The story of Jack and the Giants/Part 3
PART THE THIRD
Thereupon Jack took leave of the King, the Prince, and all the Knights of the Round Table, and set off. He went along over the hills and mountains, until he came to a large forest,Giant, thirty-five feet high, dragging along by the hair of their heads a Knight and his beautiful Lady, one inn each hand, with as much ease as if they had been a pair of gloves. Jack shed tears at such a sight, and alighting from his horse, and tying him to an oak, put on his invisible coat, under which he carried his sword off sharpness.
When he came up to the Giant, he made many strokes at him, but could not reach his body, on account of his great height. Still, he wounded his ankles in many places: at last, putting both hands to his sword, and aiming with all his might, he cut off both the Giant’s legs below the garter; so that his body tumbled to the ground.
"No," said Jack, "I cannot be at ease till I find out this monster's dwelling."
The Knight, hearing this, grew sad, and replied, "Noble stranger, it is too much to run a second hazard. This monster lived in a den under yonder mountain, with a brother of his, more fierce and cruel than himself: therefore, if you should go thither and perish in the attempt to overthrow this wicked brother, it would be heart-breaking to me and my lady; so let me persuade you to go with us, and desist from any further pursuit."
"Nay," said Jack, "even if there were twenty, I would shed the last drop of my blood before one of them should escape me. When I have done this task, I will return and visit you."
Jack had not rode a mile and a half before he came in sight of the mouth of the cavern; and nigh the entrance of it he beheld the other Giant sitting on a huge rock, with a knotted iron club in his hand, waiting for his brother. His eyes flashed like flames of ire, his face was grim, and his cheeks seemed like two flitches of bacon; the bristles of his beard were as thick rods of iron wire; and his locks of hair hung down like curling snakes. Jack alighted from his horse,
and turned him into a thicket; then he put on his invisible coat, and drew a little nearer, to behold this figure; and said softly, "O monster, are you there! it will not be long before I shall take you fast by the beard."
The Giant, all this while, could not see him, by reason of his invisible coat: then Jack came quite close to him, and struck a blow at his head with his sword of sharpness; but, missing his aim, only cut off his nose, whilst the Giant roared like loud claps of thunder. And though he rolled his glaring eyes round on every side, he could not see who had given him the blow; yet he took up his iron club, and began to lay about him like one that was mad.
"Nay," said Jack, "if this is the case, I will kill you at once." So he slipped nimbly behind him, and jumping upon the rocky seat as the Giant rose from it, he thrust his sword up to the hilt in his body. After a hideous howling, the Giant dropped down dead.When Jack had thus killed these two monsters, he searched their cave for treasure. He passed through many dark windings, which led him to a room paved with freestone; at the end of it was a boiling cauldron, and on the right hand stood a large table, where the Giants used to dine. He then came to a window secured with iron bars, through which he saw a number of wretched captives, who cried out, when they saw Jack, "Alas! alas! young man, are you come to be one among us in this horrid den?"
"I hope," said Jack, "you will not tarry here long; but pray tell me, what is the meaning of your captivity?"
"Alas!" said one, "we have been taken by the Giants that hold this cave, and are kept till they have a feast; then the fattest of us is killed and cooked. It is not long since they took three for this purpose."
"Say you so?" said Jack; "I have given them such a dinner that it will be long enough before they want more." The captives were amazed at his words. "You may believe me," said Jack; "for I have slain both the monsters, and sent their heads in a wagon to King Arthur, as trophies of my victory."
To shew them that what he said was true, he unlocked the gate, and set them all free. Then he led them to the great room, where they feasted plentifully. Supper being over, they searched the Giant’s coffers, and Jack shared the store among the captives. Jack started at sunrise to the house of the Knight, whom he had left not long before.
RESENTLY Jack reached the Knight’s castle, where he was received with the greatest joy. In honour of the hero's exploits, a grand feast was given, which lasted many days. The Knight also presented Jack with a beautiful ring, on which was engraved the Giant dragging the knight and the lady by the hair, with this motto:
"We were in sad distress, you see,
Among the guests present at the feast were five aged gentlemen, who were fathers to some of those captives who had been freed by Jack from the dungeon. These old men pressed round him with tears of joy, and returned him thanks. One day the bowl went round merrily, and every one drank to the health and long life of the gallant hero. The hall resounded with peals of laughter and joyful cries.
But, lo! in the midst, a herald, pale and breathless with haste and terror, rushed in, and told the company, that Thundel, a Giant with an immense head, having heard of the death of his two kinsmen, was come to take revenge on Jack, and that he was now near the house, and the country-people all flying before him.
At this dismal news, the very boldest of the guests trembled; but Jack drew his sword, and said, "Let him come; I have a tool to pick his teeth with. Pray, ladies and gentlemen, walk into the garden, and you shall joyfully behold the Giant’s defeat and death."
The knight’s castle was surrounded by a moat, thirty feet deep and twenty wide, over which lay a drawbridge. Jack set men to work to cut the bridge on both sides, near the middle; and then dressing himself in his invisible coat, went against the Giant with his sword of sharpness. As he came close to him, though the Giant could not see him, yet he cried out,—
"Fie! foh! fum!
"Art thou," cried the Giant, "the villain who killed my kinsmen? Then I will tear thee with my teeth, and grind thy bones to powder."
"You must catch me first," said Jack; and throwing off his invisible coat, he put on his shoes of swiftness, and began to run; the Giant following him like a walking castle, making the earth shake at every step.drew it over his great head, and by the help of a team of horses, dragged him to the edge of the moat, where he cut off the monster’s head; and before he either ate or drank, he sent it to the court of King Arthur. He then went back to the table with the company, and the rest of the day was spent in mirth and good cheer.