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Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 1, by William Bottrell, [1870], at

The Giant Wrath of Portreath

In old times there lived in a cavern on the sea-shore, about ten miles to the east of Hayle, a giant called Wrath, who had a bad character given him by the people of St. Ives. Folks didn't believe half the evil they said of him, but thought their fears of the giant, when alive, made them take the dastardly revenge of abusing him when dead. Yet whether he liked or disliked them it's hard to say, because if he killed them he ate them, according to their own accounts—a proof that his stomach was as strong as his arm. The place in which Wrath lived is the fissure or gorge near Portreath, known by the name of the Giant's Zawn, or more generally by that of Ralph's Cupboard. This latter name, of recent date, was

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given to the place after it had been inhabited by one Ralph, a famous smuggler who found the place most convenient for his trade. By being better acquainted than most other persons with the reefs and currents on this rock-strewn coast, Ralph did not fear to run his little vessel into the gorge on the darkest nights, safely land his goods, and whistle at the king's men. In the time of the giant Wrath this remarkable gorge was a deep cavern or zawn, into which the sea flowed, as it does still at high tide. The roof has fallen in since the death of the giant. Here Wrath would lie in wait and watch for any ships or fishing-boats from St. Ives that might come sailing by. If they approached within a mile of his hole, he would wade out, tap the fishermen or sailors on the head with the tip of his finger to settle them, then tie the ships and boats to his girdle, and quietly draw them into his den. He would save for provision the well-fed and fleshy men,—the lean ones he threw overboard.

Ships bound for St. Ives, sailing in too deep water for him to reach by wading, he sunk by slinging rocks on them from the cliff above. Many of these rocks may still be seen above water at ebb-tide, and form a dangerous reef stretching away from Godrevy Head. Long after the death of the giant, his hole was the terror of the fishermen of St. Ives, who always avoided the Cupboard, as they said that nothing ever came out of it had had the bad luck to get into it; yet many unfortunate vessels were often drifted thither by currents and driven in by storms, to become the prey of the demon of the cavern. Many believed that much of this legend was created by the fears of the fishermen out of the natural dangers of the rock-bound coast about Portreath.

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