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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "The Forest Lad and the Wicked Giant"

The Forest Lad and the Wicked Giant

There was no one who knew the difference, except the boy and the little old woman.

When the boy had gone out the giant came in from his own room and said, “In truth your son is a brave lad. I did not dream that he would have the courage to go in search of the oil of the deadly cobra, much less succeed in his quest.”

“You do not know the great love we bear each other,” said the lad’s mother.

“I am going to demand a new proof of your son’s strength and skill,” said the giant. “Tomorrow you must complain of the pain in your back and send the boy in search of the oil of the porcupine to cure it. This is my command.”

The next day the woman had to complain of a pain in her back just as the giant had commanded. There was nothing else which she could do. The boy at once went in search of a porcupine, and succeeded in slaying one and getting the oil.

On his way back to the city the lad again met the little old woman who was really Nossa Senhora. “Leave the oil of the porcupine with me, my son,” said she when she had heard his story. “I will keep it for you until the morrow when you will have great need of it. Today hen’s oil will serve your purpose just as well.”

Because the boy’s mother had nothing at all the matter with her back she was cured with the hen’s oil which the boy brought, just as easily as if it had been the porcupine’s oil. The giant came out of his room and said, “In truth, lad, you are a boy of great skill and strength.”

The boy had not seen the giant before and he was very much surprised. Before he even had time to recover from his amazement the giant had seized him and bound him securely with a great rope. “If you are really a strong boy you will break this rope,” said the giant. “If you are not strong enough to break it I shall cut you into five pieces with my sword.”

The boy struggled with all his might to break the great rope. It was no use. He was not strong enough. The giant stood by laughing.

When the lad’s mother saw that he could not break the rope she fell upon her knees before the giant and cried, “Do what you will to me, but spare my son!

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