07 November 2004

The oldest giant in the world

Whenever there's an earthquake it's because a giant has died, or so the saying goes. I presume they therefore always keel over while on their feet, but I do have my doubts about the truth in it.

Verity Fleapot, though was not quite dead. She was in fact the oldest living giant, at a very ripe age of 422. She had a reputation of being as old as the hills and equally as tall, and yet, as much as everyone knew and adored her, she could be something of an obstruction.

Whenever Verity left her home for a walk, it wouldn't be like any normal person's stroll: unfortunately, her legs didn't move as well as they used to, so she walked slower than a snail's pace, aided by a massive walking frame. She could leave her home in the morning and not get back for three weeks – and all she'd gone out for was a bucket of milk from the local farm.

For the little town of Hambling this proved to be a major problem. One day, Verity arrived looking to buy some food. It just so happened that it was Spring, and Hambling had planted all their crops out that previous week. There were all sorts of seedlings poking through the ground, but upon Verity's very slow arrival, the whole town fell into darkness.

Verity Fleapot made such an effective, slow-moving sunblock, that all the crops started to wilt and their growth faltered. The townsfolk realised that something had to be done and approached the giant with a solution.

"If we build you some wheels, would you mind us attaching them to your frame?" they asked. "Maybe then you could skate along merrily?"

The giant happily agreed. Verity was a lovely lady after all, and wouldn't want to be a pain.

So over two days of banging and clattering, the town of Hambling built four giant wheels and attached them to Verity's frame. It was a marvellous success, and Verity, after a slightly wobbly start, was on the move again. With a small push she shunted along nicely, and at a fair rate of knots too, and soon she was a mere blob on the horizon.

It was a beautiful sight to see an old treasure get her speed back again, and the town could once again bask in sunshine.