Fairy-Tale Files: Also-Ran Giants

Fairy-Tale Files

Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.

Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.


When German, Polish and Czech fairy tales need a giant who fills the qualifications of elemental, trickster and sourdough distributor, they turn to the Rübezahl. The creature’s name is generally traced to the act of counting (zählen) turnips (Rübe), as a princess once escaped him, mid-vegetable tally. The subject of nearly a dozen 19th century operas, a statued version of the Rübezahl stood guard over the city of Galva, IL, until its mysterious disappearance. Galva’s library, funded by Andrew Carnegie, has fared significantly better.


Giganta sprawled onto the DC Comics scene in 1944 and she’s been growing ever since. Some would argue her best work came with the Legion of Doom during their various cartoon runs where her exploits included time travel, the invasion of Gorilla City and calling Bizarro a fool to his face. Giganta’s least-distinguished moments: capture at the hands of a Green Lantern-manufactured bottle and her storyline in “Two Gleeks are Deadlier Than One.”

Roald Dahl’s The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is as benevolent as his namesake. An herbivore – rare among literary talls – he dines on the snozzcumber which nourishes him throughout his role as dream-catcher and friend to the orphan, Sophie. Dahl ensures that cannibalism meets alliteration with such characters as Childchewer, Gizzardgulper and Maidmasher. Steven Spielberg’s The BFG is slated for July 2016 release. It was adapted by the late Melissa Mathison, screenplay writer of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by poetry editor Jon Riccio.