The Forest Lad and the Wicked Giant
Once upon a time there was a man who took his wife and tiny baby son into the deep forest to make their home. With his own hands he built the house out of mud, and he made for it a thatched roof from the grass of the forest. For food they depended upon the fruits of the forest and the beasts which they killed in the hunt. They lived like hermits, seeing no one.
As the baby son grew into a large strong boy he learned from his father all the secrets of the forest. He grew wise as well as strong. From his mother he heard stories of their former life in the great city which had been their home before they went to live in the forest. These were the tales he loved to hear best of all. Very often when his father went out into the forest to hunt the boy would beg to remain at home with his mother. While his father was away she would sit on the ground before their hut and unfold to the boy all her memories of their old life.
“Father,” said the lad one day after his father had returned from his hunting trip, “I am tired of living here in the forest all by ourselves. Let us return to the city to live.”
“Your mother has been telling tales to you,” replied his father. “I will see to it that she never mentions the city to you again. We left the city to save our lives. Let me never hear from you another word about returning to the city.”
After that the lad was made to accompany his father when he went out hunting. There was no more opportunity to hear the tales he loved from his mother’s lips. Nevertheless he hid away in his mind all that his mother had told him of their old life; and at night, when the fierce storms in the forest or the sound of the wild beasts would not let him sleep, he often lay awake upon his mat on the floor of the hut, pondering over the stories she had told.
At last the father grew sick of a fever and died. Now that the lad and his mother were left alone in the forest the lad said, “Come, let us return to our home in the city. Let us not stay here alone in the forest any longer.