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Georgian Folk Tales, by Marjory Wardrop [1894], at

p. 144 p. 145

p. 146 p. 147




The Strong Man and the Dwarf

THERE came from far-off lands a strong man who had nowhere met his match, and challenged any one in the whole kingdom to wrestle with him. The king gathered his folk together, but, to his wonder, could not for a long time find anybody ready to face the strong man, till, at last, there stood forth a weak insignificant-looking dwarf, who offered to wrestle with the giant.

Haughtily looking down on his adversary, the giant carelessly turned away, thinking that he was befooled. But the dwarf asked that his strength should be put to the proof before the struggle began.

The giant angrily seized a stone, and, clasping it in his fingers, squeezed moisture out of it.

The dwarf cunningly replaced the stone by a sponge of the same appearance, and squeezed still more moisture out of it.

The giant then took another stone, and threw it so violently on the ground that it became dust.

The dwarf took a stone, hid it under the ground, and threw on the ground a handful of flour, to the great astonishment of the giant.

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Stretching forth his hand to the dwarf, the giant said: 'I never expected to find so much strength in such a small man, I will not wrestle with you; but give me your hand in token of friendship and brotherhood.'

After this, the giant asked the dwarf to go home with him. But first he asked the dwarf why he had not pressed his hand in a brotherly manner. The dwarf replied that he was unable to moderate the force of his pressure, and that more than one man had already died from the fearful force of his hand. The new brothers then set out together. On their way to the giant's house, they came to a stream which had to be forded.

The dwarf, fearing to be carried away by the current, told the strong man that he was suffering from belly-ache, and did not therefore wish to go into the cold water, so he asked to be carried over.

In the midst of the stream, the strong man, with the dwarf on his shoulders, suddenly stopped and said: 'I have heard that strong people are heavy, but I do not feel you on my shoulders. Tell me how this is, for God's sake.'

'Since we have become brothers,' replied the dwarf, 'I have no right to press with all my weight upon you, and did I not support myself by holding on to the sky with one hand, you could never carry me.'

But the strong man, wishing to test his strength, asked the dwarf to drop his hand for a moment, whereupon the dwarf took from his pocket two nails, and stuck the sharp points of them in the shoulders of the strong man.

The giant could not endure the pain, and begged the dwarf to lighten his burden at once, i.e. to lay hold of heaven with one hand again.

When they had reached the other side, the two new,

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friends soon came to the strong man's house. The giant, wishing to give a dinner to the dwarf, proposed that they should share the work of getting it ready, that one of them should take the bread out of the oven, while the other went to the cellar for wine.

The dwarf saw in the oven an immense loaf which he could never have lifted, so he chose to go to the cellar for wine. But when he had descended, he was unable even to lift the weights on the top of the jars, so, thinking that by this time the giant would have taken the loaf out of the oven, he cried: 'Shall I bring up all the jars?'

The giant, alarmed lest the dwarf should spoil his whole year's stock of wine, by digging the jars out of the ground, where they were buried, rushed down into the cellar, and the dwarf went upstairs.

But great was the astonishment of the dwarf when he found that the bread was still in the oven, and that he must take it out, willy-nilly. He succeeded with difficulty in dragging a loaf to the edge of the oven, but then he fell with the hot bread on top of him, and, being unable to free himself, was almost smothered.

Just then the giant came in, and asked what had happened. The dwarf replied: 'As I told you this morning, I am suffering from a stomach-ache, and, in order to soothe the pain, I applied the hot loaf as a plaster.' . . . Then the giant came up, and said: 'Poor fellow! How do you feel now, after your plaster?' 'Better, thank God,' replied the dwarf, 'I feel so much better that you can take off the loaf.' . . . The giant lifted the loaf, and the two then sat down to dinner. Suddenly the giant sneezed so hard that the dwarf was blown up to the roof, and seized a beam, so that he should not fall down again. The giant looked up with

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astonishment, and asked: 'What does this mean?' The dwarf angrily replied: 'If you do such a vulgar thing again I shall pull this beam out and break it over your stupid head.' The giant made humble excuses, and promised that he would never sneeze again during dinner time; he then brought a ladder by which the dwarf came down. . . . 1


150:1 Cf. Malcolm: Sketches of Persia, ch. xvi. 'Ameen and the Ghool. Jacobs: More English Fairy Tales, p. 173, and note on p. 239.

Next: II. The Grasshopper and the Ant