In the old days a giant lived on a hill nearby a church. He was much annoyed by the ringing of the church bells. In the end he moved away to an island in the North Sea.
Once a ship was wrecked on his island.
The giant was now old and blind. "Arrh! Where are you from?" he asked the crew as he stretched out before a fire of logs, warming himself.
"From Sweden," said one of the men.
"Give me your hand, for I wish to know if still there is warm blood in Sweden," said the giant.
The man was afraid of the grasp of the giant, so he drew a glowing iron rod from the fire and extended the rod to the giant. He grasped it with great force and squeezed it till the iron ran between his fingers.
"Ah, yes, there is still warm blood in Sweden," he exclaimed, "but does my hill still stand where it used to be?"
"Perhaps the birds have scratched it down," answered the man.
"Maybe it could not stand," remarked the giant. Then he asked if Karin Giantess still lived.
"As much as before," they said. Then he gave them a belt and bade them take it to Karin where she used to live, and say to her that she must wear it in his memory. He also gave them sailing directions to her favourite place.
The men took the belt, and on their return home found out how to give it to Karin Giantess. But before she would put it on herself, she wrapped it around an oak growing near by. Hardly was this done when the oak was torn from the ground and sailed off westward as if in a gale. In the ground where the oak stood, there was left a deep pit.
Many years ago an epidemic swept over Dalland. Thousands of persons fell victims. Many people fled to the forests, or to other regions; the churches were deserted, and those remaining were not enough to bury the dead. At this stage an old Finlander came along and told the few survivors that they need not hope the scourge would cease until they had buried some living thing.
The people took the advice. First they buried a cock alive, but the plague went on as violent as ever among the few survivors. Next they buried a goat, but this also proved ineffectual. At last they lured a poor, wandering begging boy to a wood-covered hill where they had dug a deep hole. The boy was made to sit down on a log beside it and enjoy a piece of bread and butter. Still with his bread and butter in hand he was dropped into to the pit, and the diggers started to shovel dirt over him him. The lad begged and prayed them not to throw dirt on his bread and butter, but in a few minutes he was entirely covered and left to his fate.
In the night some of them heard a nightly voice as if from a dying child, crying, "Buried alive! buried alive!"
In the old days there lived in the peak of one of the many mountain a giant named Rise. One morning, as he went from his grotto out into the day, he heard a strange sound. He listened intently for some time, and then returned into the mountain and called his wife.
"Put the smallest of those stones that lie on the peak into your garter and sling it at that grey cow that goes tinkling along down there!" said he, meaning the new church just completed at Orebro. Its bells were ringing for the first time that morning.
The giantess took a stone as large as a house and threw it at the church, some eight or ten miles away.
"That was a poor throw," said the giant, when the stone fell down on the plain of Rumba. "Bring here the band; you shall see a throw that will do its work." Then he placed a monstrous stone in his wife's garter, and, swinging it a few times through the air, let it go with all his power toward the new church.
"Great in command, but little in power," said the giant woman when the stone fell on the one she had thrown, and broke by the crash. At the same time the bell rung out with wonderful clearness. Furious with rage, he tore up two large stones, took one under each arm, and set out for Orebro.
Those who lived in Orebro heard that him coming, thump, thump, and understood that good advice was dear. Finally, an old man gathered up all the worn-out shoes he could find, put them in a sack, and set out to meet the thumping, boulder-carrying giant. He met him midway.
"How far is it to Orebro?" asked rise.
"I can't say exactly," answered the old man, in an innocent manner, "but it is long a way. Look, all these shoes from my way from there!"
"Then I will not take all the trouble of going there," said the giant, and threw the stones to the ground.
❋ It may not be wise to trust completely in strangers.