St Michael’s Mount is one of Cornwall’s most beloved and recognisable destinations. A fairy tale castle on a tiny tidal island, it is truly the stuff of fantasy and myth, and if recent reports are to be believed the mount will feature in the upcoming prequel to the enormously popular series ‘Games of Thrones’.
But even before its modern-day fame the mount has always had an air of mystery about it and in fact it features in one of Cornwall’s most famous legends – that of the giant Cormoran and Jack the Giant Slayer!
The story goes that Cormoran built the hill on which the castle now stands out of huge boulders as a home for him and his wife. He was said to be very friendly with the giant Trecobben who lived on nearby Trecrom hill and they shared an enormous hammer for their building work. The giants would nonchalantly throw the massive tool back and forth between the two hills and one day Trecobben threw the hammer and accidently struck Cormoran’s wife on the head killing her. The pair were grief stricken and buried her where the castle courtyard is today.
Cormoran was not too friendly with his other neighbours after this however and would come wading ashore from the island and cause havoc, scaring the people and stealing their sheep and cows for his dinner. In the end the local folk put up a reward for anyone who could rid them of this menace.
St Michael’s Mount
Young Jack was said to be the son of a farmer living near Lands End and he heard of the reward for slaying the giant and came up with a cunning plan. One night Jack rowed out to the island while Cormoran was asleep and dug an enormous pit. It was nearly dawn by the time he had finished and as the sun began to rise Jack stood on the far side of the pit and blew a horn to wake the giant. Cormoran was furious at the rude awakening and charged at Jack with the rising sun in his eyes. Of course he fell into the pit and Jack was able to strike him with his pickaxe and then fill the dirt back in on top of his foe.
The local people were delighted and gave Jack the title of ‘giant slayer’. The hole into which Cormoran fell is said to be the island’s well which can still be seen to this day, as can a heart-shaped cobblestone said to be the giant’s heart.