Louis Huard - Giant Skrymir and Thor

"The Giant Skrymir and Thor" by Louis Huard

are a type of tall humanoid folkloric creature that appears in many fairy tales. The most famous fairy tales that includes giants are "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Jack the Giant Killer", and "The Valiant Little Tailor".


Jack and the Beanstalk

Arguably the most famous fairy tale to include giants is Jack and the Beanstalk. After growing a giant beanstalk from magic beans, a young man named "Jack" climbs the beanstalk and discovers a land above the clouds populated by giants. He visits an enormous castle and convinces a giantess to take him in and hide him from her husband, a giant that enjoys eating humans. Jack uses his wit and speed to steal the giant's goose that laid golden eggs to solve his and his mother's money troubles, but returns a second time to steal the giant's magic harp. The harp screams to wake up the sleeping giant who chases after Jack and follows him down the giant beanstalk. When Jack reaches the bottom, he uses his axe to chop down the giant beanstalk, letting the giant fall to his death, and Jack and his mother live happily ever after.

Jack the Giant Killer


A young man named "Jack" encounters a cattle devouring giant named "Cormoran" (Cornish: The Giant of the Sea SWF:Kowr-Mor-An) and lures him to his death in a pit trap. Jack is dubbed 'Jack the Giant-Killer' for this feat and receives not only the giant's wealth but a sword and belt to commemorate the event.

Blunderbore and Rebecks

After hearing of the death of Cormoran, another giant named Blunderbore, vows vengeance and carries Jack off to an enchanted castle. Jack manages to slay Blunderbore and his brother Rebecks by hanging and stabbing them, and in the process he frees three ladies held captive in the giant's castle.

Two-Headed Giant

On a trip to Wales, Jack encounters an unnamed two-headed Welsh giant and tricks him into slashing his own belly open.

After Jack becomes King Arthur's son's servant, the two spend the night with an unnamed three-headed giant and rob him in the morning. In gratitude for having spared his castle, the giant gives Jack a magic sword, a cap of knowledge, a cloak of invisibility, and shoes of swiftness.

Two more unnamed giants

Jack encounters two more unnamed giants. The first is terrorizing a knight and his lady, and Jack cuts off the giant's legs then puts him to death. The second he discovers in a cave, and hidden by his invisible cloak, Jack cuts off the giant's nose, then slays him by plunging his sword into the monster's back. He then frees the giant's captives and returns to the house of the knight and lady he earlier had rescued.


A banquet is prepared by the knight and lady, but interrupted by the two-headed giant Thunderdel chanting "Fee, fau, fum". Jack defeats and beheads the giant with a trick involving the house's moat and drawbridge.


Jack encounters his final adversary when directed to the castle of Galigantus (Galigantua, in Joseph Jacobs' version) by an elderly man. Galigantus holds captive many knights and ladies and a Duke's daughter who has been transformed into a white doe through the power of a sorcerer. Jack beheads the giant, the sorcerer flees, the Duke's daughter is restored to her true shape, and the captives are freed.

The fairy tale ends at the court of King Arthur, where Jack marries the Duke's daughter and the two are given an estate where they live happily ever after.

The Valiant Little Tailor

In the German fairy tale "The Valiant Little Tailor", a tailor kills seven flies with one blow of his hand, and is so proud he inscribes "Seven at One Blow" on a belt he proudly wears. Later the tailor encounters a giant who assumes that "Seven at One Blow" refers to seven men. The giant challenges the tailor. When the giant squeezes water from a boulder, the tailor squeezes milk, or whey, from cheese. The giant throws a rock far into the air, and it eventually lands. The tailor counters the feat by tossing a bird that flies away into the sky; the giant believes the small bird is a "rock" which is thrown so far that it never lands. Later, the giant asks the tailor to help him carry a tree. The tailor directs the giant to carry the trunk, while the tailor will carry the branches. Instead, the tailor climbs on, so the giant carries him as well, but it appears as if the tailor is supporting the branches.

Impressed, the giant brings the tailor to the giant's home, where other giants live as well. During the night, the giant attempts to kill the tailor by bashing the bed. However, the tailor, having found the bed too large, had slept in the corner. Upon returning and seeing the tailor alive, the other giants flee in fear of the small man.

Later, the tailor enters the royal service but the king, fearful the tailor will lose his temper and kill seven soldiers with each blow, attempts to get rid of the tailor by sending him to defeat two giants, along with a hundred horsemen, offering him half his kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage if the tailor can kill the giants. By throwing rocks at the two giants while they sleep, the tailor provokes the pair into fighting each other until they kill each other, at which time the tailor cuts a small mark near the giants' hearts

See also

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