N I G H T B R I N G E R . S E
Many giants are to be found in Celtic mythology and legend. Britain was said to have been ruled by a race of giants before the arrival of Brutus, who defeated them, though even he was accompanied by a 'giant', Corineus. Later giants tended to be portrayed as clumsy, greedy cannibals who dominated whole districts.
Traditionally, a giant could not be overcome by sheer strength but could be defeated by trickery and cunning. One of the best known of all children's fairy tales is 'Jack and the Beanstalk', in which a giant is defeated by Jack the Giant-killer. This giant is none other than the Cornish giant Cormoran.
Giants | Myths and Legends
- Giant of Mont Saint Michel
This giant, who resided at Mont Saint Michel off the coast in Brittany, seized Helena, the niece of Hoel, King of Brittany. Arthur, accompanied by Kay and Bedivere, set off after him. He found that Helena was already dead, but he slew the giant.
Saint Michael's Mount | The Legend of King Arthur
- Giant of Mont Saint Michel, Coat of the
Coat of Kirtle
This was decked with gems and embroidered with the beards of fifteen kings whom the giant had vanquished. Arthur kept it, along with the giant's iron club, as a souvenir after killing him.
- Giant's Cross
A monument near Camelot, along the Montignet Road. It served as a meeting place.
- Giant's Dance
A legend apparently invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth to explain Stonehenge. The Giantsí Dance was a circle of giant stones which had been carried out of Africa by a race of giants and placed on Mount Killaraus in Ireland. When Ambrosius Aurelius desired to build a monument in Amesbury for fallen British warriors,
Merlin suggested bringing the Giantsí Dance from Ireland. Ambrosius laughed at the idea of transporting such heavy stones, but Merlin was able to accomplish the task through magic and ingenious engineering. Merlinís party - led by Uther - encountered resistance from the Irish under King Gilloman, but they were victorious. Merlin brought the stones to the plain of Ealing near Amesbury and set them up in a ring. Ambrosius Aurelius, Uther Pendragon, and later kings were buried at the Giantís Dance.
The fourteenth-century Short Metrical Chronicle has Merlin building the Dance for King Dunval, not Ambrosius.
- Giant's Fountain
A Cornish spring where Isolde caught Palamedes spying on her. Palamedes had kidnapped Bragain, Isolde's servant.
- Giant's Isle
One of the Distant Isles, ruled by the giant Brunor, father of Galehaut. The Castle of Tears, which was liberated by Tristan (Tristram), was situated on the island.
- Giant's Knoll
A hill in Britain, two days from Camelot. It was visited by Joseph of Arimathea and his followers.
- Giants' Ring
The legendary name given to Stonehenge.
- Giant's Rock
A rock on the Island of Servage, visited by Lamorat during his stay there.
- Giant's Tower
Tour aux Geants
A tower near the Spring of Healing, ruled by Atamas, who was also known as the Knight of the Tower.
Atamas used the healing powers of the Spring to defeat all knights who came his way, imprisoning them in the Tower. Among its prisoners were Gawaine, Gaheris, Bleoberis, and Sagremor (Sagramore). The Giantsí Tower was liberated by Palamedes, who defeated Atamas during the Grail Quest.
In Joseph of Arimatheaís days, the Tower had been ruled by King Camalis, who imprisoned Nascien and Mordrains.
- Giant's Tower
The entrance to Arthur's palace in Caerleon. He rallied his warriors there at the beginning of the Roman War.
- Giant without a Name
Jaiant sans nom
A giant baptized and knighted by Arthur. The son of a dwarf, the Giant was suckled by a unicorn as a child, which turned him into a beast. Stupid and perpetually hungry, he killed men and animals indiscriminately.
The Giant and his father were stranded on an island for twenty years until Arthur happened to land there and rescue them.
Unicorns | Myths and Legends