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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "The Giant’s Pupil"

The Giant’s Pupil

Long years ago there lived a little boy whose name was Manoel. His father and mother were so very poor that they could not afford to send him to school. Because he did not go to school he played all day in the fields on the edge of the forest where the giant lived.

One day Manoel met the giant. The giant lived all alone in the forest, so he was very lonely and wished he had a little boy like Manoel. He loved little Manoel as soon as he saw him, and after that they were together every day. The giant taught Manoel all the secrets of the forests and jungles. He taught him all the secrets of the wind and the rain and the thunder and the lightning. He taught him all the secrets of the beasts and the birds and the serpents.

Manoel grew up a wise lad indeed. His father and mother were very proud of him and so was his kind teacher, the giant.

One day the king’s messenger rode up and down the kingdom with a message from the king’s daughter. The king’s daughter, the beautiful princess of the land, had promised to wed the man who could tell her a riddle she could not guess. All the princes who had sung of love beneath the palace window had been very stupid. The princess wished to marry a man who knew more than she did.

When Manoel heard the words of the messenger he said to his father and mother, “I am going to the palace to tell a riddle to the princess. I am sure I can give her one which she cannot guess.”

“You are an exceedingly clever lad, I know, my son,” replied his mother, “but there will be many princes and handsome cavalheiros at the palace to tell riddles to the princess. What if she will not listen to a lad in shabby clothing!”

“I will make the princess listen to my riddle,” replied Manoel.

“What riddle are you going to ask the princess?” asked Manoel’s father.

“I do not know yet,” replied the lad. “I will make up a riddle on the way to the palace. I am going to start at once.”

The kind giant who had been the lad’s friend gave him his blessing and wished him luck.

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