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The Giant with the Scales

After travelling a long, weary way, Sir Artegall and Talus came near the sea, and here one day they saw before them an immense crowd of people, stretching out as far as the eye could reach. They were much astonished at this great assembly, and therefore approached to ask what had brought them together. There they beheld a mighty giant standing on a rock,

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and holding high in his hand a great pair of scales, with which he boasted in his presumption that he

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would accurately weigh the whole world, if he had anything to match it in the other scale. He said he

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would take up all the earth, and all the sea, divided from each other; so would he also make one balance of the fire, and one of air, without wind or weather; then he would balance heaven and hell together, and all that was contained within them, and would not miss a feather of their weight-any surplus of each that remained over he would restore to its own part, For, said he, they were all unequal, and had encroached on each other's share, like the sea which had worn the earth, as the fire had done the air. So all the rest took possession of each other's parts, and thus countries and nations had gone awry. All of which he undertook to repair in the way they had anciently been formed, and everything should be made equal. He would throw down the mountains and make them level with the plain; the towering rocks he would thrust down into the deepest sea; he would suppress tyrants, so that they should no longer rule; and all the wealth of the rich men he would take away and give to the poor.

All the silly ignorant folk flocked about the giant, and clustered thick to hear his vain delusions, like foolish flies round a jar of honey; for they hoped to gain great benefits by him, and uncontrolled freedom. When Artegall saw and heard how he misled the simple people, he disdainfully drew near, and thus spoke to him without fear:--

"You that presume to weigh the world anew, and restore all things to an equality, it seems to me show great wrong instead of right, and boast far more than you are able to perform." And then he went on to

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rebuke the giant for his folly and presumption, and showed him that if he could not understand nor weigh properly even the things that he saw, how much less could he attempt to balance unseen matters, or call into account the works of the great Ruler of the universe.

But the giant would not listen to reason, for he had no real desire for the right, and he still tried to continue his false and wicked teaching. Talus, therefore, seeing his mischievous ignorance, came up, and toppled him over into the sea, where he fell with a great splash and was drowned.

When the people who had long waited there saw his sudden destruction, they began to gather in a turbulent mob, and tried to stir up strife, because of the loss of all their expectations. For they had hoped to get great good, and wonderful riches, by the giant's new schemes, and resolving to revenge his death, they rose in arms, and stood in order of battle.

When Artegall saw this lawless multitude advancing in hostile fashion, he was much troubled, and did not know what to do; for he was loath to soil his hands by killing such a rascally crew, and yet he feared to retire, lest they should follow him with shame. Therefore he sent Talus to them to inquire the cause of their array, and to request a truce. But as soon as they saw him coming they began to attack him with their weapons, and rudely struck at him on every side

yet they could not in the least hurt or dismay him. Then Talus lay about him with his flail and overthrew them like a swarm of flies. Not one of them dared

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come in his way, but they flew here and there, and hid themselves out of his sight in holes and bushes. When Talus saw that they all forsook the field and none of the rascal rout were left, he returned to Sir Artegall, and they went on together.

Next: Borrowed Plumes, and the Fate of the Snowy Lady