There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky gave no milk, and they didn't know what to do.
"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.
"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.
"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother. "We must sell Milky and with the money start a shop, or something."
"All right, mother," says Jack. "It's market day today, and I'll soon sell Milky, and then we'll see what we can do."
So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when he met a funny-looking old man, who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."
"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew his name.
"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.
"I'm going to market to sell our cow there."
"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man. "I wonder if you know how many beans make five."
"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp as a needle.
"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. "As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't mind doing a swap with you -- your cow for these beans."
"Go along," says Jack. "Wouldn't you like it?"
"Ah! You don't know what these beans are," said the man. "If you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky."
"Really?" said Jack. "You don't say so."
"Yes, that is so. And if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."
"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky's halter and pockets the beans.
- Jack And The Beanstalk
This next part is a sequel to this story, written by me.
Jack seemed to have some problems with bad trades. Later he made some wild claims about a beanstalk and an angry giant, to justify trading the cow away, but no one believed him. His mother was pretty angry with him, and ended up having to get another cow. It wasn't easy, but since she was the hard worker in the family, she found one. Why she didn't make the trade herself, in the first place, no one knows.
Still pretty angry with Jack; she put him to work milking the new cow, and declared he was now, Farmer Jack. He didn't like this at all, since work was a dirty word to Jack, so he decided maybe he should make another trade.
So it was off to market again. He took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when, this time, he met a funny-looking old woman, who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."
"Good morning to you," said Jack slyly, and this time didn't care how she knew his name.
"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the woman.
"As a matter of fact, I was just coming to see you," said Jack.
"No, no, you're supposed to say 'I'm going to market to sell our cow there,' " said the woman.
Jack looked her square in the eye and said, "Look, I know you want this cow, and you know you want this cow, so let's cut to the chase. Now what do you got for me? More magic beans, a sow's ear, a monkey's paw? Well, c'mon, what is it?"
The woman said, "Huh? Oh yeah, I have this here magic stick..."
"That's all! A magic stick? What, do I look like a fool?" asked Jack, clearly annoyed.
"Do you want to get rid of that cow or not?" the woman said, herself a little agitated.
Finally Jack said, "Oh, just give it to me!"
So they made the trade, and the woman walked away with cow number two.
Jack looked at the stick and figured it wasn't quite time to go home yet. How was he going to explain this one? Last time, the magic bean thing was a disaster. He had to come up with something for this stick.
So he stood there in the road and started waving the stick around, trying to think up ideas. He was trying everything. Pretty soon he started doing some of the most vulgar and appalling things with the stick that any person had ever seen. People going past started to gawk and stare. Jack was clueless, he had no idea how strange he was being.
It got worse! As he continued, travelers began to stop and watch. One guy threw a shiny penny on the ground in front of Jack. Finally, he had his idea!
Jack loudly declared, "I will continue this entertaining exhibition if you people continue to throw money!"
Later that evening, Jack went home with a pocket full of cash. His mother saw the money, and happily concluded that the hard work from before must have reformed Farmer Jack.
Maybe they lived happily ever after, and maybe they didn't.
- Jack And The Magic Stick
This story was inspired by a few true events, and the Jack in my part of the story was inspired by a real boy. That's all I'll say.
An interesting fact is that the name of the author of "Jack and the Beanstalk" has been lost to time. No one can say who the original author is, although the story has been rewritten many times.
On the other hand, I am the exclusive author of it's sequel "Jack and the Magic Stick."