Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Albanian giants are as tall as pine trees, with black beards that reach to their knees. They catch men to eat and women to fan the flies away.

Giants have enormous size and strength packed in a human form. They can roar like thunder, make the earth shake, and snack on grown people. Their characteristics depend on their nationalities. Irish giants are pleasant, English giants are openly evil, and Welsh giants are clever and cunning. All giants have a keen sense of smell, and they are always smelling out little boys (fee fi fo fum). But their brains never match their bodies. The smallest person can always outsmart the most terrible giant. Giants are proof that intelligence is more important than size.

Giants, Rizzoli Publication, Copyright © 1980

Who's Who of Giants

Super Giant

Atlas was one of the Titans in Greek mythology. After the Titans lost a battle with the god Zeus, Atlas's punishment was to carry the earth on his shoulders for eternity.

Gentle Giant

Scientists have found gigantic skulls and enormous jaws that may have belonged to a race of giants half a million years ago.

Paul Bunyan, an American folk hero, was a giant of the north woods. He was taller than the trees, and when his footprints filled with water, they created the ten thousand lakes of Minnesota.

Biblical Giant

Goliath, a warrior giant, terrorized whole armies with his size and strength. Only a young boy named David would challenge him. With a slingshot and a stone, David beat Goliath.

One-Eyed Giant

The Cyclops was a man-eating giant who had one eye in the middle of his forehead. In Greek mythology, the Cyclops captured the hero Odysseus, who escaped after he put out the Cyclops' eye.

Mountain Giants

Yeti, the Abominable Snowman of Tibet, Yerin, the Wildman of China, and Sasquatch, the Big Foot of America, are all mysterious giants who live in the mountains. There are many stories of sightings or attacks by these mysterious creatures.

Man-Eating Giant

An ogre is a man-eating giant. Rakshas was an ogre who lived in a palace in India. His gold and jewels made him rich, but he was dirty and dumb. Like all ogres, he enjoyed eating people.


Gruagachs are Scottish giants and giantesses.

Most giant wives are depicted as stay-at-homes who spend their time making bread out of ground-up human bones. Befri, a French giantess, carried off young girls who did not want to spin thread into cloth. But Grendel's Mother, in the story of Beowulf, was an ogress who could sneak up on sleeping warriors and eat 15 of them at a time. She was killed by the hero Beowulf, who used a magic sword of the giants to slay her.

Cold Giant

Jack Frost is an enormous, hoary giant whose cold breath freezes the earth, covering it with frost. His fierce roar can shatter icebergs.

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