The Giant Kullervo - Norman A. Rubin
Many years ago, when shadows veiled the lands, there was in the Kingdom of the Votyaks a story told about a giant who came from the cold of the northern lands and ravaged the fair land. The giant called Kullervo would wade over the countryside in search of prey; where he would throw half a dozen oxen on his back and tie three times as many sheep round his waist, and marched back to the cold clime.
Kullervo, the giant was a brute of figure standing ten feet tall and covered with muscle on his broad body. His florid features were quite pronounced with bushy brows, deep set dark eyes, large pointed ears and a double chin. He was seen dressed in the skins of wild animals and booted in crude leather boots. A heavy club was carried on one massive shoulder, ready for defense or combat.
The king of the country sent brave men to confront the giant and put an end to the scavenging but to no avail. Their arrows would only punctured slightly the thick skins of his dress like pinpricks; the
spears in their hands were of no use as no man dared to place himself near the monster. When an arrow irritated the creature's face, the giant would sweep his heavy club through the ranks of the brave men
causing death and injury to a few and flight to the remainder.
Soon his fierce and savage looks were the terror of all that beheld him in his rampages. The giant had done this for nigh on two years and ruination was seen for the future of the Kingdom of the Votyaks.
The good king send out heralds throughout the land with the offering of a handsome reward to any brave-hearted man who would rid the land of the menace, but no one stepped foward.
Yet, there was one plucky fellow who came foward; he was only a youth, tall and straight, barely sixteen years of age. Jumala was his name, one that honoured the god of compassion. His face was that of a growing boy, freckled and full of health and topped with a crown of red hair under a feathered cap.
Jumala, on the day of his audience with king, walked with his head high through the grand hall of the palace to the throne of the royal personage. He doffed his hat and bowed to his royal majesty, “Good
day your highness! You have sent out the call for a courageous man to face the giant and to dispatch him. Although I am a mere laddie, I assure you, m'lord I am worthy of the task."
Well the good king shifted his crown as he scratched his gray head in wonderment. "A mere lad, hmmmm!" he thought, "my stalwart men at arms could not stand to the giant. But how can this snippet of lad be the warrior I need for the task, hmmm."
Then, after a moment or two of the deep thought, he spoke quietly to Jumala, "My dear boy, even though I doubt your ability to rid the land of this menace, I would be willing to let you give it a try. Go to the
armourer and fetch what weapons you would require for the task."
Jumala just took a horn, shovel, pickaxe and a shaded lantern. Then on the wintry night he went to the narrow pass between the northern lands and the Kingdom of the Votyaks. All night he laboured. There he dug a pit ten feet deep and ten feet broad, which extended the path from one stone facing of the steep hill to the other. He placed branches over the pit and covered it with earth to make it look like solid ground.
Jumala then swept the sweat off his brow and rested till the cock crow at dawn. He awoke quickly from his sleep, rubbed the tiredness from his eyes, and he stood near the pit facing the northern lands. Then he blew soundly on his horn, which rudely woke the giant who had been deep in his slumber after a fine feast of three oxen.
The creature's fiery face was etched with anger as he marched to the presence of the young man, but Jumala was fearless in his stance. The giant roared as he took a step further towards the youth when he
tumbled feet first into the pit. The long branches and earth trapped him within the deep hole, and he tried vigorously to escape the entrapment.
Jumala stood near the pit with his arms akimbo and simply laughed at the plight of the giant. At first, Kullervo screamed curses at him and threatened bodily harm, but when he saw that only his coarse headwas free, he sensed his stiuation. Then with soft plaintive words he pleaded with the youth to be set free; off course, to be paid with a reward of gold.
But Jumala simply stared at him, "I mean no disrespect, but you are a 'worm-brained idiot',which seems a trifle harsh thing to say. Worthless did I say to you? Off course! Tis' no respect to call you a brainless brute when I say that you are brutal and cunning in your ways. Set you free! Hah!"
Jumala continued to berate Kullervo for his murderous ways. Then he invoked curses upon him and all the giant race. Over and over the words flew till Kullervo burned in rage.
The angry giant fumed and smoked till fires burst from his body, consuming flesh, bones and the wood of the trap. Explosions rocked the trap till it opened to a wide gorge, which separated the kingdom from the wilds of the North. The fire continued to burn fiercely till only a tiny pile of ash remained.
Upon the news of Kullervo’s fiery demise Kumala was hailed as a champion of the people and his name honoured the deep ravine.