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had heard of the death of his two kinsmen and was hastening to take his revenge on Jack. He was scarcely a mile away, and people were flying before him like chaff before the wind. None of this frightened Jack, although every one of the guests trembled with fear. As for Jack, he merely drew his sword and said, “Let him come on. I have the rod for him also, and I beg you ladies and gentlemen to walk into the garden, where you shall see the grim giant's defeat and destruction.”
Wishing Jack every success, they hurried out after him. Now the knight's castle was surrounded by a moat thirty feet deep and twenty feet wide, over which lay a drawbridge. Jack set men to work to cut the bridge on both sides nearly to the middle, and then putting on his coat of darkness he seized his sword of sharpness and lay in wait for the giant. When the latter approached he could not see Jack because of the coat of darkness, but he felt that danger was near and cried out:
“Fee, Fie, Fo, Fum,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread.” “Say you so, my friend? You are a great miller, indeed.”
“Art thou,” cried the giant, “the villain who slew my kinsmen? Then will I surely tear thee with my teeth and grind thy bones to flour.”
“You must catch me first,” said Jack and throwing off his coat of darkness and putting on his shoes of swiftness he flew toward the castle, the giant following with his heavy tread which made the earth shake at every step. Around and around the walls of the house Jack led the monster until every one had a chance to see him, and then he led him to the drawbridge. Jack passed over in safety, but as the giant reached the middle the great weight of his body broke the cut drawbridge, and he fell into the moat, tumbling about like a huge whale among the pieces of the bridge. Jack stood by and laughed at him, saying over and over again, “I think you said you would grind my bones to flour. When will you commence?”
Although the giant plunged furiously from side to side of the moat he was unable to climb out, and so could not revenge himself on his foe. At last Jack threw a rope over the giant's shoulders, and with a team of horses drew him ashore. As soon as he reached the shore, Jack cut off both his heads with his sword of sharpness, and before he either ate or drank, sent them by a messenger to King Arthur.
Then the mirth and frolic were renewed, and Jack stayed with his friends for some time, enjoying himself heartily.
But at last he wearied of so idle a life and set forth in search of new adventures. After he had traveled over hills and down dales and through many forests he came at length to the foot of a high mountain, where, late at night, he found a lonesome house, at the door of which he knocked. In response to his summons an old man with hair as white as snow opened the door and let him in.
“Good father,” said Jack, “can you lodge a traveler who has lost his way?”
“Certainly,” said the old man; “you are very
welcome to my poor cottage if you can put up with such fare as I have.” Whereupon Jack entered, and the old man gave him a supper of bread and fruit.
THUNDERDALE FELL INTO THE MOAT Before Jack had fully eaten, the old man said, “My son, I see by the belt you wear that you are the famous Jack the Giant-Killer. Behold, my son, on the top of this mountain is an enchanted castle kept by a huge giant named Gallagantis, the very
last of his race. This old fiend, by the help of a foul magician who lives with him, has captured many knights and carried them into his castle, where he changes them into many different shapes and forms. I grieve more, however, for a duke's daughter whom they fetched from her father's garden and brought hither in a fiery chariot drawn by two terrible dragons. When he had secured her he turned her into a beautiful doe. This had been a favorite trial with many knights, but none have been able to destroy the enchantment and deliver her, because the gates of the castle are guarded by two fiery griffins who destroy all who come near. Perhaps, my son, you may pass them undiscovered because of your coat of darkness, and if you can once reach the gates of the castle you will find engraved thereon directions for breaking the spell.”
Jack promised that in the morning he would go to the castle, break the enchantment and release the young lady and her companions.
As soon as it was light, Jack clothed himself in his magic coat, hat and shoes and prepared himself for battle. When he had reached the summit of the mountain he saw the two fiery griffins, but by means of his coat of darkness he was able to pass between them without being seen. When he reached the castle gate he found a golden trumpet suspended by a silver chain, under which were written these lines:
“Whoever can this trumpet blow
As soon as he had read the last word, Jack seized the trumpet and blew a shrill blast. The gates flew open, and the very castle itself seemed to tremble. Now the giant and the magician, knowing they had reached the end of their wicked course, stood biting their thumbs and tearing their hair while everything around them was in horrid confusion. Jack rushed in, and with his sword of sharpness killed the giant, but at that very instant the magician was carried away in a mighty whirlwind. At the same time every knight and beautiful lady who had been transformed into bird or beast returned to his natural shape, and the castle vanished.
The head of Gallagantis, too, was sent to King Arthur, while that night the lords and ladies rested with Jack at the old man's hermitage. The next day all set out for court, and when they arrived Jack went to the king and gave his majesty a full account of all his battles. You may be sure, too, that the lords and ladies were not backward in tell'ing what they knew of Jack's prowess. Indeed, they praised him so, that had he not been a very modest youth he would have been hopelessly spoiled.
The fame of the Giant-Killer spread throughout the whole country, and at the king's desire the duke gave his daughter's hand in marriage to Jack, to the great delight of the whole country. Moreover, the king granted him a noble castle in the midst of a beautiful estate, and there they lived the rest of their long days in joy and contentment. Although Jack had been but a farmer's boy, he was so bright that he quickly learned court customs, and before long he was as fine a lord as the finest among them.