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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "The Skalunda Giant"

The Skalunda Giant

In the Skalunda mountain, near the church, there once lived a giant in the early days, who no longer felt comfortable after the church had been built there. At length he decided that he could no longer stand the ringing of the church bells; so he emigrated and settled down on an island far out in the North Sea. Once upon a time a ship was wrecked on this island, and among those saved were several people from Skalunda.

"Whence do you hail?" asked the giant, who by now had grown old and blind, and sat warming himself before a log fire.

"We are from Skalunda, if you wish to know," said one of the men saved.

"Give me your hand, so that I may feel whether there is still warm blood to be found in the Swedish land," said the giant.

The man, who feared to shake hands with the giant, drew a red-hot bar of iron from the fire and handed it to him. He seized it firmly, and pressed it so hard that the molten iron ran down between his fingers.

"Yes, there is still warm blood to be found in Sweden," said he. "And tell me," he continued, "is Skalunda mountain still standing?"

"No, the hens have scratched it away," the man answered.

"How could it last?" said the giant. "My wife and daughter piled it up in the course of a single Sunday morning. But surely the Hallenberg and the Hunneberg are still standing, for those I built myself."

When the man had confirmed this, the giant wanted to know whether Karin was still living in Stommen. And when they told him that she was, he gave them a girdle, and with it the message that Karin was to wear it in remembrance of him.

The men took the girdle and gave it to Karin upon their return home; but before Karin put it on, she clasped it around the oak-tree that grew in the court. No sooner had she done so than the oak tore itself out of the ground, and flew to the North, borne away by the storm-wind. In the place where it had stood was a deep pit, and the roots of the tree were so enormous that one of the best springs in Stommen flows from one of the root-holes to this very day.

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