Every November the new Lord Mayor of London holds his Show – a colourful procession of the City Guilds and dignitaries through the streets of the City. At the head of the procession are two enormous effigies of giants. These are Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London and they have been carried in the Lord Mayor’s Show since the reign of Henry V. Their origins lie in the distant past and are quite unknown to us. Over the centuries, many people have produced various “explanations” of their origins. Perhaps the most entertaining was that of John Galt who published his History in 1819. In this series we will present his full text, Chapter by chapter. Here is Chapter 9.
CHAPTER IX.HOW THE PRINCESS LONDONA ADVANCED TO STORM THE CASTLE OF HUMBUG, AND HOW THE GIANT WAS SLAIN.IN the meantime, the spirited Londona advanced towards the castle, and, the night being dark, she led her army close to the walls undiscovered ; when she paused for a moment, and listened to the noise which raged within ; for the outcry of the giant sounded loud and terrible, and she feared that he was then busy with the destruction of his victims.Without loss of time she therefore directed a number of her stoutest men to kneel down on all-fours, and the rest, to mount on their backs, and so to scalethe walls, herself shewing them a most intrepid example. By this bold and skilful enterprise, she made herself mistress of the walls and towers before the warden had time to sound an alarm ; and when he had winded his horn, the vassals and retainers who were assembled in the hall, thought at first that he had only done so in consequence of the uproar between Humbug and the prisoners.This fortunate misconception of the signal on their part, enabled the courageous Princess to attack the inner wards before the household were aware of their danger : indeed, it was not until the noise of the assailants over-powered the groans and roaring vengeance of the giant, that those who were in the hall had the slightest notion of what was going forward. Humbughimself first observed the noise, and exclaimed, with a tremendous oath, that he would make dog’s-meat of the rioters. But, in the same moment, a thundering peal was rattled on the folding doors of the hall ; and, the doors flying open, Londona entered, followed by a number of her troops. At the sight of her, the giant saw that he was undone ; and Gog and Magog, having obtained a club a-piece, levelled together such a blow on his forehead, that they laid him brainless at the feet of the Princess.