GIANT MISTAKE

A SANTHARIAN FAIRY-TALE

 
Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations   
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Introduction. Reading books on all kinds of heroic deeds isn't enough for the youth Sanmar, rather he wants to see the world himself. Which is why the bookworm sets out and goes adventuring. Pretty soon his courage would be tested already, for a man eating giant has occupied a pass nearby - and the land is in desperate need of a hero...

 

here was an adventurer once who set out to see the world, to find strange sights, travel the seas, fight monsters and rescue fair maidens, maybe even pay the mysterious Void a visit and what not. All that he was determined to do. He was still quite young, and his name was Sanmar.

Sanmar wasn't born on the road. Rather he used to read many a tale ever since he had learned to distinguish one letter from another. Once he had grasped the meaning of words, sentences were next, and then whole stories, and all those stories had turned into permanent companions in his life. Yet when the stories didn't seem enough anymore, he decided he wanted to experience himself what was written in all those tales, for that's how it all began his love for adventuring: by reading about heroes and hobbits and dragons and darkwinds and witches and wizards and knights and kings. Oh, and of course he also dreamed of clever schemes and cunning ploys that make the weaker ones triumph over the monsters. Thus it came that our bookworm always had a bulky tome with him on his travels, to read about where he'd be going next, what had happened there in the past, what trips looked promising to make and what vistas he couldn't afford to miss.

One day Sanmar came to an inn, where he met two fellow adventurers, Wymell and Feirt. They boasted with all kinds of things they said that they had experienced: of assaults by bandits they spoke, and retrieved artifacts, of magic potions they had tried and victorious fights against feathered wyverns. No wonder our young venturesome fellow became dizzy with excitement when he heard all those marvelous stories! And he vowed to himself that it wouldn't last long until he'd do something as bold as those two fellows had given account of. Stories would be written about his deeds!

However, the innkeeper who had overheard them was quick to smack each of the youths: the first two for their tall tales, and our bookworm for believing them.

"You lying fools!" he said to the boasting adventurers. "If you were to put your money where your mouth is, you wouldn't live another day! So hush! You don't want it on your conscience to lead another innocent soul to his demise!"

"You don't believe me, innkeeper?" Wymell burst out. His eyes gleamed with defiance. "Well, I'll prove it to you! Ever heard of the giant from Caeymloch Pass?"

"Sure," the innkeeper nodded. "It's not far from here. But make no mistake, my dear friend: There is a giant over there, this is no legend and he doesn't like humans. He'll eat you alive if you only go near him! That he has done in the past and a beanpole like you won't make much of a difference. He'll swallow you whole!"

"There you have it," Wymell replied. "That man eating went on far too long! And that's why I'll go there first thing tomorrow morning. I will return, you can take my word for it with his head! Would you please be so kind as to fix supper for me tomorrow evening to celebrate a day's work?"

The innkeeper just shook his head. He tried to talk the youth out of his ludicrous ambitions, but his decision was made. The adventurer, who was still no more than a boy, was adamant about it. Sanmar was excited too.

Well, the next day Wymell went. The hours passed. The sun rose, reigned its allotted time and then set again behind the horizon. The ordered supper? It was getting cold... Night came, but no adventurer returned.

"I can only hope the coward took his heels," the innkeeper said to the two remaining youths, Feirt and Sanmar. "For fright is the perfect remedy against any kind of folly, believe you me! Let's hope and pray the lad has his supper elsewhere right now, too distressed, too anxious to show up here again and concede defeat. If I were a betting man, I'd wager he didn't even dare approach that gruesome creature!"

To that Feirt, the second fellow who had boasted as much as the first, said: "I can't believe he left for good without confronting the giant! There must be a good reason why he has not returned, and that is: He challenged him; however, he must have perished in the attempt. I can only surmise he fought valiantly to rid the land of this horrid menace!"

The innkeeper wanted to respond, but before he could say anything, Feirt had already made up his mind: "Well, he must be avenged, and it is my turn now!" he exclaimed. "If the giant was hurt in the fight today, the better, for he'll be weak tomorrow and easier to fell. Mark my words, innkeeper: The sway of the scourge over these lands will soon be a thing of the past. Keep supper ready, for I will return!"

Said it, and the next day the second adventurer left the inn. The hours passed. The sun rose, reigned its allotted time and then set again behind the horizon. The ordered supper? It was getting cold... Night came, but no adventurer returned.

"Aye, it's just us now, lad," the innkeeper said to Sanmar the next morning. "Alas, none of these two scallywags will ever show up again here. Sad thing, wherever they might be right now: in the belly of that oversized ogre or in another inn perhaps already busy with weaving another yarn to entertain gullible customers like you who fall for it..." He pulled the young Sanmar closer and gave him advice right from his heart. "My lad, just listen to me: Go back to where you came from, enjoy reading your books! Imagination is one of the Gods' greatest gifts to men, so use it, for if you do you can fight dragons and demons and golems and giants just by turning a couple of pages. Reading doesn't get you killed!"

The young Sanmar however wanted more. His heart was set to adventuring. Now that the opportunity to prove himself presented itself so readily, he declared with all his vigor: "Don't worry about me, innkeeper, but I can't help it. I have to go and meet that giant. The others might have failed, but I will not! Perhaps I'm not as good with wielding a sword as they were, but I have my wits with me, and I know a thing or two about giants from those tomes I've read. So watch out, menace of Caeymloch Pass! Come tomorrow, no giant will be there anymore to threaten the lives of unsuspecting passers-by."

The innkeeper gave up, wiping a tear from his eye. There was no point in trying to dissuade someone who wouldn't want to see, blinded maybe by the mere brilliance of his own folly he was about to embark on. If the two missing adventurers didn't help to convince him to let it go, nothing would. He let Sanmar go with a heavy heart, prepared for the worst. And thus the youth set out on his fateful journey.


 

The Giant

View picture in full size Image description. Finally Sanmar meets the giant. Picture drawn by Faugar.

It was late morning when Sanmar arrived at Caeymloch. Indeed, there he was: the giant. The stores hadn't lied. He was enormous, fat, foul-smelling, all of that way more enormous actually, fatter and more foul-smelling than any of the tales he had read about giants suggested. The giant sat in a rocky alcove groaning and moaning, spread around him skulls and bones, which he rearranged like a bored child treated its toys.

Sanmar stepped in front of the gargantuan brute and waved at him to get his attention. "Greetings, giant! I've come to bring an important message!" he said.

The giant stood and grabbed his oak-made club, which looked like it could crush any living creature with ease. "Oooooh..." he hollered, or rather the gorge nearby made it appear as if he hollered. In fact he was just speaking as he always did, for a giant that is. "Breeeakfaaaast! Coooome and let me eaaaaat you!"

Sanmar didn't flinch a bit. Instead he gathered all his courage and climbed a rock. That way he was closer to the giant's ear, and the monster should be able to hear him better. Then he started talking: "You can have breakfast later, big one, but hear me out first!" he shouted.

The giant was surprised that his breakfast didn't want to play with him for a change. Most breakfasts first used to draw needles or "swords" as they called them , throw stones, even hurled the occasional fireball made out of thin air at him. That was the fun part for them, right? To make him go "Ohhh!" and "Ahhh!" Until he put an end to it. But this little one didn't seem to have that kind of game in mind at all. This pipsqueak seems to have some new entertainment in mind, he thought. Well, why not? So the colossus went with it. Leaning on his club he listened to what the little one had come to say.

"Dear giant," Sanmar recited from a piece of paper as loud as he could muster. For he had prepared everything he wanted to say beforehand, lest he'd made a mistake which might cost him his life. "I know you enjoy a good meal like any other, and that's just right so. Of course your taste differs from the likes of us, but that's just as it is, and who would want to question that? I'm not here to judge you." He took a deep quivering breath. "However, have you ever thought that there's more to a giant's life than eating, eating and eating? You've got long legs and could walk to the end of the world if you so chose!"

The giant looked a bit befuddled by all this unexpected talk his breakfast had decided to have with him. Besides, his stomach was growling, and it wouldn't let up. He might as well have breakfast now he pondered while picking one of his teeth with a spine he had found nearby, a remnant of a past meal.

"Listen, giant!" our adventurer went on, unperturbed by the mounting restlessness of his vis--vis. "You giants are lonesome creatures, I've read, very lonesome beings as the matter is, for there are so few of you in this world. Which isn't fair, but that's why you dread going forth and why you rather prefer to stay on one spot, isn't it? But is this all there is, I ask? Haven't you ever thought of other giants to share a good meal with?"

The giant didn't know whether he was supposed to answer this question or not. So he grunted, just in case. But in a way it made sense to him what the pipsqueak had said. It made him feel understood, appreciated, respected. The pipsqueak talk was not like those heroes who only used to shout at him, mostly just curses and threats, like "Take that!", "Die, you vile creature!" or "This will be the end of you, monster!" They always spoke of the same things and it got boring after a while. This was different, however.

Hearing the giant grunt, Sanmar nodded, taking it for approval. "I thought so!" Sanmar said. He turned over his piece of paper and continued reading from the backside.

"See, you're making a mistake if you always keep to your alcove, waiting day in day out for the next fool to come around and provide a meal!" Sanmar cleared his throat and then raised his voice. "But believe it or not, there's hope for you! I have learned that there is more of your kind up north, not too far away from here, and for a giant it's no more than half a day's journey. All these giants, and among them also a couple of giantesses, believe me, are just as lonesome as you are! Though they all stay on their spots like you do, for they don't know any better. Were they to know that another giant especially such a strong and striking one is not too far away, they'd sally forth immediately to meet him!"

The giant was amused and a loud hollow laugh blurted out of him. "Leeeet them coooome then, leeeet them coooome then!" he bellowed and clapped with his hands. He did it with such fervor that he almost brought half of the mountain down.

Sanmar was now about to deliver his final masterstroke: "Ah you see, my dear giant, nobody told them about you just yet. I would, if I only could, but I'm so tiny and weak, and for one like me this is quite a hazardous undertaking... It would last days and days until I'd get to the next best giantess up north. It would last forever until I could tell her that you're waiting here for a visit!"

The giant's face darkened in disappointment.

"But it's actually quite simple," Sanmar concluded. "Why don't you just walk up north to meet her trust me, you can't miss a giant, especially not a beauty like her!"

As sudden as the giant's face had darkened, it lit up again now. It all made sense to him. "Gooood! Gooood!" he cheered. "Meeee goooo! Meeee goooo viiiisiiiit!"

And overwhelmed by his enthusiasm he packed up his few things and thanked the pipsqueak for opening his eyes.

"It's been a pleasure to help you find your way," our little adventurer said and bowed. He was proud of himself for managing to use everything he had read about giants to his advantage and make this dreaded monster disappear in his very own way. Giants weren't that difficult to cope with after all, he mused. Lucky me, they're dumb enough, he chuckled to himself. Ah, and now stories will be written about my heroic deed!

Thus the giant set out, heading north. But of course not without having breakfast first. After all his stomach was still rumbling like rolling thunder, and he wasn't sure when he'd come across a decent traveler to satisfy his hunger.

"Eeeexcuuuuse meeee," he interrupted the bookworm's basking in his triumph. "Tiiiime foooor breeeeakfaaaast noooow. Loooong waaaalk!"

Said it and brought down his massive weapon on the poor lad. Which crushed our dear adventurer right there on the spot and then the giant ate him. For breakfast, you know.

Well, and maybe the brute indeed met someone out there and lived happily ever after thanks to the considerate advice of a pipsqueak with good intentions: a pipsqueak who had been a rather clever fellow in a way, and a prime example of foolishness in another.
 


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Fairy-tale written by by Artimidor Federkiel View Profile