Latvia – Pastaris and the Giant

Once upon a time a giant kidnapped a young fisherman named Pastaris. The giant carried Pastaris into a great palace.

“Here you’ll stay,” said the giant. “Do not light a fire, no matter what happens!” Pastaris heard a terrible wailing. The next night the same thing happened.

On the third night Pastaris decided he must build a fire so he could see where the wailing was coming from, so he decided to use a flint and tinder to light a candle.

When the room lit up, the giant stormed into Pastaris’ room. “You disobeyed me!” he thundered, and he carried Pastaris to a tall mountain and left him at the top.

For two days Pastaris sat there, but on the third day he decided to climb down. When he reached the bottom of the mountain, he walked through the forest, and came upon four men standing around a fallen horse.

“Do not pass by us!” the men cried. “We need you to divide this horse among us as we don’t know how to divide it.”

Pastaris advised the men on how to divide the horse and then he turned to leave.

“Wait, we must reward you for your help.”

The first man gave Pastaris a hair from a bull. “Spin this hair and your strength will be greater than the strength of any man.”

The second man gave Pastaris a feather. “Spin this, and you’ll move faster than any creature moves.”

“And this,” said the third man, handing Pastaris a scale, “will help you swim faster than any fish.”

The fourth man gave him an ant’s leg and said, “With this you’ll be able to dig to the center of the Earth.”

Pastaris thanked them and set off, but that evening the ground began to tremble, and the giant’s voice roared, “Who told you to leave the mountain?”

“I did,” said Pastaris.

“Is that so?” the giant thundered. “Then I shall kill you!”

However, Pastaris spun the hair of the bull and struck the giant.

The giant reeled and fell to the ground; and Pastaris said, “Now I shall kill you!”

“My soul is not inside my body,” the giant laughed.

“Then tell me where it is,” said Pastaris,” and I will destroy it.”

“On the other side of the ocean stands a post. Hit this post with your finger, and a sword will fall down from heaven. With this sword kill a snake in the forest, and a rabbit will appear and race away. Catch the rabbit and cut off its head, and a dove will appear. If you can catch the dove when it flies to heaven, an egg will fall, and in that egg is my life. You will never have it.”

Pastaris left the giant and twirled the fish scale, and in one second he swam across the ocean. He found the post, and he hit that post with his finger. A great sword fell to the ground.

Pastaris grabbed the sword and hurried into the forest, and there he found a snake. He struck the snake, and a rabbit ran out from the place where the snake had been. Pastaris twirled his feather, and suddenly it seemed as if he were flying. He caught the rabbit, chopped off its head, and a dove appeared.

Again Pastaris twirled his feather, flew up into the clouds and caught the dove. Sure enough, an egg dropped from the sky, plunging down into the ground. Pastaris twirled the ant leg, and just as the man had told him, he was able to climb into the ground after that egg and catch it.

Pastaris carried that egg back to the giant’s palace and smashed it to pieces.

The giant died.

And Pastaris lived happily ever after.

 

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