You remember this childhood story don’t you? What a wonderful tale filled excitement and imagination. You can almost see the story come to life as you hear it read. I want to read it to you again as if it’s the first time you’ve heard it. With adult eyes, look again at the story we use to love.
Jack is a young boy living with his widowed mother and a milk cow who is their only source of income. When the cow stops giving milk, Jack’s mother has Jack take the cow to the market to be sold. On the way, he meets an old man who offers “magic beans” in exchange for the cow and Jack makes the trade. When he arrives home without any money, his mother becomes furious, throws the beans on the ground and sends Jack to bed.
Ok, stop. This is a story of hardship or at least a tale of struggle. A single parent widow with one child trying to make ends meet. Mr. Cow, the only source of income, has dried up and will not produce anymore, so we send him off to be sold. Instead of selling the cow, Jack traded the cow straight up for magic beans. I was never privy to the sales pitch given to Jack about the beans. Maybe the old man, without a sales pitch, just simply told gullible Jack that they were magic. My Mother would have marched me back down to the flea market to retrieve Mr. Cow, and to politely return a handful of “$&”;&!! beans with a few ideas about where the Old man could plant them. Instead, his Momma got mad and threw the beans out the window and sent Jack to bed. For every man reading this story, it is a reminder of being sent to the store as a kid, but somehow we messed up the order. I must admit, a trip to Jewel Food Store for green onion and returning with a green pepper is a little different than a cow in exchange for beans, but I feel for Jack. That’s a lot of pressure and responsibility on one young man. By the time I would have arrived with that cow to the market, he would have been raced, rode, and rodeoed! As I digress, let’s finish the story.
She threw the beans out and a gigantic beanstalk grows overnight. In the morning, Jack climbs up the beanstalk to a land high in the sky. There he comes to a house that is the home of a giant. He asks at the door for food and the giant’s wife takes him in. When the giant returns, he senses that a human is nearby:
- I smell the blood of an Englishman,
- Be he alive, or be he dead,
- I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.
Jack is hidden by the giant’s wife and he overhears the giant counting money. When the giant sleeps, he STEALS a bag of gold coins and makes his escape down the beanstalk.
Jack returns up the beanstalk twice more. Each time he is helped by the wife, although she grows increasingly suspicious of him. He learns of other treasures and steals them when the giant sleeps: first a goose that lays golden eggs, then a harp that plays by itself.
However, the giant is woken when Jack leaves the house with the harp. The giant chases him down the beanstalk and Jack calls to his mother for an axe. Before the giant reaches the ground, Jack cuts down the beanstalk, causing the giant to fall to his death. Jack and his mother then live happily ever after with their riches that Jack stole from the giant.
I have a few problems with this story!!
1. Everytime I’ve ever heard this story, Mr. Giant has always been the bad guy. “The mean giant” was really just trying to retrieve his stolen goods.
2. Hurting people hurt other people? It was not the giant’s fault that Jack’s father died. It was not the giant’s fault that the cow stopped producing milk. It was not the giant’s fault that Jack got hustled. It was unfair for Jack to steal from people who were trying to help.
3. When Jack stole the first bag of gold coins, my question is, where did he take it? My guess would be, HOME TO MOMMA!!
4. Jack climbs back up the beanstalk two more times?? Repeat offender rings a bell!!
5. Jack on the way back down the beanstalk, calls for his Mother to bring him an ax? MURDER and an accomplice?
Jack and his mother then live happily ever after with their riches that Jack stole from the giant.
I’m DISSAPOINTED in Jack and his Momma!!