Teofilo the Hunchback, and the Giant

Once there lived a hunchback whose name was Teofilo. He was an orphan, and used to get his food by wandering through the woods. He had no fixed home. Sometimes he even slept under large trees in the forest. His one blind eye, as well as his crooked body, would make almost any one pity his miserable condition.

One day, while he was wandering through the woods looking for something to eat, he found a piece of large rope. He was very glad; for he could sell the rope, and in that way get money to buy food. Walking a little farther, he found a gun leaning against a fence. This gun, he supposed, had been left there by a hunter. He was glad to have it, too, for protection. Finally, while crossing a swampy place, he saw a duck drinking in the brook. He ran after the duck, and at last succeeded in catching it. Now he was sure of a good meal.

But it had taken him a long time to capture the duck. Night soon came on, and he had to look for a resting-place. Fortunately he came to a field, and his eye caught a glimpse of light on the other side. He went towards the light, and found it to come from a house, all the windows of which were open. He knocked at the door, but nobody answered; so he just pushed it open and entered. He then began to feel very comfortable. He prepared his bed, and then went to sleep. He did not know that he was in a giant’s house.

At midnight Teofilo was awakened by a loud voice. He made a hole in the wall and looked out. There in the dark he saw a very tall man, taller even than the house itself. It was the giant. The giant said, “I smell some one here.” He tried to open the door, but Teofilo had locked it.

“If you are really a strong man and braver than I,” said the giant, “let me see your hair!”

Teofilo then threw out the piece of rope. The giant was surprised at its size. He then asked to see Teofilo’s louse, and Teofilo threw out the duck. The giant was terrified, for he had never seen such a large louse before. Finally the giant said, “Well, you seem to be larger than I. Let me hear your voice!”

Teofilo fired his gun. When the giant heard the gun and saw it spitting fire, he trembled, for he thought that the man’s saliva was burning coals. Afraid to challenge his strange guest any more, the giant ran away and disappeared forever.

And so Teofilo the hunchback lived happily all the rest of his days in the giant’s house without being troubled by any one.

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