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THE SHEPHERD AND THE GIANTS (a Danish folktale)

Okay since all of you asked so nicely, I figured why not blog about another folktale. For the record this stroy was not written by me.

THE SHEPHERD AND THE GIANTS (a Danish folktale)

story image

Once upon a time two young boys grew up on the wild, windy moors of Jutland. They were shepherds. Jorgen, the older boy, was hard-working, but his brother, Tyge, always sought adventure, and finally he convinced Jorgen to journey into the world. "We'll go to Rome and bring our mother blessings from the pope," Tyge said. So off they went. This was summertime and the days were hot, so the boys slept then and journeyed by night. Jorgen, however, worried about robbers and other troublemakers on the roads, so sometimes they took turns, one sleeping in the woods while the other guarded, armed with a gun. One night Tyge was keeping watch, listening to animals in the brush. When the moon rose, he found himself staring at snouts and whiskers and big round eyes, but soon he was bored, so he climbed a tall tree to see what he could see. In a small valley close by, he spied a fire, and around that fire sat three enormous giants gnawing at big shanks of meat. Tyge watched a while, and finally he decided to play some tricks on them, for he did not much like giants. So he aimed his gun at one of the giant's forks and pulled the trigger. Tyge was a fine shot, and the bullet struck the fork handle so hard, the giant stabbed himself in the chin. "What have you done?" the giant shouted at the one beside him. "I didn't do a thing," protested the second giant. "You're just clumsy!" The two began to argue, their faces turning red with rage. Tyge reloaded his gun and fired, and a bullet hit the second giant's fork, which burst into pieces. He began to scream, but the third giant growled, "Stop! It's no use our fighting. We must act as one if we wish to take over this land."Tyge could not hear their words, but he could see they were planning something, so he shot at the third giant's fork, which flew out of his mouth and straight into the air and landed on the first giant's head. "Someone's playing tricks on us," the third giant roared. "I'll find out who it is," and before Tyge knew what was happening, the giant was there at his tree, scooping him into his gigantic hands and carrying him back to his brothers.

Woods

Tyge begged the giant for his freedom, but giants aren't particularly kind, and they didn't care for his pleas. But then the third giant had an idea. "We'll spare you on one condition. You sneak into the king's castle and open the courtyard gates. The princess's room is directly across the courtyard. Go to her room and open the door. We plan to kidnap her and win this kingdom." Tyge had little choice, so they all they set off for the castle. The giants lowered Tyge over the ramparts, into the palace courtyard. As he was walking toward the princess's room to open the gate, he spotted a large silver sword in a silver sheath. Beneath this was a drinking horn, engraved with this message: "Whoever drinks the wine I hold "Can wield the sword above "And if this drinker be so bold "He'll slay three giants and win a maiden's love." So Tyge drank from the horn and pulled the sword free. Then he crept to the princess's room and opened the door. The moment he saw her there, sleeping peacefully, he was enraptured, and he sighed with longing. Oh, she was so lovely; he wished to have a memento of her, and so he picked up her lace handkerchief and tore it in half, and he took one of her golden slippers that sat beside her bed. "This way I shall remember the princess, though I know a princess could never love a poor shepherd." But he knew he could slay those giants. He hurried back to the courtyard gates to greet them. "I cannot open the top of these gates," he said, "so bend down and I'll pull you inside through this part below." The first giant stooped and slipped halfway in, and before he knew what was happening, Tyge chopped off his head with the sword and pulled him inside. When the second giant stooped and leaned in, Tyge chopped off his head, too, and he greeted the third the same way. All three giants were dead!

a glass of wine

It was nearly daylight now, so Tyge hurried back to his brother, taking the sword with him, and once again they set off on their journey. They traveled through autumn and into winter. After a short stay in Rome, they set off for home. The next spring they returned to the same forest and stopped for the night at an inn. The innkeeper asked them for news of their travels, for you see, the princess had been seeking the man who had killed the giants, and every innkeeper in the land was duty bound to ask each traveler to tell his tale. "There's not much to tell," Jorgen said, "though we slept in these woods one night last summer." The innkeeper had heard too many travelers' tales, and none had amounted to much, so he barely listened. However, word reached the princess that there were two young men who had visited the forest last summer when the giants were killed, and so she set off for the inn to find out more about these fellows. When she saw Tyge, he was wearing the silver sword. "Young man," she said, her face as beautiful as Tyge had remembered, "where did you get that sword?" Tyge was certain he would be punished for stealing the sword, and he felt so afraid, and so charmed as well, he could not speak. "Guards," the princess said, "since this man will not speak, search him." When they did, they found the princess's torn handkerchief and her shoe. "Send for the king," the princess said, but Tyge saw that she was smiling, and he felt a shiver of pleasure. He thought she might not be angry after all, and then he remembered those words on the horn. Sure enough, the king arrived and settled the matter. Tyge had saved the land from giants, and for this he earned half the kingdom and the bride's hand in marriage, and they all lived happily ever after. That's the way it is with those who are brave.

Rome Piazza

Well I hope that all of you who read this story have enjoyed your reading. later.

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