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THE GIANT ENERGY AND THE FAIRY SKILL
 LONG, long ago, when
there were giants to be seen, as they might be
seen now if we only looked in the right place,
there lived a young giant who was very strong and
very willing, but who found it hard to get work
The name of the giant was Energy, and he
was so great and clumsy that people were afraid to
trust their work to him.
If he were asked to put
a bell in the church steeple, he would knock the
steeple down, before he finished the work. If he were
sent to reach a broken weather vane, he would tear
off part of the roof in his zeal. So, at
last, people would not employ him and he went away
to the mountains to sleep; but he could not rest,
even though other giants were sleeping as still as great
rocks under the shade of the trees.
Young Giant Energy could
not sleep, for
 he was too anxious to help in
the world's work; and he went down into the valley,
and begged so piteously for something to do that a
good woman gave him a basket of china to carry
home for her.
"This is child's play for me," said the
giant as he set the basket down at the woman's
house, but he set it down so hard that every
bit of the china was broken.
"I wish a child had
brought it for me," answered the woman, and the young
giant went away sorrowful. He climbed the mountain and lay
down to rest; but he could not stay there and
do nothing, so he went back to the valley to
look for work.
There he met the good woman. She had
forgiven him for breaking her china, and had made up
her mind to trust him again; so she gave him
a pitcher of milk to carry home.
"Be quick in bringing
it," she said, "lest it sour on the way."
took the pitcher and made haste to run to the
house; and he ran so fast that the milk was
spilled and not a drop was
 left when he reached
the good woman's house.
The good woman was sorry to see
this, although she did not scold; and the giant went
back to his mountain with a heavy heart.
Soon, however, he
was back again, asking at every house:—
"Isn't there something for
me to do?" and again he met the good woman,
who was here, there and everywhere, carrying soup to the
sick and food to the hungry.
When she met the young
Giant Energy, her heart was full of love for him;
and she told him to make haste to her house
and fill her tubs with water, for the next day
was wash day.
Then the giant made haste with mighty strides
towards the good woman's house, where he found her great
tubs; and, lifting them with ease, he carried them to
the cistern and began to pump.
He pumped with such force
and with so much delight, that the tubs were soon
filled so full that they ran over, and when the
 good woman came home she found her yard as well
as her tubs full of water.
The young giant had such
a downcast look, that the good woman could not be
angry with him; she only felt sorry for him.
the Fairy Skill, and learn," said the good woman, as
she sat on the doorstep. "She will teach you, and
you will be a help in the world after all."
how can I go?" cried the giant, giving a jump
that sent him up over the tree tops, where he
could see the little birds in their nests.
"Don't go so
fast," said the good woman. "Stand still and listen! Go
through the meadow, and count a hundred daffodils; then turn
to your right, and walk until you find a mullein
stalk that is bent. Notice the way it bends, and
walk in that direction till you see a willow tree.
Behind this willow runs a little stream. Cross the water
by the way of the shining pebbles, and when you
hear a strange bird singing you can see the fairy
palace and the workroom where the
 Fairy Skill teaches her
school. Go to her with my love and she will
The young giant thanked the good woman, stepped over
the meadow fence, and counted the daffodils, "One, two, three,"
until he had counted a hundred. Then he turned to
the right, and walked through the long grass to the
bent mullein stalk, which pointed to the right; and after
he had found the brook and crossed by way of
the shining pebbles, he heard a strange bird singing, and
saw among the trees the fairy palace.
He never could tell
how it looked; but he thought it was made of
sunshine, with the glimmer of green leaves reflected on it,
and that it had the blue sky for a roof.
was the palace; and at one side of it was
the workshop, built of strong pines and oaks; and the
giant heard the hum of wheels, and the noise of
the fairy looms, where the fairies wove carpets of rainbow
When the giant came to the door, the doorway stretched
itself for him to pass through. He found Fairy Skill
 the midst of the workers; and when he
had given her the good woman's love, she received him
kindly. Then she set him to work, bidding him sort
a heap of tangled threads that lay in a corner
like a great bunch of bright-colored flowers.
THEN SHE SET HIM TO WORK,
BIDDING HIM SORT A HEAP OF TANGLED THREADS.
This was hard work
for the giant's clumsy fingers, but he was very patient
about it. The threads would break, and he got some
of them into knots; but when Fairy Skill saw his
work, she said:—
"Very good for to-day;" and touching the threads
with her wand, she changed them into a tangled heap
again. The next day the giant tried again, and after
that again, until every thread lay unbroken and untangled.
Skill said "Well done," and led him to a loom
and showed him how to weave.
This was harder work than
the other had been; but Giant Energy was patient, although
many times before his strip of carpet was woven the
fairy touched it with her wand, and he had to
 At last it was finished, and the giant thought
it was the most beautiful carpet in the world.
took him next to the potter's wheel, where cups and
saucers were made out of clay; and the giant learned
to be steady, to shape the cup as the wheel
whirled round, and to take heed of his thumb, lest
The cups and saucers that were broken before he
could make beautiful ones would have been enough to set
the queen's tea table!
Fairy Skill then took him to the
goldsmith, and there he was taught to make chains and
bracelets and necklaces; and after he had learned all these
things, the fairy told him that she had three trials
for him. Three pieces of work he must do; and
if he did them well, he could go again into
the world, for he would then be ready to be
a helper there.
"The first task is to make a carpet,"
said Fairy Skill, "a carpet fit for a palace floor."
Energy sprang to his loom, and made his silver shuttle
glance under and
 over, under and over, weaving a most
As he wove, he thought of the way by
which he had come; and his carpet became as green
as the meadow grass, and lovely daffodils grew on it.
When it was finished, it was almost as beautiful as
a meadow full of flowers!
Then the fairy said that he
must turn a cup fine enough for a king to
use. And the giant made a cup in the shape
of a flower; and when it was finished, he painted
birds upon it with wings of gold. When she saw
it, the fairy cried out with delight.
"One more trial before
you go," she said. "Make me a chain that a
queen might be glad to wear."
So Giant Energy worked by
day and by night and made a chain of golden
links; and in every link was a pearl as white
as the shining pebbles in the brook. A queen might
well have been proud to wear this chain.
After he had
finished, Fairy Skill kissed him and blessed him, and sent
 to be a helper in the world, and
she made him take with him the beautiful things which
he had made, so that he might give them to
the one he loved best.
The young giant crossed the brook,
passed the willow, found the mullein stalk, and counted the
When he had counted a hundred, he stepped over the
meadow fence and came to the good woman's house.
woman was at home, so he went in at the
door and spread the carpet on the floor, and the
floor looked like the floor of a palace.
He set the
cup on the table, and the table looked like the
table of a king; and he hung the chain around
the good woman's neck, and she was more beautiful than
And this is the way that young Giant Energy
learned to be a helper in the world.