The Shrunken Giant
Written by Stuart Baum
Illustrated by Molly Baum
who is, as everyone says, a very nice boy.
In a small town not too far away from here, there used to
live a giant who hated children.
This isn't very surprising in and of itself, since most giants
have hated children ever since Jack and The Beanstalk.
But this giant really hated children. Whenever he
saw children nearby, especially if they were playing and having
fun, he would run out of his house and scare them away.
He would yell, "Go away rotten children! Or I will squish
you flat and eat you like a pancake!" He had this huge club
which he would swing over his head as he lumbered towards them.
The children would run away and, even though the giant never
did squish them flat or eat any of them like a pancake, you
could see why these children would still be very frightened.
It got so bad that the children of this small town were afraid
to play or have fun for fear that the giant would hear them.
So the children sat quietly and did their very best not to laugh
or even smile.
The small town also had a witch. Fortunately, she was a good
witch, and like all good witches she loved children. It broke
her heart to see so many children sitting around being afraid
to play or have fun. One day, this good witch could take it
no longer. She flew over to the giant's house and knocked on
his huge door. When he answered, she asked him, as sweetly as
she could muster, "Why do you want to make the children so sad?"
The giant shrugged his giant shoulders and grinned his nearly
toothless grin. He looked down at the witch in a menacing way,
and said, "Because they are small."
This made the witch even madder, but she kept her anger in
check. She asked, again as sweetly as she could, "You think
that just because they are small and you are big that you have
the right to scare them and stop them from having fun?"
The giant nodded his big, lumpy head and said, "Yes."
You probably already know that it's dangerous to make a mean
witch angry. What you might not know is that making a good witch
angry is even worse.
The witch took out her wand, pointed it at the giant, and
chanted the following words:
Dreblot talluck, dreblot tallock.
Opps oligit, fronloops oligit,
De la, de la, de la.
The giant had no more idea what these words meant than you
do. He shrugged his giant shoulders again, growled at the witch,
and, since it was very late at night, went to bed.
The next morning he heard a child laugh. It was a small laugh,
more of a chuckle really, but it was enough to awaken the giant.
The giant didn't feel quite right and when he grabbed for his
club, he couldn't seem to lift it. He did not want the children
to get away, however, so leaving his club behind, he quickly
ran out into the street yelling, "Go away rotten children! Or
I will squish you flat and eat you like a pancake!" His voice
sounded somehow different, but still he added, "With my bare
To the giant's surprise, the children did not run away screaming.
In fact, they did just the opposite: they started to laugh
and to run towards him. One of the girls in the group
(the rottenest one of all, in the giant's opinion) raised her
fist above her head and yelled back at him, "No. I will squish
you flat and eat you like a pancake."
As soon as the children were close to him, he realized what
was wrong. They were bigger than he was. Not much bigger, but
enough bigger to scare him. The witch's spell had made him smaller
than the children he liked to scare.
Terrified, the no-longer-giant giant ran as fast
as his little legs would carry him. The children, happy to be
on the other side for a change, chased him. They were all yelling
now, "We're going to squish you flat. We're going to eat you
like a pancake!"
They were more singing it, than yelling it:
We're gonna squish you fla - hat!
Eat you like a pa - hancake!
We're gonna to squish you fla - hat!
Eat you like a pa - hancake!
The giant ran all the way to the witch's house and, without
even knocking, ran right inside and slammed the door.
"Help me!" the giant yelled.
"Help you?" asked the witch, a smile on her face. "You, who
scares children just because they are smaller?
"The giant nodded. "Put me back. Make me big again. You
must help me."
The witch ignored the giant's rudeness. Instead, she said,
"As a matter of fact, I will help you. I will tell
you what you have to do before I agree to make you large again."
"Tell me, tell me," the giant demanded, all the while tugging
on the witch's robes, the same way a small boy pulls on his
mother's dress when he wants something.
The witch smiled even more sweetly, and said, "Here's the
deal. I will remove the spell under one condition."
"What? What?" asked the giant, eagerly.
"You play with the children," she said.
The giant did not want to play with the children. As you
know, the only thing he hated more than regular children
were playing children. But since there was nothing
else to be done, and he did so much want to be made a giant
giant again, he decided that he would do as the witch asked.
He sighed a no-longer-giant sigh and shuffled slowly outside,
determined to play with the children.
As soon as the children saw him, however, they knew exactly
what game they wanted to play: Chase the Tiny Giant.
They ran after him as they did before, the rotten girl in
the lead, chanting:
Squish you fla - hat. Eat you like
a pa - hancake!
Squish you fla - hat. Eat you like a pa - hancake!
The giant, now crying, scurried away and hid.
One boy, a very nice boy, felt bad about chasing the giant.
He thought that them being mean to the giant was just as bad
as the giant being mean to them.
So he went over to where the crying giant was hiding and
said, "Please don't cry."
The giant cowered from the boy, expecting at any moment for
the boy to yell, "Squish you flat!" and then squish him flat.
The boy, the very nice boy, said sternly "It was wrong for
you to scare us just for being smaller."
The giant nodded in agreement. He didn't really think it
was wrong, but he didn't want the boy to get angry and squish
The boy added, "But it's just as wrong for us to scare you
now that you are smaller than us."
With this the giant agreed. The giant sniffed, then stopped
crying. Though still a little afraid, he asked the boy, "W-
w- will you p- p- play with me?"
The very nice boy nodded. The boy sat on the ground in front
of the giant. He took a bag out of his pocket and opened it.
It was full of marbles.
"Do you know how to play marbles?" the boy asked the giant.
The giant shook his head. "N- n- no, I d- don't," he answered,
afraid of what might happen next.
Out of his other pocket, the boy removed a string and placed
it in a circle on the ground. Then, very patiently, the boy
taught the giant how to play marbles.
In a shorter time than you might imagine, the other children
had brought their marbles and all of them, the tiny giant included,
were playing marbles and laughing and having fun.
Soon it was dinner time and one by one the children's parents
called the children home. Finally, the very nice boy's mother
called him home, as well. He picked up his string and placed
it in his pocket, then collected his marbles into the bag. But
before he left, he removed a few marbles and gave them to the
"You might want to practice," the very nice boy said to the
giant. Then he left for home.
As soon as the boy was out of sight, the good witch appeared.
She was clearly happy. She said, "I see that you managed to
do as I wished and play with the children."
The giant nodded his lumpy head and asked, "Will you remove
the spell and make me big again?"
"Yes," the good witch said. She pointed her wand at the giant
Eebalay alomitz, eebalay aloomitz
Iggick doomip, allalaley doomip
La dee, la dee, la dee.
This time, the giant had a good idea of what would happen
next. And he was right. Though he didn't feel anything at all,
he could tell that he was beginning to grow. After a few moments
he was back to his original size.
The witch asked, "Now you promise never to scare the children
The giant growled, "I made no such promise. I plan to be
just as mean to the children as before. If not meaner." He grinned
his evil, nearly toothless grin and left for home.
In the morning, the giant didn't feel quite right. He didn't
know what was wrong. At first he thought the witch had made
him small again. So he quickly reached for his club, but he
had no trouble lifting it. Then he looked into the mirror and
saw, to his relief, that he was still a giant.
At that very moment, the giant heard a child's laugh. It
wasn't the very nice boy's laugh. In fact, the giant was pretty
sure it was that rotten girl who first said she'd squish him
flat. He'd teach her, he thought! He ran outside and saw that
it was, indeed, the rottenest little girl, sitting and playing
marbles with a group of her friends.
The giant raised his club above his head and started to yell,
"Go away rotten chil-" But then he stopped. He didn't feel much
like scaring the children this morning. He didn't feel like
squishing them flat. And he certainly didn't feel like eating
any of the children like a pancake. Not even the rottenest little
girl who started all the trouble.
Right there in the middle of the street, the giant suddenly
knew exactly what he did want to do. He dropped his
club. He started walking away from the children. Soon he was
running. And, in no time, his giant legs brought him to the
This time, he knocked gently and politely upon her door.
The witch opened the door and looked out at the giant. Unsurely,
she asked, "Can I help you?"
He nodded his giant, lumpy head. "Yes you can," he said.
"If you would be so kind."
"What would you like?" she asked.
"Make me small," he said, softly.
"What?" the witch asked.
"You heard me correctly," he said. "I want you to make me
small again. Please."
The good witch was happy to do just as the giant asked. She
made him small again - just a little smaller than the
other children - and, to this day, the giant and the witch have
remained very good friends.
And if you go to this little town you will most likely find
the two of them, as well as a large group of laughing children,
in the middle of the town square, playing marbles.
©1999 Stuart B Baum, Illustrations
by Molly Baum