IN the days when King Arthur ruled in Britain, there were many giants in the land--huge, fierce monsters, who kept folks in constant 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. picture story of jack" hspace="10" src="http://www.enread.com/upimg/allimg/20070113/1410040.jpg" width="150" align="left" vspace="10" border="0" />
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 Cornwall. 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 monster. 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 distance, and blew a loud blast upon his horn. It awaked Cormoran, 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 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 when 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, however, 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 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 a 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 as 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 porridge was--and dropped dead on the floor.
Tags: Giant Jack Part Killer earth loose