widow, bean, beanstalk, giant
Story, Tale, Legend, Folktale, Myth,
Fable, Learning, Teaching
When Jack and his mother woke the next morning,
they saw that the beanstalk had grown so high
that they could not see the top.
("Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell
the blood of an Englishman."
Illustration by Arthur Rackham from
a 1918 English Fairy Tales, by Flora Annie Steel)
Once upon a time there was a poor
widow who had an only son named Jack. All that they had was the
house they lived in and a cow. At last they became too poor to
keep the cow. The widow said to Jack one day, ¡°Take this cow to
the market and sell her. Then we¡¯ll be able to buy bread. Try to
get as much money as you can.¡± Jack, who was a good, but
thoughtless boy, started for the market with his cow.
On his way to the market he met a
man who had a pig with him. ¡°Good morning,¡± said the man. ¡°Good
morning,¡± answered Jack. ¡°Won¡¯t you give me your old cow for
this fat young pig?¡± said the man. Jack thought it a good idea.
So he exchanged his old cow for the young pig.
He walked on happily until he met
another man who had some fine beans. ¡°These are magic beans,¡±
said the man. ¡°I¡¯ll give you one of them, if you give me that
pig.¡± Jack thought it wonderful to have a magic bean.
So he consented to it and carried
the bean proudly back home. He showed the bean to his mother.
¡°Is this all that you have got for that cow?¡± she said. ¡°Now, we
have no cow to give us milk. All we have is this bean.¡± She got
angry. She threw it out of the window.
The bean fell in their garden.
During that night it sprouted and grew in a wonderful way. When
Jack and his mother woke the next morning, they saw that the
beanstalk had grown so high that they could not see the top.
Jack made up his mind to climb to the top of the beanstalk.
Higher and higher up he climbed
until he found himself near a window of an old castle. Looking
in, Jack saw a giant eating his dinner. The giant finished his
dinner and ordered his servant to bring his chief treasures, a
hen and a harp. ¡°Lay eggs,¡± said the giant to the hen. The hen
began to lay eggs. They were eggs of gold. ¡°Play,¡± said the
giant to the harp. The harp began to play sweet music. The harp
played on and on until the giant grew tired and fell asleep.
Jack had crawled into the room by
this time. When the giant was asleep, a servant beckoned to
Jack. ¡°Look here. These are the treasures which the giant stole
from your father before you were born,¡± said he. ¡°Take them back
to your mother, if you like. But, be quiet. He may wake.¡±
Jack thanked him, and picked up
the hen and the harp very carefully. When he was climbing down
the beanstalk, the harp happened to make a loud noise. The giant
woke. Jack climbed down the beanstalk, with the hen and the harp
under his arms. The giant ran down after Jack, but Jack ran
faster than the giant.
When he was
near his home, he called out to his mother, ¡°Mother, bring an
ax.¡± His mother brought an ax. She saw her son climbing down the
beanstalk. As soon as he got down to the ground, he chopped down
the beanstalk. Down fell the giant with the beanstalk. He broke
his neck, and was dead. Jack and his mother were rich all the
rest of their lives and lived happily ever after.