Brabo and the giant
Ages ago, when the giants were numerous on the earth, there lived a big fellow named Antigonus. That was not what his mother had called him, but some one told him of a Greek general of that name; so he took this for his own. He was rough and cruel. His castle was on the Scheldt River, where the city of Antwerp now stands. Many ships sailed out of France and Holland, down this stream. They were loaded with timber, flax, iron, cheese, fish, bread, linen, and other things made in the country. It was by this trade that many merchants grew rich, and their children had plenty of toys to play with. The river was very grand, deep, and wide. The captains of the ships liked to sail on it, because there was no danger from rocks, and the country through which it flowed was so pretty.
So every day, one could see hundreds of white-sailed craft moving towards the sea, or coming in from the ocean. Boys and girls came down to stand in their wooden shoes on the banks, to see the vessels moving to and fro. The incoming ships brought sugar, wine, oranges, lemons, olives and other good things to eat, and wool to make warm clothes. Often craftsmen came from the wonderful countries in the south to tell of the rich cities there, and help to build new and fine houses, and splendid churches, and town halls. So all the Belgian people were happy.
But one day, this wicked giant came into the country to stop the ships and make them pay him money. He reared a strong castle on the river banks. It had four sides and high walls, and deep down in the earth were dark, damp dungeons. One had to light a candle to find his way to the horrid places.
What was it all for? The people wondered, but they soon found out. The giant, with a big knotted club, made out of an oak tree, strode through the town. He cried out to all the people to assemble in the great open square.
"From this day forth," he roared, "no ship, whether up or down the river, shall pass by this place, without my permission. Every captain must pay me toll, in money or goods.