« PreviousContinue »
saults, and finally, flourishing his sword above his upon huge blocks of ice, whilst around him polar head, cut the rope, and he and his belt fell. bears of an enormous size were gamboling. Grimnerskrimner was delighted.
“It is my brother's reindeer,” said Hymirymer, "I can do that,” said he. “Wife, bring me my for he it was. “What news? what news, little lad, leathern band."
what news ? Speak up, for I am very deaf.” When it came, the giant made a slip-knot in the Then Jan sprang from the sledge and clammanner that Jan had done, and after some un-bered up the slippery blocks of ice until he was wieldy plunges darted his head into the noose on a level with the giant's head. Then he blew when Jan, who was watching closely, suddenly three loud blasts on his horn, which caused the pricked his leg with the point of his sword, which giant to start up, sayingcaused Grimnerskrimner to start and give a kick ; “Who could have thought that such a little this had the effect of tightening the band round his fellow had such a loud voice ?” throat, and the more he endeavoured to release For he did not perceive that Jan had a horn with himself the tighter the band was drawn, and in him. And Jan, keeping himself out of sight, which spite of all his struggles he could not free himself. he was able to do, as Hymirymer was not only His face went quite purple, and Jan let him hang naturally unwieldy, but also so stiff with the cold there until he thought he was quite dead ; but lest that he could not move easily, continued to blow there should be any fear of his coming to life again, unearthly blasts that quite distracted the giant. he piled up several wooden chairs, and mounting “I have come from your brother's castle," said on the topmost, he, with his wonderful sword, Jan through the horn. smote off Grimnerskrimner's head.
“Has he sent me any oxen, or sheep, or kids? The wife came running in to see what was the I'm tired of living upon whales. It's whale soup, matter, and did not appear at all sorry to find that and whale chops, and whale steak, and I'm longing her husband was killed. She seemed, however, for a little meat." afraid for Jan, for she said,
“There's lots wasting in your brother's kitchen,” “Oh, dear ! oh, dear! he has a brother worse than himself, who is sure to avenge him. Alas! alas! you foolish lad ; go home whilst there is time, for Hymirymer is sure to make an end of you if you stay here. I will harness our fleetest reindeer to a sledge for you. You need only whisper in his ear ‘Home ! home! flee home!' and he will then take you there directly."
IV. The reindeer was harnessed, and Jan packed his possessions into the sledge, and stepping up to the reindeer he patted him and whispered something in his ear. But it was not "Home ! home!” on the contrary it was “To Hymirymer speed fast !” And the reindeer sped
answered Jan ; “ but like a shot ; and the giant's
his wolves are all wife threw up her hands
dead, so they'll never in dismay, shrieking
go hunting again." “The deer is false! the
“Dead do you deer is false ! ”
say? Who killed them?" But the reindeer was not
“I did,” said Jan ; "they came false ; he flew along in the
and took our sheep and cattle.” very direction that Jan had
"Aha!” replied Hymirymer commanded, and before
sharply, “so you're one of the long Jan saw in the distance "JAN SAW IN THE DISTANCE A GREAT
people from the south? But let a great grey figure sitting
me tell you we giants shall eat up yourselves as well as your focks if you don't your master ? But you can't, you stupid brutes-keep us properly supplied with what we want. And no bear's paw can hurt Hymirymer." as for you, I shall let my bears loose upon you, “Oho! is that it?” said Jan, unsheathing his long and they'll soon hug you to death ; so just take sword ; and blowing his horn as loudly as he could, care of yourself, for you will find that no one else he was soon in the midst of the fight, urging on the will do so for you."
bears, who though they could not kill Hymirymer, And Hymirymer gave a low whistle, and up could harass him very much. Jan too hacked away started what Jan had taken for heaps of snow,
at his legs, and at length the giant fell to the which proved in reality to be great white polar ground, when Jan, leaping upon him, plunged bears.
his sword into his heart, so that he died “ Hug! hug! hug !” said the giant, at the same instantly. time giving Jan a kick that sent him sprawling When the bears saw that Hymirymer was indeed right into the midst of all the growling animals. dead, they stood still, and one of the elder ones “Hug! hug! hug!
advanced reEat him up
spectfully toFor your sup
wards Jan, sayPers, for he
ing to him Will ku me
“ We thank With voice shrill,
thee, O youthful Hug and kill! Let the rash lad feel
stranger, for rid. the wrath
ding the snow Of the Giant of the
regions of a tyNorth."
rant." But again Jan
And at that was playing
moment Jan felt sweet tunes upon
quite a hero, and his horn, and the
bowed with much bears were listen
dignity to the ing attentively.
bears, sayingThey were sitting
“Grimner on their hind
skrimner have I legs and shaking
killed, Hymiryeach others' fore
mer also have I paws as if a spirit
killed; but there of universal bro
is yet another, an therhood were
elder brother ; if animating them.
you will tell me But to Hymirymer the sounds were most discor
where to find him, dant, and maddened him to that degree that
the third and last he rushed in among the bears, kicking and
tyrant shall be
"THE GEYSERS WERE SPOUTING UP ALL cuffing them.
killed also.” All at once Jan ceased playing, and as he did
“ It's Thrymso the bears began to growl ; but they were not mer the ice-bound,” said a pert young bear ; "he angry with him, but with the giant, who had led holds on by the North Pole, and has a lot of them a hard life for some time. Jan blew a few geysers round him.
We'll take you up to him ; hunting blasts, and then the bears again became get into your sledge, and we'll show you the way." excited. They raged and fought, and the giant fought. He knocked a score of them over, but
V. the more he knocked down the more seemed to rise So Jan got into his sledge, having first whispered up on all sides. Jan could not tell where they came to the reindeer's ear
the plain, the ice-rocks, the frozen sea were “ To Thrymmer quickly flee." covered with them, and they kept coming and And, followed by an immense concourse of polar coming Jan sheltered under a projecting block of bears, he was drawn over the hard snow and hard snow, and watched the struggle.
sharp ice, whilst the air grew colder and colder. Hymirymer cried out
He had never imagined that the air could be so “Treason ! treason ! treason! would you kill cold ; it seemed to freeze him up, and he rubbed
his hands, and his face, and his ears, and his Thrymmer heard the remark, and answered it. nose, for he felt certain that he should get frost- “Any one would like hot water," said he, in a bitten, and have to return home without any pro- quivering quavering voice, “if they were as cold as minent features.
I am. I am washing my hands and face all the “Growl, growl, growl," such a growling the bears time to keep them warm till I've almost washed made as they came in sight of a tall white shadowy them away.” figure, clinging to a huge pole that protruded from As Jan looked more carefully at him he perceived the earth. But Jan was not the least afraid. that this was the case ; his eyebrows had gone, and
but little remained of his nose, whilst his mouth was so thin that
his lips scarcely could be seen. His hands, too, showed all the bones, and his fingers tapered away to an extreme point.
“I shall have no face and no hands HE TURNED TO JAN” (p. 148).
in time, I know it," said Thrymmer,
dolefully. And yet, in spite of his opinion, he began “That's Thrymmer, and that's the North Pole, to wash himself in the boiling water of the geyser. and the reason travellers find such difficulty in dis- “ It is so very comfortable,” he added. covering it is that he won't let any one go near it, Jan looked at him in a doubtful manner. He and is always covering, it up with mists and fogs. was such a poor wretched old giant that he felt it and impenetrable ice.”
would not be a deed of heroism to kill him. Besides, Jan drew nearer. Thrymmer was a very misera- he did not seem to do any one any harm. ble-looking giant ; he looked very cold and very “What have you come here for?” asked forlorn. As the bear had said, the geysers were Thrymmer. spouting up all round him, though somehow Jan Jan hesitated, but he knew that the one great felt that they had no business there.
duty of a hero was to speak the truth.' “He's had them brought here so that he may “Well," he said, after another pause, “the fact always have hot water,” said Jan to himself. is, I have killed your brothers, Grimnerskrimner
and Hymirymer, and I am here for the purpose through the energy of purpose that brought you of killing you ; for I am Jan the giant-killer.” here, and by the sweet persuasive eloquence
“Ha!” said Thrymmer, and his face looked more breathed through your horn. Now go home, and washed out than ever, then you
have killed two of live henceforth in peace and safety, for the days of the greatest tyrants that ever lived, and I can't say the giants are over, and your flocks and herds will I'm sorry for it. On the contrary, I am rather glad, be troubled no more. Moreover, I will do all in for I shan't have to live at the North Pole any my power to repair the damage that has been done. longer. They put me here to be out of the way, Ho! reindeer, ho !” because I was so old and weak.”
And the reindeer trotted up, and Jan, not dis“You won't kill him," whispered the largest polar pleased at the turn things had taken, got into the bear; "he's such a poor old fellow. Play him a sledge. tune."
“ Home !” said he. And Jan blew softly on his horn a sweet silvery “ Home !" echoed the Spirit of the North, waving tune that echoed through the blue ice-rocks, and his hand, "and may joy for ever be yours.” floated far away up towards the rosy-flushed These words were still ringing in Jan's ears when skies.
he found himself once more beside the palace built And lo! as Thrymmer heard it he shrank down of polished snow, with the ice-pillars in front.
His and down, and the North Pole with him, until Jan father, his mother, his sisters and brothers rushed thought they would disappear into the earth. The out to meet him, shoutingNorth Pole did, and has never been seen since ; “Welcome, welcome, Jan the giant-killer !” but just as Jan thought Thrymmer was going as For the tidings of Jan's exploits had been brought well, a wonderful change took place, and instead to Jan's father by some ravens. Fenia, too, of the washed-out, decrepit giant, there stood had heard the swans on the fiords singing of 'it. a youth dressed in white bear-skins, with a fur And, besides, the wind had wafted home the sound cap on his head, and a great pair of snow- of his horn, and the father knew the thrill of triumph skates. His face was fresh and rosy, and all in its notes, and rejoiced accordingly. his features were perfect, and his hair glittered And somehow, from somewhere, great herds of like gold.
cattle and sheep were driven into Har's pastures When the bears saw him they uttered cries of when all the family slept. These must have come delight, for he was none other than their old master, from the north, perhaps even from Thrymmer, but the Spirit of the North.
that no one could tell. Suffice it to say that all the He turned to Jan.
giants of the north were slain, and all the northern “So you have slain the last giant,” said he, people were proud of their brave young countryman, smiling, “not by the sword or spear or bow, but' Jan the giant-killer.