Finn, the Giant, and the Minster of Lund
There stands in the university town of
Schonen, the town of Lund, the seat of the
first archbishopric in all Scandinavia, a stately
Romanic minster, with a large, handsome crypt beneath
the choir. The opinion is universal that the
minster will never be altogether finished, but that
something will always be lacking about the structure.
The reason is said to be as follows:
When St. Lawrence came to Lund to preach
the Gospel, he wanted to build a church; but did not
know how he was to obtain the means to do so.
While he was cudgelling his brains about it, a
giant came to him and offered to build the church
on condition that St. Lawrence tell him his name
before the church was completed. But should St.
Lawrence be unable to do so, the giant was to receive
either the sun, the moon or St. Lawrence's eyes.
The saint agreed to his proposal.
The building of the church made rapid progress,
and ere long it was nearly finished. St. Lawrence
thought ruefully about his prospects, for he did not
know the giant's name; yet at the same time he did
not relish losing his eyes. And it happened that
while he was walking without the town, much concerned
about the outcome of the affair, he grew
weary, and sat down on a hill to rest. As he sat
there he heard a child crying within the hill, and a
woman's voice began to sing:
"Sleep, sleep, my baby dear,
To-morrow your father, Finn, will be here;
Then sun and moon you shall have from the skies
To play with, or else St. Lawrence's eyes."
When St. Lawrence heard that he was happy; for
now he knew the giant's name. He ran back quickly
to town, and went to the church. There sat the
giant on the roof, just about to set the last stone in
place, when at that very moment the saint called
Take care how you put the stone in!"
Then the giant flung the stone from him, full of rage,
said that the church should never be finished, and
with that he disappeared. Since then something
has always been missing from the church.
Others say that the giant and his wife rushed
down into the crypt in their rage, and each seizing
a column were about to tear down the church, when
they were turned into stone, and may be seen to
this day standing beside the columns they had
"Finn, the Giant, and the Minster of Lund" (retold by Dr. v.
Sydow-Lund, after variants in his collection), is the world-famous
tale of the giant master-builder, which appears here as a legend,
and is connected with various celebrated churches, as for instance
the Minster of Drontheim. Its close is an inversion of the motive
of guessing a name, which we have already encountered in the Danish