Giants and midgets


Acromegaly is a disease affecting the pituatary gland that causes the person to grow abnormally large. The giant Robert Wadlow, who worked with Ringling Brothers Circus, asked to be buried in a concrete coffin to avoid ending up in some “freak” museum after his death!

Giants populate the Bible and Greek literature; Gulliver’s Travels explores the experiences of both gigantism and dwarfism; and many twentieth-century writers, including Vladimir Nabokov and John Barth, have used freaks as fictional characters or inspired from their real lives.


They were very popular as favorites at king’s courts. Charles IX had 8 of them. Ladislas, a dwarf, was King of Poland from 1320 to 1333. “The passion which Count Borulawski, the Polish dwarf, inspired in the bosom of the most beautiful Baroness at the Court of Dresden, is a matter with which we are all of us acquainted…” Thackeray, Pendennis (1849)

See the Welcome to Fairyland for more details and illustrations about the dwarf in Mythology