When good King Arthur reigned, there lived near the Land’s End of England, in the county of Cornwall, a farmer who had one only son called Jack. He was brisk and of a ready lively wit, so that nobody or nothing could worst him.
In those days the Mount of Cornwall was kept by a huge giant named Cormoran. He was eighteen feet in height, and about three yards round the waist, of a fierce and grim countenance, the terror of all the neighbouring towns and villages. He lived in a cave in the midst of the Mount, and whenever he wanted food he would wade over to the main- land, where he would furnish himself with whatever came in his way. Everybody at his approach ran out of their houses, while he seized on their cattle, making nothing of carrying half-a-dozen oxen on his back at a time; and as for their sheep and hogs, he would tie them round his waist like a bunch of tallow-dips. He had done this for many years, so that all Cornwall was in despair.
One day Jack happened to be at the town-hall when the magistrates were sitting in council about the Giant. He asked: “What reward will be given to the man who killeth Cormoran?” “The giant’s treasure,” they said, “will be the reward.” Quoth Jack: “Then let me undertake it.”
So he got a horn, shovel, and pickaxe, and went over to the Mount in the beginning of a dark winter’s evening, when he fell to work, and before morning had dug a pit twenty-two feet deep, and nearly as broad, covering it over with long sticks and straw. Then he strewed a little mould over it, so that it appeared like plain ground. Jack then placed himself on the opposite side of the pit, farthest from the giant’s lodging, and, just at the break of day, he put the horn to his mouth, and blew, Tantivy, Tantivy. This noise roused the giant, who rushed from his cave, crying: “Thou incorrigible villain, art thou come here to disturb my rest? Thou shalt pay dearly for this. Satisfaction I will have, and this it shall be, I will take thee whole and broil thee for breakfast.” He had no sooner uttered this, than he tumbled into the pit, and made the very foundations of the Mount to shake. “Oh, Giant,” quoth Jack, “where art thou now? Oh, faith, thou art gotten now into Lob’s Pound, where I will surely plague thee for thy threatening words: what doest thou think now of broiling me for thy breakfast? Will no other diet serve thee but poor Jack?” Then having tantalised the giant for a while, he gave him a most weighty knock with his pickaxe on the very crown of his head, and killed him on the spot.
Jack then filled up the pit with earth, and went to search the cave, which he found contained much treasure. When the magistrates heard of this they made a declaration he should henceforth be termed