There once was a woman and her son, peasants of meager means in a large kingdom. The boy’s father was lost in the king’s war for more land. Their journey continued alone. All was as to be expected for the two, until one day the mother noticed after the boy’s fifth birthday that he wasn’t really any bigger then he was before his last birthday. Come to think of it, she wondered if he was much bigger than he was since his third birthday.
It wasn’t much longer until she realized that her son had started to look different than all the other kids. Of course being a mother it didn’t bother her until the peoples’ indifference and cruelty became too much to bare. She didn’t want her son to grow up with constant persecution like that. So, she took him to the enchanted forest where no one would bother them.
Life was much simpler in the forest then it had been in the city. The boy grew in years but never much in size. He never stood taller than three and a half feet, though he did get thicker throughout his limbs and head. None the less, he remained as awkward looking as a new born chick.
Despite their solitary life, they were mostly happy, until one day the mother grew ill. The young man nursed her, the best he knew how, but she never recovered. He only blamed himself, through bitter eyes he suffered.
“If only I were bigger, none of this would have ever happened!” He said crying and shaking his fist at the sky. “I would have been able to help. Mother would still be here!”
Now, truly alone, he became restless and longed for companionship. All he had were his goats and chickens. Though they fed him they proved not to make very meaningful friends.
Even though his mother had warned him never to try and seek out others for what they might do, he decided this kind of life wasn’t worth staying around for.
Packing a few supplies and not even knowing which way he should go, he set out into the woods. He traveled for days witch soon turned into weeks. Running low on food he foraged for fall nuts and berries. Then the fall days fell to the ground bringing the cold of winter.
Fog lay heavy on the forest floormaking travel nearly impossible for most of the day. Just as the blanket would start to lift, it only turned itself into rain clouds. Raining down on the nearly broken spirit of this small man, he moved in the night.
Wandering aimlessly in the dark, certain his death was closer than his torn jacket; he stumbled into a clearing where he could make out the faint glow of a fire.
Moving towards the glow, with disbelieving eyes, he could make out a window. Where the firelight bled out into the dark. Then found a door where he stood and could hear voices inside.
He knocked and called out “Hello?”
He could hear the shuffling of feet and a man’s voice say “Take the baby to
the back. I’m not expecting a visit from anyone at this time of night.”
A woman’s voice tried to protest “But,”
“Take Jack and go!” The man’s voice said quickly.
Hearing the slide of a heavy wooden latch the small man took a step back not knowing what to expect. The door slowly creaked to a narrow opening and a wide eyed man poked his head out. Not seeing anyone he flung the door open and stood on the stoop searching the darkness.
The small man stepped back into the light of the open door. “I’m lost and
hungry.” He said just as pathetic as he looked.
The man in the door looked down paused and then began to laugh. “What a funny looking thing!” He bellowed.
“I have been walking” he began to say “and I haven’t eaten any”
Cut off with another laugh the man called to his wife “Come and see this
horrible little thing at our door.”
Still laughing and staring down at the wretched thing before them the
woman joined his side and peered blankly while clutching her small son.
“Be gone from here!” The man pushed him to the ground with a heavy footed kick to his chest.
In the mud, with the rain slapping his face, he looked up at the man’s
gleaming eyes. “I just need-” He started.
Cut off again, “Get out of here you little beast!” then slammed the door followed by the sound of the wooden lock grinding back into place.
Suddenly enraged by all that had already happened and now this, he raced out into the wet darkness. Lightning and thunder followed his rampage through the woods. Falling to the ground many times he was slimy with earth. Still angry and running he tripped over a branch and fell into a heap at the base of big tree. Suffering a cut to his forehead he wiped blood from his eye. He went to lean against the tree but fell in its’ hollow. He crawled inside to get out of the rain. The sound of the rain slighted and the smell of damp earth pushed at his nostrils. He crawled forward at a laboring pace until the ground grew firm under him.
The opening inside the tree was huge; he reached out for the walls of the tree but only grasped black space. He kneed his way around feeling the dry soil sticking to his wet hands and clothes. His unique size allowed him to stand up in this tree with a room in it. A flash of lightning showed the walls of the tree had indeed made a great room, but narrowed towards the back. He languidly walked to the darkest part of the cave like tree hollow. It shrank down to a tunnel and where he had to crawl again. The tunnel floor met him with tiny things the crept and crawled over his hands an up his sleeves. He came to the end of the tunnel where he was stopped by its timber. He curled up against it hugging his knees to chest.
Staring into the dark, he saw a faint and tiny beam of green light weaving
dust in and out of its’ path. He followed the beam back to just above his head. He rolled over and sat up to get a better look at a hole that freed the light. He felt the wood with his stubby fingers and blocked the small hole that let the light through. He pulled it away and peered with nervous excitement into the hole. He could see little green specks floating all around.
He spread both hands out against the wall to steady his one eyed view into what looked like another room. As he lifted his right hand he felt something jutting out of the wall. It felt like a small branch about the length of a spoon, except this branch was perfectly smooth with a rounded end. He tried pushing, pulling and turning it hoping it was a door lever but nothing worked. Thinking to himself he realized that he had been looking through a keyhole and this door was locked.
“What could I use for a key?” He thought out loud.
Just then he heard the handle shift, wood against wood, then a latch clicked and clanked the door opened flooding the tunnel with soft green light. He scooted backwards on his elbows. A small figure crowded the doorway. A fluttering green light flew past the figure’s head into the tunnel lighting the shadowed face just for an instant. He saw large blue eyes pasted above a bulbous red nose surrounded by deep wrinkles. Messy white hair lay mopped atop its’ head filling the hood of a robe, accented only by a simple rope around her waist.
“How did you find me?” A steady female voice bloomed in the green glow.
He sat up, cleared his voice and told his tale.
“And so through all that you have endured what is it that you desire most?”
The tree dweller asked evenly.
Without any hesitation he answered “To be big, to be huge, to be so tall I
could be a giant. And I couldn’t be hurt by any one!”
“Is that so; well since you have found me I’m charged with granting you your wish? Are you sure that is what you want?” She asked with an unwavering stare.
“How is it that you can grant wishes?” He asked rising to his feet his nose just above her forehead.
“Well you have found the home at the end and the beginning of the rainbow. I have been here so long I cannot remember the beginning. I use magic to make rainbows. Of course I have to share some magic with my husband. You see, he’s a leprechaun and they need magic to ride high in the sky to clean the rainbows; anyway.” She said as she seemed to notice that she was becoming distracted.
“Oh,” he said slightly rolling his eyes. “Well do you think I could have something to eat and drink please?”
“Sure, please come in.” She offered stepping inside the firefly lit room. “Sit
here,” she said motioning towards amake shift cradle of a bed. “Here is a dry robe.”
She untethered from a hook on the wall. All the while the fire flies seemed to dance with her movements like fluid in the air. He gripped a warm wooden mug and clumsily took it to his lips. Warmnectar like nothing he had ever known, cut his parched throat with relief and soon fell fast asleep.
He woke up with the sun’s first light trying to make its way into his conscience through the grey reflection of heavy mist. Blinking and confused by the awakening sky line, he felt a branch from the tree he was leaning against poking him in the back. He rubbed his eyes and used a branch to pull himself to his feet. He looked down to see fog swirling through the trees. Their dark green tops looked like they grew straight from the fog void of any earth.
“Can this really be?” He said questioning the sight of enormous hands
opened before him.
He felt himself over and convinced that he wasn’t dreaming; found a tiny note in his pocket. It fluttered between his oversized finger and thumb in the wind high above the trees.He unfolded it to read the words. “Wishes are large but choices are bigger.”
Giving it no further thought he stuffed it back into his pocket and looked at the new world in front of him. His vision pierced the distance between him and the horizon. Standing where he used to be familiar with the smell of the forest floor, he could smell more than damp earth but the clean air above the canopy. Not too far off he could see smoke rising lightly to the sky through the fog backed by the blue grey of a new day.
Immediately he thought of the man who had kicked him to the ground. He started in that direction slapping his hands over the tops of the trees. The new giant came to the clearing that the smoke escaped from. There stood the house that kept the man that had kicked him from the porch and spurred his rampage into the forest.
The site bred the pain of being kicked in the chest then laughed at, while almost drowning in the mud, emerged from his wild eyes as angry tears.His head was filled with all the misery and injustice that met him at every moment of his life.
He didn’t stop to think of his selfless mother who loved him. He didn’t know how to appreciate the simple life he had led. He couldn’t understand that he had food and shelter while there were many in the kingdom that did not. No, he didn’t stop to think of all that he had to be thankful for. Instead, he let his anger turn to revenge for all that was unfair and to become the deliverer of another’s end.
One giant kick at the house under the fog and justice was done. Now, another mother and her son Jack were left to fend for themselves without a father.
Feeling his new power the giant thundered off and destroyed what he wanted and took what he wanted. His gathering of riches went on for weeks.With all the spoils of his pillaging he plopped down in the middle of two mountains to carve out a home sized to fit.He wasn’t there long when he heard a familiar small voice.
“So what have you done with your wish?”
He searched the dark of the forest floor looking for who made the sound. He quickly realized who it was. “I, eh, I,” He attempted to find words but his sudden shame kept them from forming.
“You will be punished.” The robed tree dweller said simply. “Since this is what you think you want, you shall have it. You are banished to your own kingdom in the clouds, where you will live out your days alone with your treasure.”
With two winks and a whirlwind of gold the giant found himself in his new kingdom built to fit. All that he had pillaged, all that glittered of gold, all of the fine things he stole, were neatly placed about him in his new home. He walked to the edge of his cloudy castle to look down upon the world he left behind.
While he had become a king with no one to rule, Jack and his mother were finding their own way in the world. With no father to provide for them they were destitute and stricken by all that was miserable.
Jack’s life came fast. By the time he was seven he and his mother had mostly rebuilt the damage left by an event he couldn’t remember. His mother did recall the day. She said, “One morning when the fog on the ground was still thick and wet, we heard a deep grumbling noise and then the side of the house was just,” She paused and stared, the direction of her memory pressing hard at her eyes, then finished.
“Gone, and it was where your father was.”
It was the same story all his life. By the time he was sixteen they and the rest of the kingdom had fallen into hard times. Now old enough to work but there was not any work to be had. He could farm but their land produced nothing. He did his best to take care of his mother but they were starving.
One morning he was getting ready to head into town to look for work and his mother ordered him to take their only cow tomarket to sell it so they might afford to leave this barren place.
He led his cow to town and on the way he came across a tiny old woman in a green robe who politely offered to trade him a handful of magic beans for his cow.