2.3.3 The battle with Giant Maul
From John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress, Part II, Section 3, Step 3.
Now they drew towards the end of this way; and just there where Christian had seen the cave when he went by, out thence came forth Maul, a giant. This Maul did use to spoil young pilgrims with sophistry; and he called Great-Heart by his name, and said unto him, How many times have you been forbidden to do these things? Then said Mr Great-Heart, What things? What things! quoth the giant; you know what things: but I will put an end to your trade.
But, pray, said Mr Great-Heart, before we fall to it, let us understand wherefore we must fight. Now the women and children stood trembling, and knew not what to do. Quoth the giant, You rob the country, and rob it with the worst of thefts. These are but generals, said Mr Great-Heart; come to particulars, man.
Then said the giant, Thou practisest the craft of a kidnapper; thou gatherest up women and children, and carriest them into a strange country, to the weakening of my master's kingdom.
But now Great-Heart replied, I am a servant of the God of heaven; my business is to persuade sinners to repentance. I am commanded to do my endeavours to turn men, women, and children, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; and if this be indeed the ground of thy quarrel, let us fall to it as soon as thou wilt.
Then the giant came up, and Mr Great-Heart went to meet him; and as he went he drew his sword, but the giant had a club. So without more ado they fell to it, and at the first blow the giant struck Mr Great-Heart down upon one of his knees. With that the women and children cried out. So Mr Great-Heart recovering himself, laid about him in full lusty manner, and gave the giant a wound in his arm. Thus he fought for the space of an hour, to that height of heat that the breath came out of the giant's nostrils as the heat doth out of a boiling cauldron.
Then they sat down to rest them; but Mr Great-Heart betook himself to prayer. Also the women and children did nothing but sigh and cry all the time that the battle did last.
When they had rested them, and taken breath, they both fell to it again; and Mr Great-Heart, with a blow, fetched the giant down to the ground. Nay, hold, let me recover, quoth he: so Mr Great-Heart fairly let him get up. So to it they went again, and the giant missed but little of all to breaking Mr Great-Heart's scull with his club.
Mr Great-Heart seeing that, runs to him in the full heat of his spirit, and pierceth him under the fifth rib. With that the giant began to faint, and could hold up his club no longer. Then Mr Great-Heart seconded his blow, and smit the head of the giant from his shoulders. Then the women and children rejoiced, and Mr Great-Heart also praised God for the deliverance he had wrought.
When this was done, they amongst them erected a pillar, and fastened the giant's head thereon, and wrote under in letters that passengers might read,
"He that did wear this head was one
That pilgrims did misuse;
He stopped their way, he spared none,
But did them all abuse;
Until that I Great-Heart arose,
The pilgrims guide to be;
Until that I did him oppose
That was their enemy."
Now I saw that they went on to the ascent that was a little way off, cast up to be a prospect for pilgrims. That was the place from whence Christian had the first sight of Faithful his brother. Wherefore, here they sat down and rested. They also here did eat and drink, and make merry, for that they had gotten deliverance from this so dangerous an enemy. As they sat thus and did eat, Christiana asked the guide, if he had caught no hurt in the battle? Then said Mr Great-Heart, No, save a little on my flesh; yet that also shall be so far from being to my detriment, that it is at present a proof of my love to my master and you, and shall be a means, by grace, to increase my reward at last.
Christina: But were you not afraid, good sir, when you saw him come with his club?
Great-heart: It is my duty, said he, to mistrust my own ability, that I may have reliance on Him who is stronger than all.
Christina: But what did you think when he fetched you down to the ground at the first blow?
Great-heart: Why, I thought, quoth he, that so my Master himself was served, and yet he it was that conquered at last (2 Cor. 4:10,11; Rom. 8:37).
Matthew: When you all have thought what you please, I think God has been wonderfully good unto us, both in bringing us out of this valley, and in delivering us out of the hand of this enemy. For my part, I see no reason why we should distrust our God any more, since he has now, and in such a place as this, given us such testimony of his love. Then they got up, and went forward.