The Giant Of The Flood

: 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.

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.