The Young Giant is a tale I have never heard before, but I have heard of someone in this tale and so have you. That someone is Thumbling, yes, he’s back with all his mischievous ways. He takes plenty of opportunities in this tale to be a jerk.
Once upon a time there was a man who had a son who was no bigger than his thumb. That was as much as he had grown. One day the man was going to go out and plow the field and his son, Thumbling, begged to go. The man said that Thumbling would only be in the way and could not help plow, but he was insistent. The man finally decided to take his son.
He set Thumbling down in a freshly plowed furrow and got to work. As it so happened, a giant was nearby. The father jokingly said to his son that if he was not a good little boy the giant would come and grab him up. Well, it turns out the giant had, in fact, seen Thumbling and thought he was pretty neat. The giant picked Thumbling up, to the horror of his father, and carried him away. What the giant, the male giant, does next is a little strange. The giant let Thumbling suckle at his breast for two years. Thumbling grew tall and strong. The giant took him into the woods to test him. He told him to pull up a stick for himself. Thumbling pulled a young tree up out of the Earth by the roots. The giant was not satisfied and took Thumbling back and suckled him for two more years.
After this period of two years was up, the giant wanted to test Thumbling again. He took him back to the woods and asked him to pull up a stick. He pulled up a large oak-tree, roots and all, as if it were nothing. The giant was still not pleased at this, so he took him back for another two years and suckled him again. Upon the next test, Thumbling pulled up the largest tree in the forest as if it were nothing. The giant said he was ready and quit breast-feeding him and also took him home to his real parents.
Thumbling wanted to see his parents and also wanted to show off all the good giant breast milk could do a body. His father did not believe that this giant was his son. Thumbling had been very tiny. Thumbling offered to plow the field for his father. It was nothing, it would take him no time at all. Thumbling tried plowing the first time and the plow went deep into the Earth. His father was starting to get a little irritated, but there was really nothing he could do about it. He told Thumbling that if he must plow, not to plow so hard. Thumbling told his father not to worry and told him to tell his mother to make up lots and lots of food for him.
Well, Thumbling plowed the field, then he harrowed the field without the aid of horses. He went inside to eat and his mother had made enough food to feed herself and the father for a week. Thumbling ate all of it in no time and asked for more. She soon made enough food to fill the pig’s trough, which Thumbling soon ate, but he was still hungry. He told his parents that he could not stay because there would never be enough food for him. He told his father to get him a great iron bar, that he could not break, that he might take on his journey.
His father went to the blacksmith and had a large iron staff made. He had two horses harnessed to the great staff and they could barely pull it. Thumbling took up the staff and broke it in two. His father went back to the blacksmith and got an ever larger staff. This time he harnessed it to four horses, which could barely pull it. Thumbling took it up and broke it in two. His father went back to the blacksmith and got a staff so large that eight horses had to be harnessed to it. Thumbling was able to break off the end of this staff, but decided to leave.
Thumbling then decided to apprentice himself to a blacksmith. The blacksmith was pleased that such a big, strong man wanted to work for him. He asked Thumbling what wages he would like for his pay and Thumbling said that he did not want any money, but that he wanted to hit the blacksmith as hard as he could, twice. The blacksmith thought he could save a lot of money and withstand the blows from Thumbling. Thumbling tried out a bit of blacksmithing. He hit the anvil so hard that it sunk down into the Earth. The smith wasn’t very pleased with this. Thumbling soon decided to give him one of his blows. He struck the blacksmith in such a way that he flew over four loads of hay. Thumbling took the thickest iron bar from the smith and left.
Thumbling then decided to be a headman for a bailiff. The bailiff asked Thumbling what he wanted for wages and Thumbling told him that he did not want any money, but he wanted to hit the bailiff as hard as possible, twice. The bailiff agreed to this payment schedule. Thumbling did not start off work on a good foot. He was ordered into the forest, but he wanted to sleep some more. Everyone was like, “No, dude, you’ve got to get up now.” Thumbling was like, “Well, I”m going to sleep another hour and I’ll still make it there before you do.” Well, Thumbling was right. He made it back and the bailiff was proud to have such a good employee.
Thumbling served the bailiff for a year. At the end of that year, it was time for him to get his payment. The bailiff was afraid. He offered Thumbling all kinds of other things including money. The bailiff finally begged for a two weeks delay. He talked to his clerk. They told him, that he should tell Thumbling to clean a well. When he was inside the well, they could drop a millstone on him and he would never come out. The bailiff thought this was a fine idea.
They got Thumbling down the well and they threw the largest millstone they could on him. Well, Thumbling was not dead. He complained of hens scratching sad down the well into his eyes. He came out of the well with a new necklace, it was the millstone.
Thumbling wanted his wages for the year, but the bailiff begged for another two weeks. The clerks met again. They decided that they must give Thumbling a lot of grain to grind in a haunted mill. No one had ever come out who had went in at night. They told Thumbling it was dangerous, but he brushed it off. He simply loaded two bushels of corn in one pocket, two bushels in the other pocket, and several more bushels around his person. He headed off to the mill.
Thumbling poured his grain out at the mill and sat down to rest. All of the sudden, the door swung open and in came a table. The table was laid with wine and all kinds of food. The chairs soon followed of their own accord. There were no people, but suddenly, there were fingers and Thumbling could see them. These fingers used their knives and forks to eat food. Thumbling decided that he was going to eat as well and pulled a chair up to the table.
After a bit, Thumbling felt he had gotten a box to the ear. Well, he wasn’t going to take that, so he hit back. He got another box on the ear, again, he hit back. This went on and on for the whole night. In the morning, Thumbling was still alive and all his grain was ground. The miller was so happy that his mill was no longer haunted and offered Thumbling lots of money. Thumbling didn’t want any money and went back to the bailiff.
The bailiff was quite surprised and scared to see Thumbling. He opened a window to get some fresh air. Well, Thumbling decided to collect his payment. He gave the bailiff such a hard kick that he went flying way away. He then told the bailiff’s wife that if the bailiff did not come back, she would have to take the other blow. Well, now she was scared and opened a different window. Thumbling kicked her too, but she was lighter, so she flew further. Her husband cried to her that she should come to him, but she told him that she could not come to him. Both of them were both hovering in the air and they might still be hovering there. Thumbling took up his iron bar and went on his way, presumably to be a jerk to some more people.
Probably the strangest thing about this tale is the face that a giant, a male giant, breastfeeds another man, for six years. I may be totally wrong about this whole mammalian thing, but I’m pretty sure only the females can breastfeed. This giant has some special boobs. Not only do they lactate, when male mammals clearly aren’t supposed to lactate, but they also secrete a super-growth hormone. Steroids? Roid-rage might actually explain some of Thumbling’s behavior. I have heard that sometimes when men take too many steroids they begin to lactate. Perhaps that is why this giant can lactate and he’s lactating a super-concentrated form of steroid. Maybe he should get a breast pump or maybe he’s gay and he enjoys another man…you know what, I’m not even going to finish that sentence, this is family website…sort of. Let’s not go into the possible homoerotic undertones of this story, well, right now anyway, maybe we’ll address that at a later date.
Part of me wonders if the giant himself was once puny like Thumbling. We’re going to pump you up! But imagine that in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Thumbling is still a jerk, but now he’s a bigger jerk. Thanks steroids! All the people who Thumbling is beating up, really appreciate what you’ve done.
A theme I see in this story is “don’t give a jerk power.” I don’t know if that’s a true moral that grandmothers whisper to their grandchildren, but maybe it should be. That’s right, don’t give a jerk power. Let’s talk about a couple of historical jerks. You know who was a jerk? Hitler, but also You Know Who, but he’s not real. Let’s leave Lord Voldemort out of this, although, the same argument I’m going to make about some real-life historical jerks, could just as easily apply to him.
So Hitler was a jerk. He was probably always a jerk. It wasn’t until he had power that it was a problem. I’m sure he bullied other kids in kindergarten, German man, German word, but he couldn’t really do that much harm. When people were like, “No, we like this dude,” and started giving him power was when he was able to start doing harm.
You know who else was a jerk? Napoleon. He had a short man complex, these days know as a Napoleon complex, just for him. He was a jerk, not as much of a jerk as Hitler, but he was still kind of a jerk. Before he had power, was his jerkiness any harm? Maybe a little, but not enough to do anything much, he was a short guy after all. When he got power, just look what happened. He went all over the place, conquering all sorts of things. At least no one could say that he did not have big ambitions.
These are my examples. Why do I mention them? I mention them to draw real-life parallels to Thumbling. Thumbling is a jerk. He was a jerk when he was little. We’ve already evidenced that in several stories about him. Thumbling likes to play tricks and make people worry. When he turns into a big, giant, Brawny-style man, that jerkiness is amplified and he is able to do a lot of harm. He uses his new size to push a lot of people around. Sure, he could cause trouble when he was little, but the power he gets from being large, opens up a whole other world of, “WTF, run for your lives!”
Just because power is bestowed upon someone does not mean that person is going to use that power to empower human kind. If that person is a jerk, that person will use that power to continue being a jerk. If that person is a good person, they might do some good things, for a while, until the entire idea of power and red-tape has beaten them down, then they’ll do jerk things. “To whom much is given, much is required,” doesn’t always work.
This tale is strange and Thumbling is a jerk, so I really do not like the story.