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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

The giant was one day using the telescope


"Your

father was a rich man, his disposition remarkably benevolent: he was very good to the poor, and constantly relieving them. He made it a rule never to let a day pass without doing good to some person. On one particular day in the week, he kept open house, and invited only those who were reduced and had lived well. He always presided himself, and did all in his power to render his guests comfortable; the rich and the great were not invited. The servants were all happy, and greatly attached to their master and mistress. Your father, though only a private gentleman, was as rich as a prince, and he deserved all he possessed, for he only lived to do good. Such a man was soon known and talked of. A giant lived a great many miles off: this man was altogether as wicked as your father was good; he was in his heart envious, covetous, and cruel; but he had the art of concealing those vices. He was poor, and wished to enrich himself at any rate. Hearing your father spoken of, he formed the design of becoming acquainted with him, hoping to ingratiate himself into your father's favour. He removed quickly into your neighbourhood, caused to be reported that he was a gentleman who had just lost all he possessed by an earth-quake, and found it difficult to escape with his life; his wife was with him. Your father gave credit to his story, and pitied him, gave him handsome apartments in his own house, and caused him and his wife to be treated like visitors of consequence, little imagining that the
giant was meditating a horrid return for all his favours.

"Things went on in this way for some time, the giant becoming daily more impatient to put his plan into execution; at last a favourable opportunity presented itself. Your father's house was at some distance from the seashore, but with a glass the coast could be seen distinctly. The giant was one day using the telescope; the wind was very high; he saw a fleet of ships in distress off the rocks; he hastened to your father, mentioned the circumstance, and eagerly requested he would send all the servants he could spare to relieve the sufferers. Every one was instantly despatched, except the porter and your nurse; the giant then joined your father in the study, and appeared to be delighted--he really was so. Your father recommended a favourite book, and was handing it down: the giant took the opportunity, and stabbed him; he instantly fell down dead. The giant left the body, found the porter and nurse, and presently despatched them; being determined to have no living witnesses of his crimes. You were then only three months old; your mother had you in her arms in a remote part of the house, and was ignorant of what was going on; she went into the study, but how was she shocked, on discovering your father a corpse, and weltering in his blood! she was stupefied with horror and grief, and was motionless. The giant, who was seeking her, found her in that state, and hastened to serve her and you as he had done her husband, but she fell at his feet, and in a pathetic manner besought him to spare your life and hers.

"Remorse, for a moment, seemed to touch the barbarian's heart: he granted your lives; but first he made her take a most solemn oath, never to inform you who your father was, or to answer any questions concerning him: assuring her that if she did, he would certainly discover her, and put both of you to death in the most cruel manner. Your mother took you in her arms, and fled as quickly as possible; she was scarcely gone when the giant repented that he had suffered her to escape. He would have pursued her instantly; but he had to provide for his own safety; as it was necessary he should be gone before the servants returned. Having gained your father's confidence, he knew where to find all his treasure: he soon loaded himself and his wife, set the house on fire in several places, and when the servants returned, the house was burned quite down to the ground. Your poor mother, forlorn, abandoned, and forsaken, wandered with you a great many miles from this scene of desolation. Fear added to her haste. She settled in the cottage where you were brought up, and it was entirety owing to her fear of the giant that she never mentioned your father to you. I became your father's guardian at his birth; but fairies have laws to which they are subject as well as mortals. A short time before the giant went to your father's, I transgressed; my punishment was a suspension of power for a limited time--an unfortunate circumstance, as it totally prevented my succouring your father.


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