Astonishing and delightful history of Jack and the giants

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Astonishing and delightful history of Jack and the giants  (c. 1813–1820) 




Delightful History










JACK and the GIANTS.


Of his birth and parentage, and how he
discoursed with a country Vicar, when
he was but seven years old.

IN the reign of King Arthur, near the land’s end of England, namely, the country of Cornwall, there lived a wealthy farmer, who had one only son, commonly known by the name of Jack the Giant killer. He was brisk, and of a (illegible text)ely ready wit; so that whatever he could not perform by force and strength he compleated by ingenious wit and policty. Never was any person heard of that could worst him, nay the very learned many times he baffled by his cunning, sharp, ready inventions.

For instance, when he was no more than seven years of age, his father, the farmer, sent him into the field, to look after his oxen, which were then feeding in a pleasant pasture: a country vicar by chance one day coming across the field, called to Jack,and asked him several questions; in particular, How many commandments there were? Jack told him, There were nine. The parson replied, There are ten. Nay (quoth Jack) master parson, you are out in that, it is true there were ten, but you broke one of them with your maid Margery. The parson replied, Thou art an arch wag Jack; Well master parson (quoth Jack) you have asked me one question, and I have answered it; I beseech you, let me ask you anotherr Who made these oxen? The parson replied, God made them child. You are out again (quoth Jack) for God made them bulls, but my father, and his man Hobson made oxen of them. These are the witty answers of Jack. The parson finding himself toll’d, trudged away, leaving Jack in a fit of laughter.


How a Giant inhabited the Mount of
Cornwall, and of the great spoil which
he made in the neighbouring lands.

IN those days the Mount of Cornwall, was swept by a hug and monstrous Giant, of eighten feet in height and about three yards is compass, of a fierce and grim countenance, the terror of all the neighbouring towns and villages; his habitation was in a cave, in the midst of all the mount, neither would he suffer any living creature to inhabit near him: His feeding was upon other men’s cattle which often became his prey for whensoever he had occasion for food, he would wade over the main land, where he would furnish himself with whatever he could find. For the people at his approach would forsake their habitations; then did he seize on their cows and oxen, of which he would make nothing to carry over on his back half a dozen at a time; and as for their sheep and hogs, he would tie them round his waste like a bunch of bandeliers. This he for many years had practised in Cornwall, which was much impoverished by him.

But one day Jack coming to the town-hall, when the magistrates were sitting in consultation about the Giant, he asked them, what reward they would give to any person that would destroy him? They answered, he should have all the Giant’s treasure in recompence, Quoth Jack then I myself will undertake the work.


How Jack slew this monstrous Giant,
and from that time was called Jack the
Giant killer.

JACK having undertaken his task, he furnishes himself with a horn, shovel, and pick-ax, and over to the Mount he goes, in the beginning of a dark winter evening, where he fell to work, and before morning had digged a pit, two and twenty feet deep, and almost as broad, and covered the same over with long sticks and straws; then strowing a little of the mould upon it, it appeared like the plain ground.

This done, Jack places himself on the contrary side of the pit, just about the dawning of the day, when putting his horn to his mouth, he then blew Tan Twivie, Tan Twivie. This unexpected noise roused the Giant, who came roaring towards Jack, crying out, You incorrigible villain! are you come here to disturb my rest; you shall dearly pay for it; I satisfaction I will have, and it shall be this; I will take you whole and broil you for my breakfast. Which words were no sooner out of his mouth, but he tumbled head long into this deep pit, whose heavy fall made the very foundation of the Molunt to shake.

Oh! Giant, quoth Jack, where are you now? faith you are gotten into Lob’s pond, where I will plague you for your threatening words What do you think now of broiling me for your breakfast? will no other diet serve but poor Jack. Thus having tantalized the Giant for a while, he gave him a most weighty knock upon the crown of the head with his pick ax, that he immediately tumbled down, and giving a most dreadful groan, died. This done, Jack threw the earth in upon him, and so buried him? then going and searching the cave, he found a great quantity of treature.

Now when the magistrates, who employed him, heard the work was over, they sent for him, declaring, that he should henceforth be called Jack the Giant-killer. And in honor thereof, they presented him with a sword, together with a fine embroidered belt, on which these words were wrote in letters of gold.

Here’s the right valiant Cornish man,
Who slew the Giant Cormilian.


How Jack was surprised by a Giant while he was asleep, and of the danger that he went through before he obtained his liberty, &c,

THE news of Jack's victory was soon spread over all the westren part, so that another huge Giant named Blundeboar, hearing of it, vowed to be revanged on Jack, if it be ever was his fortune to light on him. This Giant kept an enchanted castle, situated in the midst of a loansome wood. Now Jack about for months after walking near to the borders of the said wood, in his journey towards Wales he grew weary, and thereafore sat himself down by the side of a pleasent fountain, where a dead sleep suddenly seized on him: at which the Giant coming there for water, found him, and by the lines written on his belt, knew him to be Jack that killed his brother Giant; and therefore, without making any words, he throws him upon his shoulder, for to carrry him to his enchanted castle.

Now as they passed through a thicket the mffling of the bows awakned poor Jack, who finding himself in the clutches of the Giant, was strongly surprised, yet it was but the beginning of his terror, for at entering within the first walls of the castle, he beheld the ground all covered with bones and sculls of dead men. The Giant telling Jack, "that his bones would enlarge the number that he saw. This said, he brought him into a large parlour, where he beheld the bloody quarters of some that were lately slain, and in the next room were hearts and livers; which the Giant to terrify Jack told him, “that men’s hearts and livers were the choicest of his diet, for he commonly, as he said, eat them with pepper and vinegar; adding, that he did not question but his heart would make him a dainty bit." This said, he locks up poor Jack in an upper room, leaving him there, while he went to fetch another Giant, living in the same wood that he might be partaker of the pleasure which they would have in the destruction of poor Jack.

Now, while he was gone, dreadful shrieks and cries affrighted Jack, especially a voice which continually cry’d.
Do what you can to get away,
Or you'll became the Giant prey,
He’s gone to fetch his brother, who,
Will kill, likewise devour you too.

This dreadful noise so amazed poor Jack, that he was ready to run distracted then going to the window, a for off, he saw the two Giants coming together. Now quoth Jack to himself, my death or diliverance it at and.

There was strong cords in the room by him of which he takes two, at the end of which he made a noose; and while the Giant was unlocking the iron gate, he threw the rope over each of their heads, and then drawing the other end a-cross the beam, where he pulled with all his main strength until he had throtled them; and then fastening the rope to the beam, he turned towards the window, where he beheld the two Giants to be black in their faces: then sliding down by the rope he came close to their heads, where the helpless Giant could not defend themselves; and drawing out his sword, he slew them both and delivered himself from their intended cruelty: then taking the bunch of keys, he unlock’d the rooms, where upon a strick search, he found three fair ladies tied by the hair of the their heads, almost starved to death, who told Jack that their husbands had been slain by the Giant and that they were kept many days without food; in order to force them to feed upon the flesh of their husbands; which they could not if they were starved to death. Sweet ladies (quoth Jack) I have destroyed this monster, and his brutish brother, by which I have obtained your liberties. This said, he presented them with the keys of the castle, and so proceeded on his journey for Wales.


How Jack traveled into Flintshire, and
what happened.

JACK having but very little money, thought it prudent to make the best of his way by travelling as fast as he could, but losing his road was benighted and could not get a place of entertainment, until he came to a valley, placed between two hills, where stood a large house in a loansome place, and by reason of his present condition he took courage to knock at the gate; where, to his great surprise, there came forth a, monstrous Giant, having two heads; yet he did not seem so fiery as the other had been, for he was a Welsh Giant, and what he did was by private and secret malice, under the false shew of friendship; for Jack telling his condition, he bid him welcome, shewing him a room with a bed in it, whereupon he might take his nights repose: therefore Jack undresses himself, and, as the Giant was walking away to another apartment, Jack heard him mutter forth these few words to himself.

Tho’ here you lodge with me this night,
You shall not see the morning light,
My club shall dash your brains out quite.

Say’st thou so (quoth Jack) that is like one of your Welsh Tricks, yet I hope to be cunning enough for you. The getting out of bed, he put a billet in in his stead, and hid himself in a corner of the room. In the dead time, of the night, the Welsh Giant came with his great knotty club, and struck several heavy blows upon the bed where Jack had laid the billet; and then returned to his own chamber supposing he had broken all the bones in his skin.

In the morning Jack gave him hearty thanks for his lodging. The Giant said to him, How have you rested? Did you not feel something in the night? No nothing (quoth Jack) but a rat, which gave me three or tour slaps with her tail. Soon after the Giant arose, and went to breakfast with a bowl of hasty-pudding. containing near four gallons, giving Jack the like quantity; who being loath to let the Giant know he could not eat with him, got a large leathern bag, putting it very artfully under his loose coat, into which he secretly conveyed his pudding, telling the Giant, he could shew him a trick: then taking a large knife, he ripped open the bag, which the Giant supposed it to be his belly, and out came the hasty-pudding. At which the Welch Giant seeing, cried out, Cuts plut, hur can do that hurtself: then taking the sharp knife, he ripped up his own belly from the bottom to the top and out droppet his tripes and trollybuds, so that hur fell down for dead; thus Jack outwitted the Giant, and proceded forward on his journey.


How King Arthur’s son going to seek fortune, met with Jack; how they travelleng together, and of the wonderful things he performed.

KING Arthur’s son only desired of his father to furnish him with a certain sum of money, that he might go and seek his fortune in the principality of Wales, where a boutiful lady lived whom he heard was possessed with seven evil spirits; but the king his father advised him utterly against it, yet he would not be persuaded from it? so that he granted what he requested which has one horse loaded with money, and another for himself to ride on: thus he went forth with out any attendances.

Now, after several days travel, he came to a market-town in Wales, where he beheld a large concourse of people gathered together: the king’s son demanded the reason of it, and was told, That they had arrested a corpse for many large sums of mony, which the deceased owned when he died. The king’s son replied, It is a pity that creditors should be so cruel; go bury the dead, said he, and let his creditors come to my lodging, and their debts shall be discharged. Accordingly they came, and in such great numbers, that before night he had almost left himself moneyless.

Now Jack the Giant-killer being there, and seeing the generosity of the King’s son. he was taken with him, and desired to be his servant; it was agreed upon, and the next morning they set orward, when riding out at the town’s end, an old woman call’d after him crying out. He owed me two-pence these several years; pray Sir, pay me as well at the rest. He puts his hand into his pocket, and give it her, it being the last he had left; then the king’s son turning to Jack, said, I cannot tell how I shall subject in my intended journey. For that, quoth Jack, take you no thought nor care, let me alone, I was rant you, we will not want.

Now Jack having a small spell in his pocket which served at noon to give them a refreshment, which done, they had not one penny left between them: the afternoon they spent in travel and familiar, friendly discourse, till the sun began to grow low, at which time, the king’s son said, Jack, since we have no money, where can we think to lodge this night? Jack replied, Master, we’ll do well enough for I have an uncle lives within two miles of this place; he’s a huge and monstrous Giant, with three heads; he’ll fight five hundred men in armour, and make them fly before him. Alas! quoth the kings son, what shall we do there? he’ll certainly chop us both at a mouthful! nay, we are scarce enough to fill one of his hollow teeth. It is no matter for that, quoth Jack, I myself will go before, and prepare the way for you; therefore tarry here, and wait my return.

He waits, and Jack rides full speed, when coming to the gate of the castle, he knocked with such a force that he made all the neighbours hills resound. The Giant, with a voice like thunder roared out, Who’s there; he was answered None but your poor cousin Jack. Quoth he, What news with my poor cousin Jack. He repli'd, Dear uncle, heavy news got wot. Prithee what heavy news can come to me? I am a Giant, and with three heads? and besides thou knowest I can fight five hundred men in armour, and make them fly like chaff before the wind. O! but quoth Jack, here's the kings son coming with a thousand men in armour to kill you, and to destroy all that you have, Oh! cousin Jack, this is heavy news indeed: I have a large vault under ground, where I will immediately hide myself, and then thou shalt lock, bolt and bar me in, and keep the keys till the king's son is gone.

Now Jack having secured the Giant, he soon returned and fetched his master, and were both heartily merry with the wine and other danties which were in the house: so that night they rested in very pleasant lodgings, whilst the poor uncle, the Giant lay trembling in the vault underground.

Early in the morning Jack furnihsed his master with a fresh supply of gold and silver, and then set him three miles forward on his journey; concluding he was then pretty well out of the smell of the Giant, and then returned to let his uncle out of the hole: who asked Jack what he should give him in reward, as his castle was not demolished.-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 head. Quoth the Giant, thou shalt have them and pray keep them for my sake, for they are things of excellent use. The cap will furnish you with knowledge? the sword cut in sunder whatever you strike; and the shoes are of extraordinary swiftness; these may be serviceable to you, and therefore pray take them with all my heart.-Jack takes them, thanking his uncle, and so following his master.


How Jack saved his master’s life, and
how he forced the evil spirit to depart
out of the lady, &c.

JACK having overtaken him master, they soon after arrived at the lady’s house; who finding the king’s son to be a suitor she appeared a banquet for him which being ended, she wiped his mouth with her handkerchief, saying, You must shew me this to-morrow morning, or else lose your head. And with that she put it into her own bosom.

The king’s son went to his bed very sorrowful but Jack’s cap of knewledge instructed him how to obtain it. In the middle of the night she called upon her familiar sqirit to carry her to her friend lucifer. Jack soon put on his coat of darkness with his shoes of swiftness and was there as soon as her, by reason of his coat they could not see him.—When she enter’d the place, she gave the handkerchief to old lucifer, who laid it upon the shelf, from whence Jack took it, and brought it to his master, and so saved his life.

The next day she saluted the king’s son, telling him, he must shew her tomorrow morning, the lips that she kissed last that night, or lose his head. Ah! reply'd he, If you kiss none but mine. I will. 'Tis neither here nor there said she; if you do not death’s your portion.

At midnight she went as before, and was angry with lucifer for letting the handkerchief go; but now, said she, will kiss thee and he’s to shew thy lips, which she did. Jack standing near him, with his sword of sharpness, cut off the devil's head, and brought it under his invisible coat to his master, who was in bed, and laid it at the end of the bolster. In the morning when the lady came up he pull'd it out by the horns, and shewed her the devils lips which she kiss'd last.

Thus having answer’d her twice, the enchantmen broke, and the evil spirit left her at which time she appeared in all her beauty, a delightful and virtuous creature They were married the next morning in great pomp and solemnity, and soon after they returned with a numerous company to the court of King Arthur, where they were received with the greatest joy, and loud acclamations by the whole court. Jack of his many and great exploits he had done for the good of his country, was made one of the knights of the round table.

Thus we have finished the first part of this history, which now leads us to the second part, wherein you have a more full account of the many valiant and wonderful exploits which was done by the bold adventures of this great and valiant HERO, “Jack the Giant Killer.”

The end of the FIRST PART.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.