E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
of Alexandria, son of Balan, King of Spain. The greatest giant that ever walked the earth. For height of stature, breadth of shoulder, and hardness of muscle he never had an equal. He possessed all Babylon, even to the Red Sea; was seigneur of Russia, Lord of Cologne, master of Jerusalem, and even of the Holy Sepulchre. He carried away the crown of thorns, and the balsam which embalmed the body of Our Lord, one drop of which would cure any sickness, or heal any wound in a moment. One of his chief exploits was to slay the fearful huge giant that guarded the bridge Mantible, famous for its thirty arches of black marble. His pride was laid low by Olivier, one of Charlemagnes paladins. The giant then became a child of God, and ended his days in the odour of sanctity, meek as a lamb and humble as a chidden slave. Sir Fierabras, or Ferumbras, figures in several mediæval romances, and is an allegory of Sin overcome by the Cross. (See BALAN.)