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:

"Finn, Finn,

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."