A giant kept Jack and his mother prisoner so that she could...

Date 17 July 1976
Track ID 36465
Part 1
Part 2

Track Information

Original Track ID


Original Tape ID



A giant kept Jack and his mother prisoner so that she could scratch his back, but Jack got the better of the giant.

Jack and his mother sought shelter at a house where a giant happened to live. The giant employed Jack's mother to scratch his back, and when she wore down her nails he had iron ones made for her. The giant would not let them go unless Jack proved he was the better man. The giant and Jack were to carry a huge pine tree between them. Jack took the back end and hopped up into the branches so that the giant took the whole weight. The giant made a great pot of porridge and they each had to eat same amount. For every spoonful Jack put into his mouth he put one down his jersey. He then slit the jersey with a knife, and porridge and milk poured out. He invited the giant to do the same. The giant slit open his belly and fell down dead. Jack lived happily ever after with his mother in the castle.

Duncan Williamson heard this story from his father. He used to be promised a story in return for going for tobacco, and if the promise wasn't kept nothing else would get done.

Item Notes

Cant 'gadgie' (a fellow), from Romany. 'Clock' is Scots for a beetle. With the alternative term 'dulick', cf. 'gellock'.

'The Scottish National Dictionary' (available online [[]], accessed 16 February 2009)

Recording Location

County - Angus

Parish - Montrose

Village/Place - Montrose


Scots, Traveller Cant (Scots/Romani)



Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality