a buried treasure, some cocoa, an awful gale, and a giant’s breakfast
Growing up I’d go visit grandma’s house and in the basement (the kind of basement with a wood-stove) there were baskets full of books.
One of my favorites was The Giant Alexander by Frank Herrman. A little-known story published in 1964, it’s one of the best-buried secrets of children’s literature.
Here is how the book begins:
The Giant Alexander lived in a big, black barn in Maldon near the sea in England. He was sixty feet tall, which is as high as one telegraph pole on top of another. He looked rather fierce, though he was really very friendly, and he had a thick reddish-brown beard.
He is your typical warmhearted bachelor, quite content living in his comfortable barn and taking a bath once a week in the local swimming pool. He is a Giant-of-All-Trades, putting his extraordinary size to good use. In the story, he kindheartedly goes about rescuing a ship stuck on the sandbank during a gale, walking to London at the request of the Lord Mayor of London to clean Nelson’s Column of pigeon poo, and helping a small-town farmer unbury an enormous wealth of treasure from his fields.
Alexander’s life is full of delicious things.
Like the bucket of hot cocoa with honey from Coastguard Pennock that the giant drank after the ship-rescue so he wouldn’t catch cold.
And the six barrels of cider and an enormous Dutch cheese that the sailors gave him as thanks for rescuing them.
And the soup tureen full of tea that Lord Mayor of London served after the giant finished cleaning Nelsons’ Tower.
The last, of course, is best. (I know because I’ve made it myself several times) After all of the treasure is unburied and Giant Alexander is rich, he invites all of the children of the town for breakfast:
He bent down as low as he could and said very politely, “yes, thank you, I’m very well indeed.” Then he said, “Would you all like to come and have breakfast with me? I’m going to have roast pork sausages, fried onions and fried potatoes.”
As he said this, the children’s eyes grew bigger and bigger and rounder and rounder. They had never had sausages and onions and potatoes for breakfast.
“Oh yes please!” they yelled, and rushed home to tell their mothers.
The sent Robin Bingo to get a truckload of sausages. Then he went to Robin’s barn and stuffed his pockets with onions. After that he took some sacks of potatoes and started cooking.
The Giant Alexander gave each boy and girl an enormous and wonderful breakfast.
Don’t ask how he got that many knives and forks. Even giants have their secrets. But we do know that to this very day, any Maldon child can tell you that “A Giant’s Treat” means roast pork sausages, fried onions and fried potatoes for breakfast.