The Young Giant
A thumb-sized farmer's son is suckled by a giant, gets giant powers and uses them at work.
A farmer had a son who was as tall as a thumb and did not grow any taller and did not grow a hair's breadth in many years. Once the farmer wanted to go into the field and plow, and the little boy said, 'Father, I want to go out with you.' 'You want to go out with me?' said the father, 'you stay here, you're no use there: you might get lost to me, too.' Then the little thumb began to cry, and in order to have peace, the father put him in his pocket and took him with him. Out in the field he took him out again and put him in a fresh furrow. As he sat there, a big giant came over the mountain. Do you see the big bogeyman there?" said the father, and wanted to frighten the little one so that he would be good, "he is coming to get you. But the giant had hardly taken a few steps with his long legs before he was at the furrow. He lifted the little Thumbelina gently with two fingers, looked at him and went away with him without speaking a word. The father stood there, unable to utter a sound in horror, and thought that his child was lost, that he would not see him again with his eyes for the rest of his life.
But the giant carried it home and let it suckle at his breast, and the Thumb grew and became big and strong after the manner of the giants. After two years the old man went with him into the forest, wanted to try him and said 'pull out a whip for yourself. By then the boy was so strong that he pulled a young tree out of the ground by its roots. The giant, however, thought 'this must come better,' took him again, and nursed him for two more years. When he tried him, his strength had already increased so much that he could break an old tree out of the earth. This was still not enough for the giant, he nursed him again for two years, and when he then went with him into the forest, and said 'now tear out a proper whip,' the boy tore the thickest oak tree out of the earth so that it cracked, and was only a joke to him. Now that's enough,' said the giant, 'you've learned your lesson,' and led him back to the field where he had taken him. His father was standing behind the plow, and the young giant approached him and said, "Father, does he see what kind of man his son has become? The farmer was frightened and said 'No, you are not my son, I don't want you, go away from me'. Of course I am his son, let me do the work, I can plow as well as him and even better'. 'No, no, you are not my son, you can't plow either, go away from me'.
But because he was afraid of the big man, he let go of the plow, stepped back and sat down on the land to the side. Then the boy took the harness and pressed on it with one hand, but the pressure was so great that the plow went deep into the ground. The farmer could not stand by and called out to him, "If you want to plow, you don't have to press so hard, you'll get a bad job. But the boy unhitched the horses, pulled the plow himself, and said, "Go home, father, and let your mother cook a big bowl of food; in the meantime I will mark out the field. Then the farmer went home and ordered the food from his wife: but the boy plowed the field, two acres in size, all by himself, and then he also harnessed himself to the harrow and harrowed everything with two harrows at the same time. When he had finished, he went into the forest and pulled out two oak trees, put them on his shoulders, and behind and in front a harrow, and behind and in front also a horse, and carried all this, as if it were a bundle of straw, to his parents' house. When he came into the yard, his mother did not recognize him and asked 'who is that horrible, big man?' The farmer said 'that is our son'. She said 'no, that is never our son, we have never had one that big, ours was a little thing'. She called to him 'go away, we don't want you'.
The boy kept quiet, pulled his horses into the stable, gave them oats and hay, everything as it should be. When he had finished, he went into the parlor, sat down on the bench and said, "Mother, now I would like to eat, will it soon be ready? Then she said 'yes' and brought in two large bowls full, which would have filled her and her husband for eight days. The boy, however, ate them alone and asked if she could not bring more? 'No,' she said, 'that's all we have.' 'That was just to taste, I must have more.' She did not dare to resist him, went and put a big pig kettle full over the fire, and as it was true, she carried it in. At last there came a few more pieces,' he said, and ate it all, but it was not enough to satisfy his hunger. Then he said, 'Father, I see that I will not get enough from him; if he will get me a strong iron staff that I cannot break before my knees, then I will go out into the world. The farmer was glad, harnessed his two horses to the wagon, and got from the blacksmith a staff as big and thick as the two horses could carry it away. The boy took it before his knees and, with a snap, broke it in half like a beanstalk and threw it away. The father harnessed four horses and fetched a stick as big and thick as the four horses could carry it away. The son also broke this before his knee, threw it down and said, "Father, he can't help me, he had better harness it and get a stronger stick. Then the father harnessed eight horses and fetched one as big and thick as the eight horses could drive him. When the son took it in his hand, he immediately broke off a piece of it and said, 'Father, I see he can't get me a staff like I need, I don't want to stay with him any longer.
Then he went away and pretended to be a journeyman blacksmith. He came to a village where a blacksmith lived, he was a miser, he didn't give anyone anything and wanted to have everything all by himself; he went to him in the forge and asked if he didn't need a journeyman. 'Yes' said the blacksmith, looking at him and thinking 'this is a capable fellow, he will propose well and earn his bread.' He asked 'how much do you want wages?' I don't want any,' he answered, 'only every fourteen days, when the other journeymen get their wages, I will give you two tricks, which you must endure. The miser was heartily pleased and thought he would save a lot of money. The next morning the foreign journeyman was supposed to strike first, but when the master brought the red-hot staff and the journeyman struck the first blow, the iron flew from each other and the anvil sank into the earth so deeply that they could not bring it out again. Then the miser became angry and said, "I can't use you, you strike too roughly, what do you want for one blow? Then he said, "I will only give you a very small stroke, nothing more. And he lifted up his foot and gave it a kick, so that it flew out over four loads of hay. Then he picked out the thickest iron rod that was in the forge, took it in his hand as a stick and went on.
When he had moved for a while, he came to a farmstead and asked the bailiff if he did not need a farmhand. Yes,' said the bailiff, 'I can use one: you look like a capable fellow, who is already able to do something, how much do you want to have annual wages? He answered again that he didn't want any wages at all, but every year he wanted to give him three pranks, which he would have to endure. The magistrate was satisfied, for he was also a miser. The next morning, the servants were supposed to go to the woods, and the other servants were already up, but he was still lying in bed. One of them called to him, "Get up, it's time to go to the woods, and you have to go with us." "Oh," he said rudely and defiantly, "you go ahead, I'll be back sooner than all of you. Then the others went to the bailiff and told him that the grand servant was still in bed and did not want to go to the woods. The bailiff said they should wake him up again and harness him to the horses. But the big servant said, as before, 'You go ahead, I'll be back sooner than all of you together.
He stayed there for another two hours, then he finally got up, but first he got two bushels of peas from the ground, cooked himself some porridge and ate it with good rest, and when all this was done, he went, harnessed the horses and drove into the wood. Not far from the wood was a hollow way, where he had to go through, there he drove the wagon first forward, then the horses had to stand still, and he went behind the wagon, took trees and brushwood and made a big hump (Verhack), so that no horse could get through. As he came to the wood, the others drove out with their loaded wagons and wanted to go home, so he said to them, "Go ahead, I'll get home sooner than you. He drove not far into the wood, pulled two of the largest trees out of the ground, threw them on the wagon and turned around. When he arrived in front of the hut, the others were still standing there and could not get through. You see," he said, "if you had stayed with me, you would have gotten home just as quickly and could have slept another hour. He now wanted to drive, but his horses could not work their way through, so he unhitched them, put them on top of the wagon, took the drawbar in his own hand, and pulled everything through, and it went as easily as if he had loaded springs. When he was on the other side, he said to the others, 'You see, I got through faster than you,' and drove on, and the others had to stop. In the courtyard he took a tree in his hand, showed it to the magistrate and said, "Isn't that a beautiful tree? Then the magistrate said to his wife, 'The servant is good; even if he sleeps long, he will be back sooner than the others.
Now he served the magistrate for a year: when that was over, and the other servants had received their wages, he said it was time he also wanted to take his wages. But the magistrate was afraid of the pranks he would get, and begged him to give them to him; he would rather become a grand servant himself, and be a magistrate. No,' he said, 'I don't want to become a magistrate, I am a grand servant and want to remain one, but I want to give out what is due. The bailiff wanted to give him what he asked for, but it was no use, the servant said 'no' to everything. Then the bailiff did not know what to do and asked him for two weeks's respite, he wanted to think about something. The servant said that he should have the time. The bailiff summoned all his scribes to consider and give him advice. The scribes thought about it for a long time, and finally they said that no one would be safe from the servant, who would kill a man like a mosquito. They told him to climb into the well and clean it, and when he was down, they would roll one of the millstones lying there and throw it on his head, so that he would not come back to the light of day. The council pleased the magistrate, and the grand servant was ready to descend into the well. When he stood at the bottom, they rolled down the largest millstone, and thought his head was bashed in, but he shouted 'chase the chickens away from the well, they are scratching up there in the sand and throw the grains into my eyes, so that I cannot see'.
Then the bailiff shouted, "Shoo! Shoo!" and pretended to shoo the chickens away. When the farmhand had finished his work, he came up and said, 'Look, I have a beautiful necklace,' and it was the millstone that he wore around his neck. The grand servant now wanted to take his pay, but the bailiff again asked for fourteen days to think it over. The scribes came together and advised him to send the farmhand to the cursed mill to grind grain there at night: no one would ever have come out of there alive in the morning. The magistrate liked the idea and called the farmhand that same evening and told him to take eight mills of grain to the mill and grind it during the night; they needed it. Then the farmhand went down to the ground and put two malt in his right pocket, two in his left, four he took in a cross-bag half on his back, half on his chest, and thus went loaded to the accursed mill. The miller told him that he could grind quite well there during the day, but not at night, because the mill was cursed, and whoever still went in there would have been found dead in the morning. He said, "I will get through, just go away and get some sleep. Then he went into the mill and piled up the grain.
About eleven o'clock he went into the miller's room and sat down on the bench. When he had sat there for a while, the door suddenly opened and a large table came in, and on the table there was wine and roast meat, and a lot of good food, all by itself, because there was no one to serve it. And after that the chairs were moved, but no people came, until all at once he saw fingers holding knives and forks and putting food on the plates, but otherwise he could see nothing. Since he was hungry and saw the food, he sat down at the table, ate and enjoyed it. When he was full and the others had also emptied their bowls, the lights were suddenly all turned off, he heard that clearly, and as it was now pitch dark, he got something like a slap in the face. Then he said, "If something like that happens again, I'll hand it out again. And when he got a slap in the face for the second time, he also hit him. And so it went on all night, he took nothing in vain, but gave back abundantly and did not lazily beat about: but at daybreak everything ceased. When the miller got up, he wanted to check on him and was surprised that he was still alive. Then he said, "I have eaten my fill, I have been slapped, but I have also given out slaps.
The miller was pleased and said that the mill had now been redeemed, and he wanted to give him a lot of money as a reward. But he said, "I don't want money, I have enough. Then he took his flour on his back, went home and told the magistrate that he had settled the matter and now wanted to have his due reward. When the magistrate heard this, he was really frightened: he couldn't help himself, walked up and down in the parlor, and the drops of sweat ran down his forehead. Then he opened the window to get some fresh air, but before he knew it, the farmhand had kicked him so hard that he flew through the window into the air and away and away until no one could see him anymore. Then the grand servant said to the magistrate's wife, 'If he does not come back, you will have to accept the other prank. She cried, 'No, no, I can't stand it,' and opened the other window, because drops of sweat were running down her forehead. Then he gave her a kick, so that she also flew out, and since she was lighter, much higher than her husband. The man shouted 'come to me,' but she shouted 'you come to me, I can't come to you'. And they floated there in the air, and neither could come to the other, and whether they still floated there, I do not know; but the young giant took his iron bar and went on.