Once upon a time, there was a poor widow who lived in a small cottage with her only son, Jack. They had come upon hard times and had to sell everything they owned, except for a milking cow.
One morning, Jack’s mother told him, “Jack, we can’t afford to keep the cow any longer. Take her to market and make sure you get a good price for her.”
As Jack was walking to the market, he met a strange man who said, “I’ll trade you five magic beans for your cow.” The beans sparkled in the man’s hand.
Jack’s eyes widened. “Magic beans? What sort of magic do they do?”
“They’re beans of wonder, of fortune. Plant them overnight, and see what unfolds,” the man replied with a wink.
Jack, filled with a sense of adventure, traded his cow for the beans and rushed home. When he showed his mother the beans, she was furious. “Oh, Jack! How could you trade our precious cow for some beans!” she scolded, and in her anger, she threw the beans out the window.
The next morning, Jack awoke to find a giant beanstalk reaching up into the sky. Amazed, he started to climb. Up and up he went, until he reached the sky, where he found a magnificent castle.
Stealthily, Jack entered the castle and heard a giant voice bellow, “Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!”
A giant woman appeared and, with a kind voice, said, “Hurry, hide here. My husband smells you, and he’s not kind to strangers.”
Jack hid, and soon the giant entered. After eating a massive meal, the giant counted his gold coins, then fell asleep. Jack seized his chance, grabbed a bag of gold, and fled down the beanstalk.
Jack’s mother was overjoyed with the gold. But Jack, emboldened by his success, climbed the beanstalk two more times, each time with greater risk. He stole a hen that laid golden eggs and a golden harp that played by itself.
As Jack was escaping with the harp, it called out, “Master! Master!” The giant woke up and chased after Jack down the beanstalk.
Jack yelled, “Mother, bring an axe!” When he reached the bottom, he took the axe and chopped down the beanstalk. The giant fell and was no more.
Jack and his mother lived happily ever after, with no more hunger or worry, thanks to the golden hen and the magical harp.
Moral of The Story
The moral of “Jack and the Beanstalk” centers on the rewards of taking risks and being resourceful in the face of adversity, while also cautioning against the perils of greed and the ethical implications of one’s actions to achieve prosperity.
Follow Up Questions
- Why do you think Jack decided to trade his cow for magic beans instead of selling it for money, and what would you have done in his place?
- How do you think Jack felt when he was climbing the beanstalk, and what does this teach us about facing our fears?
- Do you think what Jack did to the giant was right, and what might be a better way to handle a situation where someone has something you want?
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