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The Giant of Carn Galva

This tale tells of a gentle giant who lived in Cornwall, the land of giants, and a place where they were thought responsible for many of the natural landscape features. The story appears in Traditional and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall by W. Botrell 1870.

Many years ago, when the veil between the worlds was thinner than it is today, a giant lived on Carn Galva in Western Cornwall. The giant had a playful and friendly nature, and watched over the local population, spending all his life on the carn, making sure the people of Zennor and Morvah did not succumb to the wiles of the more treacherous giants, who lived in the Lelent hills. He created many of the natural features in the area, and would amuse himself by building piles of rocks and then kicking them down again, one such regular stack can still be seen his ancient homestead. He also placed large stones on the ranges so that he could rock himself to sleep as the sun set below the Cornish sea. One stone can still be seen, known as the giants rocking seat or the Logan Stone, situated on the most Westerly peak.

One day the giant's great strength was to be own enemy. The giant had a friend from one of the villages called Choone, with whom he used to converse and play a game of bob (similar to quoits) with. One afternoon as the sun neared the end of its curving course, Choone, who had been playing quoits with the giant, set down his quoit and made to head home. The giant playfully tapped Choone on the head and said for him to come back the next day. Unfortunately the giant's fingers went straight through the head of his playmate, and he fell down dead, his skull crushed beyond repair.

At last the giant realised what he had done, he tried to patch up Choone's shattered head by plugging the hole with his fingers but to no avail. He grasped Choon's lifeless body to his breast and wailed a mournful lament to his lost companion. The giant became withdrawn in grief, and within seven years he had died of a broken heart. The many rocks that lie in this area are said to be the remnants of their games of quoits, and missiles used in disputes with the giants living on other hilltops in the region.

Daniel Parkinson

Craig-y-Nos Castle

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