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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

His mind dwelt continually upon the bean stalk


For

three years Jack heard no more of the bean-stalk, but he could not forget it; though he feared making his mother unhappy. She would not mention the hated bean-stalk, lest it should remind him of taking another journey. Notwithstanding the comforts Jack enjoyed at home, his mind dwelt continually upon the bean-stalk; for the fairy's menaces, in case of his disobedience, were ever present to his mind, and prevented him from being happy; he could think of nothing else. It was in vain endeavouring to amuse himself; he became thoughtful, and would arise at the first dawn of day, and view the bean-stalk for hours together. His mother saw that something preyed heavily upon his mind, and endeavoured to discover the cause; but Jack knew too well what the consequence would be, should she succeed. He did his utmost, therefore, to conquer the great desire he had for another journey up the bean-stalk. Finding, however, that his inclination grew too powerful for him, he began to make secret preparations for his journey, and on the longest day, arose as soon as it was light, ascended the bean-stalk, and reached the top with some little trouble. He found the road, journey, etc., much as it was on the two former times; he arrived at the giant's mansion in the evening, and found his wife standing, as usual, at the door. Jack had disguised himself so completely, that she did not appear to have the least recollection of him; however, when he pleaded hunger and poverty, in order to gain admittance,
he found it very difficult to persuade her. At last he prevailed, and was concealed in the copper. When the giant returned, he said, "I smell fresh meat!" But Jack felt quite composed, as he had said so before, and had been soon satisfied. However, the giant started up suddenly, and, notwithstanding all his wife could say, he searched all round the room. Whilst this was going forward, Jack was exceedingly terrified, and ready to die with fear, wishing himself at home a thousand times; but when the giant approached the copper, and put his hand upon the lid, Jack thought his death was certain. The giant ended his search there, without moving the lid, and seated himself quietly by the fire-side. This fright nearly overcame poor Jack; he was afraid of moving or even breathing, lest he should be discovered. The giant at last ate a hearty supper. When he had finished, he commanded his wife to fetch down his harp. Jack peeped under the copper-lid, and soon saw the most beautiful harp that could be imagined: it was placed by the giant on the table, who said, "Play!" and it instantly played of its own accord, without being touched. The music was uncommonly fine. Jack was delighted, and felt more anxious to get the harp into his possession, than either of the former treasures. The giant's soul was not attuned to harmony, and the music soon lulled him into a sound sleep. Now, therefore, was the time to carry off the harp, as the giant appeared to be in a more profound sleep than usual Jack soon determined, got out of the copper, and seized the harp, The harp was enchanted by a fairy: it called out loudly: "Master! master!" The giant awoke, stood up, and tried to pursue Jack; but he had drank so much, that he could hardly stand. Poor Jack ran as fast as he could. In a little time the giant recovered sufficiently to walk slowly, or rather, to reel after him. Had he been sober, he must have overtaken Jack instantly; but, as he then was, Jack contrived to be first at the top of the bean-stalk. The giant called after him in a voice like thunder, and sometimes was very near him. The moment Jack got down the bean-stalk he called out for a hatchet; one was brought him directly; just at that instant, the giant was beginning to descend; but Jack, with his hatchet, cut the bean-stalk close off at the root, which made the giant fall headlong into the garden: the fall killed him, thereby releasing the world from a barbarous enemy. Jack's mother was delighted when she saw the bean-stalk destroyed. At this instant the fairy appeared: she first addressed Jack's mother and explained every circumstance relating to the journeys up the bean-stalk. The fairy charged Jack to be dutiful to his mother, and to follow his father's good example, which was the only way to be happy. She then disappeared. Jack heartily begged his mother's pardon for all the sorrow and affliction he had caused her, promising most faithfully to be very dutiful and obedient to her for the future.


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