Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in September 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Why does the fly settle on the dead?

The Story of God and the Giants of the Flood.

IN OLDEN times, huge giants existed in this world. They were so big that they could put one leg on the top of one mountain and the other on the next one. They reached as high as the heavens, and getting hold of the handles of the great gate would shake it as a man shakes a kettle. They even rebelled against God, for they knew no fear. At last, God, realising their nature, decided to destroy them, and he sent a flood which covered the highest mountains, so that you could not see of them as much as the black under the nail. So all the giants died, except one, who was the biggest of them all. He stood with one leg on the top of one mountain, and with the other on the next mountain, and with his hands he got hold of the handles of the gate of heaven. But God would not tolerate a single one of these giants, for he had decided to make men, very similar creatures to giants but smaller and more obedient. So he sent a fly to pick at his eyes, and worms to gnaw at the soles of his feet. Feeling the pain in his eyes, the giant let the gate of heaven go and wiped his eyes, with his hand, but he could not stand the gnawing of his feet, and he, falling down into the water, was drowned. From the gnawing of the soles the instep in man's foot has come, and these flies (Sarcophaga carnaria) and worms still eat up the human bodies and all the carcases.

               It is therefore a bad sign if such a fly settles on a sick man; a sure sign of death.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why does the fly settle on the dead?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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