The Yellow Fairy Book HTML version

The Giants And The Herd-Boy
There was once upon a time a poor boy who had neither father nor mother. In
order to gain a living he looked after the sheep of a great Lord. Day and night he
spent out in the open fields, and only when it was very wet and stormy did he
take refuge in a little hut on the edge of a big forest. Now one night, when he was
sitting on the grass beside his flocks, he heard not very far from him the sound as
of some one crying. He rose up and followed the direction of the noise. To his
dismay and astonishment he found a Giant lying at the entrance of the wood; he
was about to run off as fast as his legs could carry him, when the Giant called
out: 'Don't be afraid, I won't harm you. On the contrary, I will reward you
handsomely if you will bind up my foot. I hurt it when I was trying to root up an
oak-tree.' The Herd-boy took off his shirt, and bound up the Giant's wounded foot
with it. Then the Giant rose up and said, 'Now come and I will reward you. We
are going to celebrate a marriage to-day, and I promise you we shall have plenty
of fun. Come and enjoy yourself, but in order that my brothers mayn't see you,
put this band round your waist and then you'll be invisible.' With these words he
handed the Herd-boy a belt, and walking on in front he led him to a fountain
where hundreds of Giants and Giantesses were assembled preparing to hold a
wedding. They danced and played different games till midnight; then one of the
Giants tore up a plant by its roots, and all the Giants and Giantesses made
themselves so thin that they disappeared into the earth through the hole made by
the uprooting of the plant. The wounded Giant remained behind to the last and
called out, 'Herd-boy, where are you?' 'Here I am, close to you,' was the reply.
'Touch me,' said the Giant, 'so that you too may come with us under ground.' The
Herd-boy did as he was told, and before he could have believed it possible he
found himself in a big hall, where even the walls were made of pure gold. Then to
his astonishment he saw that the hall was furnished with the tables and chairs
that belonged to his master. In a few minutes the company began to eat and