Coyote Kills the Giant

Coyote Kills the GiantCoyote Kills the Giant

Flathead

Coyote was walking along one day when he met Old Woman. She told him he better stop going that way or he would meet a giant who killed everyone. Coyote said he was not afraid of giants, but took a big stick in hopes of killing the giant.

He went along whistling and came to a big cave, right in the middle of the path. He saw people looking around and also looking depressed. They were starving. He told the first woman that he met that he was going to kill the giant, but she told him that he was already in the giant. He had just walked into its mouth, thinking it was a cave.

The people inside were starving, but Coyote told them that if they were really in a giant they could cut flesh from the walls and eat it. Coyote tried it and it worked. The people said there was no way out, but Coyote determined to find a way out. He found the giant’s heart. He told everyone to go up near the giant’s mouth. The giant would open his mouth before he died and everyone should run out then. Coyote stabbed the giant in the heart and made for the exit. The wood tick was the last one out and he became flat. Coyote told him that he would be that way forever and that he would get over it.

Observations

I have read this story before, or something very similar. I want to say I read a Stephen King book where there was something almost exactly like this going on at one point. Maybe not inside of a giant, but there was a  very similar situation.

Themes

This is a story of perspective. This giant was so giant, that Coyote walked into his mouth without noticing. I’m sure ants crawl on us without really knowing what we are. Maybe they just think we’re a tree? If there really was a giant that giant, would we notice? Could we tell? What if the giant was so giant that our entire universe is like a speck on one of his nerves? We only know what we can comprehend. If we can’t comprehend something, we can’t know it.

We all loosely get the idea of space, but space seemingly goes on forever and we just can’t comprehend that. How does something not end? The giant in this story is very much like that. We just can’t comprehend the idea of a giant or an animal being so big that we could walk into its mouth as if it were a cave. If we encountered something like that, we could only equate it for what we knew, a cave, and not a gigantic creature. The idea that the  cave was a mouth, never even crossed Coyote’s mind.

Overall

Be careful when you walk into a cave.

Weigh In

Do you think you could recognize a giant, giant?

If you found yourself living inside of a giant, what would you do?

#634 One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser

One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyserOne Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser

Rudi was going to market with the tanner’s daughter, Susannah, she was six. Rudi said he was allowed to sell a cow as well as the milk and butter, if he got a good price. At the market Rudi is separated from Susannah. She says she has sold his cow for magical beans. They look like ordinary beans to Rudi. He knows his family will not want to lose a cow for beans to a foreign person no less.

Rudi races home where he talks to his grandmother. She thinks that the beans might indeed be magic, but they should go ask the witch up on the hill. Everyone knows she is a witch, but people simply say she is an old woman. Rudi and Susannah go to see her. She confirms that the beans are indeed magic and they should go back to the land from which they came, but she could not go there herself because only one witch was allowed in one land at a time. Rudi and Susannah would have to go. She tells Rudi to plant one of the beans at the border between the lands. He does and a beanstalk grows.

Rudi and Susannah climb to the top where they endeavor to return the beans to the witch there, who is a giant and a man. A girl named Agatha is going with them, but it turns out she’s the girl who started the trouble in the first place. She helps with the task, sort of, but she doesn’t like the witch. Rudi tells her that there can only be one witch so if someone were to take the place of the witch there, then maybe Agatha could get what she wished.

What I liked

This was a fairly entertaining story. I liked the twists on traditional fairy tales. I liked how the people in the story admit there’s a witch, but don’t admit there’s a witch. They secretly acknowledge that they don’t know all the pieces of things, but outwardly they persist in putting on a front that everything can be explained. Typical humans.

What I didn’t like

The whole one witch at a time thing seems illogical, but it’s not my written world.

Overall

Everything ended up ok.

Weigh In

Would you trade a cow for magic beans?

If there is something you can’t explain do you admit you know the answer, or do you put up the front that you think it’s silly?

The Giant and the Tailor

The Giant and the TailorThe Giant and the Tailor

A tailor and a giant have met before in our adventures with the Grimm’s brothers. This story has less cheese.

Once upon a time there was a tailor who had decided that he really, really wanted to travel the world. We call that wanderlust my friends. He packed up his bags and left his shop. He would go here and he would go there. He really wasn’t too concerned about where he was going.

One day he happened to see something that confused him. He decided to get a closer look. What he saw was a tower with legs and it leapt over a hill. It turns out it wasn’t a tower at all but a giant. The giant asked the little bug what he was going around here and the tailor responded that he was just looking for a way to earn some bread. The giant said the tailor might as well come and work for him. The tailor asked what his wages were going to be and the giant said he would give him three-hundred and sixty-five days and in a leap year he would give him three-hundred and sixty-six days. The tailor figured being alive was a pretty good deal and decided to go and work for the giant but escape at his earliest convenience.

The thing about the tailor was that the tailor liked the brag, about everything. He liked the boast and say he could turn water into wine, things like that. He was full of crap, but the giant didn’t know this. The giant told the tailor to get a bucket of water. The tailor asked if he should bring the well and the spring too. At first the giant didn’t think this was that big of a deal, but then he thought the tailor must be something odd. He decided that maybe the tailor had a mandrake in his body and he better be on his guard.

The giant then asked the tailor to go chop down some firewood. The tailor asked if he should chop down the whole forest at once. The giant now suspected he was harboring some kind of wizard and chose to be very careful around the tailor. The giant wanted to be rid of the tailor but decided to sleep on it.

The next day the giant and the tailor took a walk down by some willow trees. The giant told the tailor that he would really like to see if the tailor could weigh down one of the willow branches. The tailor made himself as heavy as possible wanting to appear strong to the giant, but had to take a breath. When he did, the willow branch swung him up into the air and far away. The giant never saw him again.

The End

The Giant and the TailorObservations

I researched mandrakes a bit. I know you’re thinking about the screaming plants from Harry Potter, because I know you’ve seen Harry Potter because you’re reading this article. The Harry Potter depiction of mandrakes are not the only things a mandrake is known for. Mandrakes are supposed to look like a person. They’re a heavily rooted plant, some might say tuberous. Throughout the ages mandrakes have been closely associated with herbalism, lore, and witchcraft. They’re even mentioned in the Bible as an aphrodisiac and fertility aid. In this story the giant says that the little man must have a mandrake in him.

Mandrakes have also developed some other strange traits. They could be something of their own being which you had to feed and take care of. They could bring you fortune, or they could bring you misfortune. If ingested, they possess compounds that could be hallucinogenic. They’ve also been associated with demonic possession. So we can assume either the giant thinks this tailor is high or that he’s possessed. So in essence, the giant is superstitious.

The Giant and the TailorThemes

The giant gets scared of something he shouldn’t be scared of, but the tailor bluffs his way into life and maybe death. We don’t know what happens to the tailor. Maybe he’s dead. He was swung high into the air by a willow branch, he might be dead. It’s not the falling that’s going to kill him; it’s the landing, but maybe he survived. If he did survive he bluffed his way out of danger. The giant implied pretty heavily that he was going to grind this guy’s bones if he didn’t do what he said. If he didn’t survive, he bluffed his way more quickly into his death.

It’s really one of those Schrodinger type of situations. We don’t know the outcome, so we can’t really feel one way or the other. We just have to guess at both outcomes. Is he ok? I don’t know. Is he dead? I don’t know. We can look at this outcome, or lack thereof, and consider this, bluffing can get you out of some sticky situations or it can put you into some sticky situations. Sometimes you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. You’re bluffing and it’s really a coin-toss as to if you’re going to come out ahead or not.

So remember to use your bluffing skills with caution. You might get lucky or you might end up swimming with the fishies, or flying through the air like a nerf ball.

Overall

Why do giants and tailors hang out so much? Wouldn’t there be other people and beings more appropriate for them to be with?


#416 The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG by Roald DahlThe BFG by Roald Dahl

This book may be veiled in impossibilities but it tells an important lesson, also, a little girl farts with a giant.

Sophie is asleep in her bed when the desire to get up seizes her. She’s not supposed to be up during the night even to go to the bathroom. What she sees out the window scares her and brings her to disbelief. What she is seeing is something she cannot possibly be seeing. What she sees is a giant sticking a long trumpet into the windows of houses. Sophie gets back into bed hoping the giant will pass her by, but he doesn’t. He reaches in with his long arm and grabs her. He runs away with her fast.

The giant is 24 feet tall. He introduces himself as the BFG or the Big Friendly Giant. He never eats “human beans,” but the other nine giants do. They eat humans every single night. The BFG and Sophie have a discussion about things that are living. As the BFG’s ears are so large he can hear many sounds that Sophie cannot. He can hear trees moaning when they are cut down and flowers screaming when they are plucked. This isn’t something Sophie has thought about before.

Another giant soon comes in the BFGs cave and makes fun of him. Sophie narrowly escapes being eaten by another giant, but she survives thanks to a nasty vegetable(which honestly sounds a lot like goya in my opinion). the BFG proceeds to tell her that his job is to catch dreams. That’s what she saw him doing during the night. He was blowing good dreams into the windows of little boys and little girls. He takes Sophie out with him to dream hunt. Sophie sees a dream for the first time. Then they play an awful trick on the other giants by blowing a nightmare into their midst while they are sleeping.

Another thing the giant introduces Sophie to is their own special soda. The carbonation goes down instead of up. This is so the giants will produce “whizzpoppers”(FARTS) and not burps. Sophie thinks this is a little rude, but the giant thinks burps are rude.

Sophie soon thinks up a plan to get rid of the other giants. They construct a special dream just for the Queen of England that will result in the other giants being captured forever.

What I liked

The story is cute. I liked the message in it. Sophie learns that other things besides humans have feelings and something of a sense of morality. The giant points out that only human beings kill each other, which isn’t necessarily true, plenty of other animals kill each other, but it’s a kids’ book and they don’t want to get into all of that. I think it’s neat that Sophie finds someone who shows her some compassion and gives her a chance to learn more about the world. Children like to imagine a world in which they can do something to change the world for the better. Sophie is able to do that with the help of the BFG who isn’t at all who she expected him to be. He’s not a big terrifying monster. He’s more like a giant Forrest Gump.

I think it’s important for kids to realize that just because a person doesn’t look like them that doesn’t mean they’re not people too. The giant doesn’t look at all like Sophie, but she finds that he’s really not a bad guy. He’s actually sweet and gentle-natured. He doesn’t lift a hand against his fellow giants even when the other giants are beating him up.

I do like the emphasis this book places on life. The giants are allowed to live even though they’re terrible people. Sophie learns that even plants suffer. I think that’s a great idea to teach kids. They need to learn that kicking the cat or chopping down a tree for no reason is not acceptable behavior.

What I didn’t Like

Farts? Seriously? I know kids like farts, but come on.

I think it’s sad how the other giants treat the BFG. They’re dorks.

Overall

It’s a sweet book for kids that teaches some important lessons.


The King’s Son Who Feared Nothing

The King's Son who Feared NothingThe King’s Son Who Feared Nothing

This is another story that seems cobbled together from other Grimm’s stories. Again, this might have been a regional thing or maybe someone just forgot how the story really went.

Once upon a time there was a king’s son who had grown tired of living at home and wanted to venture out into the world. He walked and ventured for all hours of light during the day. He soon arrived at the house of a giant. Where he found a very large set of bowling pins and balls. He decided he would bowl with these pins and balls. He was very strong and could push the bowling balls even though they were very large. He was soon shouting and making lots of noises when he knocked over pins.

The giant heard all of this and woke up. He saw that this little man was very strong  and asked him how he could do this. The man responded that he could pretty much do whatever he wanted. The giant asked a favor of him. He asked the prince to go and get him an apple from the tree of life. The giant didn’t want it for himself, but for his fiance.

The prince said this would be easy. The giant told the man that he had searched the whole world and had not found the garden in which the tree grew. The tree was hemmed in by a great iron fence. Outside the fence stood wild animals who were fierce. The final task was to put an arm through a ring which hung there. No one had managed to do this yet, but the prince thought he could do it just fine.

He soon found the garden. The animals were all asleep so he simply stepped over them. He climbed over the gate. He was about to grab an apple from the tree when he saw the ring. He put his arm through it, but it stuck tight. He grabbed an apple anyway. He felt a great strength coming on. He was able to pry the large iron gate open with a little jerk. The lion that had been among the animals on the outside of the fence had awoken. Instead of charging him it followed him as if the prince were his master.

The prince returned to the giant and offered up the apple. The giant took the apple to his fiance, but the fiance would not believe he had gotten the apple because she did not see the golden ring on his arm. The giant asked the prince for the ring, but the prince told him no. The giant told the man that they must wrestle for the ring. They wrestled for a long time, but there was no winner. They were both equally as strong.

The giant thought up a plan. He said he had gotten rather hot and sweaty from all the wrestling so the two of them should take off their clothes and bathe in the river(cue the Barry White music). The prince got naked, including the gold ring, and hopped into the river.The giant snatched the ring up and ran away, but the lion was close on his tail. It tore the ring out of the giant’s hand and took it back to his master. The giant hid behind an oak tree while the prince was getting dressed again and surprised the prince by poking his eyes out.

The giant came back acting as if to help the prince, but led him, instead, to the top of a high rock. The giant left the prince there waiting for him to walk off the edge of the cliff in his blindness, but the lion went and took him away from the cliff. The giant tried this again, but he took a different route to the cliff. The lion was not fooled and went and got his master back again, but this time, he pushed the giant off the edge of the cliff. The giant shattered into pieces at the bottom.

The lion took the man to a stream where the lion sprinkled some drops of water onto the prince’s face with his paws. The prince was able to recover some of his sight. He observed a bird that had flown recklessly into the area. The bird bathed itself into the water and soon flew away just fine. The prince realized that this water would give him his sight back, so he bathed his face in the water and soon recovered his sight.

The prince traveled on and came to a great castle. There he saw, “a maiden of beautiful form and fine face, but she was quite black.” The prince asked her what was up. She told him that he must spend three nights in the castle without letting fear into his heart or saying a word. If were able to do that, he would break the enchantment on the castle and the princess.

The first night all was calm for a while, but demons and imps soon came to gamble around a fire in the castle. They discerned that someone was there who did not belong. They soon found the prince and beat him savagely, but the prince did not say a single word. The next morning the princess came to tend to him. She bathed him in the water of life and all pain went from his body and he was healed. The prince noticed that her feet were now white.

The next night the imps and demons came back. They beat the prince again, but more savagely. The princess came the next morning and once again bathed the prince in the water of life. She was now white to her fingertips. The next night was the worst yet. The imps and demons beat the man. They pricked him and did all manner of damage to him, but he withstood it all without saying a word. The princess came again that morning and now she was completely white. She bathed him in the water of life and he was healed.

She told him to rise and swing his sword three times over the stairs. He did so and the enchantment was broken. Servants came into the castle with food and the wedding was celebrated and solemnized.

The End

The King's Son Who Feared NothingObservations

I wonder if people really thought that black people could go around turning themselves white. We’re not talking about Michael Jackson here. We’re talking about normal people. I know people have tried to lighten their skin and there are methods which help, but seriously, why would you do that? That’s a stupid question, I know why they do it. People tend to see white skin or pale skin as beautiful. This isn’t just in the United States or Europe, it’s everywhere unfortunately. It’s kind of sad. I hate to read stories about Asian girls trying to lighten their skin unnaturally. It’s just another one of those insane standards of beauty we keep holding onto.

This story has elements from many of the other Grimm’s stories. We have three nights spend in a castle without saying a word. We have an impossible task. We have this idea of silence. We have an idea of a normal man taking on extreme strength. We have this idea of an enchanted princess and castle. It’s all there for the most part. It’s not really original in any way. Even the tame lion isn’t really that original. There have been tame wild animals in other Grimm’s stories.

This giant should know that, “If he liked it then he shoulda put a ring on it.” What a dope.

The King's Son Who Feared NothingThemes

Again, we have common themes and elements in this story. They’re themes and elements we’ve seen quite a few times during this exploration of the Grimm’s anthology.

This giant tries to get someone else to perform a task that he should have been performing and his girlfriend totally calls him out on it. Look, all you men out there, women know. It doesn’t matter what we know; I don’t even have to give you an example, but we know. Don’t try to put anything past us. That thing you’re thinking about right now, we know; by the way, you’re totally gross for thinking that.

I keep reading in these stories that the man who breaks the curse gets the girl. They barely know each other. In some cases, they have never even laid eyes on each other’s true forms, but they still end up getting married. Everyone thinks it’s a good idea. There is this underlying message that if you owe a person of the opposite sex something, then marriage works just fine as a repayment. A prince rescues the princess and that means he automatically gets to marry that princess. It doesn’t matter if there is a huge age gap, or the prince is a jerk, or the princess doesn’t like the princess, or they don’t have anything in common, or one of them is gay. It doesn’t matter, they end up married anyway.

Why?

I get that having your life saved by someone else is a big deal. It’s a huge deal, but don’t people do that because they’re decent human beings? They don’t expect you to run off to Vegas with them and get married, do they? Look, in my opinion, you’re not supposed to marry someone you just met I don’t really care what that person did for you. They saved your life? That’s cool. You guys should go and have a cup of tea together, maybe chat a little, that sort of thing… not run off to Vegas.

Was there ever any other scenario? Did the guy ever rescue the princess and have the princess just say, “Thanks?” Seriously, why does the princess always have to marry the guy? Why? On the one hand, I know it’s your life. You only have one life. If someone saves that life for you, then you should be pretty grateful, like at least a subscription to a cookie of the month club grateful. That’s a big deal, but is it a big enough deal to marry that person no questions asked? Look there are nurses in hospitals who save lives everyday, but you don’t see the hospital chapel full of impromptu weddings between handsome coma patients and middle-aged cat lady nurses. Maybe they would be happy together, I don’t know.

It’s as if it was this unwritten rule of society. If this was a rule our society practiced, Ryan Gosling would have had to have married that girl he saved from being hit by a car. Women would all be throwing themselves in front of cars when Ryan Gosling was around. He’d have like fifty wives by now. Eventually, he would get to where he wouldn’t save your butt from that oncoming semi, because he just has too many women already.

Overall

I wonder if I could get a lion to guard my apple tree? Not that anyone tries to steal apples from it though.