A "Scheinriese" (illusory giant), most notably Mr. Tur-Tur from Michael Ende's Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver, is a being which when seen from a distance appears to be a giant, inadvertently frightening everyone who beholds them, yet decreases in size as one approaches them.

This term has entered the German language with negative connotations and is used when an issue is dramatised (e.g. a German soccer team is an illusionary giant and only appears strong on paper).

I'm wondering whether there are any other instances of such a being or idea occurred, whether Ende's idea had a predecessor or was inspired by something.

  • The Wizard of Oz?
    – user14111
    Mar 5, 2018 at 17:44
  • There's a whole class of shayari that go Dūr se dekha... ("Seen from afar..."), the usual pattern being that something seem from afar was impressive for some reason, but not so when you approach it.
    – muru
    Mar 6, 2018 at 15:10


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