Otherplaces – Gavarol, the Great Gibbet of (A to Z Challenge, G)

7 April, 2012

The tale goes that a band of brave venturers, noble, righteous and lucky captured a giant that had terrorized the district for many years.  Being good and noble, they brought the giant back -on two wagons cobbled together- to the local assizes.  There the giant was tried, judged and sentenced to death by hanging, as was the legal punishment for bandits in that time and place.

The giant laughed and laughed.  “Where will you find a tree tall enough and strong enough to hang me?”

the Great Gibbet of Gavarol

Hang em high

Gibbet for Giants

It towers over the crossroad it was constructed next to, a massive piece of reinforced wood, made by skilled woodsmen aided by a magi and a wise woman, it took a team of sixteen oxen and two weeks to drag it to the execution site.  The gallows were hoisted into place by dozen of locals aided by the oxen.   The rope that was used was as think as a man’s leg and took three strong men to fashion into a noose.  Only men were used to pull the rope taunt and raise the giant just high enough to strangle to death.

The giant was left to rot, a feast for crow and ravens who came in their hundreds to tear at the rotting flesh and gore themselves.  It was only as bones fell from the corpse that they were carted away for various uses around the region, from building supports to carved decorations in church, hardly a town, village or lord’s hall within twenty-five miles does not have some momento mori made the giant’s bone.

Now, only the gibbet itself remains, casting a long shadow across the roads.  Age has weathered and darkened the wood, but it show no hint of rot or brittleness, it looks to remain as a stark warning forever.  The giants hate that such a thing exists, such a visible proof that they are mortal and can be bound by the laws of the ‘small folk’.  Several had set forth to destroy it, but as they get closer, they find their resolve crumbling and a strange foreboding.  None have been able to even make it within sight of the gibbet before being crippled by fear and doubt.  One might be able to curry favor with the giants by destroying the gibbet but reminding them of their failures may have the opposite effect.

Notes:  Photo by Andrew Dunn from Wikipedia and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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