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JACK THE GIANT KILLER.
IN the days when King Arthur ruled in Britain, there were many
giants in the land-huge, fierce monsters, who kept folks in con-
stant terror. It was at this time that our hero, Jack, was born.
He grew up a brave, fearless, little fellow; and before he was ten
years old, he had made up his mind to gain a name for himself by
ridding the land of some of the giants.
Of all those in Jack's part of the country, no giant was dreaded
more than one named Cormoran, who dwelt on a hill called St.
Michael's Mount, which rises out of the sea near the coast of Corn-
wall. He was so tall that when the tide was low, he could walk
through the sea from his cave over to Cornwall, and this he did
quite often-never going back without carrying along some poor
farmer's cattle or sheep.
Jack set his wits to work, and at last thought he had a plan by
which he would be able to put an end to the misdeeds of this mon-
ster. He took, one evening, a pickaxe and shovel, a lantern, and a
horn, and getting on a raft, paddled over to St. Michael's Mount.
He went to work at once and dug a deep pit in front of the giant's
cave. Next he placed sticks across the top of the pit, and on the
sticks spread straw, while over the straw he strewed loose earth
until all looked like solid ground.
By this time day had dawned; so Jack stepped back a short dis-
tance, and blew a loud blast upon his horn. It awaked Cormo-
ran, who came out to see what it meant, and when he beheld Jack
was in a great rage.
"You saucy little imp," said he "just wait a moment, and I'll
broil you for my breakfast."
With this he came running to catch Jack; but the pit was right
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JACK THE GIANT KILLER.
in his way, and the instant he set foot on the earth covering it, the
sticks broke, and down he crashed, over his head into it.
There, Mr. Cormoran," said Jack, you see it is sometimes a bad
thing to be in too much of a hurry for your breakfast."
At this the giant began to make frantic efforts to climb out, so
Jack ran up with his pickaxe and gave him a blow on the head
which killed him.
Jack returned home, and whe-. the news spread of what he had
done, the people were full of joy, and made a great hero of Jack,
giving him the title of JACK THE GIANT KILLER; while the Duke of
Cornwall made him a present of a sword and belt, upon which, in
golden letters, were the words:-
This is the gallant Cornish man
Who slew the Giant Cormoran."
But this only made Jack crave for more glory; so he started for
Wales, where the number of giants was very great indeed. One day,
as night fell, he came to a fine large house where he thought he
would ask for lodgings. He knocked at the door, and was startled
when a giant with two heads came to answer. He was civil, how-
ever, and asked Jack in, and gave him his supper and a bed; but
Jack did not trust him altogether, and made up his mind not to go
to sleep. The giant seemed to have a habit of talking to himself -
as would be natural to one having two heads-and presently he
began to sing a kind of duet, some of which Jack was able to make
out. First, one head sang, in a soft tenor voice:
Although with me he stays this night,
He shall not see the morning light."
And then the other head growled, in a deep bass:
For as he lies asleep in bed,
With my trusty club I'll smash his head."
"Oho!" said Jack, "that's your game is it, Mr. Giant? Now
for a plan to fool you."
Jack thought a moment, and then went to the fire-place, where he
CO MORANl IN THE PIT
JACK AND THE TWO-HEAL)r;D GlANT.
JAJK THE GIANT KILLER.
found a log of wood. He put this in his place in the bed, covered
it up well, and then crawled under the bed.
In the middle of the night the giant stole into the room with a
club in his hands. Drawing near the bed, he raised the club and
gave the log of wood a number of terrible whacks. Then, thinking
Jack must surely be dead, he went away.
When Jack appeared in the morning, without a sign of hurt upon
him, the giant could hardly believe his eyes.
How did you sleep ? he asked. Did anything disturb you
during the night ?"
Oh, at one time I thought I felt a rat switch me with his tail,"
said Jack, but for the rest, I slept very soundly."
The giant went to get breakfast ready; and while he was away
Jack caught sight of a leather bag in a corner of the room. He
thought of another trick to play on the giant; so he put the bag
under his coat, which was quite loose. The giant brought in two
big bowls of porridge, to which he and Jack sat down. The giant
took a spoon in each hand, and began to feed both mouths at once,
which made his porridge go pretty fast; but not any faster than
Jack's did, for he was stowing his away in the bag. The giant was
so busy feeding that he did not take much notice of Jack until he
had finished his bowl, when he looked up and was greatly surprised
to find that the little fellow had emptied his also. While he was
still wondering, Jack said:-
"'Now I'll show you something strange. I can cut off my head
or legs, or any other part of my body, and put them on again as
good as ever. Just see this, for instance." And he took a knife
and cut the bag, so that all the porridge tumbled out on the floor.
The giant's conceit had already been very much hurt at
being outdone by such a little chap as Jack, and now he lost his
wits completely. "Ods splutter my nails," said he, I can do
that myself." So he took the knife, and stuck it in where his por.
ridge was-and dropped dead on the floor.
Jack continued his journey, and fell in before long with the son
of King Arthur, who had come into Wales to deliver a lovely lady
JACK THE GIANT KILLEr.
from a magician who held her captive. Jack offered his services
and the prince was glad, of course, to accept them.
They came to the castle of a giant who had three heads, and by
his own account could whip five hundred men. Jack told the prince
to stay behind while he went to ask for lodging. He knocked loudly,
and the giant roared: "Who is there? "Only your cousin Jack
come with news," was the reply.
The giant, as Jack happened to know, had so many cousins tha
he could not keep track of them, so he said: "Well, what news,
cousin Jack?" "Dreadful news, dear cousin," said Jack. "King
Arthur is coming with ten thousand men to kill you."
The giant was really an awful coward; and, if he did have three
heads, was not gifted with very much brains. When he heard this
news he trembled so that his heads began to knock one another
very hard, at which Jack could scarcely help laughing in his face-
I should say in his faces.
"Oh dear! Oh dear! What shall I do? said the giant. "I'll
go and hide in. the cellar until they are gone. Here are my keys,
cousin. Lock me in, and let me know when it is safe to come out."
So off he went to hide, and Jack, after he had locked him up, let
the prince in. They stayed all night, and in the morning Jack
opened the giant's treasure-room, and helped the prince to a good
share of the treasure, after which he started him on his way. Then
he went and told his "cousin that the coast was clear, and took
great credit to himself for helping him to escape. The giant was
very grateful, and told Jack that he would give him something
precious for a reward. He brought forth a coat, a sword, and a
pair of shoes, and said: When you put on the coat no one can see
you, the sword will cut through anything, and with the shoes you
can run with the speed of the wind."
With the help of these useful articles, Jack and the prince soon
found the magician, and overcame him, and set the lady free. The
prince led her to his father's court, where he married her; while
Jack, for his gallantry, was made a Knight of the Round Table.
But Jack would not be idle while there were any giants left; so
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JACK THE GIANT KILLER.
fie soon set out once more to do battle against them. One day as
he passed through a wood he saw a giant dragging a knight and a
handsome lady along by their hair. Jack put on his magic coat of
darkness, and drawing his sword of sharpness, thrust it into the
giant's leg, and gave him such a wound that he fell to the ground,
upon which Jack cut his great ugly head off.
The knight and his lady invited Jack to their castle, but he said
that before he went he wished to see the giant's den.
"Oh do not go near it!" said the lady. He has a brother there
fiercer and stronger than himself."
But this only made Jack more determined to go. He found the
cave easily enough, for the giant was sitting at the mouth of it, with
a great spiked club in his hands. Jack ran up and gave him a stab
with his sword. The giant could see nobody, but began laying
blows all about with his club. Jack easily kept out of the way,
and, meanwhile, continued slashing him with his sword, until he
killed him. Then he cut off his head, and sent it along with his
brother's to the king, in a wagon-and a good big wagon-load they
Then Jack went to the castle of the knight and the lady. While
he was there the news came that Thundel, a savage giant, and a
cousin of the two others, was coming to avenge their deaths. Every-
one except Jack was filled with terror. He assured them that he
would dispose of Thundel, and gave orders that the drawbridge over
the moat around the castle should be sawn nearly through, so that
it would barely stand, and that a rope with a loop at the end should
be made ready. Then, after putting on his shoes of swiftness, he
went out to meet the giant. As soon as he came within hearing,
Jack began to taunt him, and when the giant started in chase, he
ran back to the castle and over the drawbridge, which remained
strong enough to support his light weight. But when the giant fol-
lowed, it crashed beneath him, and down he went in the water. As
soon as his head bobbed up, Jack threw the loop of the rope over
it, and drew him to the bank and cut his head off.
After spending a few days with the knight and his lady, Jack so
JACK THE GIANT KILLER.
out again. He met with an old hermit who told him of a giant
named Galligantus, who lived on a hill near by, and whose destruc-
tion would be a task worthy of him.
He is a magician," said he, and always goes about with a
great owl on his shoulder. He has an enchanted castle, in which he
holds captive a number of knights and ladies, whom, by his magic,
he has turned into beasts. The means of breaking the enchantment
is engraved on the inner doorway of the castle, and may be read by
anyone who can pass the outer gates; but these are guarded by
two griffins who dart fire from their mouths, and have destroyed all
the brave knights who have yet tried to enter. But with your coat
of darkness you can safely pass them, and once in, you will easily
manage the rest.
Jack promised to do his best, and started the next morning for
the top of the mountain. There he saw the two fiery griffins, but as
he had on his magical coat he passed between them unhurt. Then
he came to the inner doorway, where hung a golden trumpet, under
which was written :
Whoever can this trumpet blow
Shall cause the giant's overthrow."
Jack seized it and blew with all his might. It rung out loud and
clear, and the doors flew open with a crash. The giant ran trem-
bling to hide when he heard the trumpet, knowing that his enchant-
ments would no longer avail him. But Jack found him, and with
his sword of sharpness quickly put an end to him. The captives
were all changed back to their own shapes when the trumpet sounded,
and now Jack went through the castle and set them free. Among
them there was a beautiful young lady, the daughter of a duke, and
Jack thought he would see her safely to her father's castle. Upon
the way he fell deeply in love with her; and finding that she returned
his affection, he asked her father's consent to their marriage, and
it was given. King Arthur, for his great services, made him a baron,
and gave him estates and a castle, in which he and his fair wife
lived long in content and happiness.
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