The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body

: East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon

Once on a time there was a King who had seven sons, and he loved

them so much that he could never bear to be without them all at once,

but one must always be with him. Now, when they were grown up, six

were to set off to woo, but as for the youngest, his father kept him

at home, and the others were to bring back a princess for him to the

palace. So the King gave the six the finest clothes you ever set

eyes on, so fine
hat the light gleamed from them a long way off, and

each had his horse, which cost many, many hundred pounds, and so they

set off. Now, when they had been to many palaces, and seen many

princesses, at last they came to a King who had six daughters;

such lovely king's daughters they had never seen, and so they fell to

wooing them, each one, and when they had got them for sweethearts,

they set off home again, but they quite forgot that they were to bring

back with them a sweetheart for Boots, their brother, who stayed at

home, for they were over head and ears in love with their own


But when they had gone a good bit on their way, they passed close by a

steep hill-side, like a wall, where the Giant's house was, and there

the Giant came out, and set his eyes upon them, and turned them all

into stone, princes and princesses and all. Now the King waited and

waited for his six sons, but the more he waited, the longer they

stayed away; so he fell into great trouble, and said he should never

know what it was to be glad again.

"And if I had not you left," he said to Boots, "I would live no

longer, so full of sorrow am I for the loss of your brothers."

"Well, but now I've been thinking to ask your leave to set out and

find them again; that's what I'm thinking of," said Boots.

"Nay, nay!" said his father; "that leave you shall never get, for then

you would stay away too."

But Boots had set his heart upon it; go he would; and he begged and

prayed so long that the King was forced to let him go. Now, you must

know the King had no other horse to give Boots but an old

broken-down jade, for his six other sons and their train had carried

off all his horses; but Boots did not care a pin for that, he sprang

up on his sorry old steed.

"Farewell, father," said he; "I'll come back, never fear, and like

enough I shall bring my six brothers back with me;" and with that he

rode off.

So, when he had ridden a while, he came to a Raven, which lay in the

road and flapped its wings, and was not able to get out of the way, it

was so starved.

"Oh, dear friend," said the Raven, "give me a little food, and I'll

help you again at your utmost need."

"I haven't much food," said the Prince, "and I don't see how you'll

ever be able to help me much; but still I can spare you a little. I

see you want it."

So he gave the raven some of the food he had brought with him.

Now, when he had gone a bit further, he came to a brook, and in the

brook lay a great Salmon, which had got upon a dry place and dashed

itself about, and could not get into the water again.

"Oh, dear friend," said the Salmon to the Prince; "shove me out

into the water again, and I'll help you again at your utmost need."

"Well!" said the Prince, "the help you'll give me will not be great,

I daresay, but it's a pity you should lie there and choke;" and with

that he shot the fish out into the stream again.

After that he went a long, long way, and there met him a Wolf which

was so famished that it lay and crawled along the road on its belly.

"Dear friend, do let me have your horse," said the Wolf; "I'm so

hungry the wind whistles through my ribs; I've had nothing to eat

these two years."

"No," said Boots, "this will never do; first I came to a raven, and

I was forced to give him my food; next I came to a salmon, and him I

had to help into the water again; and now you will have my horse. It

can't be done, that it can't, for then I should have nothing to ride


"Nay, dear friend, but you can help me," said Graylegs the wolf;

"you can ride upon my back, and I'll help you again in your utmost


"Well! the help I shall get from you will not be great, I'll be

bound," said the Prince; "but you may take my horse, since you are

in such need."

So when the Wolf had eaten the horse, Boots took the bit and put

it into the Wolf's jaw, and laid the saddle on his back; and now the

Wolf was so strong, after what he had got inside, that he set off

with the Prince like nothing. So fast he had never ridden before.

"When we have gone a bit farther," said Graylegs, "I'll show you the

Giant's house."

So after a while they came to it.

"See, here is the Giant's house," said the Wolf; "and see, here

are your six brothers, whom the Giant has turned into stone; and

see, here are their six brides, and away yonder is the door, and in

that door you must go."

"Nay, but I daren't go in," said the Prince; "he'll take my life."

"No! no!" said the Wolf; "when you get in you'll find a Princess,

and she'll tell you what to do to make an end of the Giant. Only

mind and do as she bids you."

Well! Boots went in, but, truth to say, he was very much afraid.

When he came in the Giant was away, but in one of the rooms sat the

Princess, just as the Wolf had said, and so lovely a princess

Boots had never yet set eyes on.

"Oh! heaven help you! whence have you come?" said the Princess, as

she saw him; "it will surely be your death. No one can make an end of

the Giant who lives here, for he has no heart in his body."

"Well! well!" said Boots; "but now that I am here, I may as well try

what I can do with him; and I will see if I can't free my brothers,

who are standing turned to stone out of doors; and you, too, I will

try to save, that I will."

"Well, if you must, you must," said the Princess; "and so let us see

if we can't hit on a plan. Just creep under the bed yonder, and mind

and listen to what he and I talk about. But, pray, do lie as still as

a mouse."

So he crept under the bed, and he had scarce got well underneath it,

before the Giant came.

"Ha!" roared the Giant, "what a smell of Christian blood there is in

the house!"

"Yes, I know there is," said the Princess, "for there came a magpie

flying with a man's bone, and let it fall down the chimney. I made all

the haste I could to get it out, but all one can do, the smell doesn't

go off so soon."

So the Giant said no more about it, and when night came, they went

to bed. After they had lain a while, the Princess said:

"There is one thing I'd be so glad to ask you about, if I only


"What thing is that?" asked the Giant.

"Only where it is you keep your heart, since you don't carry it about

you," said the Princess.

"Ah! that's a thing you've no business to ask about; but if you must

know, it lies under the door-sill," said the Giant.

"Ho! ho!" said Boots to himself under the bed, "then we'll soon see

if we can't find it."

Next morning the Giant got up cruelly early, and strode off to the

wood; but he was hardly out of the house before Boots and the

Princess set to work to look under the door-sill for his heart; but

the more they dug, and the more they hunted, the more they couldn't

find it.

"He has baulked us this time," said the Princess, "but we'll try him

once more."

So she picked all the prettiest flowers she could find, and strewed

them over the door-sill, which they had laid in its right place again;

and when the time came for the Giant to come home again, Boots

crept under the bed. Just as he was well under, back came the


Snuff--snuff, went the Giant's nose. "My eyes and limbs, what a

smell of Christian blood there is in here," said he.

"I know there is," said the Princess, "for there came a magpie

flying with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall down the

chimney. I made as much haste as I could to get it out, but I daresay

it's that you smell."

So the Giant held his peace, and said no more about it. A little

while after, he asked who it was that had strewed flowers about the


"Oh, I, of course," said the Princess.

"And, pray, what's the meaning of all this?" said the Giant.

"Ah!" said the Princess, "I'm so fond of you that I couldn't help

strewing them, when I knew that your heart lay under there."

"You don't say so," said the Giant; "but after all it doesn't lie

there at all."

So when they went to bed again in the evening, the Princess asked

the Giant again where his heart was, for she said she would so like

to know.

"Well," said the Giant, "if you must know, it lies away yonder in

the cupboard against the wall."

"So, so!" thought Boots and the Princess; "then we'll soon try to

find it."

Next morning the Giant was away early, and strode off to the wood,

and so soon as he was gone Boots and the Princess were in the

cupboard hunting for his heart, but the more they sought for it, the

less they found it.

"Well," said the Princess, "we'll just try him once more."

So she decked out the cupboard with flowers and garlands, and when the

time came for the Giant to come home, Boots crept under the bed


Then back came the Giant.

Snuff--snuff! "My eyes and limbs, what a smell of Christian blood

there is in here!"

"I know there is," said the Princess; "for a little while since

there came a magpie flying with a man's bone in his bill, and let it

fall down the chimney. I made all the haste I could to get it out of

the house again; but after all my pains, I daresay it's that you


When the Giant heard that, he said no more about it; but a little

while after, he saw how the cupboard was all decked about with flowers

and garlands; so he asked who it was that had done that? Who could it

be but the Princess?

"And, pray, what's the meaning of all this tomfoolery?" asked the


"Oh, I'm so fond of you, I couldn't help doing it when I knew that

your heart lay there," said the Princess.

"How can you be so silly as to believe any such thing?" said the


"Oh yes; how can I help believing it, when you say it?" said the


"You're a goose," said the Giant; "where my heart is, you will never


"Well," said the Princess; "but for all that, 'twould be such a

pleasure to know where it really lies."

Then the poor Giant could hold out no longer, but was forced to


in that well swims a duck."]

"Far, far away in a lake lies an island; on that island stands a

church; in that church is a well; in that well swims a duck; in that

duck there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart,--you


In the morning early, while it was still grey dawn, the Giant strode

off to the wood.

"Yes! now I must set off too," said Boots; "if I only knew how to

find the way." He took a long, long farewell of the Princess, and

when he got out of the Giant's door, there stood the Wolf waiting

for him. So Boots told him all that had happened inside the house,

and said now he wished to ride to the well in the church, if he only

knew the way. So the Wolf bade him jump on his back, he'd soon find

the way; and away they went, till the wind whistled after them, over

hedge and field, over hill and dale. After they had travelled many,

many days, they came at last to the lake. Then the Prince did not

know how to get over it, but the Wolf bade him only not be afraid,

but stick on, and so he jumped into the lake with the Prince on his

back, and swam over to the island. So they came to the church; but the

church keys hung high, high up on the top of the tower, and at first

the Prince did not know how to get them down.

"You must call on the raven," said the Wolf.

So the Prince called on the raven, and in a trice the raven came,

and flew up and fetched the keys, and so the Prince got into the

church. But when he came to the well, there lay the duck, and swam

about backwards and forwards, just as the Giant had said. So the

Prince stood and coaxed it, till it came to him, and he grasped it

in his hand; but just as he lifted it up from the water the duck

dropped the egg into the well, and then Boots was beside himself to

know how to get it out again.

"Well, now you must call on the salmon to be sure," said the Wolf;

and the king's son called on the salmon, and the salmon came and

fetched up the egg from the bottom of the well.

Then the Wolf told him to squeeze the egg, and as soon as ever he

squeezed it the Giant screamed out.

"Squeeze it again," said the Wolf; and when the Prince did so, the

Giant screamed still more piteously, and begged and prayed so

prettily to be spared, saying he would do all that the Prince wished

if he would only not squeeze his heart in two.

"Tell him, if he will restore to life again your six brothers and

their brides, whom he has turned to stone, you will spare his life,"

said the Wolf. Yes, the Giant was ready to do that, and he turned

the six brothers into king's sons again, and their brides into king's


"Now, squeeze the egg in two," said the Wolf. So Boots squeezed

the egg to pieces, and the Giant burst at once.

Now, when he had made an end of the Giant, Boots rode back again

on the Wolf to the Giant's house, and there stood all his six

brothers alive and merry, with their brides. Then Boots went into

the hill-side after his bride, and so they all set off home again to

their father's house. And you may fancy how glad the old king was when

he saw all his seven sons come back, each with his bride--"But the

loveliest bride of all is the bride of Boots, after all," said the

king, "and he shall sit uppermost at the table, with her by his


So he sent out, and called a great wedding-feast, and the mirth was

both loud and long, and if they have not done feasting, why, they are

still at it.