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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "Shaking-head"



"Well," said Shaking-head, "we'll be at the third and youngest giant's castle to-night, and at first he'll treat us far worse and more harshly, but still we'll take this night's lodging of him, and a good gift in the morning."

Soon after sunset they came to the castle where they met the worst reception and the harshest they had found on the road. The giant was going to eat them both for supper; but when Shaking-head told him of the champions of Erin, he became as kind as his two brothers, and gave good entertainment to both.

Next morning after breakfast, Shaking-head asked for a present in return for his services.

"Do you see the pot of gold in the corner there under my bed?—take all you want and welcome," said the giant.

"It's not gold I want," said Shaking-head, "but the cloak of darkness."

"Oh," said the giant, "you'll not get that cloak of me, for I want it myself. If any man were to come against me, all I'd have to do would be to put that cloak on my shoulders, and no one in the world could see me, or know where I'd be."

"Well," said Shaking-head, "it's long enough that I am keeping your enemies away; and if you don't give me that cloak now I'll raise all the kingdom of Erin and still more forces to destroy you, and it's not long you'll last after they come."

The giant thought a moment, and then said: "I believe you'd do what you say. There's the black cloak hanging on the wall before you; take it."

Shaking-head took the cloak, and the two went away together, the king's son riding on the light black steed, and having the double-handed sword at his back. When out of sight of the giant, Shaking-head put on the cloak, and wasn't to be seen, and no other man could have been seen in his place. Then the king's son looked around, and began to call and search for his man,—he was lonely without him and grieved not to see him. Shaking-head, glad to see the affection of the king's son, took off the cloak and was at his side again.

"Where are we going now?" asked the king's son.

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