Sir James George Frazer (18541941). The Golden Bough. 1922.
after all. Child, replied the warlock, hold your tongue. I cant die. It will soon pass over. At that the young man under the bed gave the bird a gentle squeeze; and as he did so, the old warlock felt very unwell and sat down. Then the young man gripped the bird tighter, and the warlock fell senseless from his chair. Now squeeze him dead, cried the damsel. Her lover obeyed, and when the bird was dead, the old warlock also lay dead on the floor.
In the Norse tale of the giant who had no heart in his body, the giant tells the captive princess, Far, far away in a lake lies an island, on that island stands a church, in that church is a well, in that well swims a duck, in that duck there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart. The hero of the tale, with the help of some animals to whom he had been kind, obtains the egg and squeezes it, at which the giant screams piteously and begs for his life. But the hero breaks the egg in pieces and the giant at once bursts. In another Norse story a hill-ogre tells the captive princess that she will never be able to return home unless she finds the grain of sand which lies under the ninth tongue of the ninth head of a certain dragon; but if that grain of sand were to come over the rock in which the ogres live, they would all burst and the rock itself would become a gilded palace, and the lake green meadows. The hero finds the grain of sand and takes it to the top of the high rock in which the ogres live. So all the ogres burst and the rest falls out as one of the ogres had foretold.
In a Celtic tale, recorded in the West Highlands of Scotland, a giant is questioned by a captive queen as to where he keeps his soul. At last, after deceiving her several times, he confides to her the fatal secret: There is a great flagstone under the threshold. There is a wether under the flag. There is a duck in the wethers belly, and an egg in the belly of the duck, and it is in the egg that my soul is. On the morrow when the giant was gone, the queen contrived to get possession of the egg and crushed it in her hands, and at that very moment the giant, who was coming home in the dusk, fell down dead. In another Celtic tale, a sea beast has carried off a kings daughter, and an old smith declares that there is no way of killing the beast but one. In the island that is in the midst of the loch is Eillid Chaisfhionthe white-footed hind, of the slenderest legs, and the swiftest step, and though she should be caught, there would spring a hoodie out of her, and though the hoodie should be caught, there would spring a trout out of her, but there is an egg in the mouth of the trout, and the soul of the beast is in the egg, and if the egg breaks, the beast is dead. As usual the egg is broken and the beast dies.
In an Irish story we read how a giant kept a beautiful damsel a prisoner in his castle on the top of a hill, which was white with the bones of the champions who had tried in vain to rescue the fair captive. At last the hero, after hewing and slashing at the giant all to no purpose, discovered that the only way to kill him was to rub a mole on the giants right breast with a certain egg, which was in a duck, which was in a chest, which lay locked and bound at the bottom of the sea.