The Forest Lad and the Wicked Giant
I must live in my own life the tales you have told me of the festas and the dancing, the great tournaments, and the songs at night under the balconies of the fair maidens.”
The lad’s request was so urgent that his mother could not have refused him, even if she, in her own heart, was not longing for a return to the life of the city. Accordingly, they took all their possessions, which consisted only of a horse and a sword, and set out for the city.
The lad and his mother reached the city at nightfall. They went from one street to another, but saw no living being. They knocked and clapped their hands before all the doors of the city, but no one responded. At last they reached the street where their old home had been. The lad was delighted to see what a big handsome house it was. “No wonder my mother longed to return to a home like this,” he thought. “How could she ever have endured the rude hut in the depths of the forest?”
The doors of the beautiful house stood wide open. The lad and his mother entered, and passed from one room to another. His mother saw one room after another with everything unchanged. She recognized one object after another just as she had left it. There was one room in the house which was securely barred on the inside, however.
The lad and his mother spent the night in their old home. In the morning they again walked about the deserted streets of the city. They saw no one and heard no living sound. It was like a city of the dead. They grew hungry at length; and the lad went outside the city to seek for food in the forest, according to the custom which he had known all his life.
The mother returned to her old home to await the coming of her son. As soon as she went upstairs she saw that the barred door was wide open. There in the hall stood the most enormous giant she had ever seen. The great halls of the house were high, but the giant could not stand up in them without stooping.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” roared the giant in such a terrible voice that the house trembled.