Jack and the Beanstalk
by Joseph Jacobs
There was once upon a time a poor woman and her son, Jack. They had a cow named Milky-White. Usually, Milky White gave milk and Jack sold it. This kept them alive. But one morning Milky-White gave no milk, and they didn’t know what to do.
After much thought, they decided that they had to sell Milky- White. So, in the morning, Jack took the poor cow off to market to get as much money as he could for her.
But on his way there, he met a funny looking old man.
“Good morning,” said the man.
“Good morning,” said Jack, still walking.
“Are you selling that cow?” he asked.
“Why, yes I am,” said Jack.
“I’ll give you five beans for her,” said the old man.
“Five beans? Oh no, sir. I’m selling Milky-White for as much money as possible.”
“Ah, but they are very special beans,” he replied. “They are magic and they will bring you luck!”
“Magic Beans?” thought Jack “we really could do with some good luck…”
So he handed the cow to the man and took the five little beans and put them in his pocket.
When he got home and showed his mother, she was furious! They needed money, not beans! She threw the beans out of the window and sent Jack off to bed without any dinner.
Poor Jack. He thought the beans would bring them luck, but now he felt a little silly. How would they survive? He finally fell asleep. And when he woke up in the morning; his room was still very dark, as if it was still night time. He jumped out of bed and opened his curtains. What did he see?
Growing quite close outside his window was a giant beanstalk. The beans had grown a stalk so tall over night, that Jack couldn’t see the top of it at all!
He carefully climbed out of his window onto the stalk and started climbing. He climbed and climbed and climbed and—just as he thought he could climb no longer—he came to the top of the beanstalk where he could jump off onto a cloud!
Jack had never been on a cloud before and he was really amazed.
In the distance, he could see a very large house, and he started making his way along the cloud-road in front of him.
He finally reached the door. It was a huge wooden door which was about the size of his whole house! His knock echoed through what must be a huge hallway. Then the ground started to shake. Just a little at first. Then more and more. Then the door swung open and there stood a woman giant!
Jacks eyes nearly popped out his head! He wanted to run, but he was too shocked.
The head of the Giant came closer and closer as she bent over to look at him.
“Oh, a little boy!” she boomed, “you better get inside quickly. My husband eats little boys for breakfast and he’s on his way home. Quick into the cupboard!”
As Jack started heading inside, he could feel the ground shake again, he started running as fast as he could as he hear the husband roar: Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an English man. Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones
to make my bread!
Jack hid in a shoe that was inside the cupboard. Let’s hope he doesn’t want to wear them, thought Jack. He stayed still and perfectly quiet.
After a while, the noise in the house died down and he could hear the giant snoring. Jack crept up to the key hole and could see the giant fast asleep in his chair. He had fallen asleep while counting his gold coins. Jack’s mouth dropped open; he had never seen so much gold!
Just then, the woman giant opened the door of the cupboard and took Jack to the kitchen to give him some breakfast. When he was finished and had thanked her, he started to leave.
The giant was still fast asleep, so he snuck up quite close and took one of the enormous gold coins. He then ran off as fast as he could and climbed all the way down the beanstalk.
When Jack’s mother saw the gold, she was so pleased! She kissed Jack and told him how brave and clever he was. He felt very proud. This gold coin would keep them for some time.
They were able to buy food and clothes, but eventually, they needed more money. So Jack decided to go up the beanstalk again.
He found the door of the giant house was open just a crack, but it was enough for Jack to sneak inside. He started looking for the gold coins, when the ground started to shake. The giant! Jack ran into the cupboard again.
The giant crashed and banged through the house, looking for the boy he could smell. Jack’s heart leapt as he heard the giant open the cupboard looking for him. He held his breath as the giant picked up a box and emptied it on to the floor. But
he didn’t look in the shoe. Phew.
Jack lay perfectly still and perfectly quiet until he heard the giant snoring again. He crept up to the keyhole and he could see the giant asleep in his chair. He hadn’t been counting gold this time. He had been stroking his hen. Jack was disappointed. The house was far too big for him too look for the coins. But just then, something amazing happened. The hen stood up and laid an egg. Not just any egg, a gold egg!
Wow! Jack’s smile spread across his face. He could steal the gold egg and give it to his mother! Or … he could steal the hen and they could have as many gold eggs as they liked! So Jack snuck out of the cupboard and right up to the hen. It looked at Jack, and started clucking. Jack was worried it might wake the Giant, so he quickly put the hen under his arm and ran, and
ran, and ran.
His mother clapped and cheered when she saw the hen that lays gold eggs. She danced around the room and then danced all the way to the market to buy their dinner.
Jack was very proud. But that is not the end of the story.
Jack and his mother had lots of gold now and they were able to buy lots of things that they wanted. But Jack started to get bored. And a little bit greedy. He wanted to see what else the giant had.
So one day, when his mother was shopping, he started climbing the beanstalk again. The giant door was shut, but there was a window open, so Jack climbed up and peered through.
He could see the giant sitting in his chair. Next to him was a golden harp! The giant said: Sing! And the harp started playing and singing the most beautiful song in the world. Jack’s mouth dropped open again.
He waited until the giant had been lulled to sleep by the magical music. Then he quietly tip-toed up to where the giant slept. He carefully lifted the harp and started running. He hadn’t got very far, when he felt the ground shake! The giant was awake and was running after Jack. He was huge and he took huge steps. But he was also heavy, so he couldn’t move very fast. Even so, the Giant was catching up with a very out-of-breath Jack.
Finally, he reached the top of the beanstalk and started climbing down as fast as he could. He looked up and noticed that the giant was starting to climb down too! The beanstalk started to sway with the weight of the giant, and Jack had to hold on very tight. Jack reached the ground and very quickly ran to the shed and took out the axe. He started chopping at the beanstalk.
The beanstalk began leaning more and more and finally it toppled completely.
And that was the end of the giant.
Jack and his mother had all the money they could ever want because the hen laid golden eggs. And Jack was never bored because they had the harp which played beautiful music.
So they lived happily ever after.