevail upon any to stand before the Philistine,
so that for forty days he braved and insulted the whole army without

Now there were three brothers among those who followed Saul, Eliab,
Abinadab and Shammah. They were sons of Jesse, who dwelt but ten or
twelve miles from the battlefield in the hills near Bethlehem. This
Jesse had a fourth son, David, who was but a stripling and tended his
father's sheep.

He was a ruddy youth, of fair gaze, and beautiful to look upon. So
cunning a musician was he that when an evil spirit of melancholy had
descended upon the king, one of his servants had brought the boy to
harp to his master; and the youth's skill in charming away this evil
spirit had given him favor in Saul's sight, so that he had kept him
before him and made him his armor-bearer. But when the three older sons
of Jesse had joined the army gathered against the Philistines, David
had returned to his duties with his father's flocks.

It chanced at this time that Jesse called David to him:

"Take now," said he, "this bushel of parched corn and these ten loaves
and carry them swiftly to the camp to thy brethren.

"And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see
how thy brethren fare and bring me word again."

So David arose very early in the morning and left the sheep with a
keeper and went as his father had commanded to the camp by the valley
of Elah.

It was an easy journey for one who spent his days abroad with the
sheep, and the sun was but lately up when he reached the encampment.

All was noise and confusion as he arrived, for both hosts were setting
themselves in battle array, army against army. So the youth left his
burdens with the keeper of the supplies, and ran in among the ranks
until he found his brethren and said unto them: "Peace be with you."

As he talked with them, the Philistine champion appeared on the
opposite slope. According to his wont, he challenged the whole army and
reviled them, while the men of Israel drew back, sore afraid as before.

David heard his insults, and heard also the talk of those who stood by:
what great things King Saul had promised to any who might overthrow
him, and how long his boast and defiance had gone unquestioned.

"What shall be done," he inquired of his neighbors, "to the man that
killeth this Philistine and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For
who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of
the living God?"

They answered and told him what the king had promised: "So shall it be
done to the man that killeth him."

His eldest brother Eliab heard these questionings, and his anger was
kindled against David. He turned upon him, saying:

"Why comest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few
sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride and forwardness: thou art
come down that thou mightest see the battle."

"What have I now done?" replied the youth. "Was there not a cause for
my coming?"

He turned away and again asked the nearest soldier of the affair,
receiving the same answer. And some one came to Saul, relating the
words the stripling had spoken. Saul sent for him.

As soon as he stood in the king's presence, David broke out, pointing
to the distant figure of the giant:

"Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight
with this Philistine."

"Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him,"
answered Saul; "for thou art but a youth, and he is a man of war from
his childhood up."

"Thy servant kept his father's sheep," urged the young man, "and there
came a lion and a bear and took a lamb out of the flock.

"And I went out after the lion and smote him and delivered the lamb out
of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by the hair
and smote him, and slew him.

"Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised
Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of
the living God."

When Saul saw the eagerness and confidence of this handsome young
shepherd, he was reminded of the deed of his son Jonathan when,
accompanied only by his armor-bearer, he had climbed up into the
enemy's garrison at Michmash, and slain twenty men within the space of
half an acre, and started the rout of the whole army of the Philistines
which had been about to overrun the land.

"Go," said he, "and the Lord be with thee."

So he armed David with his own armor and put a helmet on his head.
And David girded on the king's sword and tried to walk; but he found
himself so unaccustomed to the armor that he said to the king:

"I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them."

So he removed the armor, and set out in his shepherd's clothes, with
his staff in his hand and his sling hanging from his girdle. This
latter was the weapon he knew, and it was by no means to be despised.
The plain piece of leather with thongs attached to each end, by means
of which a stone could be hurled, was perhaps the very earliest means
of fighting at a distance; and it was the traditional arm of more than
one nation of the Syrian region. Among the Benjaminites, when they
fought with Israel, there were 700 chosen men, left-handed, every one
of whom could sling stones at a hair's-breadth and not miss; and an
expert slinger had the advantage, against a warrior armed with sword
and spear, of being able to deliver an attack long before he himself
was threatened.

The youth walked to the brook and carefully selected five rounded
stones of the right size, which he put into the wallet slung over his
shoulder. Then, in the full sight of both armies, he advanced against
the giant warrior in his gleaming harness, who stood brandishing his
great spear and shouting his scorn.

Seeing David approach, he came forward, preceded by his shield-bearer.
But perceiving only this fresh-faced stripling in his skin garment, he
was filled with contempt at such an antagonist.

"Am I a dog," he cried, "that thou comest to me with staves?"

Cursing the youth by his heathen gods, he shouted: "Come to me, and I
will give thy flesh to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the

Calmly David answered:

"Thou comest to me with a sword and with a spear, and with a shield:
but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the
armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

"This day will the Lord deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite
thee, and take thy head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the
host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the
wild beasts of the earth; that all the assembly may know there is a god
in Israel."

Enraged at this insolence, the Philistine champion hastened forward to
smite down this boaster with one blow.

But David ran towards him. And as he ran he took one of the stones and
placed it in his sling. Whirling it about, he hurled it so shrewdly
that the stone struck Goliath full in the forehead, burying itself in
the skull.

Down crashed that giant bulk to earth. The shield-bearer fled aghast
back to his own lines. Running up to his prostrate adversary, the youth
drew the giant's sword from his sheath, and, while the multitude looked
on in awed silence, he hewed the Philistine's head from his body.

At that the Israelites set up a shout which echoed from hill to hill.
The Philistine host turned and fled in utter panic, while Saul's men
slaughtered them all the way to the gates of Gath, making great spoil
of their belongings.

But David took the giant's sword and placed it in the sanctuary of Nob,
where it was to serve him in dire need, at a later day.

And Saul set him over all his men of war.



_Though it be hard at times to see of what usefulness were those
troublesome monsters of the world's younger days,--there is no such
difficulty with the thronging giants of the age of chivalry. For
some seven centuries (that is from the institution of this order by
Charlemagne till it was shot to death by firearms and gunpowder), the
giant's reason for existence was to furnish a large enough measure of
the knight's prowess._

_"The bigger they are, the harder they fall," says the modern
"bruiser"; the old romancers would have added--"and the more resounding
los to him who fells them."_

_Little did their vast size and muscles avail them against these
hot thirsters after fame. The magic net of Caligorant, Ferragus's
prophetic brazen head, Galafer's magic armor rendering the sinless
wearer invulnerable, Mugillo's prodigious mace with its whirling
balls--weapons, strength, craft and magic were alike impotent before
a Roland, an Arthur, an Amadis, or a Guy of Warwick. Of a list of two
hundred giants collected by a curious biographer, well-nigh half came
to an untimely end through the sword of some knight-errant. Small
wonder that after several hundred years of such eager reaping, these
heroes should have left not one live specimen for us of later times to
gape at._

_Read but the following few tales of such adventures as comprised
almost the regular "day's work" of knighthood; and, however much you
may bewail the loss, you must speedily comprehend why these Tall Ones,
once so plentiful, are today extinct._



Charlemagne held his state in the city of Pampeluna. This city of the
Moors he had invested for six months; and being unable to take it,
he prayed to St. James,--whereat the walls fell down as did those of
Jericho before the blast of the priests' trumpets.

Great was the Emperor's fame after his prodigious conquests in Saxony,
France, Germany, Lorraine, Burgundy, Italy, and now in Spain; and his
person befitted his renown.

"He was of a ruddy complexion," says Turpin's Chronicle, "with brown
hair; of a well-made handsome form, but stern visage. His height was
about eight of his own feet which were very long. He was of a strong,
robust make; his legs and thighs very stout, and his sinews firm.
His face was thirteen inches long; his beard a palm; his nose half a
palm; his forehead a foot over. His lion-like eyes flashed fire like
carbuncles; his eye-brows were half a palm over. When he was angry it
was a terror to look upon him. He required eight span for his girdle
besides what hung loose. He ate sparingly of bread, but a whole quarter
of lamb, two fowls, a goose, or a large portion of pork; a peacock,
crane or a whole hare. He drank moderately of wine and water. He was so
strong, that he could at a single blow cleave asunder an armed soldier
on horseback, from the head to the waist, and the horse likewise. He
easily vaulted over four horses harnessed together; and could raise an
armed man from the ground to his head, as he stood erect upon his hand.

"He was liberal, just in his decrees, and fluent of speech. Four days
in the year, especially during his residence in Spain, he held a solemn
assembly at court, adorning himself with his royal crown and sceptre:
namely on Christmas-day, at Easter, Whitsuntide, and on the festival of
St. James. A naked sword, after the imperial fashion, was then borne
before him. A hundred and twenty devout knights watched nightly around
his couch, in three courses of forty each. A drawn sword was laid at
his right hand, and a lighted candle at his left."

Yet the chief glory of this regal court was the band of Paladins,
(Palace knights), sworn to the Emperor and to each other--Roland of
Brittany, Oliver of Genoa, Ogier the Dane, Richard of Normandy, Guy of
Burgundy, Rinaldo of the White Thorn, Terry of Ardennes, old Neymes of
Bavaria, and the rest. Save perhaps at that Round Table of King Arthur,
never was there gathered together such a company of heroes as these
Douzepeers. All the world of christendom and paynimry resounded with
their fame.

Amid one of these high festivals there arrived messengers spurring
hotly from Nager. White-faced, they told of the coming of a Moorish
giant hight Ferragus. He sent defiance to Charles and all his knights.
Men said no weapon might harm him, while he himself was possessed of
twenty men's strength.

Also he was surrounded by a reputation of magic art; for as Valentine
and Orson later discovered, his home was on an island far to the south.
Here glittered a strong castle of shining metal; and in a chamber
therein stood on a pillar a marvellous brazen head, "composed a long
time ago by the necromancy of a magician, which Head was of such
an excellent composition, that it gave Answer to anything that was
demanded." In addition he had for servitor one Pacolet, a dwarf, a
very cunning wizard, who had made a wooden horse that would carry him
through the air whithersoever he would. Natheless, be what he might,
the Saracen challenger must be met, for the honor of knighthood. The
Emperor therefore marched to Nager and pitched his camp there.

When the giant appeared from the city next morning, all were aghast at
the sight. He was twelve cubits high, and the fingers which gripped
his huge brand were three palms in length. From his loathly dark face
his eyebrows stuck out like stiff pig's bristles. A hideous and fell
creature he looked, and when the French knights beheld his monstrous
thews they had little desire to seek "los" in that encounter.

Bold Ogier the Dane, however, demanded the honor of the fight.
Carefully he armed himself, chose the heaviest lance he could find, and
mounted his stoutest charger. Then he sped forth over the plain before
the watching army. When he approached the giant, he set spurs to his
horse and thundered down upon him with a speed and force that seemed

With utter indifference the monster received the spear point on his
shield, and the tough wood flew to pieces. Ferragus was not even
staggered by the onset. He stepped forward, thrust a great arm about
Ogier, lifted him bodily from his horse, and, despite all the struggles
of this renowned warrior, carried him off beneath his arm to the
castle, no more disturbed than a falcon is by the fluttering of the
prey in his talons.

Next there came against him Rinaldo of the White Thorn, but he fared no
better, being seized and borne away in the same manner.

Scornfully the giant taunted the French king:

"Ah, it was you who won Spain! And this is the best you have? By the
Prophet, ten such at a time were no match for Ferragus alone."

Chafing under this disgrace, Charlemagne despatched two knights
together, Sir Constantine of Rome, and Earl Howel of Nantes--only to
suffer the humiliation of seeing the huge Saracen tuck one under each
arm and walk away with them as if they were children.

Abandoning all thought of equal combat, he bade ten knights sally out
and destroy this prodigy, whose boasting grew ever more difficult to
endure. To his amazement, the issue was the same: Ferragus was not so
much as wounded, while these doughty knights were borne off in triumph
to the castle dungeon.

Ruin instead of renown seemed to lie at the end of this road, and the
Emperor refused to risk any more of his knights in conflict with this
unearthly being.

Roland's proud heart could not brook this. He came before Charles and
demanded the combat. Dreading a similar fate for this best-loved of his
douzepeers, the Emperor urged him to forego the adventure; yet when the
Duke insisted that he must undertake it, for his own honor and that of
France, Charles could no longer withhold his assent.

Armed cap-à-pie, the undefeated Paladin rode forth. So confident and
haughty was his mien that Ferragus perceived this was no adversary
to be despised. As the knight drew near, the giant's great hand shot
out and gripped him inexorably by the sword arm. That vise-like grasp
paralyzed the victim's muscles, as the crushing jaws of the lion
are said to destroy effort and feeling. Then he put forth all his
superhuman power, and lifted the knight from the saddle. Swinging him
in front of himself, he urged his huge charger towards the castle, well
assured of adding him too to the growing band of captives.

But as he was bearing him to the city (says the chronicler of nearly
a thousand years ago), Roland recovered his strength, and trusting in
the Almighty, seized the giant by the beard, and tumbled him from his
horse, so that both came to the ground together. Roland then thinking
to slay the infidel, drew his sword Durandal and struck at him, but the
blow fell upon his steed and shore through it.

The giant, being thus on foot, drew his enormous sword; but Roland, who
had remounted his own charger, dealt him a sudden stroke on the sword
arm. Though Durandal was tempered so that the knight could cut through
a block of marble with it, yet could the blade make no impression upon
this creature's skin. Still, the sheer force of the blow struck the
brand from the giant's grasp.

Greatly enraged at this mischance, Ferragus aimed a blow at Roland
with his fist, but, missing him, hit his horse on the forehead and
laid it dead on the spot. Avoiding the monster's grasp Roland laid on
him lustily with Durandal, but the unfailing weapon could find no spot
where the giant's hide might be pierced.

For the rest of that day they battled with fists and stones. The giant
then demanded a truce till next day, agreeing to meet Roland without
horse or spear. Each warrior then retired to his post.

Next morning they accordingly met once more. Ferragus brought his
sword, but Roland armed himself only with a sturdy club to ward off the
blows of the giant, who wearied himself to no purpose.

They now began again to batter each other with stones that lay
scattered about the field, till at last the giant begged a second
truce. This being granted, he presently fell fast asleep upon the
ground. Roland, taking a stone for a pillow, quietly laid himself
down also. For such was the law of honor between the Christians and
the Saracens at that time, that no one on any pretence dared to take
advantage of his adversary before the truce was expired, as in that
case his own party would have slain him.

When Ferragus awoke, he found Roland awake also, marvelling at the
prodigious snoring which came from his huge adversary. He discovered,
too, that the knight had placed a block of stone beneath his head for a
pillow, and this courtesy caused him to inquire the Frenchman's name.

Roland told him, and inquired in his turn of that matter which most
bewildered him: how it was that no wounds had resulted from all his
swordplay with his trusted Durandal.

"Because," said Ferragus proudly, "I am invulnerable except in one

"And where is that?"

"In the navel."

Ferragus spoke in the Spanish language, which Roland understanding
tolerably well, a conversation now followed between them.

"Of what race are you?" asked the giant.

"Of the race of the Franks."

"What law do you follow?"

"The law of Christ, so far as his grace permits me."

"Who is this Christ in whom you profess to believe?"

"The Son of God, born of a Virgin, who took upon him our nature, was
crucified for us, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven,
where he sitteth on the right hand of the Father."

"We believe," said Ferragus, "that the Creator of heaven and earth is
one God, and that, as he was not made himself, so cannot another God
spring from him. There is, therefore, only one God and not three, as I
understand you Christians profess."

"You say well; there is but one God; but your faith is imperfect; for
as the Father is God, so likewise is the Son, and so is the Holy Ghost.
Three persons, but one God."

"Nay, if each of these three persons be God, there must be three Gods."

"By no means," replied Roland. "He is both three and one. Abraham saw
three but worshipped one. Let us recur to natural things. When the harp
sounds, there is the art, the strings and the hand, yet but one harp.
In the almond there is the shell, the coat and the kernel. In the sun,
the body, the beams and the heat. In the wheel, the hub, the spokes,
and the nave. In you likewise, there is the body, the members and the
soul. In like manner may Trinity in Unity be ascribed to God."

They discoursed at length upon these mysteries, the giant listening
with great interest to the knight's explanation of the resurrection
from the dead. To Roland's surprise, however, Ferragus presently

"Well, to end our arguments, I will fight you on these terms: if the
faith you profess be the true faith, you shall conquer; otherwise
the victory shall be mine. And let the issue be eternal honor to the
conqueror, but dishonor to the vanquished."

"Be it so!" said Roland.

Whereupon they immediately fell to blows. The very first which the
giant aimed at him would have certainly been fatal, if Roland had not
nimbly leaped aside, and caught it on his club, which was, however,
cut in twain. Ferragus, seeing his advantage, rushed in upon him, and
both came to the ground together.

Then Roland, finding it impossible to escape, implored the divine
assistance; and, feeling himself invigorated, he sprung upon his feet,
seized the giant's sword and thrust it into his navel.

Finding himself mortally wounded, Ferragus called aloud with a mighty
voice upon Mahomet; which the Saracens hearing, sallied from the city,
and bore him off in their arms.

Roland returned safe to the camp, to the great joy of Charlemagne and
his fellows. Then the French boldly attacked the city, and carried it
by storm. The giant and his people were slain, his castle taken, and
all the Christian warriors liberated.



Many are the tales of King Arthur's valiant Round Table of
knights--whose deeds have been sung almost more than those of the King
himself. But from the day when as a "damoiseau of some fifteen years,"
(men say in the sixth century after Christ), Arthur was crowned as
successor to Uther Pendragon, he was an example of chivalry to his
whole court.

"He was a very virtuous knight, right worthy of praise, whose fame was
much in the mouths of men. To the haughty he was proud; but tender and
pitiful to the simple. He was a stout knight and a bold: a passing
crafty captain, as indeed was but just, for skill and courage were his
servants at need: and large of his giving. He was one of Love's lovers;
a lover also of glory; and his famous deeds are right fit to be kept
in remembrance. He ordained the courtesies of courts, and observed
high state in very splendid fashion. So long as he lived and reigned
he stood head and shoulders above all princes of the earth, both for
courtesy and prowess, as for valor and liberality."

Having settled his own realm in peace and restored the kingdom to its
ancient borders, he conquered Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Flanders;
and, after a nine-years' war, added France to his dominions.

To him, thus flushed with victory, came ambassadors from the Emperor of
Rome, bidding him to appear at that city and make restitution for his
wrongful attacks on the empire's provinces, or to expect to be haled
thither in bonds for judgment by the senate.

The king's answer was to summon a vast army, commit the realm to the
care of his nephew Mordred, (who afterward wrought such bale to that
noble company) and set out over sea for Rome--"not to carry tribute,
but to seek it."

       *       *       *       *       *

A puissant and well-armed host it was that set forth; and the
warrior-monarch who led them was arrayed in harness that surpassed
all his followers. His thigh-pieces were of steel, wrought strong and
fairly by some cunning smith. His hauberk was stout and richly chased,
even such a vesture as became so puissant a king. Upon him was girt his
sword, Excalibur. Mighty was the glaive, and long in the blade. It was
forged in the Isle of Avalon, and he who brandished it naked in his
hand deemed himself a happy man.

His helmet gleamed upon his head. The nasal was of gold; circlets of
gold adorned the head-piece, with many a clear stone; and a dragon was
fashioned for its crest. This helm had once been worn by Uther his
sire. The king was mounted upon a destrier (charger), passing fair,
strong, and speedy, loving well the battle. About his neck was set his
shield, all clean of elephant's bone (ivory), on which was painted in
several colors the image of Our Lady of St. Mary. The lance he carried
was named Ron: it was a strong shaft, tough and great, sharp at the
head, and very welcome at need in the press of battle. It had been
made in Caermarthen by a smith that hight Griffin, and King Uther had
carried it before time.

Setting out from Southampton with his great host, the king sailed for
France; and though the mariners, steering by the stars, "were very
fearful of the dark," the ships came safely to haven very early in the
morning at Barfleur in Normandy.

They had been but a little while in the land when tidings were brought
to the king that a marvellously strong giant, newly come to that land,
had carried off Helen the niece of his kinsman, Hoel.

This doleful lady the giant, named Dinabuc, had taken to a high place
known as St. Michael's Mount, though in that day there was neither
church nor monastery on the cliff, but all was shut close by the waves
of the sea.

The adventure which followed was told many times in the old days, by
Wace, Layamon and others. Let us listen to the unknown romancer of the
14th Century who left us _Morte Arthure_:

       *       *       *       *       *

When they had reached the shore and raised their tents, a templar
came and informed the king: "Here, too, is a tyrant that torments thy
people, a great giant of Genoa engendered by fiends; he hath devoured
more than five hundred people and also many infants and free-born
children. This hath been his sustenance now for seven winters and
yet is the glutton not sated so well it pleaseth him. In the country
of Cotentin no people has he left outside the strong castle enclosed
within walls--for he has completely destroyed all the children of the
commons and carried them to his crag and devoured them there. The
Duchess of Brittany he has taken to-day near Reynes as she rode with
her fair knights, and led her to the mountain where he abideth. We
followed afar off, more than five hundred barons and citizens and noble
bachelors, but he reached the crag: she shrieked so loud: the horror of
that creature I shall never forget. She was the flower of France or of
five realms, and one of the fairest that was ever formed, the gentlest
jewel accounted by lords from Genoa to Geron, by Jesus of Heaven! She
was thy wife's cousin, as thou mayest know, and sprung from the noblest
race that reign in this earth. As thou art a righteous king, take pity
on the people and endeavor to avenge them that are thus affronted."

"Alas," said the king, "so long as I have lived had I known of this it
had been well: it has not happened fairly but fallen foul that this
fiend hath destroyed the fair lady. I had leifer than all France this
fifteen winters that I had been before that fellow a furlong away when
he laid hold of that lady and led her to the mountains; I had left
behind my life ere she had suffered harm. But can you tell me the crag
where lives that man? I will go to that place and speak with him, to
deal with that tyrant for treason to his lord, and make a truce for a
time till it may happen better."

"Sire, see ye yon foreland with yonder two fires? there lurks that
fiend--ask when thou mayest, upon the crest of the crag by a cold well
that encloses the cliff within its clear stream: there wilt thou find
dead folk without number, more florins i' faith than in all the rest of
France, and more treasure hath that traitor unlawfully got than there
was in Troy, I trow, what time it was conquered."

Then the noble king sighed for pity of those people, went right to a
tent and rested no longer, he welters and wrestleth with himself and
wringeth his hands--there was no wight in the world that knew what he
wanted. He called Sir Cayous that served with the cup and Sir Bedivere
the bold that bore his great brand.

"Look to it that after evensong ye be armed full well and mounted
on horses by yonder thicket--by yon blithe stream, for I will pass
privately in pilgrimage that way at supper-time when the lords are
served to seek a saint by yon salt streams on St. Michael's Mount where
miracles are seen."

After evensong King Arthur himself went to his wardrobe and took out
his clothes--he armed him in a jerkin with a rich golden fringe, and
above that laid a jeryn of Acre right over, and above that a coat
of gentle mail--a tunic of Jerodyn with edges frayed. He drew on a
bacenett of burnished silver--the best that was in Basill with rich
borders: the crest and the crown enclosed so fair with clasps of bright
gold adorned with stones--the visor and the aventail equipped so fair
without a flaw, with eyelets of silver; his gauntlets gaily gilded and
engraven at the borders with grains and balls of most glorious hue; he
bore a broad shield and calls for his sword, he jumped on a brown steed
and waits on the heath. He rises in his stirrups and stands aloft, he
strains himself stoutly and looks forth, then he spurs the bay steed
and rides to the thicket and there his knights await him gallantly

They rode by that river that runneth so swift where the trees
overstretch with fair boughs, the roe and the reindeer run recklessly
there in thickets and rose-gardens to feast themselves. The thickets
were in blossom with may-flowers, with falcons and pheasants of fair
hues--all the birds lived there which fly with wings, for there sang
the cuckoo full loud on the bushes, with all birds of merriment they
gladden themselves: the voice of the nightingale's notes was sweet,
they strove with the throstles three hundred at once, that this murmur
of water and singing of birds might cure him of ill who never was whole.

Then move these folk quickly and alighted on foot and fastened their
fair steeds afar off; then the king sternly told his knights to abide
with their horses and come no further, "For I will seek this saint by
myself and speak with this master man that guards this mountain, and
then shall ye partake of the Sacrament one after the other honourably
at St. Michael's full mighty with Christ!"

The king climbs the crag with cliffs full high, to the top of the
crag he climbs aloft; lifts up his umbrer and looks about him keenly,
receiving the cold wind on his face to comfort him; two fires he finds
flaming full high--for a quarter of a furlong he thus walks between
them: along the way by the well he wanders on to get to know of the
warlock and where he abides.

He moves to the port fire and even there he finds a very woeful widow
wringing her hands and weeping with painful tears on a grave newly
marked in the soil since midday it seemed. He saluted her sorrowfully
with becoming words and straightway asked after the fiend. Then this
woeful widow joylessly greets him, rose up on her knees and clasped her
hands, saying: "Unhappy man, thou speakest too loudly; if yon warlock
heareth he will devour us both. Cursed be the wight that directed thee
hither, that made thee to travel here in these wild parts. I warn
thee for thy honour thou seekest sorrow. Whither hastenest thou, man?
thou seem'st unhappy, goest thou to slay him with thy bright sword?
Wert thou wightier than Wade or Gawayn thou shouldest win no honour.
I warn thee beforehand: thou crossedst thyself unsafely to seek these
mountains; six such as thou were not sufficient to cope with him alone.
For an thou seest him alone, thy heart will fail thee to cross thyself
safely, so huge he seemeth.

"Thou art noble and fair and in the flower of thy manhood, but thou
art doomed already, by my fay, and that I foretell thee. Were there
fifty such as thee in the field or on the fair earth--the monster
with his fist would fell you all. Lo! here the dear duchess--to-day
was she taken--deep buried in the ground--he murdered this mild lady
e'er midday was rung--without any mercy I wot not why, he slew her
churlishly, and here have I embalmed her and buried her afterwards. For
the grief of this incurable woe I shall never be happy again. Of all
the friends she had, none followed after her but I, her foster-mother
of fifteen winters: to move from this foreland I shall never attempt,
but shall be found in this field till I am left dead."

Then answere Sir Arthur to that old wife: "I am come from the conqueror
courteous and noble, as one of the most noble of Arthur's knights, a
messenger to this vile wretch for the benefit of the people, to speak
with this master man that guards this mountain: to treat with this
tyrant for the treasure of lands and to make truce foretime till it may
turn out better."

"Fie, thy words are but wasted," quoth that wife then, "for he sets
but little by both lands and people. Nor of rents of red gold he
troubles, but he will break the law when he chooses himself, without
the permission of any, as lord of his own.

"But he hath a mantle which he keeps for himself that was spun in Spain
by special women and afterwards adorned in Greece full fairly: it is
covered all over with hair and embroidered with the beards of valiant
kings, woven and combed that knights may know each king by his colour,
in his home there he abides. Here he seizes the revenues of fifteen
kingdoms each Easter evening, however it so happens that they send it
themselves for the safety of the people--at that season with certain
knights, and he has asked Arthur all these seven winters. Therefore
he herds here to outrage his people until the King of Britain has
fed his lips and sent his beard to that bold monster with his best
knights; unless thou hast brought that beard go thou no further, for
it is bootless that thou shouldst stay for aught else: for he has more
treasure to take when he likes than ever had Arthur or any of his
forefathers. If thou hast brought the beard, he will be more pleased
than if thou gavest him Burgundy or Britain: but take care for love's
sake that thou keep thy lips silent so that no word escape from them
whatever betides; see that thy present be ready and trouble him but
little, for he is at his supper and will be easily angered. And now
take my advice and remove thy clothes and kneel in thy mantle and call
him thy lord. He sups all this season on seven children of the commons,
chopped up on a charger of pure white silver with pickles and finely
ground spices and wines of Portugal mixed with honey. Three luckless
damsels turn his spits."

"Ha! I have brought the beard," quoth he, "for thus it pleaseth me,
forth then will I go and bear it myself. But, pray, if thou wilt tell
me where this monster abideth, I shall commend thee an I live, so help
me our Lord!"

"Go straight to the fire," quoth she, "that flames so high: there lurks
that fiend as thou wilt discover: but thou must go somewhat to the
south, sidling a little, for his power of smelling extends over six

The source of the smoke he sought speedily, crossed himself safely
with certain words, and going to the side he caught sight of the fiend
as she said, unseemly supping alone. He lay at full length reposing
foully, the thigh of a man's limb he lifted up by the haunch, his back
and the lower parts and his broad loins he baked at the dreadful fire,
and he was breechless: there were roasting full rudely dreadful meats
of men and cattle bound together, a large pot crammed with anointed
children, some spitted like birds, and women turned them.

And then this comely king's heart was sorely grieved because of his
people at the place where he stood. Then he girded on his shield and
hesitates no longer, he brandishes his bright sword by its bright hilt,
goes forth to the fiend with a rough determination, and loudly hails
that giant with fierce words:

"Now may Almighty God that ruleth us all give thee sorrow and trouble,
thou glutton, that liest there for the foulest monster that was ever
formed--foully thou feedest thyself--the devil take thy soul! Here is
unclean quarry, fellow, by my troth--refuse of all creatures--thou
cursed wretch, because thou hast killed anointed children thou hast
made martyrs and taken away the lives of those who are broached here
on spits in this place and slaughtered by thy hand. I shall work thee
thy punishment as thou greatly deservest, by the might of St. Michael
who guardeth this mountain: and for this fair lady that thou hast left
dead; gird thyself, thou son of a dog, the devil take thy soul, for
thou shalt die to-day through the force of my arm."

Then was the glutton dismayed and glared unseemly; he grinned like a
greyhound with grisly teeth; he gaped and groaned aloud with grievous
gestures for wrath with the good king who spake to him in anger. His
hair and his forelock were matted together and hung before his face
for about half a foot. His brow and forehead were all like the skin of
a frog and seemed freckled, hooknosed like a hawk and a fierce bird,
and hairy round his hollow eyes with overhanging brows: rough as a
dog-fish--hardly could he be seen, so was he hid in that mass of hair:
ears he had full huge and ugly to see, with horrible eyes and burning
withal: flat-mouthed like a flounder with grinning lips, and the flesh
in his front teeth as foul as a bear. His beard was rough and black and
reached to his breast, fat like a porpoise with a huge carcass, and
flesh still hung in shreds from his foul lips. Bull necked was that
giant and broad of shoulders, with a streaked breast like a boar with
long bristles. Rough arms like oak-branches with gnarled sides--limbs
and loins right hateful to see, believe ye in truth; shovel-footed was
that man and he seemed to straddle, with unshapely shanks shuffling
together: thick thighs like a giant and thicker in the haunch--fat as a
hog, full terrible he looked. Whoever might reckon faithfully the full
length of this man, from the face to the foot, he was five fathoms long.

Then he started up sturdily on two stiff shanks and soon caught up
a club of bright iron. He would have killed the king with his keen
weapon, but through the wisdom of Christ, the carle failed. The crest
and the coronal and the silver clasps cleanly with his club he crashed
down to the earth.

The king raises his shield and covers himself completely, and with his
fierce weapon reaches him a blow, right full in the face he struck
him so that the burnished blade reached to his brains--he wiped his
face with his foul hands and strikes fast at Arthur's face fiercely
thereafter. The king changes his foot and withdraws a little; had he
not escaped that blow he had fared evil; he follows up fiercely and
strikes a blow high up on the haunch with his hard weapon, that half a
foot of the weapon is hidden in the flesh: the monster's hot blood runs
down the hilt; even to the entrails he strikes the giant.

Then he groaned and he roared and roughly strikes full eagerly at
Arthur, and on the earth strikes a sword's length within the sward, he
smites at once so that the king nearly swooned from the force of his
blow. But yet the king nimbly and swiftly strives, he smites with the
sword so that it gashed the giant's loins; and the blood gushes out so
that it makes all the ground slimy on which he stands.

Then he cast down his club and seizes the king--on the top of the
crag he caught him in his arms and enfolds him securely to crush his
ribs: so tightly holds he him that his heart is near to bursting. Then
the doleful damsels fall down on the earth, kneeling and crying and
wringing their hands, "Christ deliver yonder knight and keep him from
grief, and never let that fiend take his life."

Yet the warlock is so mighty that he crushes him under; fiercely they
wrung and wrestled together, they weltered and wallowed on those
rushes, they tumble and turn about and tear their clothes--roughly
from the top they tumble down together, Arthur sometimes on top and
sometimes beneath--from the crest of the hill right down to the hard
rock--they cease not until they reach the brink of the sea. But Arthur
with his dagger smites the giant until it sinks right up to the hilt in
him. The thief in his death-struggle grasped him so fiercely that three
ribs in the king's side were thrust asunder.

Then Sir Cayous the Keen, moved in sorrow for the king, said, "Alas,
we are undone, my lord is overthrown--fallen down with a fiend--it is
all over! We must be forfeit and banished for ever." They lift up his
hauberk and feel beneath--his stern and his haunches, too, right up to
his shoulders, his flanks and his loins and his fair sides, both his
back and his breast and his bright arms. They were glad when they found
no flesh wounds, and for that they were joyed, these gentle knights.

"Now certes," says Sir Bedivere, "it seemeth by my Lord! He seeketh
saints but seldom, wherefore he grips the tighter that thus seizes this
saint's body out of these high cliffs, to carry forth such a man to
clothe him in silver. By Michael, of such a fellow I have great wonder
than ever our Sovereign Lord should suffer him in Heaven: if all saints
be such who serve our Lord, I shall no saint be ever, by my father's

Then laughs the bold king at Bedivere's words--"This saint have I
sought, so help me our Lord! Wherefore draw out thy sword and pierce
him to the heart; make certain of this fellow, he hath angered me
sorely. I have not fought with such a wight these fifteen winters, but
in the mountains in Wales I met such another. He was the strongest by
far that I ever met, and had not my fortune been favourable, dead would
I be now."

       *       *       *       *       *

The other whom the king had in mind was Ryence (or Riton) a Welsh giant
who in his day made war on divers kings. Of these some were slain in
battle, and others remained captive in his hand. Alive or dead, Ryence
used them despitefully; for it was his wont to shave the beards of
these kings, and purfle therewith a cloak of furs that he wore, very
rich. Vainglorious beyond measure was Ryence of his embroidered cloak.
Now by reason of folly and lightness, Ryence sent messages to Arthur,
bidding him shave his beard, and send it forthwith to the giant, in all
good will. Since Arthur was a mightier lord and a more virtuous prince
than his fellows, Ryence made covenant to prefer his beard before
theirs, and hold it in honour as the most silken fringe of his mantle.
Should Arthur refuse to grant Ryence the trophy, then nought was there
to do, but that body to body they must fight out their quarrel, in
single combat, alone. He who might slay his adversary, or force him to
own himself vanquished, should have the beard for his guerdon, together
with the mantle of furs, fringes and garniture and all. An old ballad
describes the scene at Camelot when this impudent message arrived:

    As it fell out on a Pentecost day,
      King Arthur at Camelot kept his court royall,
    With his faire queene Dame Guenever the gay;
      And many bold barons sitting in hall;
      With ladies attired in purple and pall;
    And heraults in hewkes, hooting on high,
    Cryed, _Largesse, Largesse, Chevaliers tres-hardie_.

    A doughty dwarfe to the uppermost deas
      Right pertlye gan pricke, kneeling on knee;
    With Steven fulle stoute amids all the preas,
      Sayd, Nowe sir King Arthur, God save thee and see!
      Sir Ryence of North-Gales greeteth well thee,
    And bids thee thy beard anon to him send,
    Or else from thy jaws he will it off rend.

    For his robe of state is a rich scarlet mantle,
      With eleven kings beards bordered about,
    And there is room lefte yet in a kantle,
      For thine to stande, to make the twelfth out:
      This must be done, be thou never so stout;
    This must be done, I tell thee no fable,
    Maugre the teethe of all thy round table.

    When this mortal message from his mouthe past,
      Great was the noyse bothe in hall and in bower:
    The king fum'd; the queene screecht; ladies were aghast;
      Princes puffd; barons blustred; lords began lower;
      Knights stormed: squires startled, like steed in a stower;
    Pages and yeomen yell'd out in the hall,
    Then in came Sir Kay, the king's seneschal.

    Silence, my soveraignes, quoth this courteous knight,
      And in that stound the stowre began still:
    Then the dwarfe's dinner full deerely was dight;
      Of wine and wassel he had his wille:
      And, when he had eaten and drunken his fill,
    An hundred pieces of fine coyned gold
    Were given this dwarf for his message bold.

    But say to Sir Ryence, thou dwarf, quoth the king,
      That for his bold message I do him defye;
    And shortlye with basins and pans will him ring
      Out of North-Gales; where he and I
      With swords, and not razors, quickly shall trye,
    Whether he, or King Arthur will prove the best barbor;
    And therewith he shook his good sword Escalabor.

King Arthur met this upstart in battle on a high mountain, and there
the king slew Ryence with the sword, spoiling him of that rich garment
of furs, with its border of dead men's beards.

And now as he looked down at the loathly Dinabuc he realized that he
had this time conquered a monster more loathly and misshapen, a giant
more horrible, bigger and mightier than was Ryence, even in the prime
of his youth and strength.

When he had thought upon these things the king said to his comrades:

"Anon strike off his head and put it on a stake, give it to thy squire,
for he is well mounted: bear it to Sir Howel, that is in sore straits,
and bid him take heart, for his enemy is destroyed: then bear it to
Barfleur and fasten it on iron and set it on the barbican for men to
see: my sword and my broad shield lie upon the moor on the crest of
the crag where first we fought, and the club thereby all of bright
iron, that hath killed many a Christian in the land of Cotentin: go
to the foreland and fetch me that weapon, and let us go back to our
fleet where it lays in the water. If thou wilt have any treasure take
whatever thou likest: I will have the mantle and the club, I covet
naught else."

Now they go to the crag, these comely knights, and brought him the
broad shield and his bright weapon, the club and the cloak too. Sir
Cayous himself goes with the conqueror to show the kings whom the king
had with him in secret, while bright day climbed up above through the

By that time a great noise was there at the court, and in front of the
comely king they kneeled all together, "Welcome, our liege lord, too
long hast thou fought, our governor under God, ablest and most noble,
to whom grace is granted and given at his will. Now thy happy arrival
hath comforted us all, thou hast in thy royalty revenged they people.
Through help of thy hand thine enemy is destroyed that overcame thy
people and reft them of their children: never was there kingdom so
readily relieved of its troubles."

Then the conqueror speaks Christianlike to his people, "Thank ye God,"
quoth he, "for his grace and no man, for man's deed it never was but
His own might, or a miracle of His Mother's, who is so mild to all." He
called then the boatmen sharply at once to hasten with the shoremen to
shift the goods.

"All that great treasure which the traitor won, see it be given to the
commons, clergy, and others of the country; see it be dealt out to my
dear people so that none may complain, under penalty of your lives." He
ordered his cousin with knightly words to build a church on the rock
where the body lay, and a convent therein for service to Christ, in
memory of that martyr who rests in the mountain.

And that beautiful pinnacled church, thrusting up from the island's
rocky cliffs toward the sky, you may see at this very day.



There is a mound in Penrith churchyard, in the Cumberland county
of England, which is still called "The Giant's Grave." A pair of
twelve-foot, round stone pillars stand for head and foot stone, fifteen
feet apart--a prodigious suggestion as to the size of him who lies

Legend has it that there was buried here a fell giant named Tarquin,
who ravaged the country far and wide, in defiance of King Arthur, until
on a day he met with Sir Launcelot du Lake. Which takes us back at one
leap some fifteen hundred years.

       *       *       *       *       *

In all tournaments and jousts Sir Launcelot was never overcome, but it
were by treason or enchantment. On a time, having long diverted him at
the court he rode forth with his brother Sir Lionel to seek adventures.

So they mounted upon their horses armed at all points, and rode into
a deep forest; and after they came into a great plain, and then the
weather was hot about noon, and Sir Launcelot had great list to sleep.

Then Sir Lionel espied a great apple tree that stood by an hedge, and
said: "Brother, yonder is a fair shadow, there may we rest us and our

"It is well said, fair brother," said Sir Launcelot; "for of all this
seven year I was not so sleepy as now."

And as they there alighted and tied their horses under sundry trees,
and so Sir Launcelot laid him down under the apple tree, and his helm
he laid under his head. And Sir Lionel waked while he slept. So Sir
Launcelot was asleep passing fast. And in the meanwhile there came
three knights riding, fleeing as fast as ever they might ride. And
there followed them three but one knight.

When Sir Lionel saw him, him thought he saw never so great a knight nor
so well faring a man, neither so well apparelled unto all rights. (For
he was truly a giant in size.) So within a while this strong knight had
overtaken one of these knights, and then he smote him to the cold earth
that he lay still. Then he rode unto the second knight and smote him as
that man and horse fell down. And then straight to the third knight he
rode, and he smote him behind his horse's tail a spear's length. And he
alighted down, and reined his horse on the bridle, and bound all the
three knights fast with the reins of their own bridles.

When Sir Lionel saw him do this, he thought to assay him, and made him
ready, and stilly and privily he took his horse, and thought not for to
awake Sir Launcelot. And when he was mounted on his horse he overtook
this strong knight and bade him turn: and the other smote Sir Lionel
so hard that horse and man he bare to the earth, and so he alighted
and bound him fast, and threw him overthwart his own horse, and so he
served them all four, and rode with them away to his own castle. And
when he came there he made unarm them, and beat them with thorns all
naked, and after put them in a deep prison where there were many more
knights that made great dolor.

When Sir Ector de Maris wist that Sir Launcelot was past out of the
court to seek adventures he was wroth with himself, and made him ready
to seek Sir Launcelot, and as he had ridden long in a great forest, he
met with a man that was like a forester. "Fair fellow," said Sir Ector,
"knowest thou in this country any adventures that be here nigh hand?"

"Sir," said the forester, "this country know I well, and hereby within
this mile is a strong manor, and well diked, and by that manor, on the
left hand, there is a fair ford for horses to drink of, and over that
ford there groweth a fair tree, and thereon hangeth many fair shields
that wielded sometime good knights: and at the bole of the tree hangeth
a basin of copper and brass. Strike upon that basin with the butt of
thy spear thrice, and soon after thou shall hear new tidings, and else
hast thou the fairest grace that many a year had ever knight that
passed through this forest."

"Gramercy," said Sir Ector, and departed and came to the tree, and
saw many fair shields, and among them he saw his brother's shield,
Sir Lionel, and many more that he knew that were his fellows of the
Round Table, the which grieved his heart, and he promised to revenge
his brother. Then anon Sir Ector beat upon the basin as he were wood,
and then he gave his horse drink at the ford: and there came a very
tall knight behind him and bade him come out of the water and make him
ready; and Sir Ector anon turned him shortly and in rest placed his
spear, and smote the knight a great buffet that his horse turned twice

"This was well done," said the huge knight, "and knightly thou hast
stricken me."

Therewith he rushed his horse on Sir Ector and caught him under his
right arm, and bare him clean out of the saddle, and rode with him away
into his own hall, and threw him down in the midst of the floor. The
name of this strong knight was Sir Tarquin.

Then he said to Sir Ector: "For thou hast done this day more unto me
than any knight did these twelve years, now I will grant thee thy life,
so thou wilt be sworn to be my prisoner all thy life days."

"Nay," said Sir Ector, "that will I never promise thee, but that I will
do mine advantage."

"That me repenteth," said Sir Tarquin.

And then he made to unarm him, and beat him with thorns all naked, and
after put him down in that same deep dungeon, where he knew many of his
fellows. But when Sir Ector saw Sir Lionel, then made he great sorrow.

"Alas, brother," said Sir Ector, "where is my brother Sir Launcelot?"

"Fair brother, I left him on sleep when that I from him went, under an
apple tree; and what is become of him I cannot tell you."

"Alas," said the knights, "but Sir Launcelot help us we may never be
delivered, for we know now no knight that is able to match our master

While these knights were thus prisoners Sir Launcelot du Lake lay under
the apple tree sleeping.

Even about the noon, there came by him four queens of great estate;
and, for the heat of the sun should not annoy them, there rode four
knights about them and bare a cloth of green silk on four spears,
betwixt them and the sun, and the queens rode on four white mules.

Thus as they rode they heard by them a great horse grimly neigh, and
then they were ware of a sleeping knight that lay all armed under an
apple tree; anon as these queens looked on his face they knew that it
was Sir Launcelot. Then they began to strive for that knight; every one
said she would have him to her love.

"We shall not strive," said Morgan le Fay that was King Arthur's
sister; "I shall put an enchantment upon him that he shall not awake in
six hours, and then I will lead him away unto my castle, and when he is
surely within my hold I shall take the enchantment from him, and then
let him choose which of us he will have for his love."

So this enchantment was cast upon Sir Launcelot, and then they laid
him upon his shield, and bare him so on horseback betwixt two knights,
and brought him unto the castle Chariot, and there they laid him in a
chamber cold, and at night they sent unto him a fair damsel with his
supper ready dight. By that the enchantment was past, and when she came
she saluted him, and asked him what cheer?

"I cannot say, fair damsel," said Sir Launcelot, "for I wot not how I
came into this castle but it be by an enchantment."

"Sir," said she, "ye must make good cheer, and if ye be such a knight
as it is said ye be. I shall tell you more tomorn by prime of the day."

"Gramercy, fair damsel," said Sir Launcelot, "of your good will I
requite you."

And so she departed. And there he lay all that night without comfort of

And on the morn early came these four queens, passingly well beseen,
all they bidding him good morn, and he them again.

"Sir knight," the four queens said, "thou must understand thou art here
our prisoner; and we here know thee well, that thou art Sir Launcelot
du Lake, King Ban's son. And truly we understand your worthiness that
thou art the noblest knight living; and therefore thee behoveth now
to choose one of us four. I am the queen Morgan le Fay, queen of the
land of Gore, and here is the queen of Northgalis, and the queen of
Eastland, and the queen of the Out Isles; now choose ye one of us which
thou wilt have to thy love, for thou mayst not but choose or else in
this prison to die."

"This is an hard case," said Sir Launcelot, "that either I must die
or else choose one of you, yet had I liever to die in this prison
with worship, than to have one of you to my love maugre my head. And
therefore ye be answered, for I will have none of you, for ye be false

"Well," said the queens, "is this your answer, that you will refuse us?"

"Yea, upon my life," said Sir Launcelot, "refused ye be of me."

So they departed and left him there alone that made great sorrow!

Right so at noon came the damsel to him, and brought him his dinner,
and asked him what cheer.

"Truly, fair damsel," said Sir Launcelot, "in all my life-days never so

"Sir," said she, "that me repenteth; but an ye will be ruled by me, I
shall keep you out of this distress, and ye shall have no shame nor
villainy, so that ye hold me a promise."

"Fair damsel, that I will grant you, and sore I am afeared of these
queen's witches, for they have destroyed many a good knight."

"Sir," said she, "that is sooth, and for the renoun and bounty they
hear of you they would have your love, and, sir, they say that your
name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower of all the knights that been
living, and they been passing wroth with you that ye have refused them;
but, sir, an ye would promise me for to help my father on Tuesday
next coming, that hath made a tournament between him and the king of
Northgalis; for the Tuesday last past my father lost the field through
three knights of King Arthur's court, and if ye will be there upon
Tuesday next coming and help my father, tomorrow or prime, by the grace
of God, I shall deliver you clean."

"Fair maiden," said Sir Launcelot, "tell me what is your father's name,
and then I shall give you an answer."

"Sir Knight," said the damsel, "my father is King Bagdemagus, that was
foully rebuked at the last tournament."

"I know your father well," said Sir Launcelot, "for a noble king and a
good knight, and by the faith of my body, ye shall have my body ready
to do your father and you service that day."

"Sir," said the damsel, "gramercy; tomorrow await that ye be ready
betimes, and I shall deliver you; and take you your armor and your
horse, shield and spear; and hereby within these ten miles is an abbey
of white monks, and there I pray you to abide, and thither shall I
bring my father unto you."

"All this shall be done," said Launcelot, "as I am a true knight."

And so she departed, and came on the morrow early and found him ready.
Then she brought him out of twelve locks, and brought him unto his
armor. And when he was all armed and arrayed, she brought him unto his
own horse, and lightly he saddled him, and took a great spear in his
hand, and so rode forth, and said, "Fair damsel, I shall not fail you,
by the grace of God."

So the knight rode forth and performed that adventure, according as
he had promised; and Sir Launcelot overthrew the three knights of King
Arthur's court, one after the other; and with one great spear he bare
down sixteen knights of the king of Northgalis' party, and with another
spear he smote down twelve knights. Then the knights of Northgalis
would joust no more, and the prize was given unto King Bagdemagus.

And so Sir Launcelot departed, and by adventures he came into the same
forest where he was taken sleeping. And in the midst of an highway he
met a damsel riding on a white palfrey, and there either saluted other.

"Fair damsel," said Launcelot, "know ye in this country any adventures?"

"Sir knight," said the damsel, "here are adventures near hand, an thou
durst prove them."

"Why should I not prove adventures?" said Sir Launcelot; "for that
cause came I hither."

"Well," said she, "thou seemest well to be a good knight, and if thou
dare meet with a good knight, I shall bring thee where is the best
knight and the mightiest that ever thou foundest, so thou wilt tell me
what is thy name, and what knight thou art."

"Damsel, as for to tell thee my name, I take no great force: truly my
name is Sir Launcelot du Lake."

"Sir, thou beseemest well, here he adventures by that fall for thee,
for hereby dwelleth a knight that will not be overmatched for no man
that I know, unless ye overmatch him, and his name is Sir Tarquin. And,
as I understand, he hath in his prison of Arthur's court good knights
three-score and four that he hath won with his own hands. But when ye
have done that day's work ye shall promise me as ye are a true knight
for to go with me, and to help me and other damsels that are distressed
daily with a false knight."

"All your intent, damsel, and desire I will fulfill, so ye will bring
me unto this knight."

"Now, fair knight, come on your way."

And so she brought him unto the ford, and unto the tree where hung the
basin. So Sir Launcelot let his horse drink, and then he beat on the
basin with the butt of his spear so hard with all his might till the
bottom fell out, and long he did so, but he saw nothing.

Then he rode along the gates of that manor nigh half an hour. And then
he was ware of a great knight that drove on horse before him, and
overthwart the horse there lay an armed knight bound. And ever as they
came near and near, Sir Launcelot thought he should know him; then he
was ware that it was Sir Gaheris, Gawain's brother, a knight of the
Table Round.

"Now, fair damsel," said Sir Launcelot, "I see yonder cometh a knight
fast bound that is a fellow of mine. And at the first beginning I
promise you, by the leave of God, to rescue that knight; and unless his
master sit better in the saddle I shall deliver all the prisoners that
he hath out of danger, for I am sure that he hath two brethren of mine
prisoners with him."

By that time that either had seen other they gripped their spears unto

"Now, fair knight," said Sir Launcelot, "put that wounded knight off
the horse, and let him rest awhile, and let us two prove our strengths.
For as it is informed me, thou doest and hast done great despite and
shame unto knights of the Round Table, and therefore now defend thee."

"And thou be of the Table Round," said Tarquin, "I defy thee and all
thy fellowship."

"That is overmuch said," said Sir Launcelot.

Then they put their spears in the rests, and came together with their
horses as fast as they might run, and either smote other in the midst
of their shields, that both their horses' backs brast under them; and
the knights were both astonied, and as soon as they might avoid their
horses they took their shields afore them, and drew out their swords
and came together eagerly, and either gave other many strong strokes,
for there might neither shields nor harness hold their strokes. And so
they had both grimly wounds, and bled passing grievously.

Thus they fared two hours or more, trasing and rasing each other where
they might hit any bare place. Then at the last they were breathless
both, and stood leaning on their swords.

"Now, fellow," said Sir Tarquin, "hold thy hand awhile, and tell me
what I shall ask thee."

"Say on."

Then Tarquin said: "Thou art the stoutest man that ever I met withal,
and the best breathed, and like one knight that I hate above all other
knights; so be it that thou be not he I will lightly accord with thee,
and for thy love I will deliver all the prisoners that I have, that
is three-score and four, so thou wilt tell me thy name. And thou and I
will be fellows together, and never to fail the while that I live."

"It is well said," said Sir Launcelot; "but since it is so that I may
have thy friendship, what knight is he that thou so hatest above all

"Truly," said Sir Tarquin, "his name is Launcelot du Lake, for he slew
my brother Sir Carados at the Dolorous Tower, which was one of the best
knights then living; and therefore him I except of all knights, for an
I may once meet with him, that one of us shall make an end of another,
and to that I make a vow. And for Sir Launcelot's sake I have slain an
hundred good knights, and as many I have utterly maimed, that never
after they might help themselves, and many have died in my prison; and
yet I have three-score and four, and all shall be delivered so thou
wilt tell me thy name, and so it be that thou be not Sir Launcelot."

"Now see I well," said Sir Launcelot, "that such a man I might be I
might have peace, and such a man I might be there should be between
us two mortal war; and now, sir knight, at thy request, I will that
thou wit and know that I am Sir Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son of
Berwick, and knight of the Round Table. And now I defy thee do thy

"Ah!" said Sir Tarquin. "Launcelot, thou art unto me most welcome, as
ever was any knight, for we shall never depart till the one of us be

Then hurtled they together as two wild bulls, rashing and lashing with
their shields and swords, that sometime they fell both on their faces.
Thus they fought still two hours and more, and never would rest, and
Sir Tarquin gave Sir Launcelot many wounds that all the ground there as
they fought was all besprinkled with blood.

Then at last Sir Tarquin waxed very faint, and gave somewhat back, and
bare his shield full low for weariness.

That soon espied Sir Launcelot, and then leaped upon him fiercely as a
lion, and got him by the banner of his helmet, and as he plucked him
down on his knees, and anon he raised his helm, and then he smote his
neck asunder.

Sir Launcelot freed all the prisoners from that loathsome prison; and
despite his grievous wounds on the third day after he rode forth in
quest of further adventures.

As he rode over a long bridge, there started upon him suddenly a
passing foul churl, and he smote his horse on the nose that he turned
about, and asked him why he rode over that bridge without his license.

"Why should I not ride this way?" said Sir Launcelot. "I may not ride

"Thou shalt not choose," said the churl, and lashed at him with a great
club shod with iron. Then Sir Launcelot drew a sword, and put the
stroke aback, and clave his head unto the breast.

At the end of the bridge was a fair village, and all the people, men
and women, cried on Sir Launcelot, and said: "A worse deed didst thou
never for thyself, for thou hast slain the chief porter of our castle."

Sir Launcelot let them say what they would, and straight he went into
the castle; and when he came into the castle he alighted, and tied his
horse to a ring on the wall; and there he saw a fair green court, and
thither he dressed himself, for there him thought was a fair place to
fight in.

So he looked about, and saw much people in doors and windows, that
said, "Fair knight, thou art unhappy."

Anon withal came there upon him two great giants, well armed all save
the heads, with two horrible clubs in their hands.

Sir Launcelot put his shield afore him, and put the stroke away of
the one giant, and with his sword he clave his head asunder. When his
fellow saw that he ran away as he were wood, for fear of the horrible
strokes; and Sir Launcelot after him with all his might, and smote him
on the shoulder, and clave him to the middle.

Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and there came before him
threescore ladies and damsels, and all kneeled unto him, and thanked
God and him of their deliverance.

"For, sir," said they, "the most part of us have been here this seven
year their prisoners, and we have worked all manner of silk works for
our meat, and we are all great gentlewomen born; for thou hast done
the most worship that ever knight did in the world, that will we bear
record, and we all pray you to tell us your name, that we may tell our
friends who delivered us out of prison."

"Fair damsels," he said, "my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake."

"Ah, sir," said they all, "well mayst thou be he, for else save
yourself, as we deemed, there might never knight have the better of
these two giants, for many fair knights have assayed it, and here have
ended; and many times have we wished after you, and these two giants
dread never knight but you."

"Now may you say," said Sir Launcelot, "unto your friends how and who
hath delivered you, and greet them all for me; and if that I come in
any of your marches show me such cheer as ye have cause; and what
treasure that there is in this castle I give it you for a reward for
your grievances. And the lord that is the owner of this castle I would
that he received it as is right."

"Fair sir," said they, "the name of this castle is Tintagil, and a duke
owned it that some time wedded fair Igraine, and after wedded her Uther

"Well," said Sir Launcelot, "I understand to whom this castle

And so he departed and betaught them unto God. And then he mounted upon
his horse and rode into many strange and wild countries and through
many waters and valleys.



Yvain was one of King Arthur's knights, and strange were his
adventures. After defeating a mysterious knight in the forest and
chasing his dying adversary into his town, he found himself in sad
enough case--through the fact that no sooner had he looked on the face
of the lady of the slain man than he found himself smitten with a
mortal wound of love.

Through the aid of the lady's damsel, he won the hand of this beautiful
creature. Then, persuaded by Gawain and his old comrades, he left his
wife and town for more deeds of knight-errantry, promising to return on
a certain day.

But success showered her favors so thick upon him that he forgot his
promise and over-stayed the allotted time; and his bride sent to him
a scornful message, returning his ring, and bidding him send back her
own. Whereupon the triumphant Yvain, utterly cast down, wandered forth
he knew not where.

       *       *       *       *       *

Senseless and deprived of speech, Yvain is unable to reply. And the
damsel steps forth and takes the ring from his finger, commending to
God the King and all the others except him, whom she leaves in deep
distress. And his sorrow grows on him: he feels oppressed by what he
hears, and is tormented by what he sees. He would rather be banished
alone in some wild land, where no man or woman would know of his
whereabouts any more than if he were in some deep abyss. He hates
nothing so much as he hates himself, nor does he know to whom to go for
comfort in the death he has brought upon himself. But he would rather
go insane than not take vengeance upon himself, deprived, as he is, of
joy through his own fault.

He rises from his place among the knights, fearing he will lose his
mind if he stays longer in their midst. On their part, they pay no
heed to him, but let him take his departure alone. They know well
enough that he cares nothing for their talk or their society. And he
goes away until he is far from the tents and pavilions. Then such a
storm broke loose in his brain that he loses his senses; he tears his
flesh and, stripping off his clothes, he flees across the meadows and
fields, leaving his men quite at a loss, and wondering what has become
of him. They go in search of him through all the country around--in the
lodgings of the knights, by the hedge-rows, and in the gardens--but
they seek him where he is not to be found.

Still fleeing, he rapidly pursued his way until he met close by a park
a lad who had in his hand a bow and five barbed arrows, which were very
sharp and broad. He had sense enough to go and take the bow and arrows
which he held. However, he had no recollection of anything that he had

He lies in wait for the beasts in the woods, killing them, and then
eating the venison raw. Thus he dwelt in the forest like a madman or
a savage, until he came upon a little, low-lying house belonging to a
hermit, who was at work clearing his ground. When he saw him coming
with nothing on, he could easily perceive that he was not in his right
mind; and such was the case, as the hermit very well knew. So, in fear,
he shut himself up in his little house, and taking some bread and fresh
water, he charitably set it outside the house on a narrow window-ledge.

And thither the other comes, hungry for the bread--which he takes and
eats. I do not believe that he ever before had tasted such hard and
bitter bread. The measure of barley kneaded with the straw, of which
the bread, sourer than yeast, was made, had not cost more than five
sous; and the bread was musty and as dry as bark. But hunger torments
and whets his appetite, so that the bread tasted to him like sauce. For
hunger is itself a well mixed and concocted sauce for any food.

My lord Yvain soon ate the hermit's bread, which tasted good to him,
and drank the cool water from the jar. When he had eaten, he betook
himself again to the woods in search of stags and does. And when he
sees him going away, the good man beneath his roof prays God to defend
him and guard him lest he ever pass that way again. But there is no
creature, with howsoever little sense, that will not gladly return to
a place where he is kindly treated. So, not a day passed while he was
in this mad fit that he did not bring to his door some wild game. Such
was the life he led; and the good man took it upon himself to remove
the skin and set a good quantity of the venison to cook; and the bread
and the water in the jug was always standing on the window-ledge for
the madman to make a meal. Thus he had something to eat and drink:
venison without salt or pepper, and good cool water from the spring.

And the good man exerted himself to sell the hide and buy bread made
of barley, or oats, or of some other grain; so, after that, Yvain had
a plentiful supply of bread and venison, which sufficed him for a long
time, until one day he was found asleep in the forest by two damsels
and their mistress, in whose service they were.

When they saw the naked man, one of the three ran and dismounted and
examined him closely, before she saw anything about him which would
serve to identify him. If he had only been richly attired, as he had
been many a time, and if she could have seen him then, she would have
known him quickly enough. But she was slow to recognize him, and
continued to look at him until at last she noticed a scar which he had
on his face, and she recollected that my lord Yvain's face was scarred
in this same way; she was sure of it, for she had often seen it.
Because of the scar she saw that it was he beyond any doubt; but she
marvelled greatly how it came about that she found him thus poor and

Often she crosses herself in amazement, but she does not touch him or
wake him up; rather does she mount her horse again, and going back to
the others, tells them tearfully of her adventure. I do not know if I
ought to delay to tell you of the grief she showed; but thus she spoke
weeping to her mistress: "My lady, I have found Yvain, who has proved
himself to be the best knight in the world, and the most virtuous. I
cannot imagine what sin has reduced the gentleman to such a plight. I
think he must have had some misfortune, which causes him thus to demean
himself, for one may lose his wits through grief. And any one can see
that he is not in his right mind, for it would surely never be like him
to conduct himself thus indecently unless he had lost his mind. Would
that God had restored to him the best sense he ever had, and would that
he might then consent to render assistance to your cause! For Count
Alier, who is at war with you, has made upon you a fierce attack. I
should see the strife between you two quickly settled in your favor if
God favored your fortunes so that Yvain should return to his senses and
undertake to aid you in this stress."

To this the lady made reply: "Take care now! For surely, if he does
not escape, with God's help I think we can clear his head of all the
madness and insanity. But we must be on our way at once! For I recall a
certain ointment with which Morgan the Wise presented me, saying there
was no delirium of the head which it would not cure."

Thereupon, they go off at once toward the town, which was hard by, for
it was not any more than half a league of the kind they have in that
country; and, as compared with ours, two of their leagues make one and
four make two. And he remains sleeping all alone, while the lady goes
to fetch the ointment.

The lady opens a case of hers, and, taking out a box, gives to the
damsel, and charges her not to be too prodigal in its use: she
should rub only his temples with it, for there is no use of applying
it elsewhere; she should anoint only his temples with it, and the
remainder she should carefully keep, for there is nothing the matter
with him except in his brain. She sends him also a robe of spotted fur,
a coat, and a mantle of scarlet silk.

The damsel takes them, and leads in her right hand an excellent
palfrey. And she added to these, of her own store, a shirt, some soft
hose, and some new drawers of proper cut. With all these things she
quickly set out, and found him still asleep where she had left him.

After putting her horse in an enclosure where she tied him fast, she
came with the clothes and the ointment to the place where he was
asleep. Then she made so bold as to approach the madman, so that she
could touch and handle him; taking the ointment she rubbed him with it
until none remained in the box, being so solicitous for his recovery
that she proceeded to anoint him all over with it; and she used it so
freely that she heeded not the warning of her mistress, nor indeed did
she remember it. She put more on than was needed, but in her opinion it
was well employed. She rubbed his temples and forehead, and his whole
body down to the ankles. She rubbed his temples and his whole body so
much there in the hot sunshine that the madness and the depressing
gloom passes completely out of his brain. But she was foolish to anoint
his body, for of that there was no need. If she had had five measures
of it she would doubtless have done the same thing.

She carries off the box, and takes hidden refuge by her horse. But she
leaves the robe behind, wishing that, if God calls him back to life,
he may see it all laid out, and may take it and put it on. She posts
herself behind an oak-tree until he had slept enough, and was cured and
quite restored, having regained his wits and memory.

Then he sees that he is as naked as ivory, and feels much ashamed; but
he would have been yet more ashamed had he known what had happened.
As it is, he knows nothing but that he is naked. He sees the new robe
lying before him, and marvels greatly how and by what adventure it had
come there. But he is ashamed and concerned because of his nakedness,
and says that he is dead and utterly undone if any one has come upon
him there and recognized him.

Meanwhile, he clothes himself and looks out into the forest to see
if any one is approaching. He tries to stand up and support himself,
but cannot summon the strength to walk away, for his sickness has so
affected him that he can scarcely stand upon his feet.

Thereupon, the damsel resolves to wait no longer, but, mounting, she
passed close by him, as if unaware of his presence. Quite indifferent
as to whence might come the help, which he needed so much to lead him
away to some lodging-place, where he might recruit his strength, he
calls out to her with all his might.

And the damsel, for her part, looks about her as if not knowing what
the trouble is. Confused, she goes hither and thither, not wishing to
go straight up to him.

Then he begins to call again: "Damsel, come this way, here!" And the
damsel guided toward him her soft-stepping palfrey. By this ruse she
made him think that she knew nothing of him and had never seen him
before; in so doing she was wise and courteous.

When she had come before him, she said: "Sir knight, what so you desire
that you call me so insistently?"

"Ah," said he, "prudent damsel, I have found myself in this wood by
some mishap--I know not what. For God's sake and your belief in Him,
I pray you to lend me, taking my word as a pledge, or else to give me
outright, that palfrey you are leading in your hand."

"Gladly, sire; but you must accompany me whither I am going."

"Which way?" says he.

"To a town that stands near by, beyond the forest."

"Tell me, damsel, if you stand in need of me."

"Yes," she says, "I do; but I think you are not very well. For the next
two weeks at least you ought to rest. Take this horse, which I hold in
my right hand, and we shall go to our lodging-place."

And he, who had no other desire, takes it and mounts, and they proceed
until they come to a bridge over a swift and turbulent stream. And the
damsel throws into the water the empty box she is carrying thinking
to excuse herself to her mistress for her ointment by saying that she
was so unlucky as to let the box fall into the water; for, when her
palfrey stumbled under her, the box slipped from her grasp, and she
came near falling in too, which would have been still worse luck. It is
her intention to invent this story when she comes into her mistress's

Together they held their way until they came to the town, where the
lady detained my lord Yvain and asked the damsel in private for her
box and ointment; and the damsel repeated to her the lie as she had
invented it, not daring to tell her the truth.

Then the lady was greatly enraged, and said: "This is certainly a very
serious loss, and I am sure and certain that the box will never be
found again. But since it has happened so, there is nothing more to be
done about it. One often desires a blessing which turns out to be a
curse; thus I, who looked for a blessing and joy from this knight, have
lost the dearest and most precious of my possessions. However, I beg
you to serve him in all respects."

"Ah, lady, how wisely now you speak! For it would be too bad to convert
one misfortune into two."

Then they say no more about the box, but minister in every way they
can to the comfort of my lord Yvain, bathing him and washing his hair,
having him shaved and clipped, for one could have taken up a fist full
of hair upon his face. His every want is satisfied: if he asks for
arms, they are furnished him; if he wants a horse, they provide him
with one that is large and handsome, strong and spirited.

He stayed there until, upon a Tuesday, Count Alier came to the town
with his men and knights, who started fires and took plunder. Those
in the town at once rose up and equipped themselves with arms. Some
armed and some unarmed, they issued forth to meet the plunderers, who
did not deign to retreat before them, but awaited them in a narrow
pass. My lord Yvain struck at the crowd; he had had so long a rest
that his strength was quite restored, and he struck a knight upon his
shield with such force that he sent down in a heap, I think, the knight
together with his horse. The knight never rose again, for his backbone
was broken and his heart burst within his breast. My lord Yvain drew
back a little to recover, then protecting himself completely with
his shield, he spurred forward to clear the pass. One could not have
counted up to four before one would have seen him cast down speedily
four knights. Whereupon, those who were with him waxed more brave, for
many a man of poor and timid heart, at the sight of some brave man
who attacks a dangerous task before his eyes, will be overwhelmed by
confusion and shame, which will drive out the poor heart in his body
and give him another like to a hero's for courage. So these men grew
brave and each stood his ground in the fight and attack.

And the lady was up in the tower, whence she saw the fighting and
the rush to win and gain possession of the pass, and she saw lying
upon the ground many who were wounded and many killed, both of her own
party and of the enemy, but more of the enemy than of her own. For my
courteous, bold, and excellent lord Yvain made them yield just as the
falcon does the teal. And the men and women who had remained within the
town declared as they watched the strife: "Ah, what a valiant knight!
How he makes his enemies yield, and how fierce is his attack! He slays
about him as a lion among the fallow deer, when he is impelled by need
and hunger. Then, too, all our other knights are more brave and daring
because of him, for, were it not for him alone, not a lance would have
been splintered nor a sword drawn to strike. When such an excellent man
is found he ought to be loved and dearly prized. See now how he proves
himself, see how he maintains his place, see how he stains with blood
his lance and bare sword, see how he presses the enemy and follows
them up, how he comes boldly to attack then, then gives away and turns
about; but he spends little time in giving away, and soon returns to
the attack. See him in the fray again, how lightly he esteems his
shield, which he allows to be cut in pieces mercilessly. Just see how
keen he is to avenge the blows which are dealt at him. For, if some one
should use all the forest of Argonne to make lances for him, I guess
he would have none left by night. For he breaks all the lances that
they place in his socket, and calls for more. And see how he wields the
sword when he draws it! Roland never wrought such havoc with Durandal
against the Turks at Ronceval or in Spain! If he had in his company
some good companions like himself, the traitor, whose attack we are
suffering, would retreat to-day discomfited, or would stand his ground
only to find defeat."

Then they say that the woman would be blessed who should be loved
by one who is so powerful in arms, and who above all others may be
recognized as a taper among candles, as a moon among the stars, and as
the sun above the moon. He so won the hearts of all that the prowess
which they see in him made them wish that he had taken their lady to
wife, and that he were master of the land.

Thus man and woman alike praised him, and in doing so they but told the
truth. For his attack on his adversaries was such that they vie with
one another in flight. But he presses hard upon their heels, and all
his companions follow him, for by his side they feel as safe as if they
were enclosed in a high and thick stone wall. The pursuit continues
until those who flee become exhausted, and the pursuers slash at them
and disembowel their steeds. The living roll over upon the dead as they
wound and kill each other. They work dreadful destruction upon each
other; and meanwhile the Count flees with my lord Yvain after him,
until he comes up with him at the foot of a steep ascent, near the
entrance of a strong place which belonged to the Count.

There the Count was stopped, with no one near to lend him aid; and
without any excessive parley my lord Yvain received his surrender. For
as soon as he held him in his hands, and they were left just man to
man, there was no further possibility of escape, or of yielding, or of
self-defence; so the Count pledged his word to go to surrender to the
lady of Noroison as her prisoner, and to make such peace as she might
dictate. And when he had accepted his word he made him disarm his head
and remove the shield from about his neck, and the Count surrendered to
him his sword. Thus he won the honor of leading off the Count as his
prisoner, and of giving him over to his enemies, who make no secret of
their joy.

But the news was carried to the town before they themselves arrived.
While all come forth to meet him, the lady herself leads the way. My
lord Yvain holds his prisoner by the hand, and presents him to her.
The Count gladly acceded to her wishes and demands, and secured her
by his word, oath, and pledges. Giving her pledges, he swears to her
that he will always live on peaceful terms with her, and will make good
to her all the loss which she can prove, and will build up again the
houses which he had destroyed. When these things were agreed upon in
accordance with the lady's wish, my lord Yvain asked leave to depart.
But she would not have granted him this permission had he been willing
to take her as his mistress, or to marry her. But he would not allow
himself to be followed or escorted a single step, but rather departed
hastily: in this case entreaty was of no avail.

So he started out to retrace his path, leaving the lady much chagrined,
whose joy he had caused a while before. When he will not tarry
longer she is the more distressed and ill at ease in proportion to
the happiness he had brought to her, for she would have wished to
honor him, and would have made him, with his consent, lord of all her
possessions, or else she would have paid him for his services whatever
sum he might have named. But he would not heed any word of man or
woman. Despite their grief he left the knights and the lady who vainly
tried to detain him longer.

Pensively my lord Yvain proceeded through a deep wood until he heard
among the trees a very loud and dismal cry, and he turned in the
direction whence it seemed to come. And when he had arrived upon the
spot he saw in a cleared space a lion, and a serpent which held him by
the tail, burning his hind-quarters with flames of fire.

My lord Yvain did not gape at this strange spectacle, but took counsel
with himself as to which of the two he should aid. Then he says that he
will succour the lion, for a treacherous and venomous creature deserves
to be harmed. Now the serpent is poisonous, and fire bursts forth from
its mouth--so full of wickedness is the creature. So my lord Yvain
decides that he will kill the serpent first.

Drawing his sword he steps forward, holding the shield before his face
in order not to be harmed by the flame emerging from the creature's
throat, which was larger than a pot. If the lion attacks him next,
he too shall have all the fight he wishes; but whatever may happen
afterwards he makes up his mind to help him now. For pity urges him
and makes request that he should bear succour and aid to the gentle and
noble beast.

With his sword, which cuts so clean, he attacks the wicked serpent,
first cleaving him through to the earth and cutting him in two, then
continuing his blows until he reduces him to tiny bits. But he had to
cut off a piece of the lion's tail to get at the serpent's head, which
held the lion by the tail. He cut off only so much as was necessary and

When he had set the lion free, he supposed that he would have to fight
with him, and the lion would come at him; but the lion was not minded

Just hear now what the lion did! He acted nobly and as one well-bred;
for he began to make it evident that he yielded himself to him, by
standing upon his two hind-feet and bowing his face to the earth, with
his fore-feet joined and stretched out toward him. Then he fell on
his knees again, and all his face was wet with the tears of humility.
My lord Yvain knows for a truth that the lion is thanking him and
doing him homage because of the serpent which he had killed, thereby
delivering him from death. He was greatly pleased by this episode.

He cleaned his sword of the serpent's poison and filth; then he
replaced it in its scabbard, and resumed his way. And the lion walks
close by his side, unwilling henceforth to part from him; he will
always in future accompany him, eager to serve and protect him. He
goes ahead until he scents in the wind upon his way some wild beasts
feeding; then hunger and his nature prompt him to seek his prey and to
secure his sustenance. It is his nature so to do. He started ahead a
little on the trail, thus showing his master that he had come upon and
detected the odor and scent of some wild game. Then he looks at him and
halts, wishing to serve every wish, and unwilling to proceed against
his will. Yvain understands by his attitude that he is showing that he
awaits his pleasure. He perceives this and understands that if he holds
back he will hold back too, and that if he follows him he will seize
the game which he has scented.

Then he incites and cries to him, as he would do to hunting-dogs. At
once the lion directed his nose to the scent which he had detected,
and by which he was not deceived, for he had not gone a bow-shot when
he saw in a valley a deer grazing all alone. This deer he will seize,
if he has his way. And so he did, at the first spring, and then drank
its blood still warm. When he had killed it he laid it upon his back
and carried it back to his master, who thereupon conceived a greater
affection for him, and chose him as a companion for all his life,
because of the great devotion he found in him.

It was near night-fall now, and it seemed good to him to spend the
night there, and strip from the deer as much as he cared to eat.
Beginning to carve it he splits the skin along the rib, and taking
a steak from the loin he strikes from a flint a spark, which he
catches in some dry brush-wood; then he quickly puts his steak upon a
roasting-spit to cook before the fire, and roasts it until it is quite
cooked through. But there was no pleasure in the meal, for there was
no bread, or wine, or salt, or knife, or anything else.

While he was eating, the lion lay at his feet; not a movement did he
make, but watched him steadily until he had eaten all that he could eat
of the steak. What remained of the deer the lion devoured, even to the
bones. And while all night his master laid his head upon his shield to
gain such rest as that afforded, the lion showed such intelligence that
he kept awake, and was careful to guard the horse as it fed upon the
grass, which yielded some slight nourishment.

In the morning they go off together, and the same sort of existence,
it seems, as they had led that night, they two continued to lead all
the ensuing week, until chance brought them to the spring beneath the
pine-tree. There my lord Yvain almost lost his wits a second time, as
he approached the spring, with its stone and the chapel that stood
close by.

So great was his distress that a thousand times he sighed "alas!" and
grieving fell in a swoon; and the point of his sharp sword, falling
from its scabbard, pierced the meshes of his hauberk right in the neck
beside the cheek. There is not a mesh that does not spread, and the
sword cuts the flesh of his neck beneath the shining mail, so that it
causes the blood to start.

Then the lion thinks that he sees his master and companion dead. You
never heard greater grief narrated or told about anything than he now
began to show. He casts himself about, and scratches and cries, and
has the wish to kill himself with the sword with which he thinks his
master has killed himself. Taking the sword from his master with his
teeth he lays it on a fallen tree, and steadies it on a trunk behind,
so that it will not slip or give way, when he hurls his breast against
it. His intention was nearly accomplished when his master recovered
from his swoon and the lion restrained himself as he was blindly
rushing upon death, like a wild boar heedless of where he wounds

Thus my lord Yvain lies in a swoon beside the stone, but, on
recovering, he violently reproached himself for the year during which
he had overstayed his leave, and for which he had incurred his lady's
hate, and he said: "Why does this wretch not kill himself who has thus
deprived himself of joy? Alas! why do I not take my life? How can I
stay here and look upon what belongs to my lady? Why does the soul
still tarry in my body? What is the soul doing in so miserable a frame?
If it had already escaped away it would not be in such torment. It is
fitting to hate and blame and despise myself, even as in fact I do.
Whoever loses his bliss and contentment through fault or error of his
own ought to hate himself mortally. He ought to hate and kill himself.
And now, when no one is looking on, why do I thus spare myself? Why
do I not take my life? Have I not seen this lion a prey to such
grief on my behalf that he was on the point just now of thrusting my
sword through his breast? And ought I to fear death who have changed
happiness into grief? Joy is now a stranger to me. Joy? What joy is
that? I shall say no more of that, for no one could speak of such
a thing; and I have asked a foolish question. That was the greatest
joy of all which was assured as my possession, but it endured for but
a little while. Whoever loses such joy through his own misdeed is
undeserving of happiness."

Then my lord Yvain departs, and the lion, as usual, after him. They
journeyed until they came to a baron's fortified place, which was
completely surrounded by a massive, strong, and high wall. The castle,
being extraordinarily well protected, feared no assault of catapult or
storming machine; but outside the walls the ground was so completely
cleared that not a single hut or dwelling remained standing. You will
learn the cause of this a little later, when the time comes.

My lord Yvain made his way directly toward the fortified place, and
seven varlets came out who lowered the bridge and advanced to meet him.
But they were terrified at the sight of the lion, which they saw with
him, and asked him kindly to leave the lion at the gate lest he should
wound or kill them.

And he replies: "Say no more of that! For I shall not enter without
him. Either we shall both find shelter here or else I shall stay
outside; he is as dear to me as I am myself. Yet you need have no fear
of him! For I shall keep him so well in hand that you may be quite

They made answer: "Very well!"

Then they entered the town, and passed on until they met knights and
ladies and charming damsels coming down the street, who salute him and
wait to remove his armor as they say: "Welcome to our midst, fair sire!
And may God grant that you tarry here until you may leave with great
honor and satisfaction!"

High and low alike extend to him a glad welcome, and do all they can
for him, as they joyfully escort him into the town. But after they had
expressed their gladness they are overwhelmed by grief, which makes
them quickly forget their joy, as they begin to lament and weep and
beat themselves. Thus, for a long space of time, they cease not to
rejoice or make lament: it is to honor their guest that they rejoice,
but their heart is not in what they do, for they are greatly worried
over an event which they expect to take place on the following day, and
they feel very sure and certain that it will come to pass before midday.

My lord Yvain was so surprised that they so often changed their mood,
and mingled grief with their happiness, that he addressed the lord of
the place on the subject. "For God's sake," he said, "fair gentle sir,
will you kindly inform me why you have thus honored me, and shown at
once such joy and such heaviness?"

"Yes, if you desire to know, but it would be better for you to desire
ignorance and silence. I will never tell you willingly anything to
cause you grief. Allow us to continue to lament, and do you pay no
attention to what we do!"

"It would be quite impossible for me to see you sad and not take it
upon my heart, so I desire to know the truth, whatever chagrin may
result to me."

"Well, then," he said, "I will tell you all. I have suffered much from
a giant, who has insisted that I should give him my daughter, who
surpasses in beauty all the maidens in the world. This evil giant,
whom may God confound, is named Harpin of the Mountain. Not a day
passes without his taking all of my possessions upon which he can lay
his hands. No one has a better right than I to complain, and to be
sorrowful, and to make lament. I might well lose my senses from very
grief, for I had six sons who were knights, fairer than any I knew in
the world, and the giant has taken all six of them. Before my eyes he
killed two of them, and to-morrow he will kill the other four, unless
I find someone who will dare to fight him for the deliverance of my
sons, or unless I consent to surrender my daughter to him. That is the
disaster which awaits me to-morrow, unless the Lord God grant me His
aid. So it is no wonder, fair sir, if we are all in tears. But for your
sake we strive for the moment to assume as cheerful a countenance as we
can. For he is a fool who attracts a gentleman to his presence and then
does not honor him; and you seem to be a very perfect gentleman. Now I
have told you the entire story of our great distress. Neither in town
nor in fortress has the giant left us anything, except what we have
here. If you had noticed, you must have seen this evening that he has
not left us so much as an egg, except these walls which are new; for he
has razed the entire town. When he had plundered all he wished, he set
fire to what remained. In this way he has done me many an evil turn."

My lord Yvain listened to all that his host told him, and when he
had heard it all he was pleased to answer him: "Sire, I am sorry and
distressed about this trouble of yours; but I marvel greatly that you
have not asked assistance at good King Arthur's court. There is no man
so mighty that he could not find at his court some who would be glad to
try their strength with his."

Then the wealthy man reveals and explains to him that he would have had
efficient help if he had known where to find my lord Gawain. "He would
not have failed me upon this occasion, for my wife is his own sister;
but a knight from a strange land, who went to court to seek the King's
wife, has led her away. However, he could not have gotten possession
of her by any means of his own invention, had it not been for Kay, who
so befooled the King that he gave the Queen into his charge and placed
her under his protection. He was a fool, and she imprudent to entrust
herself to his escort. And I am the one who suffers and loses in all
this! for it is certain that my excellent lord Gawain would have made
haste to come here, had he known the facts, for the sake of his nephews
and his niece. But he knows nothing of it, wherefore I am so distressed
that my heart is almost breaking, for he is gone in pursuit of him, to
whom may God bring shame and woe for having led the Queen away."

While listening to this recital my lord Yvain does not cease to sigh.
Inspired by the pity which he feels, he makes this reply: "Fair gentle
sire, I would gladly undertake this perilous adventure, if the giant
and your sons should arrive to-morrow in time to cause me no delay,
for to-morrow at noon I shall be somewhere else, in accordance with a
promise I have made."

"Once for all, fair sire," the good man said, "I thank you a hundred
thousand times for your willingness." And all the people of the house
likewise expressed their gratitude.

Just then the damsel came out of a room, with her graceful body and her
face so fair and pleasing to look upon. She was very simple and sad
and quiet as she came, for there was no end to the grief she felt: she
walked with her head bowed to the ground. And her mother, too, came in
from an adjoining room, for the gentleman had sent for them to meet his

They entered with their mantles wrapped about them to conceal their
tears, and he bid them throw back their mantles, and hold up their
heads, saying: "You ought not to hesitate to obey my behests, for God
and good fortune have given here a very well-born gentleman who assures
me that he will fight against the giant. Delay no longer now to throw
yourselves at his feet!"

"May God never let me see that!" my lord Yvain hastens to exclaim;
"surely it would not be proper under any circumstances for the sister
and the niece of my lord Gawain to prostrate themselves at my feet.
May God defend me from ever giving place to such pride as to let
them fall at my feet! Indeed, I should never forget the shame which I
should feel; but I should be very glad if they would take comfort until
to-morrow, when they may see whether God will consent to aid them. I
have no other request to make, except that the giant may come in such
good time that I be not compelled to break my engagement elsewhere;
for I would not fail for anything to be present to-morrow noon at the
greatest business I could ever undertake."

Thus he is unwilling to reassure them completely, for he fears that
the giant may not come early enough to allow him to reach in time the
damsel who is imprisoned in the chapel. Nevertheless, he promises them
enough to arouse good hope in them. They all alike join in thanking
him, for they place great confidence in his prowess, and they think
he must be a very good man, when they see the lion by his side as
confident as a lamb would be. They take comfort and rejoice because of
the hope they stake on him, and they indulge their grief no more.

When the time came they led him off to bed in a brightly lighted room;
both the damsel and her mother escorted him, for they prized him
dearly, and would have done so a hundred thousand times more had they
been informed of his prowess and courtesy.

He and the lion together lay down there and took their rest. The others
dared not sleep in the room; but they closed the door so tight that
they could not come out until the next day at dawn.

When the room was thrown open, he got up and heard Mass, and then,
because of the promise he had made, he waited until the hour of prime.
Then in the hearing of all he summoned the lord of the town and said:
"My lord, I have no more time to wait, but must ask your permission
to leave at once; I cannot tarry longer here. But believe truly that
I would gladly and willingly stay here yet awhile for the sake of the
nephews and the niece of my beloved lord Gawain, if I did not have a
great business on hand, and if it were not so far away."

At this the damsel's blood quivered and boiled with fear, as well as
the lady's and the lord's. They were so afraid he would go away that
they were on the point of humbling themselves and casting themselves at
his feet, when they recalled that he would not approve or permit their

Then the lord makes him an offer of all he will take of his lands or
wealth, if only he will wait a little longer.

And he replied: "God forbid that ever I should take anything of yours!"

Then the damsel, who is in dismay, begins to weep aloud, and beseeches
him to stay. Like one distracted and a prey to dread, she begs him
by the glorious queen of heaven and of the angels, and by the Lord,
not to go, but to wait a little while; and then too, for her uncle's
sake, whom he says he knows, and loves, and esteems. Then his heart
is touched with deep pity when he hears her adjuring him in the name
of him whom he loves the most, and by the mistress of heaven, and by
the Lord, who is the very honey and sweet savour of pity. Filled with
anguish he heaved a sigh, for were the kingdom of Tarsus at stake he
would not see her burned to whom he had pledged his aid. If he could
not reach her in time, he would be unable to endure his life, or would
live on without his wits; on the other hand, the kindness of his
friend, my lord Gawain, only increased his distress: his heart almost
bursts in half at the thought that he cannot delay.

Nevertheless, he does not stir, but delays and waits so long that the
giant came suddenly, bringing with him the knights; and hanging from
his neck he carried a big square stake with a pointed end, and with
this he frequently spurred them on. For their part they had no clothing
on that was worth a straw, except some soiled and filthy shirts; and
their feet and hands were bound with cords, as they came riding upon
four limping jades, which were weak and thin, and miserable. As they
came riding along beside a wood, a dwarf, who was puffed up like a
toad, had tied the horses' tails together, and walked beside them,
beating them remorselessly with a four-knotted scourge until they bled,
thinking thereby to be doing something wonderful.

Thus they were brought along in shame by the giant and the dwarf.
Stopping in the plain in front of the city gate, the giant shouts out
to the noble lord that he will kill his sons unless he delivers to him
his daughter.

The worthy man is well-nigh beside himself. His agony is like that of
one who would rather be dead than alive. Again and again he bemoans
his fate, and weeps aloud and sighs.

Then my frank and gentle lord Yvain thus began to speak to him: "Sire,
very vile and impudent is that giant who vaunts himself out there. But
may God never grant that he should have your daughter in his power! He
despises her and insults her openly. Give me now my arms and horse!
Have the drawbridge lowered, and let me pass. One or the other must be
cast down, either I or he, I know not which. If I could only humiliate
the cruel wretch who is thus oppressing you, so that he would release
your sons and should come and make amends for the insulting words he
has spoken to you, then I would commend you to God and go about my

Then they go to get his horse, and hand over to him his arms, striving
so expeditiously that they soon have him quite equipped. They delayed
as little as they could in arming him. When his equipment was complete,
there remained nothing but to lower the bridge and let him go. They
lowered it for him, and he went out. But the lion would by no means
stay behind.

All those who were left behind commended the knight to the Saviour, for
they fear exceedingly lest their devilish enemy, who already had slain
so many good men on the same field before their eyes, would do the same
with him. So they pray God to defend him from death, and return him to
them safe and sound, and that He may give him strength to slay the
giant. Each one softly prays to God in accordance with his wish.

And the giant fiercely came at him, and with threatening words thus
spake to him: "By my eyes, the man who sent thee here surely had no
love for thee! No better way could he have taken to avenge himself on
thee. He has chosen well his vengeance for whatever wrong thou hast
done to him."

But the other, fearing naught, replies: "Thou treatest of what matters
not. Now do thy best and I'll do mine. Idle parley wearies me."

Thereupon my lord Yvain, who was anxious to depart, rides at him. He
goes to strike him on the breast, which was protected by a bear's skin,
and the giant runs at him with his stake raised in air.

My lord Yvain deals him such a blow upon the chest that he thrusts
through the skin and wets the tip of his lance in his body's blood by
way of sauce. And the giant belabors him with the stake, and makes him
bend beneath the blows. My lord Yvain then draws the sword with which
he knew how to deal fierce blows. He found the giant unprotected, for
he trusted in his strength so much that he disdained to arm himself.
And he who had drawn his blade gave him such a slash with the cutting
edge and not with the flat side, that he cut from his cheek a slice fit
to roast. Then the other in turn gave him such a blow with the stake
that it made him sink in a heap upon his horse's neck.

Thereupon the lion bristles up, ready to lend his master aid, and leaps
up in his anger and strength, and strikes and tears like so much bark
the heavy bearskin the giant wore, and he tore away beneath the skin a
large piece of his thigh, together with the nerves and flesh. The giant
escaped his clutches, roaring and bellowing like a bull, for the lion
had badly wounded him. Then raising his stake in both hands, he thought
to strike him, but missed his aim, when the lion leaped backward so he
missed his blow, and fell exhausted beside my lord Yvain, but without
either of them touching the other. Then my lord Yvain took aim and
landed two blows on him. Before he could recover himself he had severed
with the edge of his sword the giant's shoulder from his body.

With the next blow he ran the whole blade of his sword through his
liver beneath his chest: the giant falls in death's embrace. And if a
great oak tree should fall, I think it would make no greater noise than
the giant made when he tumbled down. All those who were on the wall
would fain have witnessed such a blow.

Then it became evident who was the most fleet of foot, for all ran to
see the game, just like hounds which have followed the beast until
they finally come up with him. So men and women in rivalry ran forward
without delay to where the giant lay face downward. The daughter comes
running, and her mother, too. And the four brothers rejoice after the
woes they have endured.

As for my lord Yvain they are very sure that they could not detain him
for any reason they might allege; but they beseech him to return and
stay to enjoy himself as soon as he shall have completed the business
which calls him away. And he replies that he cannot promise them
anything, for as yet he cannot guess whether it will fare well or ill
with him. But thus much did he say to his host: that he wished that
his four sons and his daughter should take the dwarf and go to my lord
Gawain when they hear of his return, and should tell and relate to him
how he has conducted himself. For kind actions are of no use if you are
not willing that they be known.



A terrible brood of giants once lived on the Isle of Man--as anyone
in western England could have told you a hundred years ago, or five
hundred for that matter. To-day this island of Mona in the Irish Sea
produces nothing stranger than Manx tail-less cats and a hard-headed
race of people who cling most obstinately to their old Norse and
Celtic customs, with "deemsters" to judge them and a Legislature and
Lieutenant-governor of their own for their 20,000 inhabitants.

But away back in the days of great King Arthur it was common knowledge
that a horde of giants had driven out the first fairy population of the
island, and, after ruling many generations in the usual discourteous
fashion of giants, had been themselves overpowered by the mighty
enchanter Merlin, and lay spell-bound forever in vast subterranean
chambers beneath their ancient palace.

And if you have any doubts about this, and find it difficult to
verify the tale by consulting a Manxman (or better still an aged
Manxwoman)--why you need only turn to "The History and Description of
the Isle of Man," wherein Mr. Waldron only seventy years ago related
all the facts as to "Curious and Authentick Relations of Apparitions
of Giants that have lived under the castle from time immemorial.
Likewise many comical and entertaining stories of the pranks played by
fairies, &c."

He himself saw beneath Douglas Fort the "very strong and secret
apartment underground, having no passage to it but a hole, which is
covered with a large stone, and is called to this day 'The great
man's chamber.'" Also many wise ones told him how several venturesome
spirits who ventured down to the subterranean chambers at Castleton,
and not one of them ever returned to give an account of what he had
undoubtedly seen--except one foolhardy individual, full of "Dutch
courage," who risked the attempt in spite of the grisly fate of his
predecessors. This lucky person related upon his return that, after
traversing interminable black passages, he at last reached a light and
a magnificent dwelling, in which lay a monster fourteen feet long and
ten or eleven feet around--whereat, like a wise and prudent man, he
retraced his steps without further investigation.

And there is more vivid testimony than this. Probably five or six
centuries back an unknown minstrel made a ballad telling all about this
giant brood and what befell the valiant Sir Gawain upon his adventure
into that dread island.

A few portions of this ballad are lost (they were used to light the
fires by the maids in Humphrey Pitt's house in Shropshire, where
Bishop Percy, about 1760, found the old 17th century manuscript book
containing it!) But the course of the tale is plain, and the romance
stands here essentially as it was written down about 1650, having been
passed on orally for hundreds of years before that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Listen, lords great and small, what adventures did befall in England,
where hath been the knights that held the Round Table, doughty warriors
and keen.

All England both east and west, lords and ladies of the best, they
busked them and made them bowne, and as King Arthur sate in his
seat,--lords served him at his meat,--there came a man into the hall.
He was not tall, but he was broad, made like a turke (a dwarf) in his
legs and thighs. Said he:

"Is there any will, as a brother, give me a buffet and take another--if
any be so hardy?"

Then spoke that crabbed knight, Sir Kay:

"Man, thou seemest not so strong in wit if thou be not adread, for
there are knights within this hall will fell thee to the ground with
one buffet. Be thou never so stalwart of hand, I dare safely sweare I
shall bring thee to the ground."

Then spake that worthy knight Sir Gawain:

"Cousin Kay, thou speakest unworthily, and rude is thy answer. If this
man wants wit, small honor to thee if thou shouldst kill him."

The dwarf answered threateningly: "Come on, the better of you two,
though ye be fierce as any wild boar."

With that Gawain rose and smote him, but not with his full strength,
lest he slay him outright. But to his surprise the dwarf did not go
down before his blow but withstood it. Then the dwarf looked upon him
menacingly and said:

"Be sure that when the time comes this buffet thou hast given me
shall be well quitted. But before that thou must go with me on an
adventure--and I shall make thee thrice as afraid as ever man was on
this middle earth ere thou see this court again."

"I plight my troth," said Gawain. "I dare go with thee and never fly.
Never will I flee from an adventure, be it jousting or any other

The dwarf took leave of the crowned King, and Sir Gawain made ready
his armor and steed. They rode northwards two days and more. By then
Sir Gawain was sore hungered and had great need of meat and drink. The
dwarf knew he needed food and spoke rough words to him, holding his
head high:

"Gawain, where is all thy plenty? The other day thou wast served
with dainties and gave no part to me, but bruised me with a buffet:
therefore thou shalt have mickle care and shalt see adventures. I only
would I had here King Arthur and many of thy fellows in brotherhood
that are wont to strive for mastery."

He led Sir Gawain to a high hill. Suddenly the earth opened and closed
again, and Gawain began to dread; the murk came down and the light
disappeared; and a storm of snow and rain, with thunder and lightning,
broke upon them.

Sir Gawain sighed heavily. "Such weather," said he, "saw I never
before, in no place that I have ever been."

The dwarf paid no attention and led him on for a long journey, till at
last they came in sight of a noble castle standing close beside the
sea. "We shall go in," said the guide, "but take heed that if thou
seest anyone within, thou speak not to man nor woman. Yea, even if they
address thee, on thy peril see thou makest them no answer but only unto

So they rode up to the castle and Sir Gawain lighted off his horse.
The dwarf, being on foot already, led him through the gates. Here they
found chamber, bower and hall, with rich railings and most seemly to
look upon. In the hall a board was spread with all manner of meat and
drink for any grooms that might win thither. Sir Gawain would have
fallen to that fare, but the dwarf bade him leave it alone on his peril
so that he waxed anxious.

Said Gawain: "Man, I marvel that thou mayst spare none of these
victuals when there is such great plenty here. Yet do I marvel more, by
my fay, that I see neither man nor man, woman nor child. I had liever
now be free to eat my fill of this fair meat than to have all the gold
in Christendom."

At that the dwarf went forth and immediately returned, bringing meat
and drink of the finest.

"Eat, Gawain," said he, "and refresh thy spirit. In faith thou shalt
labor and sweat ere thou get more food."

When the knight had drunk ale and wine, he said: "I will, without boast
or threat, be ready at thy bidding. Yet I would pray thee rather to
give me my buffet and let me go my way for I would not longer be in
this place."

The dwarf reminded him of his plighted word, presently, and led him
without again. There lay a boat by the shore; and, obeying his guide,
Sir Gawain turned loose his charger. Indeed there was naught else he
could do.

"I plight my troth to thee," said the dwarf, "he shall be here when
thou comest again."

They sailed across the water for the space of an hour, when there
appeared before them an island whereon stood a fair castle whose like
the knight had ne'er beheld.

Said the dwarf: "Gawain, we have come thus far without scathe; but
now cometh the performance of thine oath. In yonder castle dwells the
King of Man. He is a soldan of heathenesse, and he hath with him such
a hideous rout of giants as one might not match did he seek far and
near as wide as the world. Many adventures are before you; and doubt
not that we shall be assailed before we win hence again. But an ye take
good heed to me I shall help ye in need; and I trow there is none so
strong in stoure that he shall gainsay us."

They landed and came into the great hall, where sat the King of Man,
grim and terrible.

"Ah, Sir Gawain, stiff and stoure," said he, "how fareth thine uncle
King Arthur? And that bishop, Sir Bodwine, that will not let my goods
alone but spiteth them every day? He preaches much of a crown of
thorns; but an ever I catch him he shall think such a crown but play.
Sit down at my board, sir knight."

"Nay, that may not be," said Sir Gawain. "I trow a venturous knight
shall sit down in no king's hall ere he have assayed adventures."

"Fair may it fall ye then, Gawain," said the King. "Go, fetch me forth
my tennis ball," quoth he to those who stood near, "for I will see this
knight play."

So they brought in a huge ball, all of brass; and behind it came a
hideous company of giants. They were seventeen in number, and the least
of them was half as tall again as the knight.

Gawain looked on these monstrous creatures who laughed and showed their
foul teeth in pleasure at the prospect of dashing out his brains in
the course of this strange game. Then he looked at the ball of brass,
and knew there was no man in all England able to so much as carry it,
much less play at hand-ball with it as was proposed. And in his heart
he began to feel great fear that he was here presently to be shamed and
slain. Just then the dwarf spoke privily in his ear.

To the grim King the knight said: "This is too easy a play for a proven
knight. This boy of mine will play for you."

Then one of the giants struck the great heavy ball; and the dwarf
struck it back so mightily that it flew clean out of the hall door and
out of sight.

"Of a truth, that is a strong boy you have," said the King. "Now let us
try at casting the axletree."

So they brought forth a monstrous axletree such as only one of the
giants could so much as lift. The tallest of the giants made a cast
from the other end of the hall, so that the tremendous mass crashed
down before the feet of the knight and his companion. Gawain made a
sign; whereat the dwarf picked up the huge axletree and hurled it so
shrewdly that it thrust through one of the giants, and he fell down
with grisly groaning.

"Take away the axletree," said the King. "Such a boy saw I never
before; yet, as I may thrive, he shall be better assayed ere he go.
This third adventure is the last before me at this time."

All turned toward a monstrous brazier which stood in the hall, within
whose great iron bars there blazed coals and wood.

"Gawain," said a giant, "do you begin the play. A great giant lifted
up this brazier and set it down fairly with one hand. When you have
essayed it, one of us shall answer you."

Sir Gawain was never so disturbed since he was a man on middle earth.
Then he bethought him and turned to the dwarf.

"Lift this brazier, boy," said he, "that is so worthily wrought."

At that the dwarf sprang forward, and seized the huge knobs of the iron
brazier which rose far above his head. Then he lifted it clear and
swung it thrice about his head, that the coals and red brands flew out
over the hall floor, and they had much ado to put out the fire.

The King waxed wroth and he bade them lay hands on the knight; and
before he could draw his sword they had disarmed him and bound him
fast. The King had him taken aside and spoke to him privily.

"Ah, Gawain," said the King, "evil was the day for thee that thou
camest hither. Full many a knight, mickle of might and strong in
battle, hath come before thee, and all of them I have slain through my
mastery. Never went there away one to tell the tale. Nor shalt thou go,
fell though thou beest, nor none that belongeth to King Arthur."

The dwarf had drawn on a cloak of invisible gray and followed them,
himself unseen in this weed. He heard all this, and followed still when
the King led Gawain into a fast dungeon where stood a great caldron
of boiling lead. The molten lead bubbled and spattered; and before it
stood a loathly giant with an iron pronged fork in his hand. The giant
looked eagerly upon the captive knight.

The King said to his monster: "Here are none but we two: do what is

But at that instant the dwarf discovered himself in his weed of
invisible gray; and at the sight the giant cried out in fear.

The dwarf leaped upon him, gripped him mightily about the waist, and
cast him all as he was into the caldron of molten lead, holding him
down with the prings till he was scalded to death.

Sir Gawain turned to the King: "But thou agreest to be baptized, thine
hour is come."

The King in anger spat upon him; and the dwarf seized him and hurled
him into the fire to perish. Then he said to Sir Gawain:

"Master, the peril is past. Yet let us not tarry to complete this

So they went through the castle and slew all that foul company except
such as were willing to become Christian men. And they found there vast
treasure of gold and silver. Then the dwarf brought a golden basin, fit
for an emperor, and a well-tempered sword, and fell on his knees before
Gawain, and said:

"If ever I did aught for thee, take this keen sword and strike off my

"Now God forfend!" exclaimed Gawain. "Not for all the red gold would I
have thee slain."

"Have done, my master. I have no dread. In this basin let me bleed and
thou shalt see a new play."

Sorrowfully, Gawain took the brand, and with one blow he smote off his
head. And when the blood fell into the golden basin, the dwarf stood up
in his own guise of a stalwart knight. Sir Gromer he was hight.

"Blessed be thou, Sir Gawain. Well hast thou quitted me for my aid."

Then they went throughout the castle and released many a captive knight
and lady who had been held there in dolour. And after they had feasted
they crossed the ocean water and returned to King Arthur's court, where
there was great joy of the seventeen bright ladies thus restored.

Sir Gromer, the former dwarf, went down upon his knee before Arthur:

"Sir King, an it please you, crown Gawain King of Man."

But Gawain kneeled beside him and said: "Nay, lord, not I; give it to
him, for he won it."

Then said Arthur: "Take thou the kingdom, Sir Gromer; for I see that
Gawain will never consent."

And it was so.



King Lisuarte of Great Britain was at table; the cloths were removed,
and Galaor, Florestan and Agrayes were about him. These were among his
foremost knights, but they grieved for the absence of their brother and
kinsman, the incomparable Amadis of Gaul; he, for love and worship of
the peerless Oriana, the King's daughter, had long wandered about in
disguise, performing such exploits as made the whole world ring with
his renown. Sometime he was known as the Child of the Sea, later as
the Knight of the Green Sword, and at this time he went by the name
of Beltenebros, or the Fair Mystery. And among his deeds had been the
slaying of King Abies of Ireland, whose limbs were as those of a giant,
and who numbered among his allies many astonishing fierce giants.

Then there came a strange knight into the palace, all armed except his
head and his hands, and with him two squires, and he carried in his
hand a letter sealed with five seals, which on his knees he presented
to the king, saying:

"Let this be read, and then I will say for what I am come."

Lisuarte perceived that it was a letter of credence and bade him speak
his errand.

Then said the knight: "King, I defy thee on the part of Famongomadan,
the Giant of the Boiling Lake; Cartadaque, his nephew, giant of the
Defended Mountain; Madanfabul, his marriage-brother, the giant of
the Vermillion Tower; and for Quadragante, brother of King Abies of
Ireland, and Arcalaus the Enchanter:

"They tell thee that thy death, and the death of all who call
themselves thine is in their hands, for they are coming against thee on
King Cildadan's side. Howbeit, if thou wilt give thy daughter Oriana
to Madasima, the fair daughter of Famongomadan, to be her damsel and
servant, they will not injure thee, nor be thine enemies, but will give
her in marriage when it is time, to Basogante, Madasima's brother, who
doth well deserve to be lord of her and thy land.

"Therefore, King, look to thy choice! Such peace or such war."

Lisuarte smiled when he began to reply, as one who set at naught
the defiance. "Knight," said he, "better is a dangerous war than
a dishonorable peace: a bad account should I render to Him who
hath placed me in this high rank, if for lack of heart I should so
shamefully debase it. Tell them I would rather choose war with them all
the days of my life, and death in that war at last, than consent to the
peace they offer. Tell me where I may send a knight to carry them this

"They may be found," replied the embassador, "in the Boiling Lake,
which is in the Isle of Mongaza."

So it was done, and a knight of King Lisuarte's carried them his reply
defying them to the utmost.

Now Amadis was at a nunnery, being but barely recovered of severe
wounds. He sent Enil, his squire for the time, to the next town to get
arms made for him, a green shield with as many golden lions as it could
hold, and to buy him a horse, and a sword and breastplate, the best he
could find. For he purposed to ride to Millaflores to see Oriana, the
lady of all his thoughts.

In twenty days all was ready, as he had ordered it; and at the end of
that time arrived Durin, who brought word from her who was called the
one without a peer. Then he walked apart with Durin, and heard the
message of Oriana, and also how his brethren were to be in the battle
against Cildadan and the giants, and of the defiance that Famongomadan
had sent, and how he demanded Oriana to be serving-damsel to his
daughter, till he should give her in marriage to his son. When he heard
this, his flesh shook with exceeding anger, and he resolved in himself,
so soon as he had seen his lady, to undertake no adventure till he had
found Famongomadan, and fought with him a combat to the utterance for
what he had dared propose.

That night Amadis, still going by the name of Beltenebros even to his
companion, took leave of the nuns, and early the next day, armed in his
green armor, he set forth, and Enil with him carrying his shield and
helmet and lance. The day was clear, and he feeling himself in his
strength and once more in arms, began to manage his horse so skilfully
that Enil said to him:

"I know not, sir, what the strength of your heart may be, but I never
saw a knight appear so well in arms."

"The worth," quoth Amadis, "lies in a good heart, not in a good
appearance. Happy dole hath he whom God has gifted with both. You have
judged the one, judge the other as you shall see it deserves when put
to proof."

Seven days they travelled without adventure, and Amadis, as he drew
nearer, wore his helmet that he might not be known. On the eighth, as
they were passing the foot of a mountain, they met a knight upon a
large bay horse, so huge in stature that he appeared to be a giant, and
two squires carrying his arms.

He cried out with a loud voice to Amadis: "Stop, sir knight, till you
have told me what I want to know."

Amadis looked at the stranger's shield, and seeing there golden flowers
in a field azure, he knew it was Don Quadragante, brother to King Abies
of Ireland and his own deadly foe. Yet, remembering Famongomadan, he
would willingly now have avoided battle; as also, because he was on his
way to Oriana, and feared lest the great prowess of this knight should
cause him some delay. Howbeit he stopt, and bade Enil give him his
arms, if they were wanted.

"God protect you!" quoth Enil. "He looks to me more like a devil than a

"He is no devil," said Amadis, "but a right good knight, of whom I have
heard heretofore."

By this time Quadragante was come up, and said to him: "Knight, you
must tell me if you belong to the household of King Lisuarte."

"Why ask you?"

"Because I have defied him and all his household, and kill all of them
whom I meet."

Amadis felt his anger rising, and replied: "You are one of those who
hath challenged him?"

"I am; and I am he who will do to him and his all the evil in my power."

"And who are you?"

"My name is Don Quadragante; and I am brother to that King Abies who
was foully slain by an unknown knight of Lisuarte's."

"Certes, Don Quadragante, notwithstanding your high lineage and your
great prowess in arms, this is great folly in you to defy the best king
in the world. They who undertake more than they can effect are rather
rash than hardy. I am not this king's vassal, nor am I of his land,
but for his goodness my heart is disposed to serve him, so that I may
account myself among those whom you have defied; if you chuse battle
with me, you may have it; if not, go your way."

"I believe, knight," said Quadragante, "you speak thus boldly because
you know me so little; pray you, tell me your name."

"They call me Beltenebros: you will know me by it no better than
before, for it is a name of no renown; but, though I am of a far land,
I have heard that you are seeking Amadis of Gaul, and, by what I hear
of him, it is no loss to you that you cannot find him."

"What!" quoth Quadragante. "Do you prize him, whom I hate so much,
above me? Know that your death-hour is arrived. Take thy arms and
defend thyself if thou canst."

"I might do it with some doubt against others, but can have none in
opposing thee, who art so full of pride and threats."

Then they ran their course; both felt the shock: the horse of Amadis
reeled, and he himself was wounded at the nipple of the breast.
Quadragante was unhorsed and hurt in the ribs. He rose and ran at
Amadis, who did not see him, for he was adjusting his helmet, and
mortally stabbed his horse. Amadis leaped off and went against him
sword in hand in great anger.

"There was no courage in this," he cried. "Your own horse was strong
enough to have finished the battle without this villainy."

The blows fell as thick and loud as though ten knights had been in
combat, for both put forth all their strength and skill, and the fight
lasted from the hour of tierce till vespers; but then Quadragante,
overcome with fatigue and with a blow that Amadis gave him on the
helmet, fell down senseless.

Amadis took off his helmet to see if he were dead; the air revived him;
he placed the sword-point at his face, saying:

"Remember thy soul, for thou art a dead man."

"Ah, Beltenebros," cried he, "for God's sake let me live, for my soul's

"Yield thyself vanquished then, and promise to fulfill what I command."

"I will fulfill your will to save my life," said Quadragante, "but
there is no reason wherefore I should confess myself vanquished: he is
not vanquished who in his defence hath shown no fear, doing his utmost
till strength and breath fail him and he falls; but he who does not do
what he could have done, for lack of heart."

"You say well," said Amadis, "and I like much what I have heard from
you; give me your hand and your promise then." And he called the squire
to witness it:

"You shall go forthwith to the court of King Lisuarte, and remain there
till Amadis arrives, and then you shall pardon him for the death of
your brother, King Abies; for they by their own will fought in lists
together, and such revenge, even among those of meaner degree, ought
not to be pursued. However, you shall make null the defiance against
King Lisuarte, and not take arms against those in his service."

All this did Quadragante promise against his will and in the fear of
death. He then ordered his squires to make a litter and remove him; and
Amadis, mounting the bay horse of his antagonist, gave his arms to Enil
and departed.

Four damsels, who were hawking with a merlin, had seen the battle, and
they now came up and requested the unknown would go to their castle,
where he should be honorably welcomed, for the good will which he had
manifested to King Lisuarte. He thankfully accepted their hospitality,
being sore wearied with the struggle, and accompanied them. They found
no other wound than that upon his breast, which bled much; howbeit in
three days he departed.

On the second day at noon, from a hill top he beheld the city of
London, and, to the right thereof, the castle of Miraflores, where his
lady Oriana then abode. Here he stood awhile, gazing and devising how
he might despatch Enil.

Presently he was taunted by a company of knights to joust with them,
and at last he rode against them and overthrew all ten, one after

Then came he, being athirst, to the Fountain of the Three Channels, and
tarried there awhile, discoursing with some damsels who were on their
way to the court, and determining to fix upon this as a meeting place
with Enil after he had been to his lady.

While they were talking, there came along the road a waggon drawn by
twelve palfreys, and on it were two dwarfs who drove. There were many
knights in chains in the waggon, and their shields were hanging at
the side, and many damsels and girls among them weeping and lamenting

Before it went a giant, so great that he was fearful to behold; he rode
a huge black horse, and he was armed with plates of steel, and his
helmet shone bright, and in his hand he had a boar spear, whose point
was a full arm's-length long. Behind the waggon was another giant, who
appeared more huge and terrible than the first.

The damsels with Amadis seeing them were greatly terrified, and hid
themselves among the trees. Presently the giant who rode foremost
turned to the dwarfs and cried:

"I will cut you into a thousand pieces if you suffer these girls to
shed their own blood, for I mean to do sacrifice with it to my God,
whom I adore."

When Amadis heard this he knew it was Famongomadan, for he had a custom
to sacrifice damsels to an idol in the Boiling Lake, by whose advice
and words he was guided in everything. At this time Amadis did not wish
to encounter him, because he hoped shortly to be with Oriana, and also
because his joust with the ten knights had wearied him; but he knew the
knights in the waggon, and saw that Princess Leonoreta and her damsels
were there, for Famongomadan, who always took his waggon with him to
carry away all he could find, had seized them in their tents.

Immediately he mounted, and called to Enil for his arms. But Enil said:

"Let those devils pass by first."

"Give me!" quoth Amadis. "I shall try God's mercy before they pass, to
see if I can redress this villainy."

"O, sir," cried the squire, "why have you so little compassion on your
youth? If the best twenty knights of King Lisuarte's court were here,
they would not venture to attack them."

"Care thou not for that," replied his master. "If I let them pass
without doing my best I should be unworthy to appear among gallant men:
you shall behold my fortune."

Enil gave him his arms, weeping, and Amadis then descended the sloping
ground to meet them. He looked toward Miraflores as he went, and said:

"O Oriana, my lady, never did I attempt adventure confiding in my own
courage, but in you: my gentle lady, assist me now, in this great need."

He felt his full strength now, and all fear was gone, and he cried out
to the dwarfs to stop.

When the foremost giant, Famongomadan, heard him, he came towards him
with such rage that smoke came through the vizor of his helmet, and he
shook his boar spear so forcefully that its ends almost met.

"Unhappy wretch!" cried he. "Who gave thee boldness enough to dare
appear before me?"

"That Lord," quoth Amadis, "whom thou hast offended, who will give me
strength today to break thy pride."

"Come on! Come on!" cried the giant. "And see if his power can protect
thee from mine."

Amadis fitted the lance under his arm, and ran against him full speed:
he smote him below the waist with such exceeding force that the spear
burst through the plates of steel, and ran through him, even so as to
strike the saddle behind, that the girths broke and he fell with the
saddle, the broken lance remaining in him. His boar spear had taken
effect upon the horse of Amadis and mortally wounded him. The knight
leaped off and drew his sword.

Famongomadan rose up so enraged that fire came from him, and he plucked
the lance from his wound, and threw it at Amadis so violently that if
the shield had not protected his helmet, it would have driven him to
the ground; but his own bowels came out with the weapon, and he fell,

"Help, Basagante! I am slain."

At this the other giant came up as fast as his horse could carry him:
he had a steel axe in his hand, and with this he thought to have cut
his enemy in two; but Amadis avoided the blow, and at the same time
struck the giant's horse; the stroke fell short, but the tip of his
sword cut through the stirrup-leather, and cut the leg also half

The giant in his fury did not feel the wound, though he missed the
stirrup: he turned and raised his axe again. Amadis had taken the
shield from his neck, and was holding it by the throngs: the axe fell
on it and sank in and drove it from his hands to the ground. He had
made another stroke; the sword wounded Basagante's arm, and, glancing
below upon the plates of fine steel, broke, so that only the handle
remained in his hand.

Not for this was he a whit dismayed; he saw the giant could not pluck
his axe from the shield, and he ran and caught it by the handle also.
Both struggled for the weapon; it was on that side where the stirrup
had been cut away, so that Basagante lost his balance: the horse
started and he fell; and Amadis got the battle-axe.

The giant drew his sword in vast fury, and would have run at the
knight, but the nerves of his leg were cut through; he fell upon one
knee, and Amadis smote him on the helmet, that the laces burst and it
fell off. He, seeing his enemy so near, thought with his sword, which
was very long, to smite off his head; the blow was aimed too high, it
cut off the whole crown of the helmet, and cut away the hair with it.
Amadis drew back; the helmet fell over his head upon his shoulders,
and Leonoreta and the damsels, who were on their knees in the waggon
praying to God to deliver them, tore their hair and began to shriek and
call upon the Virgin, thinking he was surely slain. He himself put up
his hand to feel if he were wounded to death, but feeling no harm made
again at the giant, whose sword falling upon a stone in the last blow
had broken.

Basagante's heart failed him now; he made one stroke more and cut the
knight slightly in the leg with the broken sword; but Amadis let drive
the battle-axe at his head: it cut away the ear and the cheek and the
jaw, and Basagante fell, writhing in the agony of death.

At this time Famongomadan had taken off his helmet, and was holding
his hands upon his wound to check the blood. When he saw his son slain
he began to blaspheme God and His mother Holy Mary, saying that he
did not so much grieve to die as that he could not now destroy their
monasteries and churches, because they had suffered him and his son to
be conquered by one knight.

Amadis was then upon his knees returning thanks to God when he heard
the blasphemer, and he exclaimed:

"Accursed of God and of His blessed mother! Now shalt thou suffer for
thy cruelties. Pray to thine idol that, as thou hast shed so much blood
before him, he may stop this blood of thine from flowing out with thy

The giant continued to curse God and his saints. Then Amadis plucked
the boar spear from the horse's body, and thrust it into the mouth of
Famongomadan, and nailed him backward to the earth.

He then put on Basagante's helmet that he might not be known, and
mounting the other's horse rode up to the waggon and broke the chains
of all who were prisoners therein. And he besought them to take the
bodies of the giants to King Lisuarte, and say they were sent him by a
strange knight called Beltenebros; and he begged the princess to permit
him to take the black horse of Famongomadan, because it was a strong
and handsome horse, and he would ride him in the battle against King

The bodies of the giants were so huge that they were obliged to bend
their knees to lay them in the waggon.

Leonoreta and her damsels made garlands for their heads, and being
right joyful for their deliverance, entered London singing in triumph.
Much was King Lisuarte astonished at their adventure, and the more for
Quadragante had already presented himself on the part of Beltenebros,
of whom nothing else was known.

"I would he were among us," said the King. "I would not lose him for
anything that he could ask and I could grant."

As for the further exploits of Amadis; and how, by the side of his
brethren and the king, he conquered all those island giants in pitched
battle; and how he slew the unspeakable monstrous offspring of the
giant of Devil's Island that was called the Endriago; and how he and
the peerless Oriana, in whom all beauty was centered, proved in the
Firm Island those final adventures of the Arch of True Lovers and of
the Forbidden Chamber;--are not these and many things beside written in
the Portuguese chronicler's tale of _Amadis of Gaul_? And was this not
one of the only three romances spared by the good Curate when he purged
Don Quixote's library with fire--for that forsooth it was the best of
all the romances?



After the Trojan War, Æneas, fleeing from the desolation of the city,
came with Ascanius by ship unto Italy. There, for that Æneas was
worshipfully received by King Latinus, Turnus, King of the Rutulians,
did wax envious and made war against him. When they met in battle,
Æneas had the upper hand, and after that Turnus was slain, obtained
the kingdom of Italy and Lavinia the daughter of Latinus. Later, when
his own last day had come, Ascanius, now king in his stead, founded
Alba on Tiber, and begat a son whose name was Silvius. Silvius, unknown
to his father, had fallen in love with and privily taken to wife a
certain niece of Lavinia, who was about to become a mother. When this
came to the knowledge of his father Ascanius, he commanded his wizards
to discover whether the damsel should be brought to bed of a boy or a
girl. When they had made sure of the matter by art magic, they told
him that the child would be a boy that should slay his father and his
mother, and after much travel in many lands, should, albeit an exile,
be exalted unto the highest honors. Nor were the wizards out in their
forecast, for when the day came that she should be delivered of a
child, the mother bare a son, but herself died in his birth.

Howbeit, the child was given in charge unto a nurse, and was named

At last, after thrice five years had gone by, the lad, bearing his
father company out a-hunting, slew him by striking him unwittingly
with an arrow. For when the verderers drave the deer in front of them,
Brute thinking to take aim at them, smote his own father under the
breast. Upon the death of his father he was driven out of Italy, his
kinsfolk being wroth with him for having wrought a deed so dreadful.
He went therefore as an exile into Greece, and there he met with the
descendants of Helenus, son of Priam, then held in bondage by the
Greeks. Freeing these countrymen by a sudden attack on the Greek
stronghold, and capturing Pandrasus himself, the valiant adventurer
presently sailed away with the king's daughter for a wife, and a ransom
of over three hundred ships laden with treasure and provisions.

They ran on together for two days and a night with a fair current of
wind, and drew to land at a certain island called Leogecia, which had
been uninhabited ever since it was laid waste by pirates in the days of
old. Howbeit, Brute sent three hundred men inland to discover by whom
it might be inhabited. Who, finding not a soul, slew such venison of
divers kinds as they found in the glades and the forests.

They came, moreover, to a certain deserted city, wherein they found a
temple of Diana. Now in this temple was an image of the goddess, that
gave responses, if haply it were asked of any votary that there did

At last they returned to their ships, laden with the venison they
had found, and report to their comrades the lie of the land and the
situation of the city, bearing the Duke on land that he make repair
unto the temple, and after making offerings of propitiation, inquire
of the deity of the place what land she would grant them as a fixed
abiding place. By the common consent of all, therefore, Brute took with
him Gerion the augur, and twelve of the elders, and sought out the
temple, bringing with them everything necessary for making sacrifice.
When they arrived, they surrounded their brows with garlands, and set
up three altars according to immemorial wont, before the holy place,
to the three Gods, Jove, to wit, and Mercury, as well as to Diana, and
made unto each his own special libation. Brute himself, holding in his
right hand a vessel full of sacrificial wine and the blood of a white
hind before the altar of the goddess, with face upturned towards her
image, broke silence in these words:--

    Goddess and forest Queen, the wild boar's terror,
    Thou who the maze of heaven or nether mansions
    Walkest at will, vouchsafe they rede to earthward!
    Tell me what lands thy will it is we dwell in?
    What sure abode? Lo, there to Thee for ever
    Temples I vow, and chant of holy maidens!

After he had nine times repeated this, he walked four times round the
altar, poured forth the wine he held upon the hearth of offering, laid
him down upon the fell of a hind that he had stretched in front of the
altar, and after invoking slumber fell on sleep. For as at that time it
was the third hour of the night, wherein are mortals visited by the
sweetest sleep. Then it seemed him the goddess stood there before him,
and spake unto him on this wise:--

    Brute,--past the realms of Gaul, beneath the sunset
    Lieth an Island, girt about by ocean,
    Guarded by ocean--erst the haunt of giants,
    Desert of late, and meet for this thy people.
    Seek it! For there is thine abode for ever.
    There by thy sons again shall Troy be builded;
    There of thy blood shall Kings be born, hereafter
    Sovran in every land the wide world over.

On awakening from such a vision, the Duke remained in doubt whether it
were a dream that he had seen, or whether it were the living goddess
herself who had thus foretold the land whereunto he should go. At last
he called his companions and related unto them from first to last all
that had befallen him in his sleep. They thereupon were filled with
exceeding great joy, and advise that they should at once turn back to
their ships, and while the wind is still blowing fair, should get under
way as quickly as possible full sail for the West in search of that
land which the goddess had promised.

Nor did they tarry. They rejoin their comrades and launch out into the
deep, and after ploughing the waves for a run of thirty days, made the
coast of Africa, still not knowing in which direction to steer their
ships. Then came they to the Altars of the Phileni, and the place of
the Salt-pans, steering from thence betwixt Ruscicada and the mountains
Azarae, where they encountered sore peril from an attack by pirates.
Natheless, they won the victory, and went on their way enriched by the
spoil and plunder they had taken.

From thence, passing the mouth of the river Malva, they arrived in
Mauritania, where lack of food and drink compelled them to disembark,
and dividing themselves into companies, they harried the whole region
from end to end. When they had revictualled their ships, they made
sail for the Columns of Hercules, where they saw many of the monsters
of the deep called Sirens, which surrounded the ships and well-nigh
overwhelmed them. Howbeit, they made shift to escape, and came to the
Tyrrhene sea, where they found nigh the shore four generations born
of the exiles from Troy, who had borne Antenor company in his flight.
Their Duke was called Corineus, a sober-minded man and excellent in
counsel, mighty in body, valiance, and hardiness, insomuch as that
if it were he had to deal with a giant in single combat he would
straightway overthrow him as though he were wrestling with a lad.
Accordingly, when they knew the ancient stock whereof he was born,
they took him into their company, as well as the people whereof he was
chieftain, that in after-days were called Cornishmen after the name of
their Duke. He it was that in all encounters was more help to Brute
than were any of the others.

Then came they to Aquitaine, and entering into the mouth of the Loire,
cast anchor there. Here they abode seven days and explored the lie of
the land. Goffarius Pictus then ruled in Aquitaine, and was King of
the country, who, hearing the rumour of a foreign folk that had come
with a great fleet and had landed within the frontier of his dominions,
sent envoys to make inquiry whether they demanded peace or war?

While the legates were on their way to the fleet, they met Corineus who
had just landed with two hundred men to hunt for venison in the forest.
Thereupon they accost him, and ask him by whose leave he hath thus
trespassed into the King's forest to slay his deer? And when Corineus
made them answer, that in such a matter no leave nor license whatever
could be held as needful, one of their number, Imbert by name, rushed
forward, and drawing his bow, aimed an arrow at him. Corineus avoided
the arrow, and ran in upon Imbert as fast as he might, and with the bow
that he carried all-to-brake his head in pieces. Thereupon the rest
fled, just making shift to escape his hands, and reported the death of
their fellow to Goffarius.

The Duke of the Poitevins, taking the matter sorely to heart, forthwith
assembled a mighty host to take vengeance upon them for the death of
his messenger. Brute, hearing tidings of his coming, set guards over
his ships, bidding the women and children remain on board while he
himself along with the whole flower of his army marcheth forth to meet
the enemy.

When the engagement at last began, the fighting is fierce on both
sides, and after they had spent a great part of the day in battling,
Corineus thought it shame that the Aquitanians should hold their
ground so stoutly, and the Trojans not be able to press forward to
the victory. So taking heart afresh, he called his own men apart to
the right of the battle, and forming them in rank made a rapid charge
upon the enemy; and when, with his men in close order, he had broken
the front ranks, he never stinted striking down the enemy till he had
cut his way right through the battalion, and forced them all to flee.
Good luck had supplied the place of a sword he lost with a battle-axe,
wherewith he cleft in twain any that came next him from the crown of
the head right down to the girdle-stead.

Brute marvels; his comrades and even the enemy marvel at the hardihood
and valour of the man, who, brandishing his battle-axe among the flying
host, added not a little terror by shouting, "Whither fly ye, cowards?
Whither fly ye, cravens? Turn back, I tell ye, turn, and do battle with
Corineus! Shame upon ye! So many thousands as are ye, do ye flee before
my single arm? Flee then! and take with ye at least this comfort in
your flight, that it is I who am after ye, I who ere now have so oft
been wont to drive the Tyrrhene giants in flight before me, and to hurl
them to hell by threes and fours at a time!"

At these words of his a certain earl named Subardus with three hundred
men turned back and charged down upon him. But Corineus, in raising
his shield to ward the blow, forgot not the battle-axe he held in
his hand. Lifting it overhead, he smote him a buffet upon the top of
his helmet that cleft him right through into two halves. After this,
he straightway rusheth in amongst the rest, whirling his axe, and
a passing furious slaughter he maketh. Hurrying hither and thither,
he avoideth receiving a single stroke, but never resteth a moment
from smiting down his enemies. Of one he loppeth off hand and arm, of
another he cleaveth the shoulders from the body, of another he striketh
off the head at a single blow, of another he severeth the legs from the
thigh. All dash headlong upon him only; he dasheth headlong in upon
them all.

Brute, who beholdeth all this, glowing with love of the man, hurrieth
forward with a company to succour him. Then ariseth a mighty shouting
betwixt the two peoples--the strokes are redoubled, and passing bloody
is the slaughter on the one side and the other.

But it endureth not long. The Trojans win the day, and drive King
Goffarius and his Poitevins in flight before them. Goffarius, escaping
by the skin of his teeth, betook him into the parts of Gaul to have
succour of his kinsfolk and acquaintance. At that time twelve kings
there were in Gaul, each of equal rank, under whose dominion the whole
country was ruled. They all received him kindly, and with one accord
did pledge them to drive out from the frontiers of Aquitaine this
foreign folk that had arrived there.

Brute, overjoyed at the said victory, enricheth his comrades with the
spoils of the slain, and after again forming the ranks in companies, he
leadeth his host inland with the intention of sacking the whole country
and loading his ships with the countless treasure. Accordingly, he
burneth the cities in all directions, fire after fire, and ransacketh
their hidden hoards; even the fields were laid waste, and citizen and
countryman alike and subjected to a piteous slaughter, his aim being
to exterminate the unhappy race to the last man. But after that he had
thus visited with bloodshed well-nigh the whole of Aquitaine, he came
into the place where now standeth the city of Tours, which, as Homer
beareth witness, he afterwards himself builded. Finding, after diligent
survey that the place was convenient as a refuge, he there decided to
pitch his camp, so that if need were he could betake him thereinto. For
sore misgiving had he by reason of the arrival of Goffarius, who had
marched into the neighborhood along with the Kings and Princes of Gaul
and a mighty host of armed warriors to do battle against him. When his
camp was fully finished, he awaited Goffarius for two days therein,
confident alike in his own prudence and in the hardihood of the young
men whereof he was the chieftain.

Now, when Goffarius heard of the Trojans being there, he advanced by
forced marches day and night until he came well within sight of Brute's
camp. Gazing grimly thereon, yet somewhat smiling withal, he burst
forth into these words:

"Alas! what grievous destiny is here? Have these ignoble exiles pitched
their camp within dominions of mine? To arms, ye warriors, to arms! and
charge through their serried ranks! Right soon may we take captive this
herd of half-men like sheep and hold them in bondage throughout our

Forthwith, all they that he had brought with him leapt to arms, and
marched upon their enemies ranked in twelve battalions. But not
after any woman wise did Brute range his men and march to meet them.
Prudently instructing his troops as to what they were to do, how to
advance and in what order to hold their ground, he gives the word to

At the first onset, the Trojans for a time had the upper hand, and
fearful was the slaughter they made of the enemy, for nigh two thousand
of them fell, and the rest were so daunted at the sight that they all
but turned to flee. But where the numbers of men are the greater, there
the more often doth victory abide. In this case, therefore, the Gauls,
albeit that at first they were beaten back, yet being thrice so many as
their enemies, made shift to form themselves again in rank and charged
in again on every side against the Trojans, whom they compelled after
much bloodshed to take refuge in the camp.

Having thus obtained the victory, they beleaguered them within the
camp, never thinking but that before they departed thence the besieged
would either offer their necks to the fetters, or suffer a cruel and
lingering death from the pangs of hunger.

In the meanwhile, on the night following, Corineus entered into counsel
with Brute, and agreed with him that he would issue forth of the
camp that same night by certain byways, and would lie hidden in the
neighboring forest until daybreak. And when Brute, issuing forth just
before dawn, should be engaged in battle with the enemy, he himself
with his company should attack them in the rear, and charging in upon
them put them to the sword. Brute applauded this device of Corineus,
who, cautiously issuing forth as he had proposed with three thousand
men, betook him to the depths of the forest.

Accordingly, when the morrow morning began to break, Brute ordained
his men in companies, and opening the gates of the camp, marched forth
to battle. The Gauls straightway set themselves to oppose him, and
disposing their troops in battle array came to close quarters with him.
Many thousands of men are at once cut down on both sides, and many are
the wounds given and received, for not a man spareth his adversary.

It chanced that a certain Trojan was there present named Turonus, a
nephew of Brute's, than whom there was none more valiant and hardy
save only Corineus himself. He with his single sword slew no less than
six hundred men. Unhappily he was slain before his time by a sudden
onslaught of the Gauls; and the foresaid city of Tours acquired the
name thereof by reason of his being there buried.

And while the troops on both sides were in the very thickest of the
battle, Corineus came upon them of a sudden and charged the enemy at
the double in the rear. Straightway the others, pressing forward from
the front, renew the attack more hotly and strain them to the utmost
to complete the slaughter. The Gauls were aghast with dismay even at
the very shout of the Cornishmen as they charged in on the rear, and
thinking that they were more in number than they were, fled, hot foot,
from the field. The Trojans are on their heels hewing them down in
pursuit, nor cease they to follow them up until the victory is their

Brute, nevertheless, albeit he were right glad at heart to have
achieved so signal a triumph, was sore grieved by anxiety on one
account, for he saw that, whilst his own numbers were minished daily,
those of the Gauls were daily multiplied. Wherefore, seeing it was
doubtful whether he could any longer hold out against them, he chose
rather to retire to his ships while the greater part of his army was
still whole and the glory of the victory still fresh, and to set sail
in quest of the island which the divine monition had prophesied should
be his own. Nor was there any tarriance. With the assent of his men,
he returned to his fleet, and after loading his ships with all the
treasures and luxuries he had acquired, he re-embarked, and with a
prosperous wind sought out the promised island, where he landed at last
in safety at Totnes.

At that time the name of the island was Albion, and of none was it
inhabited save only of a few giants. Natheless the pleasant aspect of
the land, with the abundance of fish in the rivers and deer in the
choice forests thereof did fill Brute and his companions with no small
desire that they should dwell therein. Wherefore, after exploring
certain districts of the land, they drove the giants they found to take
refuge in the caverns of the mountains, and divided the country among
them according as the Duke made grant thereof.

They began to till the fields, and to build them houses in such sort
that after a brief space ye might have thought it had been inhabited
from time immemorial. Then, at last, Brute calleth the island Britain,
and his companions Britons, after his own name, for he was minded that
his memory should be perpetuated in the derivation of the name. Whence
afterward the country speech, which was aforetime called Trojan or
crooked Greek, was called British.

But Corineus called that share of the kingdom which had fallen unto
him by lot Cornwall, after the manner of his own name, and the people
Cornishmen, therein following the Duke's example. For albeit that he
might have had the choice of a province before all the others that had
come thither, yet was he minded rather to have that share of the land
which is now called Cornwall, whether from being, as it is, the _cornu_
or horn of Britain, or from a corruption of the said name Corineus.

For naught gave him greater pleasure than to wrestle with the giants,
of whom was greater plenty there than in any of the provinces that had
been shared amongst his comrades. Among others was a certain hateful
one by name Gogmagog,[228:1] twelve cubits in height, who was of such
lustihood that when he had once uprooted it, he would wield an oak tree
as lightly as it were a wand of hazel.

     [228:1] The ancient books of Arabia and Persia are full of
     marvelous tales of Gog and Magog--Jajiouge and Majiouge, as
     they are called. These giants they locate in Tartary, and the
     Caucasian Wall from the Caspian to the Black Sea was supposed
     to have been built by them of all sorts of metals. In Genesis
     Magog is the tenth son of Japheth; Gog and Magog are spoken
     of by Ezekiel; and later Gog and Magog were names of nations.

Brute, having thus got footing in Britain, was preparing to improve the
same, when Albion, who had named this island after his own name,--by
which it is sometimes called at this day,--having intelligence
thereof, raised his whole power, being men of gigantic stature, and
vast strength, and bearing for their arms huge clubs of knotty oak,
battle-axes, whirlbats of iron, and globes full of spikes, fastened to
a long pole by a chain; and with these, he fell upon the invaders on a
certain day when Brute was holding high festival to the gods.

A bloody battle was fought, wherein the Trojans were worsted and many
of them slain, and their whole army was forced to retire.

Brute, hereupon considering the disadvantage between his men and the
giants, devised a stratagem to overthrow them, by digging in the night
a very long and deep trench, at the bottom impaling it with sharp
stakes, and covering it with boughs and rotten hurdles, on which he
caused to be laid dried leaves and earth, only leaving some passages,
well known to his men by particular marks.

This being done, he dared the giants to a second battle, which Albion
readily accepted; and the fight being begun, after some dispute, Brute
seemed to retire; whereupon the giants pressed on him with great fury;
and the Trojans retiring nimbly beyond their trench made a stand, and
ply'd them with a shower of darts and arrows, which manner of fight
they were unacquainted with, whereby many of them were slain. However,
Albion encouraging his men to come to handy strokes with their enemies,
they rushed forward, and the vanguard immediately perished in the
trenches; and the Trojans continuing to shoot their arrows very thick,
the giants were put to flight, and pursued into Cornwall; where, in
another bloody fight, Albion was slain by Brute, fighting hand to hand.

But his huge brother, Gogmagog, Brute had commanded to be taken alive
as he was minded to see a wrestling bout betwixt him and Corineus, who
was beyond measure keen to match himself against such monsters.

So Corineus, overjoyed at the prospect, girt himself for the encounter,
and flinging away his arms, challenged him to a bout at wrestling.

At the start, on the one side stands Corineus, on the other the giant,
each hugging the other tight in the shackles of their arms, both making
the very air quake with their breathless gasping. It was not long
before Gogmagog, grasping Corineus with all his force, brake him three
of his ribs, two on the right side and one on the left.

Roused thereby to fury, Corineus gathered up all his strength, heaved
him up on his shoulders and ran with his burden as fast as he could for
the weight to the seashore nighest at hand. Mounting up to the top of
a high cliff, and disengaging himself, he hurled the deadly monster he
had carried on his shoulder into the sea, where, falling on the sharp
rocks, he was mangled all to pieces and dyed the waves with his blood,
so that ever thereafter that place from the flinging down of the giant
hath been known as Lamgoemagot, to wit, "Gogmagog's Leap," and is
called by that name unto this present day.

Corineus tells of his own exploit in the old tragedy of "Locrine":

    When first I followed thee and thine brave King,
    I hazarded my life and dearest blood,
    To purchase favor at your princely hands,
    And for the same in dangerous attempts,
    In sundry conflicts, and in divers broils,
    I shew'd the courage of my manly mind:
    For this I combatted with Gathelus,
    The brother to Goffarius of Gaul;
    For this I fought with furious Gogmagog,
    A savage captain of a savage crew;
    And for these deeds brave, Cornwall I received,
    A grateful gift given by a grateful King;
    And for this gift, this life and dearest blood
    Will Corineus spend for Brutus' sake.

He does not, however, relate the most wonderful part of the affair,
which comes to us through Fulke Fitz-Warine, an outlawed baron of the
13th Century. Fulke tells how after Gogmagog was slain, a spirit of the
devil entered into his body, and came into these parts, and long held
possession of the country that never Briton dared to inhabit it. And
how afterwards, King Bran, the son of Doneval, caused the ancient city
of the giants to be rebuilt, repaired the walls, and strengthened the
great fosses, and he became Burgh and Great March. And the devil came
by night and took away everything that was therein, since which time
nobody has ever inhabited there.

But Payn Peverel, a proud and courageous knight, heard this story,
and determined to brave the demon. The latter appeared, in a fearful
tempest, under the semblance of Gogmagog; he carried in his hand a
great club, and from his mouth cast fire and smoke, with which the
whole town was illuminated. However, devoutly making the sign of the
Cross, the knight attacked him so fiercely with his trusty sword that
ere long the demon cried for mercy,--and disclosed the secret treasures
of the town, promising Payn that he should be lord of all that soil.

Another account says that there were two brothers, Gog and Magog,
who were taken prisoners by Brute and led in triumph to the place
where London now stands; and when a palace was erected by the side
of the river Thames, on the present site of Guildhall, these two
giants were chained to the palace gates as porters. In memory of which
their effigies, after their deaths, were set up as they now appear in

Certain it is that these two colossal figures, the older carrying a
"morning star" (the spiked globe fastened to a long pole by a chain
with which horsemen used to demolish their enemies in a _mêlée_)
have kept "watch and ward" over London gates for centuries--and were
believed by thousands of children to descend from their pedestals and
go to dinner when St. Paul's clock struck twelve.

In 1415 victorious Henry V was welcomed into London by a male and
female giant standing at the entrance to the Bridge, the man holding
an axe and a bunch of keys; a few years later Henry VI was similarly
greeted; in 1554, upon the public entry of Phillip and Mary, two great
images of giants stood at the bridge, one named Gogmagog the Albion,
one Corineus; and all through the 16th and 17th centuries these mighty
reminders of the old tale figured in public pageants.

These figures were made only of wicker-work and pasteboard, put
together with great art and ingenuity; and these two terrible original
giants had the honor yearly to grace my Lord Mayor's show, being
carried in great triumph in the time of the pageants; and when that
eminent service was over, remounted their old stations in Guildhall,
till by reason of their very great age, old time, with the help of a
number of city rats and mice, had eaten up all their entrails. The
dissolution of the two old, weak, and feeble giants, gave birth to the
two present substantial and majestic giants; who, by order, and at the
City charge, were formed and fashioned. Captain Richard Saunders, an
eminent carver in King Street, Cheapside, was their father; who, after
he had completely finished, clothed, and armed these, his two sons,
they were immediately advanced to their lofty stations in Guildhall,
which they have peacefully enjoyed ever since the year 1708.

For over two hundred years now these fourteen-foot hollow wooden
figures have stood in the Guildhall, one holding his spiked ball, the
other a halberd. Many a parade have they figured in; many a child has
been frightened by them; many a visitor has wondered at them; but
few enough have ever read the tale of Corineus's encounter with the
terrible original.

       *       *       *       *       *

The city of Bayeux still has its festival parade with a huge effigy,
commemorating the slaying of the terrible Brun the Dane by Robert of
Argouges; in Douai, huge Gayant with his wife and children parades the
streets for three days during the July kermess; Metz, Lille, Dunkirk
and many Spanish cities, too, have had as an annual feature some such
civic commemoration of giants connected with the city's history; and
huge Antigonus has a permanent place in the coat-of-arms of Antwerp.



The giants lingered longer in the Far North than elsewhere. About
two hundred years after the death of Charlemagne there was living
in Iceland a saga hero named Grettir the Strong. He was the most
powerful man ever known in the north country. More than once he had
overcome dreaded Berserks in their battle fury; on a narrow path on
a cliff face he conquered a huge bear with his naked hands, holding
off the infuriated beast by the ears till he could topple it over the
precipice; but his strength and high spirit brought him great reverses
and caused him to be an outlaw for much of his troubled life.

During his wanderings through the wild unknown regions as a forest man,
he spent one winter under the Geitland glacier where the hot springs
made a fair grassy valley; and here he was intimate with a giant named
Thorir, whose daughters were glad to see him because not many people
came there.

Finding it dull, he resumed his travels, and came into Bardadal. Here
at Sandhaugar dwelt then Steinvor, a widow with young children. The
place had an evil name from a strange happening.

Two winters before Steinvor had gone as usual to celebrate Yule at
the neighboring town of Eyjardalsa, while her husband, Thorsteinn the
White, stayed at home. Men lay down to sleep in the evening, and
in the night they heard a great noise in the room near the bondi's
(farmer's) bed. No one dared to get up to see what was the matter,
because there were so few of them. The mistress of the house returned
home the next morning, but her husband had disappeared and no one knew
what had become of him. So the next season passed. The following winter
the mistress wanted to go to mass, and told her servant to stay at
home; he was very unwilling but said she should be obeyed. It happened
just as before; this time the servant disappeared. People thought it
very strange and found some drops of blood upon the outer door, so they
supposed that some evil spirit, or troll, must have carried off both
the men.

This story had spread all through the district. It came to the ears of
Grettir, who being well accustomed to deal with ghosts and spectres
turned his steps thither and arrived on Yule-eve at Sandhaugar. He was
disguised as was now his custom, because his enemy Thorir had set a
price on his head, and called himself Gest.

The lady of the house saw that he was enormously tall, and the servants
were terribly afraid of him. He asked for hospitality; the mistress
told him that food was ready for him but that he must see after
himself. He said he would, and added:

"I will stay in the house while you go to mass if you would like it."

She said: "You must be a brave man to venture to stay in this house."

"I do not care for a dull life," he said.

Then she said: "I do not want to remain at home, but I cannot get
across the river."

"I will come with you," said the pretended Gest. So she made ready to
go to mass with her little daughter. It was thawing outside; the river
was flooded and was covered with ice.

"It is impossible for man or horse to cross," said Steinvor.

"There must be fords," said Gest. "Do not be afraid."

"First carry the maiden over; she is lighter."

"I don't want to make two journeys of it," said he; "I will carry you
in my arms."

She crossed herself and said: "That is impossible; what will you do
with the girl?"

"I will find a way," said Gest.

Taking them both up, he set the girl on her mother's knee, while he
bore them both on his left arm, keeping his right arm free.

So he carried them across. They were too frightened to cry out. The
river came up to his breast, and a great piece of ice came against him,
which he pushed off with the hand that was free. Then the stream became
so deep that it broke over his shoulder, but he waded on vigorously
till he reached the other bank and put them on shore.

The mistress reached Eyjardalsa for mass and everyone wondered how she
had crossed the river. She said she did not know whether it was a man
or a troll who had carried her over. The priest said it was certainly
a man, though unlike other men. "Let us keep silent over it; may be
that he means to help you in your difficulties."

She stayed there that night.

Meanwhile Grettir had waded back. It was nearly dark by the time he
got home to Sandhaugar and called for some food. When he had eaten
something he told the servants to go to the other end of the hall. Then
he got some boards and loose logs and laid them across the hall to make
a great barricade so that none of the servants could get across. No one
dared to oppose him or to object to anything. The entrance was in the
side wall of the hall under the back gable, and near it was a cross
bench upon which Grettir laid himself, keeping on his clothes, with a
light burning in the room. So he lay till into the night.

Towards midnight he heard a loud noise outside, and very soon there
walked a huge troll-wife into the room. She carried a trough in one
hand and a rather large cutlass in the other. She looked around the
room as she entered, and on seeing Grettir lying there she rushed at
him; he started up and attacked her furiously.

They fought long together; she was the stronger but he evaded her
skilfully. Everything near them and the panelling of the back wall were
broken to pieces. She dragged him through the hall door out to the
porch, where he resisted vigorously. The troll-wife wanted to drag him
out of the house, but before that was done they had broken up all the
fittings of the outer door and borne them away on their shoulders.
Then she strove to get to the river and among the rocks. Grettir was
terribly fatigued, but there was no choice but either to brace himself
or be dragged down to the rocks.

All night long they struggled together, and he thought he had never met
with such a monster for strength. She gripped him so tightly to herself
that he could do nothing with either hand but cling to her waist.

When at last they reached a rock by the river he swung the monster
around and got his right hand loose. Then he quickly seized the
short sword he was wearing, drew it, and struck at the troll's right
shoulder, cutting off her right arm and releasing himself. She sprang
among the rocks and disappeared in the waterfall. Grettir, very stiff
and tired, lay long by the rock.

At daylight he went back to the hall and lay down on his bed, blue and
swollen all over.

When Steinvor came home she found the place all in disorder. She went
to the stranger and asked him what had happened, and why everything
was broken to pieces. He told her the whole adventure, just as it had
happened. She thought it a matter of great moment and asked him who
he was. He told her the truth, said that he wished to see a priest,
and asked her to send for one. She did so; Steinn the priest came to
Sandhaugar and soon learnt that it was Grettir, the son of Asmund, who
had come there under the name of Gest.

The priest asked him what he thought had become of Steinvor's husband
and servant who had disappeared; Grettir said they must have been taken
among the rocks. The priest said he could not believe that unless he
gave some evidence of it. Grettir declared that later it would become
known, and the priest went home. Grettir lay many days in his bed, and
the lady did all she could for him.

He himself always declared that the troll woman sprang among the rocks
in the waterfall when she was wounded, but the men of Bardadal have a
tale that day dawned upon her while they were wrestling, so that when
he cut off her arm she lost her powers and is still standing there on
the mountain in the likeness of a hideous woman. However that may be,
the dwellers in the valley kept Grettir's secret so that he was safe
from his enemies and the blood-feud while he lay helpless.

One day that winter, after Yule, Grettir went to Eyjardalsa and met
Steinn, to whom he said:

"I see, priest, that you have little belief in what I say. Now I wish
you to come with me to the river and see for yourself what probability
there is in it."

The priest did so. When they reached the falls they saw a cave up under
the rocks. The cliff was there so steep that no one could climb it, and
it was nearly ten fathoms down to the water. They had a rope with them.

"It is quite impossible for any one to get down there," said the priest.

Grettir answered: "It is certainly possible; and men of high mettle are
those who would feel themselves happiest there. I want to see what
there is back of the fall. Do you mind the rope."

The priest said he could do so if he chose. He drove a stake into the
ground and laid stones against it.

Grettir now fastened a stone in a loop at the end of the rope, and
lowered it from above into the water.

"How do you mean to go?" asked Steinn.

"I don't mean to be bound when I come into the fall," Grettir said. "So
my mind tells me."

Then he prepared to go; he had few clothes on, and only a short sword;
no other arms. He jumped from a rock and got down to the fall. The
priest saw the soles of his feet, but after that did not know what had
become of him.

Grettir dived beneath the fall. It was very difficult swimming because
of the currents, and he had to dive to the bottom to get behind the
pouring wall of water. There was a rock where he came up, and a great
cave behind the fall in front of which the water streamed down.

He went into the cave, where there was a large fire burning, and a
horrible great giant, most fearful to behold, sitting before it.

As Grettir entered the giant sprang up, seized a halberd and struck at
him, for he could both strike and thrust with it. It had a wooden shaft
and was of the kind called "heptis-ax." Grettir struck back with his
sword and cut through the shaft.

Then the giant tried to reach up backwards to a sword which was hanging
in the cave, and at that moment Grettir struck at him and cut open his
lower breast and stomach so that all his entrails fell out into the
river and floated down the stream.

The priest, who was sitting by the rope, saw the water all thickened
and bloody and lost his head, making sure that Grettir was killed.
He left the rope and ran off home, where he arrived in the evening
and told them for certain Grettir was dead, and said it was a great
misfortune to have lost such a man.

Grettir struck few more blows at the giant before he was dead. He then
entered the cave, kindled a light and explored. It is not told how much
treasure he found there, but there is said to have been some. He stayed
there till late into the night, and found the bones of two men which he
carried away in a skin.

Then he came out of the cave, swam to the rope and shook it, thinking
the priest was there; finding him gone he had to climb up the rope hand
over hand, and so reached the top.

He returned to Eyjardalsa and carried the skin with the bones in it
into the vestibule of the church, together with a rune-staff, upon
which were most beautifully carved the following lines:

    Into the fall of the torrent I went;
    Dank its maw towards me gaped.
    The floods before the ogress' den
    Mighty against my shoulder played.

And then:

    Hideous the friend of Mella came,
    Hard were the blows I dealt upon her.
    The shaft of Heptisax was severed,
    My sword has pierced the monster's breast.

There too it was told how Grettir had brought the bones from the cave.

When the priest came to the church on the next morning, he found the
staff and all that was with it and read the runes. Grettir had returned
to Sandhaugar.

When Steinn met Grettir again he asked him exactly what had happened,
and Grettir told him. He declared the priest had held the rope very
faithlessly, and Steinn admitted that it was true.

Men felt no doubt that these monsters were responsible for the
disappearance of Thorsteinn and his servant, nor was there any haunting
or ghost-walking there afterwards; Grettir had evidently cleared the
land of them.

The bones were buried by the priest in the churchyard. Grettir stayed
that winter in Bardadal, though unknown to those who sought his blood.



Hearken to the tale in the _Golden Legend_ of the giant Syrian, fair
of face and spirit, who brought to the faith countless thousands of
unbelievers before he fell a martyr in the persecution of the Byzantine
emperor in the third century after Christ's birth. Never before or
since did such a flower as this patron saint of all ferrymen spring
from "the seed of the giant" that produced Og, King of Bashan, and
Goliath of Gath.

       *       *       *       *       *

Christopher tofore his baptism was named Reprobus, but afterwards he
was named Christopher, which is as much to say as bearing Christ, of
that that he bare Christ in four manners. He bare him on his shoulders
by conveying and leading, in his body by making it lean, in mind by
devotion, and in his mouth by confession and prediction.

Christopher was of the lineage of the Canaanites, and he was of a right
great stature, and had a terrible and fearful cheer and countenance.
And he was twelve cubits of length, and as it is read in some histories
that, when he served and dwelled with the king of Canaan, it came in
his mind that he would seek the greatest prince that was in the world;
and him would he serve and obey.

And so far he went that he came to a right great king, of whom the
renome generally was that he was the greatest of the world. When the
king saw him, he received him into his service, and made him to dwell
in his court.

Upon a time a minstrel sang tofore him a song in which he named oft the
devil, and the king, which was a Christian man, when he heard him name
the devil, made anon the sign of the cross in his visage.

When Christopher saw that, he had great marvel what sign it was, and
wherefore the king made it, and he demanded of him. And because the
king would not say, he said:

"If thou tell me not, I shall no longer dwell with thee."

Then the king told to him, saying: "Alway when I hear the devil named,
I fear that he should have power over me, and I garnish me with this
sign that he grieve not ne annoy me."

Then Christopher said to him: "Doubtest thou the devil that he hurt
thee not? Then is the devil more mighty and greater than thou art. I am
then deceived of my hope and purpose, for I had supposed I had found
the most mighty and the most greatest Lord of the world, but I commend
thee to God, for I will seek him for to be my Lord, and I his servant."
And then departed from this king, and hasted him for to seek the devil.

As he went by a great desert, he saw a great company of knights, of
which a knight, cruel and horrible, came to him and demanded whither he

Christopher answered to him and said: "I am he that thou seekest." And
then Christopher was glad, and bound him to be his servant perpetual,
and took him for his master and Lord.

As they went together by a common way, they found there a cross, erect
and standing. Anon as the devil saw the cross he was afeared and fled,
and left the right way, and brought Christopher about by a sharp
desert. And after, when they were past the cross, he brought him to the
highway that they had left. When Christopher saw that, he marvelled,
and demanded whereof he doubted, and had left the high and fair way,
and had gone so far about by so aspre a desert. And the devil would not
tell him in no wise.

Then Christopher said to him: "If thou wilt not tell me, I shall anon
depart from thee, and shall serve thee no more."

Wherefor the devil was constrained to tell him, and said: "There was
a man called Christ which was hanged on the cross, and when I see his
sign I am sore afraid, and flee from it wheresoever I see it."

To whom Christopher said: "Then he is greater, and more mightier than
thou, when thou art afraid of his sign; and I see well that I have
labored in vain, when I have not founden the greatest Lord of the
world. And I will serve thee no longer. Go thy way then, for I will
seek Christ."

And when he had long sought and demanded where he should find Christ,
at last he came into a great desert, to an hermit that dwelt there, and
this hermit preached to him Jesus Christ and informed him in the faith
diligently, and said to him: "This king whom thou desirest to serve,
requireth the service that thou must oft fast."

Christopher said to him: "Require of me some other thing, and I shall
do it, for that which thou requirest I may not do."

The hermit said: "Thou must then wake and make many prayers." And
Christopher said to him: "I wot not what it is; I may do no such
thing." And then the hermit said to him: "Knowest thou such a river, in
which many be perished and lost?" To whom Christopher said: "I know it

Then said the hermit: "Because thou art noble and high of stature and
strong in thy members, thou shalt be resident by that river, and thou
shalt bear over all them that shall pass there, which shall be a thing
right convenable to our Lord Jesu Christ whom thou desirest to serve,
and I hope he shall show himself to thee."

Said Christopher: "Certes, this service may I well do, and I promise to
him for to do it."

Then went Christopher to this river, and made there his habitacle for
him, and bare a great pole in his hand instead of a staff, by which he
sustained him in the water, and bare over all manner of people without
ceasing. And there he abode, thus doing, many days.

And in a time, as he slept in his lodge, he heard the voice of a child
which called him and said: "Christopher, come out and bear me over."

Then he awoke and went out, but he found no man. And when he was again
in his house, he heard the same voice and he ran out and found nobody.

The third time he was called and came thither, and found a child beside
the rivage of the river, which prayed him goodly to bear him over the

Christopher lift up the child on his shoulders, and took his staff, and
entered into the river for to pass. And the water of the river arose
and swelled more and more: and the child was heavy as lead, and alway
as he went farther, the water increased and grew more, and the child
more and more waxed heavy, insomuch that Christopher had great anguish
and was afeared to be drowned.

When he was escaped with great pain, and passed the water, and set the
child aground, he said to the child: "Child, thou hast put me in great
peril; thou weighest almost as I had all the world upon me. I might
bear no greater burden."

And the child answered: "Christopher, marvel thee nothing, for thou
hast not only borne all the world upon thee, but thou hast borne him
that created and made all the world, upon thy shoulders. I am Jesu
Christ the king, to whom thou servest in this work. And because that
thou know that I say to be the truth, set thy staff in the earth by
thy house, and thou shalt see to morn that it shall bear flowers and
fruit." And anon he vanished from his eyes.

Then Christopher set his staff in the earth, and when he arose on the
morn, he found his staff like a palmier bearing flowers, leaves and

Christopher went into the city of Lysia, and understood not their
language. Then he prayed our Lord that he might understand them, and so
he did. And as he was in this prayer, the judges supposed that he had
been a fool, and left him there. And then when Christopher understood
the language, he covered his visage and went to the place where they
martyred Christian men, and comforted them in our Lord. And the judges
smote him in the face, and Christopher said to them: "If I were not
Christian, I would avenge mine injury."

Then Christopher pitched his rod in the earth, and prayed to our Lord
that for to convert the people, it might bear flowers and fruit, and
anon it did so. Here he converted eight thousand men.

The king sent two knights for to fetch him to the king, and they found
him praying, and durst not tell him so. And anon after, the king sent
as many more, and they anon set them down for to pray with him.

When Christopher arose, he said to them: "What seek ye?" And when they
saw him in the visage, they said to him: "The king hath sent us, that
we should lead thee bound unto him."

Christopher said to them: "If I would, ye should not lead me to him,
bound ne unbound." And they said to him: "If thou wilt go thy way, go
quit, where thou wilt. And we shall say to the king that we have not
found thee."

"It shall not be so," said he, "but I shall go with you."

Then he converted them in the faith, and commanded them that they
should bind his hands behind his back, and lead him so bound to the
king. When the king saw him he was afeared and fell down off the seat,
and his servants lifted him up and relieved him again.

The king inquired his name and his country; and Christopher said to
him: "Tofore I was baptized I was named Reprobus, and after, I am
Christopher; tofore baptism, a Canaanite, now a Christian man." To whom
the king said: "Thou hast a foolish name, that is to wit of Christ
crucified, which could not help himself. How, therefore, thou cursed
Canaanite, why wilt thou not do sacrifice to our gods?"

Christopher said: "Thou art rightfully called Dagnus, for thou art the
death of the world, and fellow of the devil, and thy gods be made with
the hands of men."

And the king said to him: "Thou wert nourished among wild beasts, and
therefore thou mayest not say but wild language, and words unknown to
men. And if thou wilt now do sacrifice to the gods I shall give to thee
great gifts and great honors, and if not, I shall destroy thee and
consume thee by great pains and torments." But, for all this, he would
in no wise do sacrifice, wherefore he was sent into prison, and the
king did behead the other knights that he had sent for him, whom he had

After this he sent into the prison to Saint Christopher two fair women,
of whom that one was named Nicæa and that other Aquilina, and promised
to them many great gifts if they could draw Christopher to sin with
them. And when Christopher saw that, he set him down in prayer, and
when he was constrained by them that embraced him to move, he arose and
said: "What seek ye? For what cause be ye come hither?" And they, which
were afraid of his cheer and clearness of his visage, said: "Holy saint
of God, have pity on us so that we may believe in that God that thou

When the king heard that, he commanded that they should be let out and
brought before him. To whom he said: "Ye be deceived, but I swear to
you by my gods that, if ye do no sacrifice to my gods, ye shall anon
perish by evil death."

They said to him: "If thou wilt that we shall do sacrifice command that
the places may be made clean, and that all the people may assemble at
the temple."

When this was done they entered into the temple, and took their
girdles, and put them about the necks of their gods, and drew them to
the earth, and brake them all in pieces, and said to them that were
there: "Go and call physicians and leeches for to heal your gods." And
then by the commandment of the king, Aquilina was hanged, and a right
great and heavy stone was hanged at her feet, so that her members were
much despitously broken. And when she was dead, and passed to our Lord,
her sister Nicæa was cast into a great fire, but she issued out without
harm all whole, and then he made to smite off her head, and so she
suffered death.

After this Christopher was brought tofore the king, and the king
commanded that he should be beaten with rods of iron, and that there
should be set upon his head a cross of iron red hot and burning; and
then after he did make a stool of iron, and made Christopher to be
bounden thereon, and after, to set fire under it, and cast therein
pitch. But the settle melted like wax, and Christopher issued out
without any harm.

When the king saw that, he commanded that he should be bound to a
strong stake, and that he should be through-shotten with arrows with
forty knights archers. But none of the knights might attain him, for
the arrows hung in the air about, nigh him, without touching.

Then the king weened that he had been through-shotten with the arrows
of the knights, and addressed him for to go to him. And one of the
arrows returned suddenly from the air and smote him in the eye, and
blinded him. To whom Christopher said: "Tyrant, I shall die to-morn.
Make a little clay, with my blood tempered, and anoint therewith thine
eye, and thou shalt receive health."

Then by the commandment of the king he was led forth to be beheaded,
and then, there made he his orison, and his head was smitten off, and
so suffered martyrdom.

The king then took a little of his blood and laid it on his eye, and
said: "In the name of God and of St. Christopher!" and was anon healed.
Then the king believed in God and gave commandment that if any person
blamed God or St. Christopher, he should anon be slain with the sword.

Then let us pray to good St. Christopher that he pray for us.



_The time came when men became so sophisticated that they lost faith in
the giants, even the work of their own minds. Only the children still

_In many lands the old people still tell to the simple of heart of all
ages such tales as these that follow._

_For more than two hundred years practically every English-speaking
child has read, or been read, the stories of "Jack the Giant-killer"
and "Jack and the Beanstalk," which are full of echoes of Thor's
adventures among the Frost Giants, and other misty myths of earliest
times. The famous "Fee, fi, fo, fum," speech of the giant seems to come
down from a couplet spoken by a giantess of old in the Arabic story of
"Sunebal and the Ogress."_

_While the present tales are not so well known, they doubtless have a
similarly ancient pedigree. Thus the Serbian tale comes largely from
the "Arabian Nights"; and it is our old friend Polyphemus from whom the
Korean seaman escaped._

_Even Gulliver's Travels in the land of Brobdignag has a close parallel
in faraway Japan: a man of Nagasaki, Shikaiya Wasōbiōye by name,
after marvelous adventures among the Three Thousand Worlds, comes to
the Land of Giants._

_He rides on the back of a stork through total darkness for five
months, and at length reaches a country where the sun shines again,
where weeds are as large as bamboos, trees so great that it is a
journey to walk round them, and the men some sixty feet in height.
A giant picks him up and feeds him on single grains of huge rice.
When the traveler tries to question the Tall Man upon the ways of
his people, the giant laughs and declares so tiny a person could not
possibly have intelligence enough to understand such great matters._




A day Finn and his men were in the Hunting-hill they killed a great
number of deer; and when they were wearied after the chase they sat
down on a pleasant green knoll, at the back of the wind and at the face
of the sun, where they could see every one, and no one at all could see

While they were sitting in that place Finn lifted his eyes toward the
sea, and saw a ship making straight for the haven beneath the spot on
which they were sitting. When the ship came on land, a Big Young Hero
leaped out of her on the shore, seized her by the bows, and drew her
up, her own seven lengths, on green grass, where the eldest son of
neither land-owner nor of holder of large town-land dared mock or gibe
at her. Then he ascended the hillside, leaping over the hollows and
slanting the knolls, till he reached the spot on which Finn and his men
were sitting.

He saluted Finn frankly, energetically, fluently; and Finn saluted him
with the equivalent of the same words. Finn then asked him whence did
he come, or what was he wanting? He answered Finn that he had come
through night-watching and tempest of sea where he was; because he was
losing his children, and it had been told him that there was not a man
in the world who could keep his children for him but him, Finn, King of
the Feinne. And he said to Finn, "I lay on thee, as crosses and spells
and seven fairy fetters of travelling and straying to be with me before
thou shalt eat food, or drink a draught, or close an eye in sleep."

Having said this, he turned away from them and descended the hillside
the way he ascended it. When he reached the ship he placed his shoulder
against the bow, and put her out. He then leaped into her, and departed
in the direction he came until they lost sight of him.

Finn was now under great heaviness of mind, because the vows had been
laid on him, and he must fulfil them or travel onwards until he would
die. He knew not whither he should go, or what he should do. But he
left farewell with his men, and descended the hillside to the seaside.
When he reached that he could not go farther on the way in which he saw
the Big Young Hero depart. He therefore began to walk along the shore,
but before he had gone very far forward, he saw a company of seven men
coming to meet him.

When he reached the men he asked the first of them what was he good at?
The man answered that he was a good Carpenter. Finn asked him how good
was he at carpentry? The man said that, with three strokes of his ax,
he could make a large, capacious, complete ship of the alder stock over
yonder. "Thou art good enough," said Finn; "thou mayest pass by." He
then asked of the second man what was he good at? The man said that he
was a good Tracker. "How good art thou?" said Finn. "I can track the
wild duck over the crests of the nine waves within nine days," said the
man. "Thou art good enough," said Finn; "thou mayest pass by."

Then he said to the third man, "What art thou good at?" The man replied
that he was a good Gripper. "How good art thou?" "The hold I get I will
not let go until my two arms come from my shoulders, or until my hold
comes with me." "Thou art good enough; thou mayest pass by."

Then he said to the fourth man, "What art thou good at?" He answered
that he was a good Climber. "How good art thou?" "I can climb on a
filament of silk to the stars, although thou wert to tie it there."
"Thou art good enough; thou mayest pass by."

He then said to the fifth man, "What art thou good at?" He answered
that he was a good Listener. "How good art thou?" He said that he could
hear what people were saying at the extremity of the Uttermost World.
"Thou art good enough; thou mayest pass by."

He asked of the sixth man, "What art thou good at?" He replied that he
was a good Thief. "How good art thou?" "I can steal the egg from the
heron while her two eyes are looking at me." "Thou art good enough;
thou mayest pass by."

Then he said to the seventh man, "What art thou good at?" He replied
that he was a good Marksman. "How good art thou?" "I could hit an egg
as far away in the sky as bowstring could send or bow could carry."
"Thou art good enough; thou mayest pass by."

All this gave Finn great encouragement. He turned round and said to
the Carpenter, "Prove thy skill." The Carpenter went where the stock
was, and struck it with his ax thrice; and as he had said, the ship was

When Finn saw the ship ready he ordered his men to put her out. They
did that and went on board of her.

Finn now ordered the Tracker to go to the bow and prove himself. At
the same time he told him that yesterday a Big Young Hero left yonder
haven in his ship, and that he wanted to follow the Hero to the place
in which he now was. Finn himself went to steer the ship, and they
departed. The Tracker was telling him to keep her that way or to keep
her this way. They sailed a long time forward without seeing land,
but they kept on their course until the evening was approaching. In
the gloaming they noticed that land was ahead of them, and they made
straight for it. When they reached the shore they leaped to land, and
drew up the ship.

Then they noticed a large fine house in the glen above the beach. They
took their way up to the house; and when they were nearing it they saw
the Big Young Hero coming to meet them. He ran and placed his two arms
about Finn's neck and said, "Darling of all men in the world, hast thou

"If I had been thy darling of all the men in the world, it is not as
thou didst leave me that thou wouldst have left me," said Finn.

"Oh, it was not without a way of coming I left thee," said the Big
Young Hero. "Did I not send a company of seven men to meet thee?"

When they reached the house, the Big Young Hero told Finn and his men
to go in. They accepted the invitation and found abundance of meat and

After they had quenched their hunger and thirst, the Big Young Hero
came in where they were, and said to Finn, "Six years from this night
my wife was in child-bed, and a child was born to me. As soon as the
child came into the world, a large Hand came in at the chimney, and
took the child with it in the hollow of the hand. Three years from
this night the same thing happened. And tonight she is going to be in
child-bed again. It was told me that thou wert the only man in the
world who could keep my children for me, and now I have courage since I
have found thee."

Finn and his men were tired and sleepy. Finn said to the men that they
were to stretch themselves on the floor, and that he was going to keep
watch. They did as they were told, and he remained sitting beside the
fire. At last sleep began to come upon him; but he had a bar of iron
in the fire, and as often as his eyes would begin to close with sleep,
he would thrust the iron through the bone of his palm, and that was
keeping him awake. About midnight the woman was delivered; and as soon
as the child came into the world the Hand came in at the chimney. Finn
called on the Gripper to get up.

The Gripper sprang quickly on his feet, and laid hold of the Hand. He
gave a pull on the Hand, and took it in to the eye-brows at the chimney.

The Hand gave a pull on the Gripper, and took him out to the top of his
two shoulders. The Gripper gave another pull on the Hand, and brought
it in to the neck. The Hand gave a pull on the Gripper, and brought
him out to the very middle. The Gripper gave a pull on the Hand, and
took it in over the two armpits. The Hand gave a pull on the Gripper,
and took him out to the smalls of his two feet. Then the Gripper gave
a brave pull on the Hand and it came out of the shoulder. And when it
fell on the floor the pulling of seven geldings was in it. But the big
Giant outside put in the other hand, and took the child with him in the
hollow of his hand.

They were all very sorry that they lost the child. But Finn said, "We
will not yield to this yet. I and my men will go away after the Hand
before a sun shall rise on a dwelling tomorrow."

At break of dawn Finn and his men turned out, and reached the beach,
where they had left the ship.

They launched the ship and leaped on board of her. The Tracker went to
the bow, and Finn went to steer her. They departed, and now and again
the Tracker would cry to Finn to keep her in that direction, or to
keep her in this direction. They sailed onward a long distance without
seeing anything before them, except the great sea. At the going down
of the sun, Finn noticed a black spot in the ocean ahead of them. He
thought it too little for an island, and too large for a bird, but he
made straight for it. In the darkening of the night they reached it;
and it was a rock, and a Castle thatched with eel-skins was on its top.

They landed on the rock. They looked about the Castle, but they saw
neither window nor door at which they could get in. At last they
noticed that it was on the roof the door was. They did not know how
they could get up, because the thatch was so slippery. But the Climber
cried, "Let me over, and I will not be long in climbing it." He sprang
quickly towards the Castle, and in an instant was on its roof. He
looked in at the door, and after taking particular notice of everything
that he saw, he descended where the rest were waiting.

Finn asked of him, what did he see? He said that he saw a Big Giant
lying on a bed, a silk covering over him and a satin covering under
him, and his hand stretched out and an infant asleep in the hollow
of his hand; that he saw two boys on the floor playing with shinties
(shinny-sticks) of gold and a ball of silver; and that there was a very
large deer-hound bitch lying beside the fire, and two pups sucking her.

Then said Finn, "I do not know how we shall get them out." The Thief
answered and said, "If I get in I will not be long putting them out."
The Climber said, "Come on my back and I will take thee up to the
door." The Thief did as he was told, and got into the Castle.

Instantly he began to prove his skill. The first thing he put out was
the child that was in the cup of the Hand. He then put out the two boys
that were playing on the floor. He then stole the silk covering that
was over the Giant, and the satin covering that was under him, and put
them out. Then he put out the shinties of gold and the ball of silver.
He then stole the two pups that were sucking the bitch beside the fire.
These were the most valuable things which he saw inside. He left the
Giant asleep, and turned out.

They placed the things which the Thief stole in the ship, and departed.
They were but a short time sailing when the Listener stood up and said,
"'Tis I who am hearing him, 'tis I who am listening to him."

"What art thou hearing?" asked Finn.

"He has just awakened," said the Listener, "and missed everything that
was stolen from him. He is in great wrath, sending away the Bitch, and
saying to her that if she will not go that he will go himself. But it
is the Bitch that is going."

In a short time they looked behind them, and saw the Bitch coming
swimming. She was cleaving the sea on each side of her in red sparks of
fire. They were seized with fear, and said that they did not know what
they should do. But Finn considered, and then told them to throw out
one of the pups; perhaps when she would see the pup drowning she would
return with it. They threw out the pup, and, as Finn said, it happened:
the Bitch returned with the pup. This left them at the time pleased.

But shortly after that the Listener arose trembling, and said, "'Tis I
who am hearing him; 'tis I who am listening to him!"

"What art thou saying now?" said Finn.

"He is again sending away the Bitch, and since she will not go he is
coming himself."

When they heard this their eye was always behind them. At last they saw
him coming, and the great sea reached not beyond his haunches. They
were seized with fear and great horror, for they knew not what they
should do. But Finn thought of his knowledge-set of teeth, and having
put his finger under it, found out that the Giant was immortal, except
in a mole which was in the hollow of his palm. The Marksman then stood
up and said, "If I get one look of it I will have him."

The Giant came walking forward through the sea to the side of the ship.
Then he lifted up his hand to seize the top of the mast, in order to
sink the ship. But when the Hand was on high the Marksman noticed the
mole, and he let an arrow off in its direction. The arrow struck the
Giant in the death-spot, and he fell dead on the sea.

They were now very happy, for there was nothing more before them to
make them afraid. They put about, and sailed back to the castle. The
Thief stole the pup again, and they took it with them along with the
one they had. After that they returned to the place of the Big Young
Hero. When they reached the haven they leaped on land, and drew the
ship up on dry ground.

Then Finn went away with the family of the Big Young Hero and with
everything which he and his men took out of the Castle to the fine
house of the Big Young Hero.

The Big Young Hero met him coming, and when he saw his children he went
on his two knees to Finn, and said, "What now is thy reward?" Finn
answered and said that he was asking nothing but his choice of the two
pups which they took from the Castle. The Big Young Hero said that
he would get that and a great deal more if he would ask it. But Finn
wanted nothing except the pup. This pup was Bran, and his brother, that
the Big Young Hero got, was the Grey Dog.

The Big Young Hero took Finn and his men into his house, and made for
them a great, joyous, merry feast, which was kept up for a day and a
year, and if the last day was not the best, it was not the worst.

That is how Finn kept his children for the Big Young Hero of the Ship,
and how Bran was found.

Many and marvellous were the further deeds of Finn MacCumhal and of his
incomparable dog Bran; and they are duly recorded in the "Book of the
Dun Cow," and the "Book of Leinster," and "The Cualnge Cattle-raid,"
that all who will may know of them.




Once on a time there was a King who had seven sons, and he loved them
so much that he could never bear to be without them all at once, but
one must be always with him. Now when they were grown up, six were to
set off to woo, but as for the youngest his father kept him at home,
and the others were to bring back a princess for him to the palace.
So the King gave the six the finest clothes you ever set eyes on, so
fine that the light gleamed from them a long way off, and each had his
horse, which cost many, many hundred dollars, and so they set off. Now,
when they had been to many palaces, and seen many princesses, at last
they came to a king who had six daughters; such lovely king's daughters
they had never seen, and so they fell to wooing them, each one, and
when they had got them for sweethearts they set off home again, but
they quite forgot that they were to bring back with them a sweetheart
for Boots, their brother who had stayed at home, for they were over
head and ears in love with their own sweethearts.

But when they had gone a good bit on their way they passed close by a
steep hillside, like a wall, where the giant's house was, and there
the giant came out, and set his eyes upon them, and turned them all
into stone, princes and princesses and all. Now the King waited and
waited for his six sons, but the more he waited the longer they stayed
away; so he fell into great trouble and said he should never know what
it was to be glad again.

"And if I had not you left," he said to Boots, "I would live no longer,
so full of sorrow am I for the loss of your brothers."

"Well, but now I've been thinking to ask your leave to set out and find
them again; that's what I've been thinking of," said Boots.

"Nay, nay!" said his father; "that leave you shall never get, for then
you would stay away, too."

But Boots had set his heart upon it; go he would; and he begged
and prayed so long that the King was forced to let him go. Now you
must know that the King had no other horse to give Boots but an old
broken-down jade, for his six other sons and their train had carried
off all his horses; but Boots did not care a pin for that, he sprang up
on his sorry old steed.

"Farewell, father," said he; "I'll come back, never fear, and like
enough I shall bring my six brothers back with me"; and with that he
rode off.

So, when he had ridden a while he came to a Raven, which lay in the
road and flapped its wings, and was not able to get out of the way, it
was so starved.

"Oh, dear friend," said the Raven, "give me a little food and I'll help
you again at your utmost need."

"I haven't much food," said the Prince, "and I don't see how you'll
ever be able to help me much; but still I can spare you a little. I see
you want it."

So he gave the Raven some of the food he had brought with him.

Now when he had gone a bit further he came to a brook, and in the brook
lay a great Salmon, which had got upon a dry place, and dashed itself
about, and could not get into the water again.

"Oh, dear friend," said the Salmon to the Prince, "shove me out into
the water again, and I'll help you again at your utmost need."

"Well!" said the Prince, "the help you'll give me will not be great,
I dare say, but it's a pity you should lie there and choke"; and with
that he shot the fish out into the stream again.

After that he went a long, long way, and there met him a Wolf, which
was so famished that it lay and crawled along the road on its belly.

"Dear friend, do let me have your horse," said the Wolf, "I'm so hungry
the wind whistles through my ribs. I've had nothing to eat these two
years." "No," said Boots, "this will never do; first I came to a raven,
and I was forced to give him my food; next I came to a salmon, and him
I had to help into the water again; and now you will have my horse. It
can't be done, that it can't, for then I should have nothing to ride

"Nay, dear friend, but you can help me," said Graylegs the wolf. "You
can ride upon my back, and I'll help you again at your utmost need."

So when the wolf had eaten the horse, Boots took the bit and put it
into the wolf's jaw, and laid the saddle on his back; and now the wolf
was so strong, after what he had got inside, that he set off with the
Prince like nothing. So fast he had never ridden before.

"When we have gone a bit further," said Graylegs, "I'll show you the
Giant's house."

So after a while they came to it.

"See, here is the Giant's house," said the Wolf; "and see, here are
your six brothers whom the Giant has turned into stone; and see, here
are their six brides, and away yonder is the door, and in at that door
you must go."

"Nay, but I daren't go in," said the Prince; "he'll take my life."

"No! No!" said the Wolf. "When you get in you'll find a Princess, and
she'll tell you what to do to make an end of the Giant. Only mind and
do as she bids you."

Well, Boots went in, but, truth to say, he was very much afraid.
When he came in the Giant was away, but in one of the rooms sat the
Princess, just as the Wolf had said, and so lovely a Princess Boots had
never yet set eyes on.

"Oh! Heaven help you! whence have you come?" said the Princess, as she
saw him. "It will surely be your death. No one can make an end of the
Giant who lives here, for he has no heart in his body."

"Well! Well!" said Boots; "but now that I am here, I may as well try
what I can do with him; and I will see if I can't free my brothers, who
are standing turned to stone out of doors; and you, too, I will try to
save, that I will."

"Well, if you must, you must," said the Princess; "and so let us see if
we can't hit on a plan. Just creep under the bed yonder, and mind and
listen to what he and I talk about. But, pray, do lie still as a mouse."

So he crept under the bed, and he had scarce got well underneath it,
before the Giant came.

"Ha!" roared the Giant, "what a smell of Christian blood there is in
the house."

"Yes, I know there is," said the Princess, "for there came a magpie
flying with a man's bone, and let it fall down the chimney. I made all
the haste I could to get it out, but all one can do, the smell doesn't
go off so soon."

So the Giant said no more about it, and when night came, they went to
bed. After they had laid a while the Princess said:

"There is one thing I'd be so glad to ask you about, if I only dared."

"What thing is that?" asked the Giant.

"Only where it is you keep your heart, since you don't carry it about
with you," said the Princess.

"Ah! that's a thing you have no business to ask about; but if you must
know, it lies under the door-sill," said the Giant.

"Ho! ho!" said Boots to himself under the bed, "then we'll soon see if
we can't find it."

Next morning the Giant got up cruelly early, and strode off to the
wood; but he was hardly out of the house before Boots and the Princess
set to work to look under the door-sill for his heart; but the more
they dug, and the more they hunted, the more they couldn't find it.

"He has balked us this time," said the Princess, "but we'll try him
once more."

So she picked all the prettiest flowers she could find and strewed them
over the door-sill, which they had laid in its right place again, and
when the time came for the Giant to come home again, Boots crept under
the bed. Just as he was well under, back came the Giant.

Snuff-snuff, went the Giant's nose. "My eyes and limbs, what a smell of
Christian blood there is in here," said he.

"I know there is," said the Princess, "for there came a magpie flying
with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall down the chimney. I made
as much haste as I could to get it out, but I dare say it's that you

So the Giant held his peace and said no more about it. A little while
after, he asked who it was that had strewed flowers about the door-sill.

"Oh, I, of course," said the Princess.

"And, pray, what's the meaning of all this?" said the Giant.

"Ah!" said the Princess, "I'm so fond of you that I couldn't help
strewing them, when I knew that your heart lay under there."

"You don't say so," said the Giant; "but after all it doesn't lie there
at all."

So when they went to bed again in the evening, the Princess asked the
Giant again where his heart was, for she said she would so like to know.

"Well," said the Giant, "if you must know, it lies away yonder in the
cupboard against the wall."

"So! so!" thought Boots and the Princess; "then we'll soon try to find

Next morning the Giant was away early, and strode off to the wood, and
as soon as he was gone Boots and the Princess were in the cupboard
hunting for his heart. But the more they sought for it, the less they
found it.

"Well," said the Princess, "we'll just try him once more."

So she decked out the cupboard with flowers and garlands, and when the
time came for the Giant to come home, Boots crept under the bed again.

Then back came the Giant.

Snuff-snuff! "My eyes and limbs, what a smell of Christian blood there
is in here!"

"I know there is," said the Princess; "for a little while since there
came a magpie flying with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall
down the chimney. I made all the haste I could to get it out of the
house again, but after all my pains I dare say it's that you smell."

When the Giant heard that he said no more about it; but a little while
after he saw how the cupboard was all decked about with flowers and
garlands, so he asked who it was that had done that. Who could it be
but the Princess?

"And, pray, what's the meaning of all this tomfoolery?" asked the Giant.

"Oh, I'm so fond of you, I couldn't help doing it when I knew your
heart lay there," said the Princess.

"How can you be so silly as to believe any such thing?" said the Giant.

"Oh, yes; how can I help believing it when you say it?" said the

"You're a goose," said the Giant; "where my heart is you will never

"Well," said the Princess, "but for all that, 'twould be such a
pleasure to know where it really lies."

Then the poor Giant could hold out no longer, but was forced to say:

"Far, far away in a lake lies an island; on that island stands a
church; in that church is a well; in that well swims a duck; in that
duck there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart--you darling!"

In the morning early, while it was still gray dawn, the Giant strode
off to the wood.

"Yes! now I must set off too," said Boots; "if I only knew how to find
the way." He took a long, long farewell of the Princess, and when he
got out of the Giant's door, there stood the Wolf waiting for him. So
Boots told him all that had happened inside the house and said now he
wished to ride to the well in the church, if he only knew the way. So
the Wolf bade him jump on his back, he'd soon find the way; and away
they went till the wind whistled after them, over hedge and field, over
hill and dale. After they had travelled many, many days, they came to
the lake. Then the Prince did not know how to get over it, but the
Wolf bade him only be not afraid, but stick on, and so he jumped into
the lake with the Prince on his back, and swam over to the island. So
they came to the church; but the church keys hung high, high up on the
top of the tower, and at first the Prince did not know how to get them

"You must call on the Raven," said the Wolf.

So the Prince called on the Raven, and in a trice the Raven came, and
flew up and fetched the keys, and so the Prince got into the church.
But when he came to the well, there lay the duck, and swam about
backwards and forwards, just as the Giant had said. So the Prince stood
and coaxed it and coaxed it, till it came to him, and he grasped it in
his hand; but just as he lifted it up from the water the duck dropped
the egg into the well, and then Boots was beside himself to know how to
get it out again.

"Well, now you must call on the Salmon, to be sure," said the Wolf; and
the king's son called on the Salmon, and the Salmon came and fetched up
the egg from the bottom of the well.

Then the Wolf told him to squeeze the egg, and as soon as ever he
squeezed it, the Giant screamed out.

"Squeeze it again," said the Wolf; and when the Prince did so, the
Giant screamed still more piteously, and begged and prayed so earnestly
to be spared, saying he would do all that the Prince wished if he would
only not squeeze his heart in two.

"Tell him, if he will restore to life again your six brothers and their
brides, whom he has turned to stone, you will spare his life," said
the Wolf. Yes, the Giant was ready to do that, and he turned the six
brothers into king's sons again, and their brides into king's daughters.

"Now, squeeze the egg in two," said the Wolf. So Boots squeezed the egg
to pieces, and the Giant burst at once.

Now, when he had made an end of the Giant, Boots rode back on the Wolf
to the Giant's house, and there stood all his six brothers alive and
merry, with their brides. Then Boots went into the hillside after his
bride, and so they all set off home again to their father's house. And
you may fancy how glad the old king was when he saw all his seven sons
come back, each with his bride.

"But the loveliest bride of all is the bride of Boots, after all," said
the King, "and he shall sit uppermost at the table, with her by his

So he sent out and called a great wedding-feast, and the mirth was both
loud and long; and if they have not done feasting, why, they are still
at it.




     [275:1] From "Hero Tales and Legends of the Serbians," by
     Vojislav M. Petrovic.

Once upon a time there was an old man who, whenever he heard anyone
complain how many sons he had to care for, always laughed and said, "I
wish that it would please God to give me a hundred sons!"

This he said in jest; as time went on, however, he had, in reality,
neither more nor less than a hundred sons.

He had trouble enough to find different trades for his sons, but when
they were once all started in life they worked diligently and gained
plenty of money. Now, however, came a fresh difficulty. One day the
eldest son came in to his father and said, "My dear father, I think it
is quite time that I should marry."

Hardly had he said these words before the second son came in, saying,
"Dear father, I think it is already time that you were looking out for
a wife for me."

A moment later came in the third son, asking, "Dear father, don't you
think it is high time that you should find me a wife?" In like manner
came the fourth and fifth, until the whole hundred had made a similar
request. All of them wished to marry and desired their father to find
wives for them as soon as he could.

The old man was not a little troubled at these requests; he said,
however, to his sons, "Very well, my sons, _I_ have nothing to say
against your marrying; there is, however, I foresee, one great
difficulty in the way. There are one hundred of you asking for wives,
and I hardly think we can find one hundred marriageable girls in all
the fifteen villages which are in our neighborhood."

To this the sons, however, answered, "Don't be anxious about that, but
mount your horse and take in your sack sufficient engagement cakes. You
must take, also, a stick in your hand so that you can cut a notch in it
for every girl you see. It does not signify whether she be handsome or
ugly, or lame or blind, just cut a notch in your stick for every one
you meet with."

The old man said, "Very wisely spoken, my sons! I will do exactly as
you tell me."

Accordingly he mounted his horse, took a sack full of cakes on his
shoulder and a long stick in his hand, and started off at once to beat
up the neighborhood for girls to marry his sons.

The old man had travelled from village to village during a whole month,
and whenever he had seen a girl he had cut a notch in his stick. But he
was getting pretty well tired, and he began to count how many notches
he had already made. When he had counted them carefully over and
over again, to be certain that he had counted all, he could only make
out seventy-four, so that still twenty-six were wanting to complete
the number required. He was, however, so weary with his month's ride
that he determined to return home. As he rode along, he saw a priest
driving oxen yoked to a plough, and seemingly very deep in anxious
thought about something. Now the old man wondered a little to see the
priest ploughing his own corn-fields without even a boy to help him; he
therefore shouted to ask him why he drove his oxen himself. The priest,
however, did not even turn his head to see who called him, so intent
was he in urging on his oxen and in guiding his plough.

The old man thought he had not spoken loud enough, so he shouted out
again as loud as he could, "Stop your oxen a little, and tell me why
you are ploughing yourself without even a lad to help you, and this,
too, on a holy-day!"

Now the priest--who was in a perspiration with his hard work--answered
testily, "I conjure you by your old age leave me in peace! I cannot
tell you my ill-luck."

At this answer, however, the old man was only the more curious, and
persisted all the more earnestly in asking questions to find out why
the priest ploughed on a saint's day. At last the priest, tired with
his importunity, sighed deeply and said, "Well, if you _will_ know: I
am the only man in my household and God has blessed me with a hundred

The old man was overjoyed at hearing this, and exclaimed cheerfully,
"That's very good! It is just what I want, for I have a hundred sons,
and so, as you have a hundred daughters, we can be friends."

The moment the priest heard this he became pleasant and talkative, and
invited the old man to pass the night in his house. Then, leaving his
plough in the field, he drove the oxen back to the village. Just before
reaching his house, however, he said to the old man, "Go yourself into
the house whilst I tie up my oxen."

No sooner, however, had the old man entered the yard than the wife of
the priest rushed at him with a big stick, crying out, "We have not
bread enough for our hundred daughters, and we want neither beggars nor
visitors," and with these words she drove him away.

Shortly afterwards the priest came out of the barn, and, finding the
old man on the road before the gate, asked him why he had not gone into
the house as he had told him to do. Whereupon the old man replied, "I
went in, but your wife drove me away!"

Then the priest said, "Only wait here a moment till I come back to
fetch you." He then went quickly into his house and scolded his wife
right well, saying, "What have you done? What a fine chance you have
spoiled! The man who came in was going to be our friend, for he has a
hundred sons who would gladly have married our hundred daughters!"

When the wife heard this she changed her dress hastily, and arranged
her hair and head-dress in a different fashion. Then she smiled very
sweetly, and welcomed with the greatest possible politeness the old
man, when her husband led him into the house. In fact, she pretended
that she knew nothing at all of anyone's having been driven away from
their door. And as the old man wanted much to find wives for his sons,
he also pretended that he did not know that the smiling house-mistress
and the woman who drove him away with a stick were one and the
self-same person.

So the old man passed the night in the house, and next morning asked
the priest formally to give him his hundred daughters for wives for
his hundred sons. Thereupon, the priest answered that he was quite
willing, and had already spoken to his daughters about the matter,
and that they, too, were all quite willing. Then the old man took his
engagement-cakes, and put them on the table beside him, and gave each
of the girls a piece of money to _mark_. Then each of the engaged girls
sent a small present by him to that one of his sons to whom she was
thus betrothed. These gifts the old man put in the bag wherein he had
carried the engagement-cakes. He then mounted his horse, and rode off
merrily homewards. There were great rejoicings in his household when
he told how successful he had been in his search, and that he really
had found a hundred girls ready and willing to be married; and these
hundred, too, a priest's daughters.

The sons insisted that they should begin to make the wedding
preparations without delay, and commenced at once to invite the guests
who were to form part of the wedding procession to go to the priest's
house and bring home the brides.

Here another difficulty occurred. The old father must find two hundred
bride-leaders (two for each bride); one hundred kooms (witnesses); one
hundred starisvats; one hundred chaious (running footmen to go before
the procession); and three hundred voivodes (standard-bearers); and,
besides these, a respectable number of other non-official guests.
To find all these persons the father had to hunt throughout the
neighborhood for three years; at last, however, they were all found,
and a day was appointed when they were to meet at his house, and go
thence in procession to the house of the priest.

On the appointed day all the invited guests gathered at the old man's
house. With great noise and confusion, after a fair amount of feasting,
the wedding procession was formed properly, and set out for the house
of the priest, where the hundred brides were already prepared for their
departure for their new home.

So great was the confusion, indeed, that the old man quite forgot to
take with him one of his hundred ones, and never missed him in the
greeting and talking and drinking he was obliged, as father of the
bridegrooms, to go through. Now the young man had worked so long and
so hard in preparing for the wedding-day that he never woke up till
long after the procession had started; and every one had had, like his
father, too much to do and too many things to think of to miss him.

The wedding procession arrived in good order at the priest's house
where a feast was already spread out for them. Having done honor to
the various good things, and having gone through all the ceremonies
usual on such occasions, the hundred brides were given over to their
"leaders," and the procession started on its return to the old man's
house. But, as they did not set off until pretty late in the afternoon,
it was decided that the night should be spent somewhere on the road.
When they came, therefore, to a certain river named "Luckless," as it
was already dark, some of the men proposed that the party should pass
the night by the side of the water without crossing over. However,
some others of the chief of the party so warmly advised the crossing
of the river and encamping on the other bank, that this course was at
length, after a very lively discussion, determined on; accordingly the
procession began to move over the bridge.

Just, however, as the wedding-party were half-way across the bridge,
its two sides began to draw nearer each other, and pressed the people
so close together that they had hardly room to breathe--much less could
they move forwards or backwards.

They were kept for some time in this position, some shouting and
scolding, others quiet because frightened, until at length a black
giant appeared, and shouted to them in a terribly loud voice, "Who are
you all? Where do you come from? Where are you going?"

Some of the bolder among them answered, "We are going to our old
friend's house, taking home the hundred brides for his hundred sons;
but unluckily we ventured on this bridge after nightfall, and it has
pressed us so tightly together that we cannot move one way or the

"And where is your old friend?" inquired the black giant.

Now all the wedding guests turned their eyes towards the old man.
Thereupon he turned towards the giant, who instantly said to him,
"Listen, old man! Will you give me what you have forgotten at home, if
I let your friends pass over the bridge?"

The old man considered some time what it might be he had forgotten at
home, but at last, not being able to recollect anything in particular
that he had left, and hearing on all sides the groans and moans of his
guests, he replied, "Well, I will give it to you, if you will only let
the procession pass over."

Then the black giant said to the party, "You all hear what he has
promised, and are all my witnesses to the bargain. In three days I
shall come to fetch what I have bargained for."

Having said this, the black giant widened the bridge and the whole
procession passed on to the other bank in safety. The people, however,
no longer wished to spend the night on the way, so they moved on as
fast as they could, and early in the morning reached the old man's

As everybody talked of the strange adventure they had met with, the
eldest son, who had been left at home, soon began to understand how the
matter stood, and went to his father saying, "O my father! you have
sold _me_ to the black giant!"

Then the old man was very sorry, and troubled; but his friends
comforted him, saying, "Don't be frightened! Nothing will come of it."

The marriage ceremonies were celebrated with great rejoicings. Just,
however, as the festivities were at their height, on the third day, the
black giant appeared at the gate and shouted, "Now, give me at once
what you have promised."

The old man, trembling all over, went forward and asked him, "What do
you want?"

"Nothing but what you have promised me!" returned the black giant.

As he could not break his promise, the old man, very distressed, was
then obliged to deliver up his eldest son to the giant, who thereupon
said, "Now I shall take your son with me, but after three years have
passed you can come to the Luckless River and take him away."

Having said this the black giant disappeared, taking with him the young
man, whom he carried off to his workshop as an apprentice to the trade
of witchcraft.

From that time the poor old man had not a single moment of happiness.
He was always sad and anxious, and counted every year, and every month,
and week, and even every day, until the dawn of the last day of the
three years. Then he took a staff in his hand and hurried off to the
bank of the river Luckless. As soon as he reached the river he was met
by the black giant, who asked him, "Why are you come?" The old man
answered that he came to take home his son according to his agreement.

Thereupon the giant brought out a tray on which stood a sparrow, a
turtle-dove, and a quail, and said to the old man, "Now, if you can
tell which of these is your son, you may take him away."

The poor old father looked intently at the three birds, one after the
other, and over and over again, but at last he was forced to own that
he could not tell which of them was his son. So he was obliged to go
away by himself, and was far more miserable than before. He had hardly,
however, got half-way home when he thought he would go back to the
river and take one of the birds which he remembered had looked at him

When he reached the river Luckless he was again met by the black giant,
who brought out the tray again, and placed on it this time a partridge,
a tit-mouse and a thrush, saying, "Now, my old man, find out which is
your son!"

The anxious father again looked at one bird after the other, but he
felt more uncertain than before, and so, crying bitterly, again went

Just as the old man was going through a forest, which was between the
river Luckless and his house, an old woman met him and said, "Stop a
moment! Where are you hurrying to? And why are you in such trouble?"

Now, the old man was so deeply musing over his great unhappiness that
he did not at first attend to the old woman; but she followed him,
calling after him, and repeating her questions with more earnestness.
So he stopped at last, and told her what a terrible misfortune had
fallen upon him. When the old woman had listened to the whole story,
she said cheerfully, "Don't be cast down! Don't be afraid. Go back
again to the river, and, when the giant brings out the three birds,
look into their eyes sharply. When you see that one of the birds has a
tear in one of its eyes, seize that bird and hold it fast, for it has a
human soul."

The old man thanked her heartily for her advice, and turned back, for
the third time, towards the Luckless River. Again the black giant
appeared, and looked very merry whilst he brought out his tray and put
upon it a sparrow, a dove, and a woodpecker, saying, "My old man! find
out which is your son!" Then the father looked sharply into the eyes of
the birds, and saw that from the right eye of the dove a tear dropped
slowly down. In a moment he grasped the bird tightly, saying, "This is
my son!" The next moment he found himself holding fast his eldest son
by the shoulder, and so, singing and shouting in his great joy, took
him quickly home, and gave him over to his eldest daughter-in-law, the
wife of his son.

Now for some time they all lived together very happily. One day,
however, the young man said to his father, "Whilst I was apprenticed
in the workshop of the black giant, I learned a great many tricks of
witchcraft. Now I intend to change myself into a fine horse, and you
shall take me to market and sell me for a good sum of money. But be
sure not to give up the halter."

The father did as the son had said. Next market day he went to the
city with a fine horse which he offered for sale. Many buyers came
round him, admiring the horse, and bidding for it, so that at last the
old man was able to sell it for two thousand ducats. When he received
the money he took good care not to let go the halter, and he returned
home far richer than he ever dreamt of being.

A few days later, the man who had bought the horse sent his servant
with it to the river to bathe, and, whilst in the water, the horse got
loose from the servant and galloped off into the neighboring forest.
There he changed himself back into his real shape, and returned to his
father's house.

After some time had passed, the young man said one day to his father,
"Now I will change myself into an ox, and you can take me to market to
sell me; but take care not to give up the rope with which you lead me."

So next market-day the old man went to the city leading a very fine ox,
and soon found a buyer who offered ten times the usual price paid for
an ox. The buyer asked also for the rope to lead the animal home, but
the old man said, "What do you want with such an old thing? You had
better buy a new one!" and he went off taking with him the rope.

That evening, whilst the servants of the buyer were driving the ox to
the field, he ran away into a wood near, and having taken there his
human shape, returned home to his father's house.

On the eve of the next market-day, the young man said to his father:
"Now I will change myself into a cow with golden horns, and you can
sell me as before, only take care not to give up the string."

Accordingly he changed himself next morning into a cow, and the old man
took it to the market-place, and asked for it three hundred crowns.

But the black giant had learned that his former apprentice was making
a great deal of money by practicing the trade he had taught him, and,
being jealous at this, he determined to put an end to the young man's

Therefore on the third day he came to the market himself as a buyer,
and the moment he saw the beautiful cow with the golden horns he knew
that it could be no other than his former apprentice. So he came up to
the old man, and, having outbid all the other would-be purchasers, paid
at once the price he had agreed on. Having done this, he caught the
string in his hand, and tried to wrench it from the terrified old man,
who called out, "I have not sold you the string, but the cow!" and held
the string as fast as he could with both hands.

"Oh, no!" said the buyer, "I have the law and custom on my side.
Whoever buys a cow, buys also the string with which it is led!" Some
of the amused and astonished lookers-on said that this was quite true,
therefore the old man was obliged to give up the string.

The black giant, well satisfied with his purchase, took the cow with
him to his castle, and, after having put iron chains on her legs,
fastened her in a cellar. Every morning the giant gave the cow some
water and hay, but he never unchained her.

One evening, however, the cow, with incessant struggles, managed to get
free from the chains, and immediately opened the cellar-door with her
horns and ran away.

Next morning the black giant went as usual into the cellar, carrying
the hay and water for the cow; but seeing she had got free and run
away, he threw the hay down, and started off at once to pursue her.

When he came within sight of her he turned himself into a wolf and
ran at her with great fury; but his clever apprentice changed himself
instantly from a cow into a bear, whereupon the giant turned himself
from a wolf into a lion; the bear then turned into a tiger, and the
lion changed into a crocodile, whereupon the tiger turned into a
sparrow. Upon this the giant changed from the form of a crocodile into
a hawk, and the apprentice immediately changed into a hare; on seeing
which the hawk became a greyhound. Then the apprentice changed from
a hare into a falcon, and the greyhound into an eagle; whereupon the
apprentice changed into a fish. The giant then turned from an eagle
into a mouse, and immediately the apprentice, as a cat, ran after him;
then the giant turned himself into a heap of millet, and the apprentice
transformed himself into a hen and chickens, which very greedily picked
up all the millet, except one single seed, in which the master was, who
changed himself into a squirrel; instantly, however, the apprentice
became a hawk, and, pouncing on the squirrel, killed it.

In this way the apprentice beat his master, the black giant, and
revenged himself for all the sufferings he had endured whilst learning
the trade of witchcraft.

Having killed the squirrel, the hawk took his proper shape again, and
the young man returned joyfully to his father, whom he made immensely




     [290:1] From "Myths and Legends of Japan," by F. Hadland

One day, while an old woman stood by a stream washing her clothes, she
chanced to see an enormous peach floating on the water. It was quite
the largest she had ever seen, and as this old woman and her husband
were extremely poor she immediately thought what an excellent meal this
extraordinary peach would make. As she could find no stick with which
to draw the fruit to the bank, she suddenly remembered the following

    Distant water is bitter,
    The near water is sweet;
    Pass by the distant water
    And come into the sweet.

This little song had the desired effect. The peach came nearer and
nearer till it stopped at the old woman's feet. She stooped down
and picked it up. So delighted was she with her discovery that she
could not stay to do any more washing, but hurried home as quickly as

When her husband arrived in the evening, with a bundle of grass upon
his back, the old woman excitedly took the peach out of a cupboard and
showed it to him.

The old man, who was tired and hungry, was equally delighted at the
thought of so delicious a meal. He speedily brought a knife and was
about to cut the fruit open, when it suddenly opened of its own accord,
and the prettiest child imaginable tumbled out with a merry laugh.

"Don't be afraid," said the little fellow. "The Gods have heard how
much you desired a child, and have sent me to be a solace and a comfort
in your old age."

The old couple were so overcome with joy that they scarcely knew what
to do with themselves. Each in turn nursed the child, caressed him, and
murmured many sweet and affectionate words. They called him Momotaro,
or "Son of a Peach."

When Momotaro was fifteen years old, he was a lad far taller and
stronger than boys of his own age. The making of a great hero stirred
in his veins, and it was a knightly heroism that desired to right the

One day Momotaro came to his foster-father and asked him if he
would allow him to take a long journey to a certain island in the
North-eastern Sea where dwelt a number of ogres,[291:1] who had
captured a great company of innocent people, many of whom they ate.
Their wickedness was beyond description, and Momotaro desired to kill
them, rescue the unfortunate captives, and bring back the plunder of
the island that he might share it with his foster-parents.

     [291:1] The author calls them "devils," but in other versions
     of this well-known tale they are man-eating giants.

The old man was not a little surprised to hear this daring scheme. He
knew that Momotaro was no common child. He had been sent from heaven,
and he believed that all the ogres and demons could not harm him. So at
length the old man gave his consent, saying: "Go, Momotaro, slay the
ogres and bring peace to the land."

When the old woman had given Momotaro a number of rice-cakes the youth
bade his foster-parents farewell, and started out upon his journey.

While Momotaro was resting under a hedge eating one of the rice-cakes,
a great dog came up to him, growled, and showed his teeth. The dog,
moreover, could speak, and threateningly begged that Momotaro would
give him a cake. "Either you give me a cake," said he, "or I will kill

When, however, the dog heard that the famous Momotaro stood before
him, his tail dropped between his legs, and he bowed with head to the
ground, requesting that he might follow "Son of a Peach," and render to
him all the service that lay in his power.

Momotaro readily accepted this offer, and after throwing the dog half a
cake they proceeded on their way.

They had not gone far when they encountered a monkey, who also begged
to be admitted to Momotaro's service. This was granted, but it was some
time before the dog and the monkey ceased snapping at each other and
became good friends.

Proceeding upon their journey, they came across a pheasant. Now the
innate jealousy of the dog was again awakened, and he ran forward
and tried to kill the bright-plumed creature. Momotaro separated the
combatants, and in the end the pheasant was also admitted to the little
band, walking decorously in the rear.

At length Momotaro and his followers reached the shore of the
North-eastern Sea. Here our hero discovered a boat, and after a good
deal of timidity on the part of the dog, monkey and pheasant, they all
got aboard, and soon the little vessel was spinning away over the blue

After many days upon the ocean they sighted an island. Momotaro bade
the bird fly off, a winged herald to announce his coming, and bid the
ogres surrender.

The pheasant flew over the sea and alighted on the roof of a great
castle and shouted his stirring message, adding that the ogres, as a
sign of submission, should break their horns.

The ogres only laughed and shook their horns and shaggy red hair. Then
they brought forth iron bars and hurled them furiously at the bird. The
pheasant cleverly evaded the missiles, and flew at the heads of many

In the meantime Momotaro had landed with his two companions. He had no
sooner done so than he saw two beautiful damsels weeping by a stream,
as they wrung out blood-soaked garments.

"Oh!" said they pitifully, "we are daughters of _daimyos_, and are now
the captives of the Demon King of this dreadful island. Soon he will
kill us, and alas! there is no one to come to our aid." Having made
these plaints the women wept anew.

"Ladies," said Momotaro, "I have come for the purpose of slaying your
wicked enemies. Show me a way into yonder castle."

So Momotaro, the dog, and the monkey entered through a small door in
the castle. Once inside this fortification, they fought tenaciously.
Many of the ogres were so frightened that they fell off the parapets
and were dashed to pieces, while others were speedily killed by
Momotaro and his companions. All were destroyed except the King, and he
resolved to surrender, and begged that his life might be spared.

"No," said Momotaro fiercely. "I will not spare your wicked life. You
have tortured many innocent people and robbed the country for many

Having said these words he gave the Demon King into the monkey's
keeping, and then proceeded through all the rooms of the castle, and
set free the numerous prisoners he found there. He also gathered
together much treasure.

The return journey was a very joyous affair indeed. The dog and the
pheasant carried the treasure between them, while Momotaro led the
Demon King.

Momotaro restored the two daughters of _daimyos_ to their homes,
and many others who had been captives on the island. The whole
country rejoiced in his victory, but no one more than Momotaro's
foster-parents, who ended their days in peace and plenty, thanks to the
great treasure of the ogres which Momotaro bestowed upon them.




     [295:1] From "Korean Folk Tales," by Im Bang and Yi Ryuk.
     Translated by James S. Gale.

There was a merchant in Chong-ju who used to go to Quelpart to buy
seaweed. One time when he drew upon the shore he saw a man shuffling
along on the ground towards the boat. He crept nearer, and at last took
hold of the side with both his hands and pulled himself in.

"When I looked at him," said the merchant, "I found he was an old man
without any legs. Astonished, I asked, saying, 'How is it, old man,
that you have lost your legs?'

"He said in reply, 'I lost my legs on a trip once when I was
shipwrecked, and a great fish bit them off.'"

"However did that happen?" inquired the merchant.

And the old man said:

"We were caught in a gale and driven till we touched on some island or
other. Before us on the shore stood a high castle with a great gateway.
The twenty or so of us who were together in the storm-tossed boat were
all exhausted from cold and hunger, and lying exposed. We landed and
managed to go together to the castle.

"There was in it one man only, whose height was terrible to behold, and
whose chest was many spans round. His face was black and his eyes large
and rolling. His voice was like the braying of a monster donkey.

"Our people made motions showing that they wanted something to eat. The
man made no reply, but securely fastened the front gate. After this
he brought an armful of wood, put it in the middle of the courtyard,
and there made a fire. When the fire blazed up he rushed after us and
caught a young lad, one of our company, cooked him before our eyes,
pulled him to pieces and ate him. We were all reduced to a state of
horror, not knowing what to do. We gazed at each other in dismay and

"When he had eaten his fill, he went up into a verandah and opened a
jar, from which he drank some kind of spirit. After drinking it he
uttered the most gruesome and awful noises; his face grew very red
and he lay down and slept. His snorings were like the roarings of the

"We planned then to make our escape, and so tried to open the great
gate; but one leaf was about twenty-four feet across, and so thick and
heavy that with all our strength we could not move it. The walls, too,
were a hundred and fifty feet high, and so we could do nothing with
them. We were like fish in a pot--beyond all possible way of escape. We
held each other's hands and cried.

"Among us one man thought of this plan: We had a knife and he took it,
and while the monster was drunk and asleep, decided to stab his eyes
out, and cut his throat. We said in reply, 'We are all doomed to death
anyway; let's try'; and we made our way up on the verandah and stabbed
his eyes. He gave an awful roar, and struck out on all sides to catch
us. We rushed here and there, making our escape out of the court back
into the rear garden. There were in this enclosure pigs and sheep,
about sixty of them in all. There we rushed, in among the pigs and

"He floundered about, waving his two arms after us, but not one of us
did he get hold of; we were all mixed up--sheep, pigs, and people. When
he did catch anything it was a sheep; and when it was not a sheep it
was a pig. So he opened the front gate to send all the animals out.

"We then each of us took a pig or sheep on the back and made straight
for the gate. The monster felt each, and finding it a pig or a sheep,
let it go. Then we all got out and rushed for the boat.

"A little later he came and sat on the bank and roared his threatenings
at us. A lot of other giants came at his call. They took steps of
thirty feet or so, came racing after us, caught the boat and made it
fast; but we took axes and struck at the hands that held it, and so got
free at last and out to the open sea.

"Again a great wind arose, and we ran on to the rocks and were all
destroyed. Every one was engulfed in the sea and drowned; I alone got
hold of a piece of boat-timber and lived. Then there was a horrible
fish from the sea that came swimming after me and bit off my legs. At
last I drifted back home and here I am.

"When I think of it still, my teeth are cold and my bones shiver. My
Eight Lucky Stars are very bad, that's why it happened to me."




     [299:1] From "The Myths of the North American Indians," by
     Lewis Spence.

In bygone times it was customary for a hunter's squaw to accompany her
husband when he sought the chase. A dutiful wife on these occasions
would carry home the game killed by the hunter and dress and cook it
for him.

There was once a chief among the Iroquois who was a very skilful
hunter. In all his expeditions his wife was his companion and helper.
On one excursion he found such large quantities of game that he built a
wigwam at the place, and settled there for some time with his wife and

One day he struck out on a new track, while his wife followed the path
they had taken on the previous day, in order to gather the game killed
then. As the woman turned her steps homeward after a hard day's work
she heard the sound of another woman's voice inside the hut. Filled
with surprise she entered, but found to her consternation that her
visitor was no other than a Stone Giantess.

(The Stone Giants were a strange and terrible race, whose bodies were
all fashioned of solid stone; they once attacked the Iroquois, meaning
to exterminate them completely, but were defeated with the help of the
West Wind.)

To add to her alarm, she saw that the creature had in her arms the
chief's baby. While the mother stood in the doorway, wondering how she
could rescue her child from the clutches of the giantess, the latter
said in a gentle and soothing voice: "Do not be afraid; come inside."

The hunter's wife hesitated no longer, but boldly entered the wigwam.
Once inside, her fear changed to pity, for the giantess was evidently
much worn with trouble and fatigue. She told the hunter's wife, who
was kindly and sympathetic, how she had travelled from the land of the
Stone Giants, fleeing from her cruel husband, who had sought to kill
her, and how she had finally taken shelter in the solitary wigwam. She
besought the young woman to let her remain for a while, promising to
assist her in her daily tasks. She also said she was very hungry, but
warned her hostess that she must be exceedingly careful about the food
she gave her. It must not be raw or at all underdone, for if once she
tasted blood she might wish to kill the hunter and his wife and child.

So the wife prepared some food for her, taking care it was thoroughly
cooked, and the two sat down to dine together. The Stone Giantess knew
that the woman was in the habit of carrying home the game, and she now
declared she would do it in her stead. Moreover, she said she already
knew where it was to be found, and insisted on setting out for it at
once. She very shortly returned, bearing in one hand a load of game
which four men could scarcely have carried, and the woman recognized in
her a very valuable assistant.

The time of the hunter's return drew near, and the Stone Giantess bade
the woman go out and meet her husband and tell him of her visitor. The
man was very well pleased to learn how the newcomer had helped his
wife, and he gave her a hearty welcome. In the morning he went out
hunting as usual. When he had disappeared from sight in the forest, the
giantess turned quickly to the woman and said:

"I have a secret to tell you. My cruel husband is after me, and in
three days he will arrive here. On the third day your husband must
remain at home and help me to slay him."

When the third day came round the hunter remained at home, obedient to
the instructions of his guest.

"Now," said the giantess at last, "I hear him coming. You must both
help me to hold him. Strike him where I bid you, and we shall certainly
kill him."

The hunter and his wife were seized with terror when a great commotion
outside announced the arrival of the Stone Giant, but the firmness
and courage of the giantess reassured them, and with something like
calmness they awaited the monster's approach. Directly he came in
sight, the giantess rushed forward, grappled with him, and threw him to
the ground.

"Strike him on the arms!" she cried to the others. "Now on the nape of
the neck!"

The trembling couple obeyed, and very shortly they had succeeded in
killing the huge creature.

"I will go and bury him," said the giantess. And that was the end of
the Stone Giant.

The strange guest stayed on in the wigwam till the time came for the
hunter and his family to go back to the settlement, when she announced
her intention of returning to her own people.

"My husband is dead," said she; "I have no longer anything to fear."

Thus, having bid them farewell, she departed.



_Giant gods and demigods loom large in the myths of every land--in
India, China and Arabia, as well as Greece and Scandinavaia. Many
records follow of "real" giants, during the seven or eight thousand
years since the first flashes of history. But it needs to be stated at
once that here, as in many other matters, exactness of facts is a very
modern quality._

_Thus, when Pliny tells us that Gabbara, whom the Emperor Claudius
brought from Arabia, was nine feet, nine inches tall, we can only be
sure that he was probably the largest human being in Rome at that time.
And a suspicious number of these early tall men were seen through the
mist of reverence due to kingly station and power._

_A notable company these king-giants would make: Sesochris of Egypt,
perhaps 4000 B. C., who "passed for a giant"; King Saul, the gigantic
youth of the tribe of Benjamin chosen by lot to reign over Israel;
Maximinus, Thracian shepherd, fierce gladiator, and then savage Emperor
of Rome, who, Capitolinus declares, was over eight feet tall, wore his
wife's bracelet for a finger-ring, could break a horse's jaw with his
fist or outpull a chariot team, and was in the habit of draining a
six gallon amphora of wine and consuming forty pounds of meat a day;
Harold Hardrada, Viking rover, Mediterranean conqueror, and King of
Norway, whose height was "five ells" (ten feet!); Emperor Maximilian of
Germany, and many another._

_A regiment of formidable warriors would follow these rulers, such as
the huge grenadiers of King Frederick William of Prussia and of Peter
the Great. The Elector of Brandenburg, too, had in the 16th Century a
famous soldier named Michel, reputed to be eight feet tall--a worthy
descendant of that giant Swabian, Ænother, renowned in the army of
Charlemagne, who swam rushing rivers dragging his horse after him,
looked down upon his enemies as "little frogs," and would spit several
at once like birds on his weapon._

_Frederick William developed a theory that he could establish a new
race of physical marvels by intermarrying his huge guards with women of
phenomenal size, and he used to busy himself greatly over such matches._

_He had little success. The giant as a fighter passed swiftly away
before cannon, muskets and pistols. It was not long before he was
merely a prodigy to draw the curious crowd._



Let us agree, arbitrarily, that people of from six to seven feet in
height are only very tall men, but that those who exceed the seven-foot
mark may fairly be called giants. During the last two hundred years
there have been over a hundred men and women, figuring in the public
eye, who have exceeded seven feet. Probably twenty-five of these
have had a height of eight feet or over. In spite of statements in
advertisements and handbills and newspapers, even in encyclopædias,
there does not seem to have been any human being measured by scientific
methods who reached nine feet.

To be sure, one may read in the histories and biographies that the
Roman Emperors Maximinus and Jovianus, and Charlemagne, and Emperor
Maximilian of Germany were eight-and-a-half or nine feet. But one
cannot measure even live Emperors, unfortunately, much less long dead
ones. Many a traveller asserted that he had seen with his own eyes
scores of Patagonian savages ranging from nine to eleven feet; yet as
soon as careful measurements were made these dwindled to a maximum
of something under seven. And the vast number of "giants' bones" dug
up from time to time, indicating men of nine feet and upward, have
practically all been shown to be those of great animals.

One of the most notable characteristics about the giant is a certain
shrinking tendency before the camera and the tape. In the last twenty
years or so a group of alert savants, especially in France, have been
gathering authoritative biological observations upon all the subjects
possible; and it is wise to recall that only such exact scientific
records can be relied on.

For, apart from pride, there is a vast deal of money involved in a few
extra inches for the show giant. For instance, Antoine Hugo, announced
as the tallest man, died in 1917 after having made quite a fortune
in America; and it was stated that a "freak" promoter would pay a
premium of $400 an inch, for any one who could show a greater stature
than Hugo! That is to say, he would give nearly $3000 for a nine-foot
giant--besides paying the giant himself something like $1500 to $2000 a
week. Whereas Hugo's brother, who was only a couple of inches shorter
than he, was not in demand in the United States, which calls for only
"champions" in the freak class.

Apparently the tallest man on record was Machnow, a Russian, who was
born at Witebsk about 1882, was exhibited in London in 1905, in the
United States, Germany, Holland, and elsewhere, and died around the age
of thirty.

None of his family was exceptionally tall, and he himself was a normal
child up to the age of four. Then he began to grow very rapidly, not
eating a great deal, but sometimes sleeping for twenty-four hours at a
time. At fifteen he was about five feet two; at twenty-two, according
to Professor Luschau and Lissauer he was seven feet and ten inches.
When he appeared in London next year, he was credited with nine feet
three inches, and the most conservative of British encyclopædias
accepts this figure. In the show world he was universally taken as the
"champion," with a figure of eight feet seven inches. It seems beyond
question that he was over eight and a half and under nine feet; his
weight was given as 360 pounds.

The champion in 1920 was George Auger, credited with eight feet four
inches, who is an American and affects frontier costume. Then there was
the famous smiling Chinaman, Chang, who exhibited his eight feet or so
to nearly the whole world for a long period beginning about the end of
the American Civil War.

A generation back there were in the eight-foot class the Austrian
Winkelmeier; Paul Marie Elizabeth Wehde, born at Ben-Rendorf in
Thuringia, who was called "The Queen of the Amazons" and was handsome
enough to appear with success at the London Alhambra in a review called
"Babil and Bijou"; Ben Hicks, "the Denver Steeple"; and, a little
smaller, Captain Martin Van Buren Bates of Kentucky, who married in
London in 1871 Miss Anna Swan, of Nova Scotia, who was three inches
taller than himself--they were celebrated as the tallest bride and
groom in the world--scoring fourteen feet eight inches between them,
while the captain's weight of 450 pounds made him a notable figure.

Public curiosity regarding the very tall men is by no means modern.
Fifteen hundred years ago a poor giant in Rome was almost killed by
the press of people crowding about to get a sight of him; but there
was a special outbreak of such prodigies during the 18th century,
particularly in England.[308:1] Three of the most celebrated of these
were from Ireland.

     [308:1] A century earlier came "Long Meg of Westminster,"
     heroine of most extraordinary and comical exploits in one of
     the old ballads.

First came Cornelius MacGrath, born near the silver mines in Tipperary
in 1736. Neither his parents nor their other children were remarkable
in size; but when Cornelius visited Cork at the age of sixteen, a
regular mob followed him through the streets, since he towered already
head and shoulders above other men.

It appeared that the year before Cornelius was much troubled with pains
in his limbs; and thinking them rheumatic he would bathe in salt water
for a cure; but they were "growing pains" of a rare sort, for during
that year he shot up some eighteen inches.

Since this rapid growth caused him partially to lose the use of his
limbs, Dr. Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, took the youngster into his
house for a month or more, and had him treated so successfully that he
regained his powers.

"His hand was then as large as a middling-sized shoulder of mutton,
which joint he could cover with that member. The last of his shoes,
which he carried about with him, measured fifteen inches in length."

This charity of the worthy Bishop was ill rewarded. There grew
up a legend (which got into the newspapers and into Watkinson's
"Philosophical Survey of Ireland") that Bishop Berkeley, from an
inhuman scientific desire to experiment in giant-making, had taken a
poor orphan, and by some mysterious course of feeding, had caused him
to shoot up to the height of seven feet.

MacGrath kept on growing until at the age of thirty he measured seven
feet eight inches; and he created a sensation in London, Paris and
other European capitals, distracting attention from Cajanus, the great
Swede, who was taller but not so well proportioned. His body was
finally stolen by medical students of Trinity College, on the day on
which he was to have been "waked."

"This is said to have been the origin of the feud between the students
and the coal-porters of Dublin, which has continued to this day
(1868)." He was a great friend of the students, and he used to raise
by the collar of his coat and hold out at arm's length, for a long
time, a small-sized student named Hare, who was father of the late Dr.
Hare, F.T.C.D. Mr. Hare one day ran between MacGrath's legs, and the
giant strained himself in recovering his balance, from which accident
he failed in health, and ultimately died. His skeleton is preserved at
Trinity College.

Next there came a Cork man, James MacDonald, who was first exhibited,
served as a grenadier for thirty years, then became a day laborer, and
died, according to the _Annual Register_ for 1760 at the age of 117!
(which is nearly three times the average of giants, either modern or in
those--for them--unwholesome days of chivalry).

A little later Charles Byrne, who called himself O'Brien, eclipsed both
these notables. He came to London in 1782, as witness this announcement:

"IRISH GIANT. To be seen this, and every day this week, in his
large elegant room, at the cane-shop, next door to late Cox's Museum,
Spring Garden, Mr. Byrne, the surprising Irish Giant, who is allowed to
be the tallest man in the world; his height is eight feet two inches,
and in full proportion accordingly; only 21 years of age. His stay will
not be long in London, as he proposes shortly to visit the Continent.
The nobility and gentry are requested to take notice, there was a man
showed himself for some time past at the top of the Haymarket, and
Piccadilly, who advertised and endeavored to impose himself upon the
public for the Irish Giant; Mr. Byrne begs leave to assure them it
was an imposition, as he is the only Irish Giant, and never was in
this metropolis before Thursday the 11th inst. Hours of admittance
every day, Sundays excepted, from 11 till 3, and from 5 till 8, at
half-a-crown each person."

Poor Patrick had a rather unhappy time of it, in spite of the furore
attending his appearance during the short year when he stood "as the
most extraordinary production of the human species ever beheld since
the days of Goliath."

He got to drinking; and visiting the Black Horse Tavern one night was
robbed of all the fruits of his year's success--which he carried in two
banknotes, one for £700, one for £70.

Then he became so fearful that the surgeons would get his body for
dissection that he begged his remains should be thrown into the sea.
The London newspapers, during the summer of the consummation of
American Independence, were agog with wild tales of the plots to secure
the giant's body after death.

Says one: "The whole tribe of surgeons put in a claim for the poor
departed Irish Giant, and surrounded his house just as Greenland
harpooners would an enormous whale. One of them has gone so far as to
have a niche made for himself in the giant's coffin, in order to his
being ready at hand on 'the witching time of night, when churchyards

Another tale was that a rival party had equipped itself with
diving-bells to salvage the prodigy from the river, where it was to
be sunk at the Downs in twenty fathoms of water. A third said the
undertakers had been offered a bribe of 800 guineas.

Whatever the facts, the huge skeleton was for a century a treasured
possession of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, in

Spurred on by Byrne's reception, Patrick Cotter, of Kinsale, appeared
presently. He also took the name of O'Brien and admitted himself to be
a descendant of Brian Boru. He soon eclipsed all rival pretenders, and
in the twenty years before his death accumulated a competence. Many
were the stories told of him.

He used to travel in a carriage built especially for him, with a sort
of well in the floor to hold his legs. One evening the carriage was
stopped by a highwayman. As Cotter slowly rose to look out, the robber
saw this huge figure rising apparently endlessly, and, struck with
panic, he dropped his pistol, clapped spurs to his horse and galloped

Then he liked to do such things as startle the watchmen by reaching
up to a street lamp and taking off the cover to light his pipe; or to
wager £10 that he would kiss a pretty girl at an upstairs window as he
walked past.

Some half a century back a gentleman wrote to one of the magazines that
he possessed the giant's gold watch, which weighed a pound, and had his
name engraved in it, and was still in good running order.

Rather more interesting than these show giants were the corps of
gigantic guards, such as those maintained for half a century at Potsdam
by the Prussian kings. (Even James I had a door-keeper, Walter Parsons,
about seven-and-a-half feet tall; and Cromwell boasted another, Daniel,
of the same size, who became insane from religious ecstasy.) These huge
soldiers were gathered with great care, from all countries, the tallest
being seven feet six inches; and since they were well built athletic
men they made a most impressive appearance.

King Frederick William, says Voltaire, "armed with a huge sergeant's
cane, marched forth every day to review his regiment of giants. These
giants were his greatest delight, and the things for which he went to
the heaviest expense.

"The men who stood in the first rank of this regiment were none of
them less than seven feet high, and he sent to purchase them from the
farthest parts of Europe to the borders of Asia. I have seen some
of them since his death. The king, his son, who loved handsome, not
gigantic men, had given those I saw to the queen, his wife, to serve in
quality of Heiduques. I remember that they accompanied the old state
coach which preceded the Marquis de Beauvau, who came to compliment the
king, in the month of November, 1740. The late king, Frederick William,
who had formerly sold all the magnificent furniture left by his father,
never could find a purchaser for that enormous engilded coach. The
Heiduques, who walked on each side to support it in case it should
fall, shook hands with each other over the roof."

A pleasant exception in character was one Antony Payne of Cornwall, a
region always famous for tall men. (In fact the learned author of a
"History of Oxfordshire" in 1676 was strongly of the opinion that a
huge Cornish skeleton discovered in his time was that of the famous
Arabian giant celebrated by Pliny, Gabbara, and that he had doubtless
been brought to Britain by the Emperor Claudius.)

Tony Payne was reputed to measure four inches over seven feet. He was
a faithful follower of the Stowe family, as noted for intelligence,
vigor and good humor as for size, and fought with distinction in the
royal army during the Great Rebellion; after the Restoration Charles II
had his portrait painted by Kneller. One Christmas Eve he sent a boy
with a donkey to bring in wood from the forest; going out after a while
to look for him, he found the youth loitering along, whereupon Payne
picked up the loaded donkey and carried it back to the castle. He lived
to an old age and left behind him a reputation for spirit, ability and
loyalty to his ideals which seems rare enough among physical prodigies.

Many historical figures have been at least on the border line of
gianthood: William of Scotland, Edward III, Godefroy of Bouillon,
Philip the Long, Fairfax, Baron Barford, Kléber, Rochester, Charles
II's favorite, Gall, Brillat-Savarin, Benjamin Constant, the painter
David, and others were men of quite extraordinary stature--just how
tall we cannot, unfortunately, find out.

But the facts seem to be that at any one time one could come pretty
near counting on one's fingers all the people in the world who really
measured over eight feet in height.



Nor is this modest eight feet of stature, after Sir Ferumbras and
Angolafre, the most disheartening thing about giants.

For the cold-hearted biologists who have specialized on the subject
want to steal even the word and make "gigantism" signify a diseased

There is, alas! a good deal of justification for this iconoclastic
position. The exact observations are not yet numerous enough to enable
us to generalize; but it is all too evident that the vast majority of
these tallest men and women are suffering from an obscure malady, which
produces a disharmony of the bony structure, and also causes various
functional disorders. Generally the giant shows obvious signs of what
the pathologists call acromegaly--where there is a great enlargement of
head, feet and hands.

We do not know just what causes this abnormal growth. It seems usually
associated with ailments of one of the remarkable "ductless glands,"
the pituitary body, which clearly has some direct connection with the
growth of bones and tissues.

Oddly enough, many of the characteristics of the giants of legend fit
only too well with this modern theory that the giant is diseased.

Perhaps, after all, it is just as well that Roland and Launcelot and
Amadis and Guy of Warwick exterminated the poor creatures.

We can for more reasons than one afford to smile at that solemn French
Academician, who just two centuries ago worked out a table to prove the
shrinkage of the human stature since ancient times. Said M. Henrion,
here is the tabular record:

  Adam           measured 125 feet 9 inches
  Eve               "     118  "   9   "
  Noah              "     103  "
  Abraham           "      28  "
  Moses             "      13  "
  Hercules          "      10  "
  Alexander         "       6  "
  Julius Caesar     "       5  "

And he strove to convince the world that men for their wickedness
must have shrunk to nothing at all in a few more centuries; but the
appearance of the Messiah during the epoch of the Roman Emperor stopped
the degeneration and fixed the normal height at what it then was!

However, if our bodies today cannot be more than nine feet tall at the
uttermost--there is no limit on our minds. _They_ can scale the heavens
where the giant brood failed. They can be as lofty as we really desire.

It remains quite open to us moderns to be giants in intellect, and
energy, and true progress, and helpfulness toward our weaker brethren.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Book of Giants - Tales of very Tall Men of Myth, Legend, History, and Science." ***

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