Historical Children's Literature Collection

Jack the giant killer [unknown] [1840]

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Li* s
In the reign of the famous King Arthur, there lived near
the Land's End of England, in the county of Cornwall, a
worthy farmer who had an only son named Jack. Jack
was a boy of a bold temper; he took pleasure in hearing or
reading stories of wizards, conjurors, giants, and fairies ;
and used to listen eagerly while his father talked of the
brave knights of King Arthur's round table.
In those days there lived on St. Michael's Mount of
Cornwall, which rises out of the sea at some distance from
the mainland, a huge giant.
Jack therefore took a horn, a shovel, a pick-axe, and a
dark lantern ; and early in a long winter's evening, he
swam to the mount. There he fell to work at once, and
before morning, he had dug a pit twenty-two feet deep, and
almost as many broad. He covered it at the top with sticks
and straw, and strewed some of the earth over them, to make
it look just like solid ground- He then blew such a loud
and long tantivy, that the giant awoke, and came towards
Jack, roaring like thunder—" You saucy villain, you shall
pay dearly for breaking my rest. I will broil you for my
He had hardly spoken these words, when, advancing one
step further, he tumbled headlong into the pit, and his fall
shook the very mountain.
The giant now tried to rise, but Jack struck him a biow
on the crown of the head with his pick-axe, which killed
him at once.
A giant kept an enchanted castle in the midst of a lonely
wood. As Jack was taking a journey to Wales, he passed
through this wood, and sat down by the side of a pleasant
fountain, and fell asleep. The giant came to the fountain
for water, and found Jack there. He lifted him up, and
laid him gently upon his shoulder; but as he passed through
the thicket, the rustling of the leaves waked Jack ; and he
was sadly afraid when he found himself in the clutches of
Blunderbore. The giant took him into a large room, where
lay the hearts and limbs of persons that had been lately
killed; and he 'told Jack with a horrid grin, that men's
hearts, eaten with pepper and vinegar, were his nicest food.
He locked Jack tip in that room, while he went to fetch
another giant to enjoy a dinner of Jack's flesh wih him.
t( Now," thought Jack, " either my death or freedom is
at hand." There were two strong cords in the room. Jack
made a large noose with a slipknot at the end of both these,
and as the giants were coming through the gates, he threw
the ropes over their heads. He then made the other ends
fast to a beam in the ceiling, and pulled with all his might
till he had strangled them. Jack next took a bunch of keys
from the pocket of Blunderbore, and went into the castle
again. He found three ladies tied up by the hair of their
heads, and almost starved to death. They told him that
their husbands had been killed by the giants.
 " Ladies," said Jack, I have put an end to the monster
and his wicked brother, and I give you this castle and all
the riches it contains."
Jack went further on his journey, and met King Arthur's
only son, who was travelling into Wales to deKver a beautiful lady from the power of a magician. Jack saw the prince
had no servants with him, and begged leave to attend him.
The prince gave his last penny to an old woman, and,
turning to Jack, said, " How are we to get food for ourselves?" " Leave that to me, sir," said Jack, "I will
provide for my prince." Mght now came on. "Sir,"
said Jack, " be of good heart; two miles farther there lives
a large giant whom I know well; he has three heads, and
will fight 500 men. My lord, leave me to manage him and
wait here till I return." Jack rode on to the gates of the
castle, and gave a loud knock. The giant, with a voice like
thunder, roared out, "Who is there ? " Jack said " No one
but your poor cousin Jack." "Well," said the giant,
"what news, cousin Jack?" "Dear cousin," said Jack,
" I have heavy news."    " Pooh! " said the giant,  " what
heavy news can come to me ? " " Alas," said Jack, " here
is the king's son coming with 2000 men tcf^jyJPL you, and to
destroy the castle." " Oh, cousin Jack, this is heavy news
indeed! But I have a large cellar undergroimd, where I
will hide myself, and you shall lock, bolt,*ana%ar me in,
and keep the keys till the king's son is gbiie*"
When Jack had made the giant fast, he went back and
fetched the prince, and they made themselves merry. He
then let his uncle out, who asked Jack what he should give
him as a reward for saving his castle. "I desire nothing,"
said Jack, " but the old coat and cap, with the old rusty
sword and slippers, that are hanging at your bed's head."
" You shall have them," said the giant, "for they are things
of great use: the coat will keep you invisible, the cap will
give you knowledge, the sword cut through any thing, and
the shoes are of vast swiftness."
Jack resolved not to be idle for the future; taking with
him his cap of knowledge, his sword of sharpness, his shoes
of swiftness, and his invisible coat, he went along lofty
mountains, and on the third day he came to a large forest
 He had hardly entered when he heard very dreadful shrieks,
and saw a monstrous giant dragging along by their hair a
handsome knight and his beautiful lady. Jack put on his
invisible coat, under which he carried his sword of sharpness. When he came up to the giant, he made several
strokes at him, and aiming with all his might, he cut off
both the giant's legs; the trunk of his body tumbling to the
ground, made the trees shake, and the earth itself tremble.
Jack, setting his foot upon his neck, exclaimed, "Thou
barbarous and savage wretch, behold I am come to execute
upon thee the just reward for all thy crimes;" and immediately plunged his sword into the giant's body.
The knight and his lady returned Jack their hearty
thanks for their deliverance, and invited him to their house.
"No," said Jack, "I cannot be at ease till I find out the
den that was this monster's habitation." The knight,
hearing this, replied, "Noble stranger, it is too much to
run a second hazard: this monster lived in a den under yon
mountain, with a brother of his, more cruel than himself;
therefore let me persuade you to go with us, and desist from
any further pursuit." "Nay," answered Jack, "if there
be another, even if there were twenty, I would shed the last
drop of blood in my body before one of them should escape
my fury. When I have finished this task, I will come and
pay my respects to you." He got on his horse, and went
after the dead giant's brother.
Jack had not rode a mile, before he came in sight of t; a
mouth of the cavern ; and nigh the entrance of it he saw
the other giant sitting on a block of timber, with a knotted
iron club lying by his side.
The £ iant could not see him so Jack came quite close i>
him, aid struck a blow at his head with his sword of
sharpness, but missed his aim, and only cut off his nose.
So he slipped nimbly behind him, and, jumping upon the
block of timber, as the giant rose from it, he stabbed him in
the back, when he dropped down dead.
Jack grew weary of an idle life, and set out again in
search of new adventures. At the foot of a high mountain
he knocked at the door of a very small house, and an old
man let him in. "Good father," said Jack, "can you lodge
a traveller?" " Yes," said the hermit, " I can, if you will
accept such fare as my house affords." Jack entered, and
the old man set before him some bread and meat. When
Jack had eaten as much as he chose, the hermit said, "My
son, I know you are the famous conqueror of giants: on the
top of this mountain is an enchanted castle kept by a giant
named Galligantus, who gets many knights into his castle.
Above all, I lament the hard fate of a duke's daughter,
whom they had seized, and turned her into the shape of a
deer. Many knights have tried to deliver her, yet none
have been able to do it, by reason of two fiery griffins, who
guard the gate of the castle." Jack put on his invisible
coat, and, passing the fiery griffins, got to the castle-gate.
On it he found a golden trumpet, and underneath written:
"Whoever can this trumpet blow,
Shall cause the giant's overthrow.
Jack blew a shrill blast on the trumpet, which made the
castle vanish like smoke.   He soon killed Galligantus, and
sent his head to King Arthur.
1—The History of Cinderella.
2—The History of Tom Thumb.
3—Hare and many Friends.
4—Entertaining" Views.
5—Eobinson Crusoe*
6—Jack the Giant Killer.
7—Little Eed Eiding Hood.
8—Scenes from Nature.
9—Dame Trot.
10—Mother Hubbard.
11—Capitals of Europe.
1£—The House that Jack built.
13—Death & Burial of Cock Eobin.
14—Cock Eobin and Jenny Wren,
15—Old Man and his Ass.
16—Peter Brown.
Yorkshire J. S. Publishing & Stationery Co., Limited.


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