Finn The Giant And The Minster Of Lund
: The Swedish Fairy Book
There stands in the university town of Schonen, the town of Lund, the
seat of the first archbishopric in all Scandinavia, a stately Romanic
minster, with a large, handsome crypt beneath the choir. The opinion
is universal that the minster will never be altogether finished, but
that something will always be lacking about the structure. The reason
is said to be as follows:
When St. Lawrence came to Lund to
reach the Gospel, he wanted to
build a church; but did not know how he was to obtain the means to do
While he was cudgelling his brains about it, a giant came to him and
offered to build the church on condition that St. Lawrence tell him
his name before the church was completed. But should St. Lawrence be
unable to do so, the giant was to receive either the sun, the moon or
St. Lawrence's eyes. The saint agreed to his proposal.
The building of the church made rapid progress, and ere long it was
nearly finished. St. Lawrence thought ruefully about his prospects,
for he did not know the giant's name; yet at the same time he did not
relish losing his eyes. And it happened that while he was walking
without the town, much concerned about the outcome of the affair, he
grew weary, and sat down on a hill to rest. As he sat there he heard a
child crying within the hill, and a woman's voice began to sing:
"Sleep, sleep, my baby dear,
To-morrow your father, Finn, will be here;
Then sun and moon you shall have from the skies
To play with, or else St. Lawrence's eyes."
When St. Lawrence heard that he was happy; for now he knew the giant's
name. He ran back quickly to town, and went to the church. There sat
the giant on the roof, just about to set the last stone in place, when
at that very moment the saint called out:
Take care how you put the stone in!"
Then the giant flung the stone from him, full of rage, said that the
church should never be finished, and with that he disappeared. Since
then something has always been missing from the church.
Others say that the giant and his wife rushed down into the crypt in
their rage, and each seizing a column were about to tear down the
church, when they were turned into stone, and may be seen to this day
standing beside the columns they had grasped.
"Finn, the Giant, and the Minster of Lund" (retold by Dr. v.
Sydow-Lund, after variants in his collection), is the
world-famous tale of the giant master-builder, which appears
here as a legend, and is connected with various celebrated
churches, as for instance the Minster of Drontheim. Its close
is an inversion of the motive of guessing a name, which we have
already encountered in the Danish fairy-tale "Trillevip."