As a core part of the campaign I'm about to start, I want to include a poem detailing the last stand of a valiant paladin against a number of giants. He dies valiantly to save a town the giants were heading towards to raid, killing them all before dying of his wounds (final smite evil at 0hp, bled out afterwards).
Later in the campaign, the paladin is going to be raised to join the party, and I want to make sure my players understand the role he plays in this kingdom (his actions led to the rise to dominance of his religion in the region, have shaped the culture of the kingdom over the past 15 years, and indirectly began the campaign's overarching plot).
These were hill giants, a small group (about 9, with 4 dire wolves). The giants included a 2nd or 3rd level sorcerer and a 3rd level fighter (the rest had no class levels). The paladin had support of some local warriors, who essentially served to take the wolves out of the picture.
The paladin was effectively alone against 9 giants, two with class levels. What level would be appropriate for the paladin?