When good King Arthur reigned, there lived near the Land's End of England, in the county of Cornwall, a farmer who had one only son called Jack. He was quick and smart and nobody could outdo him.
In those days, the Mount of Cornwall was kept by a huge giant named Cormoran. He was 5.5 meters in height, and about three meters around the waist, of a fierce and grim appearance, the terror of all the neighbouring towns and villages. He lived in a cave in the middle of the Mount, and whenever he wanted food he would walk over to the mainland, where he would help himself with whatever came in his way. Everybody who heard him approaching ran out of their houses, while he seized their cattle, making nothing of carrying half a dozen oxen on his back at a time; and as for their sheep and hogs, he would tie them around his waist. He had done this for many years, so that all Cornwall was in despair.
One day Jack happened to be at the town-hall when the magistrates were sitting in council about the Giant. He asked: “What reward will be given to the man who kills Cormoran?” “The giant's treasure,” they said, “will be the reward.” And Jack said: “Then let me do it.”
So he got a horn, shovel, and pickaxe, and went over to the Mount in the beginning of a dark winter's evening, when he started to work, and before morning had dug a pit seven meters deep, and nearly as broad, covering it over with long sticks and straw. Then he threw a little grass over it, so that it appeared like plain ground. Jack then stood on the opposite side of the pit, farthest from where the giant lived, and, just at the break of day, he put the horn to his mouth, and blew loudly. This noise roused the giant, who rushed from his cave, shouting: “You villain, did you come here to disturb my rest? You shall pay dearly for this. I will take you whole and broil you for breakfast.” He had no sooner uttered this, than he tumbled into the pit, and made the very foundations of the mountain shake. “Oh, Giant,” said Jack, “where are you now? Oh, Cormoran, did you fall now into my pit, where I will surely punish you for your threatening words: what do you think now of broiling me for your breakfast? Will no other diet serve you but poor Jack?” Then having tantalized the giant for a while, he gave him a knock with his pickaxe on the very top of his head, and killed him on the spot.
Jack then filled up the pit with earth, and went to search the cave, which he found contained much treasure. When the magistrates heard of this, they made a declaration that from now on his title should be “Jack , the Giant-Killer” and presented him with a sword and a belt, on which were written these words embroidered in letters of gold:
“Here's the right valiant man of Cornwall, who slew the giant Cormoran.”
Adapted excerpts from: “English Fairy Tales”, Jack the Giant-Killer. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. gutenberg.org/files/7439/7439-h/7439-h.htm