Jack

Jack and the beanstalk spoof story

It came to pass long ago, when the earth was young and the internet a fishing term, that a baby boy was born to the farmer and his wife. The farmer was immensely pleased, as he had worked hard to build up his farm and needed a son to help him at his labours. The boy grew up quickly into a fine, handsome young lad of golden disposition, however it soon became apparent to the farmer and his wife that their son was bone idle. At first his mother attributed it to an artistic strain in their family, but since he did nothing but spend his days dreaming under the apple tree on the hill, they eventually realised that there would be no practical manifestation of any gifts. Perhaps this is all a little unfair on the young lad, because whilst he had idle notions, he did sometimes show promise: like the time he thought to weave a 3ft daisy chain for his mother. He was however so immensely proud of this achievement that he kept the floral necklace for himself.

The years went by, and it was not long before his parents had passed away and the lad, now a young man, sat idly under the apple tree, contemplating what to do with his inheritance. The farm he had of course sold immediately as he knew not, and indeed cared not, how much it was worth. The bag of gold sat heavily in his lap and he regretted having asked for quite so much.

An apple fell to the ground and rolled down the hill towards the road, and the young man in that instant decided to follow it and see the world that had so far not bothered him much at all. He set off with a jaunty stride, gold in hand, dreams in his head, whistling a little tune his mother had taught him.

Not long after that, perhaps not even an hour, he began to feel hunger pangs and he wondered what he would do for food. It was quite a problem as he was in the middle of nowhere. In the distance however he spied a man sitting next to a cow, seemingly eating his lunch. He smiled, pleased with his good fortune, and ran towards the stranger. On arrival he greeted the man and asked if he could have some of his bread and cheese. The man looked at him with some surprise, no doubt wondering whether an exchange was to be offered, but since none was forthcoming and being a charitable fellow, he shared his lunch with the young man. They fell to talking, or at least the young man talked at length about himself, until he noticed that the cow was a milk cow.

“Sir, I don't suppose you would give me your cow, so I can have milk the rest of my days and need not go hungry?”

The man replied, “Son, I have just acquired this cow through a trade and am not inclined to give it away.” The young man looked so downcast that the man continued, “However I did exchange some magic beans for it, and if you hurry you might be able to catch up with the youngster I gave them to. Perhaps he would give you one or two.”

The young man cheered up immediately and was about to run off when he thought, "This bag of gold will slow me down, I shall give it to the man." So he did, and set off at pace. Nightfall fell, as it usually does, and he came to small cottage in which a cosy light shone. He knocked on the door and enquired if he might have lodgings for the night. The owner of the cottage, an elderly woman and her young lad were only too glad to have visitors, for it had not been a good day. Their only cow, Tulip, had been foolishly exchanged by her son that morning for a handful of supposedly magic beans. The young man made himself at home an regaled them during supper with dreamy tales. When they enquired as to his destination he said he was looking for some magic beans he had heard about.

“Magic beans?” cried the woman, “Not you too? How strange Fortune is. We have some beans lying outside our window which you may freely have, but I doubt they are magic. However it is late and I suggest we turn in and attend to this tomorrow." They bade each other good night and settled down to sleep, the young man sharing a bed with the woman's son.

Dawn broke, but instead of the radiant morning sunshine, a green hue shone through the cottage windows. At first the occupants thought that the world was about to end and fell to praying, but when nothing happened, decided to go outside instead and investigate. It will no doubt not come as a surprise to you that a gigantic bean stalk had grown overnight from the magic beans and extended many miles up into the sky.

“Let's climb it!” exclaimed the lad.

“No, it is not safe.” replied the mother.

The young man turned to her, “Do not fret, you have been so kind to me. I will hold it steady while he climbs.” The reality was that he had developed over the years a keen nose for strenuous activity and how to avoid it and this bean stalk had strenuosity written all over it!

The lad clambered quickly, watched anxiously by his mother, and soon disappeared from their sight. They stood a while, but since chores wait for no one, the mother soon went inside to attend to them. The young man settled down for a nap under the leafy shade of the bean stalk. He must have slept for a good few hours because when he awoke the sun was past noon. He wondered what had awoken him, but soon heard frantic rustling as the young lad climbed down with a hen under his arm.

“Quick, quick!” the young lad cried. “Fetch the axe.”

Fortunately his mother heard, because the idle young man knew not what fetch meant, and detecting the urgency in her son's voice ran out with the axe.

The boy reached the ground, gasping for breath. “Giant... hen... golden eggs... coming ... cut it down!”

Seeing that the young man was not hearing him, and indeed had wandered off into the orchard to look for apples, he grabbed the axe from his mother and began to frantically chop at the base of the bean stalk. A giant roar from on high only served to increase his pace and soon the bean stalk gave a violent creak and tottered mightily. A second roar was heard, this time more like a screech, as the bean stalk began to tumble to the ground, casting its gigantic clamberer to the earth, to his death, into the apple orchard, where a young man of idle notions wondered when his fortune would hit him.

If you are a familiar reader of such fairy stories, you will no doubt be wondering what the moral is. Well fear not, here it is: "Don't you have anything better to do than read tales of idle bones?"

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