English short stories ; Fables for Children
The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack was a lively young boy who lived with his mother in a tiny little cottage in the country.
Long ago, a wicked giant had stolen all their money and killed jack's father. Now jack and his mother were very poor. The only thing of value that they had left was a cow.
One day, when jack was out in the yard chopping wood, his mother came and spoke to him. ''I'm afraid you will have to take Daisy the cow to market and sell her,'' she said sadly.
As jack trudged along the long road to market, he met a strange old man.
''Where are you taking that fine milking cow?'' asked the man.
''To market, sir,'' replied jack, ''to sell her.''
''If you sell her to me,'' said the man, ''I will give you these beans. They are special, magic beans. you won't regret it, I Promise.''
When jack heard the word ''magic,'' he became very excited. He quickly traded the cow for the beans, and ran all the way home.
Jack rushed through the cottage door. ''Mother! Mother!'' he called, ''Where are you?''
''Why are you home so soon?'' asked Jack's mother, coming down the stairs. ''How much did you get for the cow?''
''I got these,'' said Jack, holding out his hand. ''They're magic beans !''
''What?'' shrieked his mother.
You sold our only cow for a handful of beans? You silly boy, come here!''
Angrily, she snatched the beans from jack's hand and flung them out of the window. Jack was sent to bed with no supper that night.
The next morning, Jack's rumbling stomach woke him early. His room was strangely dark. As he got dressed, he glanced out of his window-and what he saw took his breath away.
Overnight, a beanstalk had sprung up outside the cottage. lets trunk was almost as thick as the house itself, and its top was so tall that it disappeared into the clouds.
Jack yelled with excitement and rushed outside. As he began to climb the beanstalk, his mother stood at the bottom and begged for him to come back down.
At last, tired and very hungry, Jack reached the top. He found himself in a strange land full of clouds. He could see something glinting in the distance and began walking toward it.
Eventually he came to the biggest castle he had ever seen. Maybe he could find some food in there?
He crept under the front door and ran straight into an enormous foot!
''What was that?'' boomed a female voice, and the whole room shook. Suddenly, Jack was whisked into the air by a giant hand! He found himself looking into a huge eye.
''What are you?'' roared the voice.
I'm Jack,'' said Jack, ''and I'm tired and hungry. Can you please give me something to eat and a place to rest for a while?''
The giant woman was a kind old lady and took pity on the tiny boy. ''Don't make a sound,'' she whispered. ''My husband doesn't like boys, and he will eat you if he finds you.'' Then she gave Jack a crumb of warm bread and a thimble full of hot soup.
He was just finishing the last drop when the woman said, ''Quick! Hide in the cupboard! My husband's coming!''
From inside the dark cupboard, Jack could hear the approach of thundering footsteps. Then a deep voice bellowed, ''Fee, fie, foe, fume, I smell the blood of an Englishman! Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bread!''
Jack peeked out through a knothole in the cupboard door, and saw a huge giant standing beside the table.
''Wife!'' shouted the giant. ''I can smell a boy in the house!''
''Nonsense, dear,'' said the giant's wife soothingly. ''All you can smell is this lovely roast l' ve made for your dinner. Now sit down and eat.''
When the giant had gobbled up his dinner, he shouted, ''Wife! Bring me my gold! l want to count it!''
Jack saw the giant's wife bring out several enormous sacks of gold coins.
He recognized the sacks at once-they had belonged to his father!
''This must be the giant who killed my father and stole all our money!'' thought Jack. ''That's our gold!''
Jack watched as the giant counted the coins and stacked them up in piles. After a while, the giant stared to yawn, and soon he was fast asleep.
''It's time to make my move!'' Jack said to himself. And, quick as a flash, he leaped out of the cupboard, grabbed a sack of gold, slid down the table leg, and ran for the door.
But the giant's wife heard him. ''Stop, thief!'' she screamed at the top of her voice, which woke her husband. He jumped up in a hurry and ran after Jack, shouting loudly, ''Come back!''
Jack ran until he came to the top of the beanstalk. Then, with the giant still after him, he scrambled down as fast as he could.
''Mother!'' he called, as he got closer to the ground. ''Mother, get the axe!''
By the time Jack reached the bottom, his mother was there with the axe. She quickly chopped down the beanstalk, and the giant came crashing down with it. He never got up again!
Now that they had their gold again, Jack and his mother were rich. They wouldn't have to worry about anything ever again.