I was lost for a moment. Why would he be afraid of walking in his boots? Too far? Why take them off?
"Seven Leagues! They walk Seven Leagues!" I shouted. These boots were my hope for getting nearer the mountain.
I ran to the edge of the table. I looked over the edge, but was disappointed to remember that the man who wore them was much taller than I. Each boot was twice my height, and I would be swallowed in side them. I sat down, considering this problem.
I pondered the situation for nearly a half hour, simply staring at the boots and wondering how to get into them. I was so enraptured with my own thoughts, that I didn't hear the door open.
"What are you?" came a booming, yet young and feminine voice above me.
I started, and realized that I had nowhere to go. I looked up at the source of the voice, and it was the giantess who had unknowingly carried me here. I was struck dumb with fear.
"You aren't a pixie, are you?" she asked. Her voice held no threat, and this reassured me enough to speak an answer.
"I'm not. I'm a man."
"I've never seen one of those before!" she cried, apparently overjoyed. It was, I thought with irony, just the way a human child would react to a pixie.
"You have now, ma'am. I heard you singing, and thought I should follow you here."
"But I never sing near the house. Father doesn't like it. Where did you hear me singnig? You're too small to have walked her on your own!"
I thought for a moment. "I heard you singing in the forest near the shadow of the mountain with the eye. Your voice was beautiful."
The giantess blushed. "You don't mean that. I mean, I don't sing well. Father has told me so."
"Perhaps my ear is simply better tuned than his. Not all people appreciate music the same way."
She sighed. "I suppose you're right. Did you come to hear me sing again? I would love to sing for you!" The pleasure in her eyes at the thought was remarkably evident, and she seemed so much to want to please me.
I remembered her father, and how I had just let his dinner fly away. "I would be honoured to hear you sing, but you say your father won't allow it. I should like to hear it, but shouldn't we do it at a later date?"
"Oh, I suppose you're right. Oh, where are my manners? Would you like something to drink?"
"I would, ma'am. Truth be told, I'm remarkably thirsty." The giantess stood, and went to a bucket. She searched for something that I could handle, and settled on a thimble. She dipped it in the water and brought it back to me.
"Here you are. Don't drink too fast, this water is magical. It comes from our well out front. It's how we stay young. Each drink will prevent you from aging for an hour. If you take two drinks, you'll start to get younger. If you drink it too quickly, you'll be a child again in no time, and then I almost wouldn't be able to see you!"
I smiled. "We wouldn't want that, would we, ma'am." I took a drink. The water was the sweetest I had ever tasted, and I felt it coat my throat with its coolness, and felt my body relax.
"Would you do me a favour, man?" she asked when I had finished.
"Of course, ma'am. What ever I can. You've been a most generous hostess."
"Would you call me by my name? I don't like the sound of 'ma'am'. I much prefer my own name."
"Of course I will. I would like to think of you by your name. What is it?"
She paused, biting her lip. "You see, man, that's part of the problem. I can't tell you. You need to guess it." She looked almost embarassed.
"Can you give me a hint?"
"No, I can't," she said. "Only one person knows it, and so I'm still here. I can never leave for more than a day. If I do, I'll surely die."
"And I suppose the one person who knows it is your father?"
She looked at me as if it was obvious. "Of course. He named me!"
I sighed inwardly. "Well, then I suppose there's only one thing to do."
"What's that?" she asked.
"Why, guess, of course!"
And so I began to guess.
To be continued. . .
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII