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Pastaris LexiLine? Logo and the Giant
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 Pastaris & the Giant 
 A Latvian "David and Goliath" Tale from Primordial Times
 Translation Copyright © 2000 Andis Kaulins

Pastaris and the Giant is a Latvian folklore myth
originally published in Latvian in Teikas, Riga.
Pastaris & the Giant is a myth similar to David and Goliath.
Note: In the myth, some stellar (star) constellations can be imagined - but need further corroboration - e.g. Hydra as the snake, Pegasus as the heavenly horse, and the four heavenly overseers of the four animal kingdoms -  i.e. animals, birds, fish and insects - as the cardinal points of an ancient Zodiac.

Pastaris and the Giant

Once upon a time, there was a fisherman who had several sons.
All died, except the youngest. His father named him Pastaris.
One day, the father and Pastaris were fishing at the side of the
ocean when they saw a large and very strange ship.
The ship came to the edge of the shore and stopped.
Not a single person could be seen aboard.

All of a sudden, a Giant came out from the bottom of the ship
it was the Devil (VELNS) himself - and he called out to the
fisherman: "Bring your son Pastaris to me !"
The fisherman answered: "I will not bring him to you and
you can not have him."


Having heard the fisherman's answer, the Giant jumped into
the ocean, waded onto the shore, grabbed Pastaris, carried
him to the ship, and went off like a whirlwind. Toward evening,
the ship stopped
in the middle of the ocean at a beautiful palace.
The Giant took Pastaris into the palace and showed him to a
room of his own, at the same time threatening: "If you hear
anything during the night, do not light a fire and do not look !"

Pastaris was now left alone in his room. He was worried and
distressed, thinking: "Well, we shall see what we shall see !"
He laid down in the evening but could not sleep. After it had
gotten very dark, someone began to make noises. Pastaris
thought to himself: "Make all the noise you want. I am not
allowed to make a fire. Besides, there is nothing here to make
it with." And that is the way it stayed. On the second night,
the same thing happened.

On the third night, Pastaris thought to himself: "Such a wonder !
Who could be making noises here all night long? Wait. Wait.
Tomorrow; I will talk to the Giant and ask him to let me pay a
visit to my father for one day. If I can get him to do that, then
maybe I can convince my father to give me a wick and something
to light it with. Yes, that will be the right thing to do.
Sooner or later, I will see you, my bird."

The next morning, Pastaris talked to the Giant and asked him
whether he would bring Pastaris to visit his father for one day.
"Why not !", answered the Giant. "But on the return trip you
are not allowed to take anything from your father's house with
you. Further, I will remain on the ship and wait for you. If, toward
evening, I shout one time, then you must leave your father's house
and come to me. When I shout a second time, then you have to be
half-way to the ship. And when I shout a third time, then you must
already be on the ship."


Well and good. On the following morning, Pastaris rode over to see
his father and told him all that had happened. He explained why he
had come to visit. The father could not figure out how to carry away
the wick and lighter secretly, but Pastaris said: "Let us sew them into
the lining of my coat. Then I can take them with me and I will have
no problems." Fine. That is what they did.

Toward evening, the father's house quaked and trembled: the Giant
had shouted the first time. Pastaris hurried off to the ship. As he
had gone nearly half-way, the earth shook: the Giant had shouted a
second time. When he had reached the edge of the ocean, the ocean
roared: the Giant had shouted a third time. Pastaris now boarded the ship

"Did you bring anything with you?", the Giant asked.
"You can see yourself that I have nothing!", replied Pastaris.
"Well, let's go then !", said the Giant.
The ship took off like a whirlwind, and lickety-split,
it had reached the palace in the ocean

In the evening, Pastaris laid down to sleep, but could not.
When it had gotten quite dark, somebody began to make noises.
Pastaris immediately lit a fire and saw a beautiful maiden. But she
was frightened by the fire and ran away.
The next morning, the Giant came into Pastaris' room.
"So that's the way it is, you rascal. You want to light a fire.
Come with me !" Pastaris went

Once outside, however, the Giant grabbed Pastaris and carried him
over the ocean to a very high mountain, putting him at the very tip.
There he left Pastaris and himself disappeared. Pastaris stood at the
pinnacle of the mountain for one day: then another. How long was
he to stand up there? He would try to creep down. Now he creeped,
now he crawled, now he struggled and fought, until finally on the third
day he had reached the bottom. His hands were torn, his knees were
bloodied, and his clothes were in shreds. "Lucky that I got this far !",
cried out Pastaris and started away.

[Assignment of the four corner stars of the Solstices and Equinoxes ?]

As he went along the edge of the forest, he saw a fallen horse,
a protruding sword, and four "eaters" with hungry mouths.
Pastaris wanted to pass them by, but they did not allow it, saying:
"Lad ! Do not go by ! We four overseers have felled this horse [Latvian
ZIRGS=PEGASUS], and you have to divide it amongst us !
One of us is the overseer of the steer [Latvian LUOPS or ZVERS or
The other is the overseer of the bird
[Latvian PUTnIS = BOOTES?]. The third is the overseer of the fish
[Latvian ZIVS = PISCES = Winter Solstice]. And the fourth is the
overseer of the ant (Latvian: SKUDRA = SCORPIO?).
If you will know how to divide up the horse, we will pay you well."

Good. Pastaris agreed to divide up the horse. To the overseer
of the steer, he gave both shanks. To the overseer of the bird,
he gave both shoulders. To the overseer of the fish, he gave the
middle. And to the overseer of the ant, he gave the head. Pastaris
now stuck the sword back where he had found it and started to
leave. This the overseers did not permit, saying "You knew how
to divide up the horse. We are going to reward you for it."

"Here is an animal hair from the overseer of the steer. If some kind of
misfortune should overtake you, then you need only to spin this hair and
call out the name of the steer overseer: your strength will then suddenly
be nine times greater than the strength of the steer overseer himself."

"Here is a feather from the overseer of the bird. If some kind of
misfortune should overtake you, then you need only to spin this
feather and call out the name of the bird overseer: you will then be
able to run and fly nine times faster than the bird overseer himself."

"Here is a fish-scale from the overseer of the fish. If some kind of
misfortune should overtake you, then you need only to spin this
scale and call out the name of the fish overseer: you will at once
be able to swim nine times faster and easier than the
fish overseer himself."

"Here is a leg from the overseer of the ant. If some kind of
misfortune should overtake you, then you need only to spin this
leg and call out the name of the ant overseer: you will then be
able to dig nine times deeper into the ground than the
ant overseer himself."


Good. Pastaris said thank you for his gifts and went off. Toward
evening, the earth began to quake and the ocean began to foam.
Look ! Sure enough, the Giant had appeared next to Pastaris, asking:
"Who told you that you could creep down from the mountain?"

"Pastaris said so !".

"Oh!?", exclaimed the Giant. "Well, if Pastaris said so, then Pastaris
must be destroyed !" The Giant now attacked Pastaris. But Pastaris
quickly spun the steer hair, called out the name of the steer overseer,
and struck the Giant with such strength that the entire earth shook.
In the flash of an eye, the Giant was laid flat like a log. He fought and
struggled, but to no avail..

Finally, Pastaris said: "If you don't tell me where your life lies, then I
will tie you with strong ropes to this cliff so that you will never get
away. You will have to die of hunger like a dog. The crows will pick
your bones !" The Giant begged Pastaris not to do it, since it would
be a great shame to the Giant. He was prepared to talk.
"Good", said Pastaris, "tell me ! Then I will let you go free !".


"Look, Pastaris", said the Giant. "On the other side of the ocean
is the palace to which I first brought you. In the courtyard of the
palace is a post. If you will hit this post with your little finger, then
a sword will fall down out of the sky. If you take this sword and go
to the nearest forest, then a large snake will appear. If you manage to
cut off the head of this snake, then a rabbit will appear out of the head.
If you manage to catch the rabbit and kill it, then a dove will appear
from it. If you catch the dove and kill it, then an egg will drop out of
the dove. My life's essence is found in that egg."

"But", said the Giant to Pastaris, "you will never be able to
accomplish this, even with your great strength, because the egg in
falling will drop nine fathoms deep into the earth."

"Good, you can now go free !", exclaimed Pastaris. Having said that,
he let the Giant go and went to the shore of the ocean where he twirled
the fish-scale, called out the name of the fish overseer and swam
lickety-split over the ocean to the palace. There he went into the
courtyard. Sure enough, the post was there. He hit it with his little
finger. Swoosh ! The sword had fallen to earth.

Now he grabbed the sword and hurried off to the forest after the
snake. The snake crawled out hissing, but as Pastaris struck it with
his sword, the head went rolling away. At the same time, the rabbit
came out and took off running, out of the forest. Swiftly, Pastaris
twirled the feather of the bird overseer and called out his name.
Having now great speed, he caught the rabbit, and although it
resisted, he cut off its head. As soon as the head had fallen, the
dove appeared and flew into the clouds.

Pastaris again twirled the feather of the bird overseer, called out his
name and caught the dove. When the dove had been killed, the egg
dropped out. Splatt ! Nine fathoms deep into the earth !

Now Pastaris twirled the ant leg of the ant overseer, called out his
name, and crawled into the earth after the egg. Moments later, the
egg came out from under the earth. Now Pastaris and the egg both
hurried off to the palace. The Giant was already there.

"You hungered after my soul, Giant !", said Pastaris.
"But now your life is in my hands !"

Having said that, Pastaris hit the Giant so hard in the head
with the egg that it went completely to pieces and the Giant,
falling over backwards, lost his life.

Pastaris now was free. He had been delivered from his persecutor.
Now, however, he was possessed by thoughts of the young girl he
had seen when he had earlier lit a fire at the palace. He wondered:
"Where else could she be other than at the palace? I will have to
go and see." So he went into the palace. Sure enough, the girl was
there, sitting and mournful.

"Stop crying!", said Pastaris. "You should celebrate!
The Giant is dead! I conquered him!"

"What?", said the maiden, amazed. "Is it true?
How can I ever thank you for saving me?"

"Become my bride !", answered Pastaris.
"Then I will have been repaid !"

"Good ! So be it!".

And Pastaris brought his bride home
where they celebrated a splendid wedding.


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