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The Giant Of The Flood

from Jewish Fairy Tales And Legends





Just before the world was drowned all the animals gathered in front of
the Ark and Father Noah carefully inspected them.

"All ye that lie down shall enter and be saved from the deluge that is
about to destroy the world," he said. "Ye that stand cannot enter."

Then the various creatures began to march forward into the Ark. Father
Noah watched them closely. He seemed troubled.

"I wonder," he said to himself, "how I shall obtain a unicorn, and how
I shall get it into the Ark."

"I can bring thee a unicorn, Father Noah," he heard in a voice of
thunder, and turning round he saw the giant, Og. "But thou must agree
to save me, too, from the flood."

"Begone," cried Noah. "Thou art a demon, not a human being. I can have
no dealings with thee."

"Pity me," whined the giant. "See how my figure is shrinking. Once I
was so tall that I could drink water from the clouds and toast fish at
the sun. I fear not that I shall be drowned, but that all the food
will be destroyed and that I shall perish of hunger."

Noah, however, only smiled; but he grew serious again when Og brought
a unicorn. It was as big as a mountain, although the giant said it was
the smallest he could find. It lay down in front of the Ark and Noah
saw by that action that he must save it. For some time he was puzzled
what to do, but at last a bright idea struck him. He attached the huge
beast to the Ark by a rope fastened to its horn so that it could swim
alongside and be fed.

Og seated himself on a mountain near at hand and watched the rain
pouring down. Faster and faster it fell in torrents until the rivers
overflowed and the waters began to rise rapidly on the land and sweep
all things away. Father Noah stood gloomily before the door of the Ark
until the water reached his neck. Then it swept him inside. The door
closed with a bang, and the Ark rose gallantly on the flood and began
to move along. The unicorn swam alongside, and as it passed Og, the
giant jumped on to its back.

"See, Father Noah," he cried, with a huge chuckle, "you will have to
save me after all. I will snatch all the food you put through the
window for the unicorn."

Noah saw that it was useless to argue with Og, who might, indeed, sink
the Ark with his tremendous strength.

"I will make a bargain with thee," he shouted from a window. "I will
feed thee, but thou must promise to be a servant to my descendants."

Og was very hungry, so he accepted the conditions and devoured his
first breakfast.

The rain continued to fall in great big sheets that shut out the light
of day. Inside the Ark, however, all was bright and cheerful, for Noah
had collected the most precious of the stones of the earth and had
used them for the windows. Their radiance illumined the whole of the
three stories in the Ark. Some of the animals were troublesome and
Noah got no sleep at all. The lion had a bad attack of fever. In a
corner a bird slept the whole of the time. This was the phoenix.

"Wake up," said Noah, one day. "It is feeding time."

"Thank you," returned the bird. "I saw thou wert busy, Father Noah,
so I would not trouble thee."

"Thou art a good bird," said Noah, much touched, "therefore thou shalt
never die."

One day the rain ceased, the clouds rolled away and the sun shone
brilliantly again. How strange the world looked! It was like a vast
ocean. Nothing but water could be seen anywhere, and only one or two
of the highest mountain tops peeped above the flood. All the world was
drowned, and Noah gazed on the desolate scene from one of the windows
with tears in his eyes. Og, riding gaily on the unicorn behind the
Ark, was quite happy.

"Ha, ha!" he laughed gleefully. "I shall be able to eat and drink just
as much as I like now and shall never be troubled by those tiny little
creatures, the mortals."

"Be not so sure," said Noah. "Those tiny mortals shall be thy masters
and shall outlive thee and the whole race of giants and demons."

The giant did not relish this prospect. He knew that whatever Noah
prophesied would come true, and he was so sad that he ate no food for
two days and began to grow smaller and thinner. He became more and
more unhappy as day by day the water subsided and the mountains began
to appear. At last the Ark rested on Mount Ararat, and Og's long ride
came to an end.

"I will soon leave thee, Father Noah," he said. "I shall wander round
the world to see what is left of it."

"Thou canst not go until I permit thee," said Noah. "Hast thou
forgotten our compact so soon? Thou must be my servant. I have work
for thee."

Giants are not fond of work, and Og, who was the father of all the
giants, was particularly lazy. He cared only to eat and sleep, but he
knew he was in Noah's power, and he shed bitter tears when he saw the
land appear again.

"Stop," commanded Noah. "Dost thou wish to drown the world once more
with thy big tears?"

So Og sat on a mountain and rocked from side to side, weeping silently
to himself. He watched the animals leave the Ark and had to do all the
hard work when Noah's children built houses. Daily he complained that
he was shrinking to the size of the mortals, for Noah said there was
not too much food.

One day Noah said to him, "Come with me, Og. I am going around the
world. I am commanded to plant fruit and flowers to make the earth
beautiful. I need thy help."

For many days they wandered all over the earth, and Og was compelled
to carry the heavy bag of seeds. The last thing Noah planted was the
grape vine.

"What is this--food, or drink?" asked Og.

"Both," replied Noah. "It can be eaten, or its juice made into wine,"
and as he planted it, he blessed the grape. "Be thou," he said, "a
plant pleasing to the eye, bear fruit that will be food for the hungry
and a health-giving drink to the thirsty and sick."

Og grunted.

"I will offer up sacrifice to this wonderful fruit," he said. "May I
not do so now that our labors are over?"

Noah agreed, and the giant brought a sheep, a lion, a pig and a
monkey. First, he slaughtered the sheep, then the lion.

"When a man shall taste but a few drops of the wine," he said, "he
shall be as harmless as a sheep. When he takes a little more he shall
be as strong as a lion."

Then Og began to dance around the plant, and he killed the pig and the
monkey. Noah was very much surprised.

"I am giving thy descendants two extra blessings," said Og, chuckling.

He rolled over and over on the ground in great glee and then said:

"When a man shall drink too much of the juice of the wine, then shall
he become a beast like the pig, and if then he still continues to
drink, he shall behave foolishly like a monkey."

And that is why, unto this day, too much wine makes a man silly.

Og himself often drank too much, and many years afterward, when he was
a servant to the patriarch Abraham, the latter scolded him until he
became so frightened that he dropped a tooth. Abraham made an ivory
chair for himself from this tooth. Afterwards Og became King of
Bashan, but he forgot his compact with Noah and instead of helping the
Israelites to obtain Canaan he opposed them.

"I will kill them all with one blow," he declared.

Exerting all his enormous strength he uprooted a mountain, and raising
it high above his head he prepared to drop it on the camp of the
Israelites and crush it.

But a wonderful thing happened. The mountain was full of grasshoppers
and ants who had bored millions of tiny holes in it. When King Og
raised the great mass it crumbled in his hands and fell over his head
and round his neck like a collar. He tried to pull it off, but his
teeth became entangled in the mass. As he danced about in rage and
pain, Moses, the leader of the Israelites, approached him.

Moses was a tiny man compared with Og. He was only ten ells high, and
he carried with him a sword of the same length. With a mighty effort
he jumped ten ells into the air, and raising the sword, he managed to
strike the giant on the ankle and wound him mortally.

Thus, after many years, did the terrible giant of the flood perish for
breaking his word to Father Noah.





Next: The Fairy Princess Of Ergetz

Previous: The Palace Of The Eagles



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