The story of Jack and the Giants/Part 2

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The story of Jack and the Giants
Part the Second

PART THE SECOND.


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ACK travelled on until he met with King Arthur's only son, who was seeking all through Wales for a very beautiful lady that was enchanted. Jack asked leave to be the Prince’s attendant, and the Prince granted his request.

After a long day's journey, when night drew on, the Prince was anxious to secure a lodging, but they had no means to hire one, for both the prince and Jack had spent all their money; but Jack said,—

"Never mind, master, we shall do well enough, for I have an uncle who lives within two miles of this place; he is
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a huge and monstrous Giant, with three heads; he’ll fight five hundred men in armour, and make them flee before him."

"Alas!" quoth the Prince, "what shall we do there? he’ll certainly chop us up at a mouthful. Nay, we are scarce enough to fill his hollow tooth."

"It is no matter for that," quoth Jack; "I myself will go before, and prepare the way for you; therefore tarry and wait till I return."

Jack then rode off full speed, and coming to the gate of the castle, he knocked so loud that the echo from the neighbouring hills resounded like thunder.

The Giant, terribly vexed, roared out, "Who’s there?" "None but your poor cousin Jack," answered he.

"What news with my poor cousin Jack?"

He replied, "Dear uncle, heavy news."

"God wot," quoth the Giant, "prithee what heavy news can come to me? I am a Giant with three heads; and besides, thou knowest I can fight five hundred men in armour, and make them fly like chaff before the wind."

"Oh, but," quoth Jack, "here’s the Prince a-coming, with a thousand men in armour, to kill you, and destroy all that you have!"

"Oh, cousin Jack," said the Giant, "this is heavy news indeed! I will immediately run and hide myself, and thou shalt lock, bolt, and bar me in, and keep the keys till the Prince is gone."

Jack joyfully complied with the Giant’s request; and fetching his master, they feasted and made themselves merry, whilst the poor Giant lay trembling in a vault underground.

In the morning, Jack finished the Prince with a fresh supply of gold and silver, and then sent him three miles forward on his journey, as he would then be pretty well out of the smell of the Giant. Jack then returned, and liberated the Giant from the vault, who asked what he should give him for saving the castle.

"Why," quoth Jack, "I desire nothing but the old coat and cap, together with the old rusty sword and slippers which are at your bed’s head."

Quoth the Giant, "Thou shalt have them; and pray keep them for my sake, for they are things of excellent use: the coat will keep you invisible, the cap will furnish you with knowledge, the sword cuts asunder whatever you strike, and the shoes are of extraordinary swiftness. These may be serviceable to you: therefore take them, with all my heart."

They soon arrived at the dwelling of the beautiful lady, who was under the power of a wicked Magician. She received the Prince with fair words, and made a noble feast for him; when it was ended, she arose, and wiping her mouth with a fine handkerchief, said, "My Lord, you must shew me this handkerchief to-morrow, or lose your head." She then went out of the room, taking the handkerchief with her.

The Prince went to bed right sorrowful; but Jack put on his cap of knowledge, which told him that the lady was forced, by the power of the enchantment, to meet the wicked Magician every night in a forest.
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Jack now put on his coat of darkness and his shoes of swiftness, and went to the forest, where he saw the lady give the handkerchief to the Magician. Whereupon Jack, who was surrounded by a host of evil spirits, with his sword of sharpness, at one blow cut off his head, and regained the handkerchief for the Prince; the enchantment was ended in a moment, and the lady restored to her virtue and goodness.

She returned with the Prince to the court of King Arthur, where they were received with welcome; and the valiant Jack was made one of the Knights of the Round Table.

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