The Boy Violinist who Impressed a Giant!
Posted on: August 9, 2019.

The following story, a South American folktale, originates in the land of Brazil, which accommodates more than half the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, where more animals and insects live than in any other part of the world…

In a settlement near the forest, lived a young boy and his father. The father owned a cat, a dog, a small piece of land, and a few orange trees, but the only thing the boy yearned for in life, was a violin that he could play. They had no known or living relatives, and when his father died one day, the young boy felt all alone in the world.

A neighbour accepted the dog, and the boy sold the land and orange trees. With that money, he purchased his long-coveted violin. When his father was alive, the boy used to share his thoughts with him, but now with his father no more, the boy resorted to his violin to console himself. And in the most melodious voice in the world, the violin reciprocated his feelings.

To earn a living, the boy approached the king’s palace for a job as a shepherd for the royal sheep, but he was informed that they were in no need for another shepherd, as they already had plenty. Disappointed, the young boy went deep into the forest with his cat and his violin, and began to play some very melodious tunes. Shortly, the mesmerizing strains of music were heard by the shepherds guarding the king’s sheep grazing in the plains in the outskirts of the forest.

The men could not find the violinist anywhere nearby as he was somewhere deep inside the forest. The sheep too had heard the music and began to move away from the flock, attracted by the lilting tunes emanating from within the forest. In pursuit, the shepherds too went after them, following the sound of music in search of the missing sheep and the magical violinist.

The search turned out to be highly deceiving, and the sheep straying away from the flock left the shepherds greatly disturbed. They could neither find the trace of the sheep nor the violinist. Every time they felt they had located the source of the music, nobody would be there, and the music would seem to come from a completely different direction. With a mounting sense of desperation with the passage of time, they gave up venturing any further into the forest, afraid of getting lost.

Meanwhile, deep inside the forest, the sheep had found the boy with his cat, playing on his violin. It brought him great joy that the sheep had come to him, and his music, which until then had been sounding sad and melancholic, turned happy and celebratory. Progressively, the music turned better and better until, amazingly, the cat first began to dance, and then the sheep, and then a group of monkeys passing by, all dancing together in a group.

Hearing the foot-tapping music playing within the otherwise silent heart of the jungle, a tapir joined in, dancing first on its three-toed hind feet and then on its four-toed front feet. Successively, an armadillo, dancing in spite of its heavy armour, a small herd of deer, an anteater, a wild cat, and even a tiger joined in, much to the fright of the deer and the sheep, yet the dancing did not stop.

So happily dancing were the tiger and wild cat that they hardly noticed the deer and sheep. Even big snakes and birds joined in, though they could not dance. Eventually, the massive group of dancing animals included every beast in the jungle that could dance. And, finally, it was the high wall which surrounded the land of the giants that the dancing company of animals had wandered to.

The enormous giant who stood on the wall—guarding the territory of the giants—laughed so hard that he almost fell off the wall. He took the boy-violinist and the dancing group of animals to the Giant King who laughed so hard himself that it shook the very earth—like had happened never before, expect for his angry voice that sounded like thunder—almost toppling himself from his throne. Nobody knew what to make of it.

If the Giant King had known how to dance, he would have danced himself, but it was fortunate for the people of the earth that he did not know how to. There would be no knowing what might have happened to the earth, if he had. But, sadly, the Giant King had a problem—his beautiful giantess daughter never laughed and constantly remained sad. Anyone who could make her laugh would be offered, by the Giant King, half his kingdom. Yet, not even the funniest tricks had succeeded in even making her smile.

But now, seeing the jolly little figure playing upon the violin, and the entourage of cat, sheep, monkey, tapir, armadillo, deer, anteater, wild cat, tiger, snakes, birds, and every other jungle beast that could dance, gyrating to the violinist’s enamouring music, the Giant King declared, “If my daughter can keep from laughing when she sees this funny sight, I’ll give up in despair and eat my hat.”

And lo, when they were taken to the Princess’s Palace, her expression changed when she saw the funny sight before her. In her beautiful lips played the happiest smile which the king of the land of giants had always wanted to see, and then, for the first time in her life, the giantess daughter laughed gayly! The Giant King became so happy that he grew a league in height—and nobody knew how much weight he gained!

“You shall have half my kingdom,” the King told the boy, “just as I promised to anyone who made my daughter laugh”. And ever since, the violinist, now the Prince of the Giants, reigned over half the kingdom, and, if he played his violin to them, even the biggest giants would at once obey his slightest request. The beasts of the jungle stayed long enough in the land of the giants to grow into giant beasts, yet the boy and his violin forever remained the way they looked and behaved when they first entered the land of the giants.

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