The Giant's House *

Trethevy Quoit portal dolmen

Five stones encircle the Giant’s House and a sixth rests as a slide, the roof a huge mushroom capstone. Only the Giant remembers how long ago the grey granite stones were thrown far across the moors by giants playing their favourite game of quoits, how the huge stones landed together to build his house.. He watches as the villagers come to play. They weave in and out beneath the sliding stone; a home, a hiding place, an earthy rest for a hidden lunch. In a time gone by, he watched ancient people come to sing as the sunrose at the solstice and remember.

One evening, the Giant sits on his seat by the quoit and raises his hand to shield a bright light from his eyes, it’s a bit late for the sun to be high in the sky and it's certainly not a buzzard or a crow or another giant lumbering down off the moors. No, this is a creature he knows only too well, a magnificent Griffin; it's golden eagle’s head gleams in the sun’s last light, and it's lithe and strong body is that of the fiercest lion. On it's claws are the sharpest eagle’s talons. What did it want with him?

The great beast hovers over the quoit looking all about with fearsome eyes. It must be a bit short of sight as it doesn’t see the Giant at first. He is lying low amongst the bracken though it hardly covers his thighs. The Griffin lands heavy, great talons digging deep into the prize capstone. The Giant yelps like a dog who's been trodden on, his painful cry echoes across the moorland and down into the valley. The Griffin listens, his head on one side, waiting for the sound of the Giant’s pain to reach the sea.

The Giant gets up with an angry purpose, ‘You, Griffin, have made holes in my house with your talons.’

No, I have not,’ says the Griffin stiffly, ‘It looks to me like a landing place, not a house.’

Well, that’s where you are wrong. Get off my house,’ the Giant thunders.

How do you fit inside? You have great, lumbering legs, rolling shoulders, and an oversized head?’

I have not.’

I bet you are guarding a great treasure here.’

Do I look like I own treasure?’

You never can tell where the treasure lies. I will have it in no time.’

The Giant walks up to the house and sits down, watching Griffin’s sharp beak all the time. He shuffles backward into his house.

Aha!’ says the Griffin, ‘you can half fit into your house but your legs are still visible. I could have them for lunch.’

Giant pulls his knees up to his chin; he is very uncomfortable squeezing into his house. The Giant and the Griffin sit for a time in and on the Giant’s house. The Griffin sings and the Giant joins in.

If this is not really your house, why are you here?’ asks the Griffin

I am a nosy Giant and I am a lonely Giant. ‘

This is a sturdy enough perch for even me, I would like to rent it.’

The Giant ignores the Griffin, he looks at the capstone. There is one great circular hole in it with a claw poking through.

Some children come by with cakes in a basket. They look for space on the slide to picnic. The Giant tries to budge up and they give him a cake.

Did you see the Griffin flying away?’ they ask one another excitedly,

No,’ says another, ‘I saw nothing, only old Giant.’

I might have seen him,’ mumbles the Giant.

Wow, did you?’ ask the children, resting in the Giant’s pockets

He is not welcome,’ says the Giant, ‘he has vandalized my house.’

For many days the Giant guards his house against the Griffin. As dusk falls over the moors and shadows grow longer, the Griffin descends and sits happily on the mushroom capstone.


Local tale retold by Anna Chorlton

  • Caradon Hill - Moor Stones