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The Wrekin



Just to add a bit to Paulus' post, the reason that the Giant had such a thing against Shrewsbury was as follows:
"In the old days, when the ancient town of Shrewsbury was but newly built, its citizens, especially those who worked about the River Servern, were venturesome persons. One day three of them in quite a small boat, light and fast, with a single sail and oars went down the river. Fishing had been bad, and these men were prospecting for fresh ground, particularly for eels, of which Shrewsburians were notably fond.

Tempted by the wide smoothness of the river and the beautiful new scenery along its banks, the three pioneers went on for days, camping at nights on the bank, till they emerged on to what is now the Bristol Channel.

Turning westward into the calmer waters sheltered by South Wales, the three fishermen came to a very pleasant coast, seemingly abandoned by human beings. It was deserted because its sole inhabitant was an enormous giant, who tyrranised so cruelly over people of normal stature that the latter preferred to keep away altogether from his oppressive dominance.

Like all giants of antiquity, the South Walian individual was of incalculable strength but excessively lazy, stupid and revengeful of small injuries.

The Shrewsbury men knew naught of this. They came to a pretty little river tumbling into the Channel from beautiful mountain scenery.At the mouth of the river were some gigantic eel traps full of huge eels. Amazed at first by the stupendous size of the traps, the voyagers were so tempted by the excellence of the eels that they decided to help themselves, arguing that a few out of such quantities would never be missed.

As the three Shrewsbury fishermen finished loading their boat the giant woke from slumber on the other side of the hill. His yawns sounded like thunder, and his taking deep breaths was the wind in the tree tops. Greatly alarmed, the eel stealers got out their oars and pulled away. Fortunate for them that they did so. A few minutes later the immense hair-fringed face of the giant appeared over the hilltop. Seeing what had happened the giant strode slowly down the to the shore, and in a voice like the roaring of many bulls commanded the fugitives to stop. The tide was running up, the wind filled the sail, the two at the oars pulled strenuously, and the boat sped northward. Feeling themselves safe, the Shrewsbury men gathered courage. The steersman, a fellow with a stentorian voice, was foolish enough to shout back 'we be Shrewsbury men, and we always get what we want.'

Hearing it, the giant fell into a paroxysm of rage. He shook his fist, cursed, and swore he would exterminate the whole tribe of Shrewsbury folk, the three representatives of which only derided the more. Whereat the giant picked up rocks large as houses and threw them after the retreating boat, which narrowly escaped being swamped by the big waves set up.

Safely back in Shrewsbury, the three men excited astonishment and some incredulity by the story of their adventures, but the eels were incontrovertibly the finest ever brought into the town."
This is what got the giant mad, leading to his cross-country trek with the shovel-full of sand and mud that would become the Wrekin.

From "Legends of the Severn Valley" - Alfred Rowberry Williams (Folk Press Limited).
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
15th April 2009ce
Edited 28th September 2019ce

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