Eurmal and the Giants



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Created On 17 September 1997
Last Updated On 17 September 1997
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1997

One day, Eurmal was travelling through Giantland near the land of Prax. As he was hungry, he had put a cheese and a handful of flour in his pocket before he set off. While he was walking, he saw a bird trapped in a bush, so he reached in and pulled the bird out and put it into his pocket.

As he walked through Giantland, a great giant saw him and decided to eat him for supper. Eurmal knew he was doomed unless he could talk his way out. "Wait," he said, "don't eat me - I am too strong for you and will tear you apart as I climb out of your stomach." At this, the giant laughed and challenged Eurmal to three tests of strength.(1)

First the giant picked up a stone and threw it at a mountain, breaking the stone in two. Eurmal picked up a stone but quickly pulled out a handful of flour from his pocket and threw the flour at the mountain. As the flour hit the mountain, it seemed as though the stone had been smashed to dust. At this the giant marvelled, for Eurmal seemed to be stronger than he looked.

Second, Eurmal picked up a stone and quickly put it into his pocket, taking out the cheese. He squeezed the cheese and squeezed until water came out. The giant also picked up a stone and squeezed it until it burst, but no water came out. At this the giant shook for Eurmal seemed stronger than he was.

Third, the giant picked up a stone and threw it far, far away, so it landed many days walk. Eurmal laughed and picked up a stone, putting it in his pocket and taking out the bird. He threw this into the air and it flew away and never landed. At this the giant quaked for he was afraid that Eurmal would tear him apart.

The giant was so afraid that he let Eurmal go and gave him a big sack of gold so that Eurmal would not attack him. "Do not follow me," said Eurmal, "else I will feed you to my children".

Well pleased with this, Eurmal continued on and travelled to the mountains of Jord, across the Elder Wilds. When in Jord, he met another giant who asked him what was in the bag he carried. When Eurmal showed him, he said "That gold belongs to my brother and you have stolen it. I shall call him and together we will eat you." He called his brother who came running and trembled when he saw Eurmal. "We can't kill him, he is too strong," the giant said to his brother, "we shall kill him when he sleeps then share him with our mother who lives in the white hut on the Hungry Plateau".

As they lay down, Eurmal covered himself with a blanket but also covered a tree trunk with the blanket. When the giants thought he was asleep, they struck him with clubs and pounded him until he should be dead. Eurmal had rolled over behind the tree trunk and was unharmed. When they woke up, he complained that some fleas had bitten him during the night. At this, the giants marvelled for he was so strong. They resolved to take him home and put him in the cooking pot while he was there.

The giant and his brother then took Eurmal to the house in Jord. As they sat down, Eurmal reached into his pocket and took out a feather which had fallen from the bird he had rescued earlier. He blew the feather into the Jord giant's nose and he sneezed violently, blowing Eurmal into the rafters. While he was there, Eurmal found a ball of twine and quickly put it into his pocket. "What are you doing up there?" the giant asked. "I am so shocked by your ill manners that I was going to break off this beam and beat you with it," said Eurmal, "but I will forgive you this time". At this the giants trembled for Eurmal was surely so very strong.

Finally, the giants decided to throw Eurmal down a well and to crush him with stones. They asked him to go into the well to fetch some water, because the well rope had broken. When Eurmal reached the bottom of the well, he found no water and knew that he was in trouble, so he quickly found a crack in the ground where he could hide. When the giants threw huge boulders down the well, Eurmal hid in the crack and escaped harm. After the boulders had stopped falling, Eurmal jumped out of the crack and shouted up the well "You two, stop those birds from playing on the well, they are kicking sand into my hair". He then climbed on top of the boulders and jumped out of the well. At this the giants quaked for they thought that Eurmal would kill them, for he was so strong.

The giants were so afraid that they gave Eurmal a sack of jewels to go with his sack of gold. "Do not follow me," said Eurmal, "else I will untie my children".

Eurmal was so pleased that he decided to travel southwards to the mountains and forests of Dagori Inkarth. As he walked through the Stinking Forest, he came across a huge herd of giant swine and a giant swineherd who asked what he had in his sacks. When Eurmal showed him, he said "Those belong to my brothers - you must have taken them and I will kill you". "If you try to kill me, I will kill you as I killed your brothers," said Eurmal, "instead why don't we have a contest".

The giant laughed and ripped up a mighty oak from the ground and asked if Eurmal could do the same. Eurmal took the ball of twine from his pocket and started to tie it around all the oak trees in the forest. "What are you doing?" asked the very stupid giant. "Well, you only pulled one oak tree from the ground, I will pull all these out" said Eurmal. "No, no," shouted the giant in alarm, "all my pigs would starve, please - you win the contest".

The giant said he was thirsty and ran to the great lake in the mountains to take a bucket of water to drink. When he came back, Eurmal said that he was thirsty too and walked to the lake where he started to dig near the lake, carving out a great gash in the ground. "What are you doing?" asked the giant. "Well, I cannot be bothered to run to the lake each time I am thirsty, so I will bring the water here instead" said Eurmal. "No, no," cried the giant, "you cannot do that for the Spider Woman would be angry and would surely devour all my pigs, I beg of you stop - you have won again."

Finally, the giant picked up a boulder and threw it into the lake, challenging Eurmal to throw one further. Eurmal walked up to the nearest mountain and put his hands on it, asking which way the Hungry Plateau was. "Why do you ask?" said the giant. "I am going to throw this mountain there at a great white hut" replied Eurmal. "No, no," said the giant, "my mother lives there and you will kill her. I beg of you, you have defeated me."

The giant was so afraid of Eurmal that he gave him a sack full of magical treasures.

Eurmal was very pleased by all this and decided to go home. As he went, he heard the giant sobbing in fear. The giant's brothers came to visit and heard the giant's story. "No matter how strong he is, he is not stronger than all three of us" said the giants and they set off to find Eurmal. Although they looked long and hard, they could not find him until a sly beast called Canis Chaos said that he could find Eurmal and all he wanted was to eat him. The giants did not trust Canis Chaos, for he had a bad smell, so they each tied a rope around him, one around his neck, one around his body and one around his tail. So they all set off to find Eurmal's house.

As the group came nearer to Eurmal's house, he smelled Canis Chaos and saw the giants coming closer. Realising that he was doomed unless he acted quickly, he called his children together and tied them to the outside of his house. He took up a great big stick and told his children to yell "Look, daddy, Canis Chaos has brought us giant meat - let us go, we are hungry".

The giants saw Eurmal in his garden and came running towards him. At this, the children began to struggle in fear and tried to escape their bonds and cried out "Look, daddy, Canis Chaos has brought us giant meat - let us go, we are hungry". Eurmal began to beat his children with the stick and yelled "You fool, Canis Chaos, I said to bring one giant - you've got the children excited - I will have to let them go else they will pull the house down". He then struck the house and some of the planks fell down, letting one of the children almost escape. At this, the giants broke and fled screaming, dragging Canis Chaos along with them and making him drop all his treasure. When they got home, they beat Canis Chaos almost to death for tricking them and bringing them into danger. From then on, Canis Chaos has hated Eurmal and his friends.

Eurmal was well pleased with his journey and told all his friends and family, so that they need never fear hungry giants for they are all stupid.

Footnotes

1.This is a recurring theme amongst Trickster Tales when overcoming Giants. Most of these Tales involve three tests of strength in which Trickster defeats the Giants with Cunning rather than strength. Each one forms the basis for a HeroQuest allowing Tricksters to defeat Giants.