What happened to Little Jacket in the Giant’s Boot

From: The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: 1856 Boston



  HUGGERMUGGER made a great noise in entering, and ran up immediately to the door at which Little Jacket had been cutting, and threshed about him with a great stick, right and left. He then went about the room, grumbling and swearing, and poking into all the corners and holes in search of the rat; for he saw that the hole under the door had been enlarged, and he was sure that the rats had done it. So he went peeping and poking about, making Little Jacket not a little troubled, for he expected every moment that he would pick up the boot in which he was concealed, and shake him out of his hiding-place. Singularly enough, however, the giant never thought of looking into his own boots, and very soon he went back to his chamber to dress himself. Little Jacket now ventured to peep out of the boot, and stood considering what was next to be done. He hardly dared to go again to the door, for Huggermugger was now dressed, and his wife too, for he heard their voices in the next room, where they seemed to be preparing their breakfast. Little Jacket now was puzzling his wits to think what he should do, if the giant should take a fancy to put his boots on before he could discover another hiding-place. He noticed, however, that there were other boots and shoes near by, and so there was a chance that Huggermugger might choose to put on some other pair. If this should be the case, he might lie concealed where he was during the day, and at night work away again at the hole in the door, which he hoped to enlarge enough soon, to enable him to escape. He had not much time, however, for thought; for the giant and his wife soon came in. By peeping out a little, he could just see their great feet shuffling over the wide floor.

  “And now, wife,” says Huggermugger, “bring me my boots.” He was a lazy giant, and his wife spoiled him, by waiting on him too much.

  “Which boots, my dear,” says she.

  “Why, the long ones,” says he; “I am going a hunting to-day, and shall have to cross the marshes.”

  Little Jacket hoped the long boots were not those in one of which he was concealed, but unfortunately they were the very ones. So he felt a great hand clutch up the boots, and him with them, and put them down in another place. Huggermugger then took up one of the boots and drew it on, with a great grunt. He now proceeded to take up the other. Little Jacket’s first impulse was to run out and throw himself on the giant’s mercy, but he feared lest he should be taken for a rat. Besides he now thought of a way to defend himself, at least for a while. So he drew from his belt one of the long thorns he had cut from the bush by the seaside, and held it ready to thrust it into his adversary’s foot, if he could. But he forgot that though it was as a sword in his hand, it was but a thorn to a giant. Huggermugger had drawn the boot nearly on, and Little Jacket’s daylight was all gone, and the giant’s great toes were pressing down on him, when he gave them as fierce a thrust as he could with his thorn.

  “Ugh!” roared out the giant, in a voice like fifty mad bulls; “wife, wife, I say!”

  “What’s the matter, dear?” says wife.

  “Here’s one of your confounded needles in my boot. I wish to gracious you’d be more careful how you leave them about! “

  “A needle in your boot?” said the giantess, “how can that be? I haven’t been near your boots with my needles.”

  “Well, you feel there yourself, careless woman, and you’ll see.”

  Whereupon the giantess took the boot, and put her great hand down into the toe of it, when Little Jacket gave another thrust with his weapon.

  “O-o-o-o!!” screams the wife. “There’s something here, for it ran into my finger; we must try to get it out. She then put her hand in again, but very cautiously, and Little Jacket gave it another stab, which made her ·cry out more loudly than ·before. Then Huggermugger put his hand in, and again he roared out as he felt the sharp prick of the thorn.

  “It’s no use,” says he, flinging down the boot in a passion, almost breaking Little Jacket’s bones, as it fell. “Wife, take that boot to the cobbler, and tell him to take that sharp thing out, whatever it is, and send it back to me in an hour, for I must go a hunting today.”

  So off the obedient wife trotted to the shoemaker’s, with the boot under her arm. Little Jacket was curious to see whether the shoemaker was a giant too. So when the boot was left in his workshop, he contrived to peep out a little, and saw, instead of another Huggermugger, only a crooked little dwarf, not more than two or three times bigger than himself. He went by the name of Kobboltozo.

  “Tell your husband,” says he, “that I will look into his boot presently-I am busy just at this moment and will bring it myself to his house.”

  Little Jacket was quite relieved to feel that he was safe out of the giant’s house, and that the giantess had gone. “Now,” thought he, “I think I know what to do.”

  After a while, Kobboltozo took up the boot and put his hand down into it slowly and cautiously. But Little Jacket resolved to keep quiet this time. The dwarf felt around so carefully, for fear of having his finger pricked, and his hand was so small in comparison with that of the giant’s, that Little Jacket had time to dodge around his fingers and down into the toe of the boot, so that Kobboltozo could feel nothing there. He concluded, therefore, that whatever it was that hurt the giant and his wife, whether needle, or pin, or tack, or thorn, it must have dropped out on the way to his shop. So he laid the boot down, and went for his coat and hat. Little Jacket knew that now was his only chance of escape-he dreaded being carried back to Huggermugger-so he resolved to make a bold move. No sooner was the dwarf’s back turned, as he went to reach down his coat, than Little Jacket rushed out of the boot, made a spring from the table on which it lay, reached the floor, and made his way as fast as he could to a great pile of old boots and shoes that lay in a comer of the room, where he was soon hidden safe from any present chance of detection.

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