Monday 3 June 2024

RESEARCH JEWELS - Jack the Giant Killer


Growing up as part of a large Cornish family, evidence of giants, fairies and mermaids was part of my everyday life. I knew giants existed because I'd touched the giant's heart stone on St Michaels Mount many times. 

Recent research of traditional local legends and myths has thrown up a massive treasure trove of wonderful stories so, I thought I'd do a condensed version of some of them here. Jack and the Giant Killer is one of the better known...

In the days when giants roamed the moors and beaches of Cornwall, there lived a boy named Jack. Jack could swim and wrestle better than any other boy for miles around.

At the same time, on a small island called St Michaels Mount, lived an evil giant called Cormoran. He was twenty feet high and as wide as three men. 

The people were terrified when he waded over to their village looking for food, they ran and hid in their houses. Cormoran laughed as he stole their cattle and sheep and wrecked anything in his path. 

    But Jack was as brave as he was strong. And when the giant destroyed his parents farm and stole his pet pig, Pinkie, he knew it was time to free the villagers of this menace. One moonless night, he swam to the giant's island. The waves were high and the water icy cold, but Jack swam on. 

He heard the giant snoring in his cave, so just outside, Jack dug a pit. He worked all night and dug it deep and wide. Then he covered it with branches and stones. As the sun rose over the sea, Jack took his horn and gave one long, loud, blast.

    An angry Cormoran stumbled from his cave and saw Jack. 'You disturbed my sleep, boy. I'll boil you for my breakfast.'
    'You'll have to catch me first,' Jack said, and he ran and hid behind the rocks and watched.
    In a rage, the giant lumbered after him, but as soon as he stepped onto the branches of the pit - he fell through and was killed. Jack rescued Pinkie, his pig, and swam back to shore.

    He was now a hero. The villagers celebrated and gave him a belt with letters of gold saying: Here's the brave Cornishman, who slew the giant Cormoran.

Jack went on to have more adventures, slaying more giants in the most gruesome of ways - but I'll leave that for another time. 😊

1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks for the story and the illustrations. A useful message to all holidaymakers to behave themselves when in Cornwall.