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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

Longed to climb the bean stalk


At

daybreak, Jack, finding the giant still asleep, and not likely to awaken soon, crept softly out of his hiding-place, seized the hen, and ran off with her. He met with some difficulty in finding his way out of the house, but at last he reached the road with safety. He easily found the way to the bean-stalk, and descended it better and quicker than he expected. His mother was overjoyed to see him; he found her crying bitterly, and lamenting his hard fate, for she concluded he had come to some shocking end through his rashness. Jack was impatient to show his hen, and inform his mother how valuable it was. "And now, mother," said Jack, "I have brought home that which will quickly make us rich; and I hope to make you some amends for the affliction I have caused you through my idleness, extravagance, and folly." The hen produced as many golden eggs as they desired: they sold them, and in a little time became possessed of as much riches as they wanted. For some months Jack and his mother lived very happily together; but he being very desirous of travelling, recollecting the fairy's commands, and fearing that if he delayed, she would put her threats into execution, longed to climb the bean-stalk, and pay the giant another visit, in order to carry away some more of his treasures; for, during the time that Jack was in the giant's mansion, whilst he lay concealed in the oven, he learned from the conversation that took place between the giant and his wife, that he possessed some wonderful
curiosities. Jack thought of his journey again and again, but still he could not summon resolution enough to break it to his mother, being well assured that she would endeavour to prevent his going. However, one day he told her boldly that he must take a journey up the bean-stalk; she begged and prayed him not to think of it, and tried all in her power to dissuade him: she told him that the giant's wife would certainly know him again, and that the giant would desire nothing better than to get him into his power, that he might put him to a cruel death, in order to be revenged for the loss of his hen. Jack, finding that all his arguments were useless, pretended to give up the point, though resolved to go at all events. He had a dress prepared which would disguise him, and something to colour his skin. He thought it impossible for any one to recollect him in this dress.

In a few mornings after this, he arose very early, changed his complexion, and, unperceived by any one, climbed the bean-stalk a second time. He was greatly fatigued when he reached the top, and very hungry. Having rested some time on one of the stones, he pursued his journey to the giant's mansion. He reached it late in the evening: the woman was at the door as before. Jack addressed her, at the same time telling her a pitiful tale, and requesting that she would give him some victuals and drink, and also a night's lodging.

She told him (what he knew before very well) about her husband being a powerful and cruel giant; and also that she one night admitted a poor, hungry, friendless boy, who was half dead with travelling; that the little ungrateful fellow had stolen one of the giant's treasures; and, ever since that, her husband had been worse than before, used her very cruelly, and continually upbraided her with being the cause of his misfortune. Jack was at no loss to discover that he was attending to the account of a story in which he was the principal actor. He did his best to persuade the good woman to admit him, but found it a very hard task. At last she consented; and as she led the way, Jack observed that every thing was just as he had found it before. She took him into the kitchen, and after he had done eating and drinking, she hid him in an old lumber-closet.


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