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The Giant of Cerne Abbas, Dorset

The enormous – and rather risqué - figure carved into the chalky hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas inevitably has several legends attached to it. Firstly there is the story about how the giant outline came to be cut into the earth. It is said that in the time when the Vikings raided our shores a giant was at the head of one landing party. He slaughtered a host of local warriors before tiring, and settling down to sleep. His slumbers gave the villagers the opportunity to behead the powerful Norseman. As a warning to their foes they then cut around his now dead body to advertise the dangers awaiting any further invaders.
The giant is famously well endowed, and a second local legend has led to many a tryst within his chalky outline – most particularly atop the area denoting his wedding tackle. The hoped for result is conception – he has become a fertility god, a fact celebrated until recently with equally symbolic Maypole dances where he lies.
Lastly, in common with various other such figures and even standing stones dotted around the country, the Cerne Abbas Giant on certain nights departs his normal resting place to take a drink, though most un-Viking-like he quenches his thirst with water from a stream close by, strange when there are several more than decent pubs to tempt him in the area.

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Prince Charles & Lady Diana Spencer announce engagement - 1981, Lawrence Inquiry Published - 1999
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