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Jack And The Beanstalk

Down in the valley was a village. 

On the outskirts of the village stood a small, rundown cottage. And in the cottage lived a widow with her only son, Jack.

They were poor.

This was clear to see from the ragged clothes on their backs and the worn shoes on their feet. But, as the story goes, they did possess one item of real value—a gorgeous, caramel coloured cow.

Jack hugging caramel cow mother patting cow's tummy

Jack woke early every morning.

He milked the cow, poured the milk into a jug and set off to the dairy. The milk was only worth a few pennies, but Jack didn’t mind. He happily accepted the pennies from the dairy farmer, bought a few potatoes from the market and returned home.

Jack did this everyday. The milk from the cow was just enough to help Jack and his mother get by.

One year a terribly harsh winter hit the village.

Great howling winds blew and the snow lay in huge drifts—never before seen by the villagers.

The following spring the grass did not grow.

Without grass the cow had nothing to eat and soon became too weak to produce milk.

“Mother!” cried Jack, “I cannot get a single drop of milk from our dear cow this morning.”

Jack worried holding empty milk bottle in air

“Alas,” the widow replied, “I feared this day would come and so it has. Jack, my dear boy, it is time to sell our precious cow. Take her to the market and auction her to the highest bidder.”

Jack looked sad.

“But mother,” he said, “without our daily milk from the cow we will soon run out of money and then what will we do?”
“Don’t worry, Jack, we’ll think of something,” she replied.

Jack set off down to the village with the cow.

Before he reached the market he came across a friendly butcher. The butcher wore a blue and white striped apron, a straw hat and carried a small, green drawstring bag.
The butcher approached Jack.

Butcher in striped apron holding green small bag patting cow Jack watching

“What a fine cow you have there,” he said, patting the cow firmly.

“I’m selling her,” replied Jack.

“Are you indeed?”

“Yes,” said Jack, “my mother told me to go to the market and only sell her to the highest bidder for she is extremely valuable.”

“I can see that,” replied the butcher.

“That is why,” he continued, “I am going to give you a once in a lifetime offer. An offer worth no less than a thousand times what you will receive from anyone else at the market.”

Jack looked up at the butcher in awe.

“What is this offer?” asked Jack.

“Magic beans,” said the butcher, stepping forward and opening the little green pouch.

Jack peered inside.

Jack looking at magic beans in Butcher's hand

“Three beans?” he snorted.

“Three magic beans,” replied the butcher, “that will most certainly change your—and your dear mother’s—life for the better.”

Jack reflected for a moment.

“A thousand times more valuable,” he thought to himself, “and something that will help my mother.”

“Very well,” said Jack.

He exchanged the cow for the little pouch—containing the three magic beans— and returned home.

Jack told his mother of the butcher and the beans, then watched in horror as her ashen face turned puce.

Jack holding magic beans in green bag showing shocked angry mother

“You’ve done what?” she bellowed.

“But, mm… mother,” stammered Jack, “the man said they were magic beans and… a a a and… they would help us…a a a and…”

He stopped before he could finish the sentence.

Even Jack—now hearing these words coming out of his own mouth for the first time—could not believe what he was saying. It sounded ridiculous. And he suddenly felt overwhelmed with shame.

He began to sob.

“Oh, mother,” he cried, “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I have done something so silly. Can you ever forgive me?”

“Go to your room, Jack,” she said, “you must think long and hard about what you have done.”

Still clasping the little pouch of beans, Jack turned, trudged upstairs to his bedroom and closed the door.

He tipped the beans into his palm and then sat on the edge of his bed staring at them.

Jack sad looking studying the magic beans in his hand

“How could I have been so stupid!” he said to himself, angrily.

“I mean… look at them! Three blinking, measly little beans in exchange for a whole cow? What was I thinking?”

In a fit of rage, he clenched his fist and tossed the beans out of the window. Then curled up on the bed and fell into a deep sleep.

When Jack awoke it was morning.

This particular morning was bright and sunny. Which was strange because the sun did not stream through Jack’s bedroom window as it usually would. On this particular morning, his room remained dark.

Jack ran to the window.

What met his stare took his breath away. 

A gigantic beanstalk rose like ten mighty oaks, high up into the sky.

Jack surprised looking out the window at huge green beanstalk in sky clouds visible

“They were magic beans,” Jack exclaimed, “perhaps they do hold the great riches that this butcher speaks of?”

That was it.

Without a second thought, Jack jumped out of his bedroom window and onto the giant beanstalk.

Great, leafy vines snaked around like ladders—making it ever so easy for Jack to scale the skyscraping stalk.

He began to climb.

Higher.

And higher.

And higher.

Not stopping for a moment to look down. This is probably just as well for Jack was now so high up that his cottage, the village and all of the surrounding lands could be seen no more.

Suddenly, came a shrill voice.

“Jack, is that you?” it said.

“Yes,” said Jack.

A tiny, beautiful fairy appeared—and hovered in the air, just a few inches from the tip of Jack’s nose.

Jack climbing up the beanstalk fairy hoovering in air

“I’ve been waiting many years to see you, Jack,” said the fairy, “as I have a very important secret to tell you.”

Jack looked surprised.

“Oh…” he said.

“You see, Jack,” continued the fairy, “your father was once a very wealthy man.”

“My father is dead,” said Jack.

“Yes,” said the fairy, “but don’t you want to know how he died?”

“Mother said he was sick,”

“Oh my darling, Jack,” said the fairy, “your mother wanted to protect you. Your father was not sick. He was known across many kingdoms for he owned the most rare and magnificent of all creatures—a mystical golden hen that laid a golden egg every day.”

Golden hen laying a gold egg

Jack was dumbfounded.

“So… how did he die?” he asked.

The fairy—still hovering daintily in front of him—raised her arm and pointed into the distance.

“See that castle. Well, in that castle lives a Giant. And it is this beastly tyrant that ate your father and stole his golden hen. You must avenge him, Jack, and take back what is rightly yours.” 

But before Jack could reply, she vanished.

Jack took a moment to gather himself then set off towards the castle. And—before long—the colossal structure towered before him.

Jack had never seen a building so big.

The steps leading up to the front door were taller than he was. The front door itself was as big as a mighty oak. And astride the door—staring menacingly back at him—stood the statues of two gigantic stone lions.

Jack took a deep breath.

Then—without further ado—he lay flat on the ground and rolled under the front door.

Jack lying flat on the floor in front of giant's castle door

Jack stood up and dusted himself down.

He looked around slowly, trying to take in the enormity of his surroundings.

Huge, intricately carved wooden doors lined the hallway in front of him. And a rug—the length of a dozen London buses—lay upon the cold stone floor. It was quite something to behold.

And then all of a sudden the ground began to tremor—followed by the sound of almighty footsteps.

Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

Suddenly, a door crashed open.

The Giant appeared momentarily clenched the golden hen firmly in the palm of his hand. Without stopping, he marched forward and flung open the kitchen door.

Big hairy giant in underwear striding holding golden hen

Jack darted across the hallway and—making sure not to be seen—followed the Giant into the kitchen.

“Where’s my dinner?’” bellowed the Giant.

“It’s coming dear,” said his wife.

The Giant sat down at the kitchen table and carefully placed the golden hen out in front of him.

Jack quickly snuck behind a table leg.

“Oh I do wish you wouldn’t put that thing on the dinner table” said his wife, laying an enormous bowl of steaming stew in front of the Giant.

The Giant glared at her.

“That thing is my golden hen” boomed the Giant, “and she is due to lay her daily golden egg at any mo…”

He stopped.

Then—looking around very slowly—the Giant raised his nose into the air, sniffed and then hollered,

“Fee… fie… fo… fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman”

Big giant sitting at table smelling the blood of an Englishman golden hen on table Jack hiding under table

“Don’t be silly, dear,” said his wife, “you haven’t eaten a human since the day you stole that wretched hen.”

“I can smell him!” he roared.

“Eat your dinner, dear,” she replied calmly, “before it gets cold.”

The Giant ate his stew and then—without a moment’s warning—his head hit the table and he fell fast asleep.

 “This is my chance,” thought Jack.

He quickly shimmied up the table leg, grabbed the tablecloth and hauled himself up. Then—hardly daring to breathe for fear of waking the Giant—he crept forward across the table top, carefully placed the golden hen under his arm and made a beeline for the open window at the end of the table.

“By jove… I’ve done it!” he thought.

Then—to Jack’s horror—came an almighty scream from the Giant’s wife.

“AHHHHH… A… A… A… A BOY!” she cried.

The Giant awoke with a start, enraged by what he had heard.

“Where?” he roared.

“There!” screamed his wife, pointing at Jack—who was now sprinting at top speed towards the window— “and he has your golden hen!”

The Giant made a lunge for Jack.

Jack scared running away from giant holding the golden hen

But it was too late.

Jack escaped through the open window and made it back down the beanstalk to safety.

~~~

After returning to the ground, Jack cut down the magical beanstalk and neither the Giant, nor his wife, were ever seen again. And, true to the fairy’s word, the hen laid one golden egg each day. 

Golden hen and golden egg sitting

Before long, Jack and his mother had enough money to buy a new cow and I am pleased to say that—from that day forward—they lived a long, happy and prosperous life together.

black and white happy cow waving dancing

The End

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