general
Humor
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Story of Two Hill

I can’t remember exactly where it was, but I heard it while studying abroad in England.

There are two hills, one big and one small, and this is the story of how those hills were made. The legend is a giant was going to bury a town that made him mad somehow, but on his way to that town, he meets a shoe maker walking in the other direction and the giant asks him how far the next town is. The shoe maker is clever, and shows the giant his shoe collection, saying, “Just look at how many shoes I’ve worn out on the way here. The town is really far away.” Once he hears how far away it is, the giant gets lazy and doesn’t want to walk that far, and instead dumps the dirt he was going to use on the ground, and that’s where the two hills came from.”

The informant says that she learned this story from a stranger while studying abroad in Europe. It is interesting to wonder why a stranger would tell this particular story. It is possible that the stranger wanted to make her feel welcome, and so told a humorous tale to break the ice and welcome her. The laziness of the giant might also be an embodiment of the positive laidback character of the people the stranger is trying to portray.

The folktale also presents many classic traits, such as the humble shoe maker who cleverly deceives the giant, saving the town in the process. However, it is clearly meant to be humorous in nature, setting up anticipation for the story and then suddenly ending it, similar to an anti-joke.

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