Tag Archives: reading

1858. Jack the giant killer

Jack the Giant Killer is an English fairy tale and legend about a young adult who slays a number of bad giants during King Arthur’s reign. The tale is characterised by violence, gore and blood-letting. Giants are prominent in Cornish folklore, Breton mythology and Welsh Bardic lore. Some parallels to elements and incidents in Norse mythology have been detected in the tale, and the trappings of Jack’s last adventure with the Giant Galigantus suggest parallels with French and Breton fairy tales such as Bluebeard. Jack’s belt is similar to the belt in The Valiant Little Tailor, and his magical sword, shoes, cap, and cloak are similar to those owned by Tom Thumb or those found in Welsh and Norse mythology.

Jack and his tale are rarely referenced in English literature prior to the eighteenth century (there is an allusion to Jack the Giant Killer in Shakespeare’s King Lear, where in Act 3, one character, Edgar, in his feigned madness, cries, “Fie, foh, and fum,/ I smell the blood of a British man”). Jack’s story did not appear in print until 1711. It is probably an enterprising publisher assembled a number of anecdotes about giants to form the 1711 tale. One scholar speculates the public had grown weary of King Arthur – the greatest of all giant killers – and Jack was created to fill his shoes. Henry Fielding, John Newbery, Samuel Johnson, Boswell, and William Cowper were familiar with the tale.

“Mummy, could you just get on with reading the story?”

1855. Fate deals the cards

Olga stumbled across a free online webpage that would interpret the four tarot cards clicked on. The entire deck of cards was spread out, face down. Things hadn’t been going well for Olga recently and she was searching for something positive to cling to. She had been threatened by strangers several times in the past week because she had been seen going into a fast food establishment that was no longer considered woke.

Olga clicked on four cards, even though she thought that such things online were bogus hocus-pocus. The four cards when clicked on turned their faces up. An interpretation of the selected cards was proclaimed by a computerized voice.

The first card shows that you are insecure and do not know whether or not to accept a recent invitation to a birthday party. Go! Go to the party!

That’s true, thought Olga. I have been invited to Elaine’s birthday party at the solstice and I wasn’t keen to go.

The second card indicates what sort of gift you should bring to the birthday party. Nothing too expensive; nothing too ostentatious. Just a pleasant gift that the person would enjoy.

How right that is, thought Olga. I am so pleased I bought Elaine a simple peace lily in a lovely pot.

The third card indicates someone else at the party whom you meet for the first time. It could be a person of the opposite sex. The card indicates that they will become a significant person in your life.

That is so exciting, thought Olga. I’m well into the marriageable age and have yet to find Mister Right.

The fourth and final card indicates…

It was then that Olga’s phone rang. Hello. Hello, said Olga. It was Elaine. Could Olga email her the online address for party games she had told her about? Sure she could. She would do so immediately.

What a shame that Olga never heard the reading for the remaining card she had selected. Otherwise she may not have been murdered at the party by “Mister Right”.

1547. Book worm

(The closing sentence for this story was suggested by Chris Nelson of chrisnelson61. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future closing sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what. Try not to read the closing sentence until you’ve read the story!)

Raymond had three children, two boys and a girl. He was immensely proud of his two sons. They had done so well at school, especially on the sports field. Now that they were old enough to leave school they were as keen as mustard to get jobs. In fact, Jared had already been accepted for a job on the railways.

The daughter, Annette, was another kettle of fish altogether. She was a book worm. “Get your head out of those books and start doing something useful. Reading books won’t earn you money.” It was Raymond’s favourite axe to grind.

“That lazy girl is not going to go far living in fantasyland in her books. This morning I had to physically force her to slam the book shut and start peeling the potatoes for tonight’s dinner. We’ve got a house to run.”

And indeed, Annette had been engrossed in the book. She had only a few pages to go. Ellen, the narrator, had moved to Wuthering Heights soon after Lockwood had left to replace the housekeeper who had departed. In March, Hareton had had an accident and been confined to the farmhouse. During this time, a friendship had developed between Cathy and Hareton. This continues into April when Heathcliff begins to act very strangely, seeing visions of Catherine. After not eating for four days, he is…

Annette left her novel to peel the potatoes. Why was her father so demanding; almost to the point of cruelity? Why couldn’t he let her finish when she was almost at the end?

After half an hour of dinner preparation, Annette returned to her novel. Only then did she notice that the last page was missing.

Poem 91: Thou wert my gate

I haven’t published a poem on this blog since last July, so here goes. Once again I have had the singular honour of winning the week’s “Terrible Poetry Contest”. My thanks to Chelsea, the instigator and judge. The theme for the week was “Engineering Failure”. I now know better how an astronaut feels when stepping on the surface of the moon – profoundly humbled by the experience. So here then, for your edification, is the terrible poem on “Engineering Failure”. Of course, it could double as a love poem if you want to use it for that.

Thou wert my gate
in the fence of life;
a doorway in the
corridor of existence;
a hole in the
wall of being

Now you have shut the
entrance to your heart
and I am shattered into a pile of quaking reinforced concrete.
No more will I hear your euphonious voice
wafting over the plastic barrier of time;
no more will my nostrils sense the scent
of your hair on the yellow brick road of vivacity.
Oh the audacity!

You have become an engineering failure,
a total engineering failure;
in fact you are the biggest engineering failure
I have ever encountered in my life.
And you are fat.
I wish you all the Botox you can lay your hands on.
You need it.

Strumpet! Strumpet!
You have no reason to blow your own trumpet
for thou art a total engineering failure!
Thou wert my gate
in the fence of life
but now you are just a pile of rocks –
to say nothing of your choice in tasteless frocks.

There you have it. Success has once again tempted me to blather on and on about myself – but, dear me, this is not Facebook. Mind you, I don’t belong to Facebook – or Twitter, or Instagram, or anything except this blog. I don’t even have Google Chrome. In fact, I don’t know if I’m utterly “Yesterday” or completely “Tomorrow”. I’m trying not to get spied on. I don’t even purchase anything on Amazon because of the astronomical cost of postage to New Zealand. Which accounts partly for why I am still reading stuff like Clarissa and Joseph Andrews with the odd contemporary thing thrown in that’s on hand such as John Millington Syne’s Riders to the Sea (my favourite play) and Mrs Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters.

So I hope you have a nice day – in fact a happy, happy day – and don’t feel bad if you haven’t got time to learn the above poem off by heart.