The truth is always muddled with some sort of whim or another. And such can be told for the tale of young Jack and his magical beanstalk.
Jack was a simpleton, a boy who barely knew his own name- much less how to know if he was being conned. He couldn’t be blamed for the misfortune that would cost him his life. No, it was his mother’s fault.
She should have known better than to trust him with a task as important as trading their prized cow for a small fortune. For crosseyed, simple-minded Jack was met by a shifty street vendor, who was in desperate need of being rid of something.
“I’ll take your cow there, in exchange for this magical bean.” It wouldn’t have mattered if he had said a kidney bean, a lima bean, or any other ordinary bean- for Jack loved his beans.
“But alas,” The elder man whispered after they had made their exchange. “This is a special magic bean. Take caution young man.”
But Jack had scarcely heard the warning, for he was too excited as his hand closed around his new prize.
That evening, he carefully tucked his special bean in a sock before going to bed. His mother had been livid, but all he could dream of was what sort of magic would sprout through the bean.
The next morning, Jack awoke to a fright. He carefully reached for his precious bean, but low and behold…. it wasn’t there. In a panic, he tore his entire room a part. His mother walked in and gasped, furiously beginning to clean up after him.
“I done losted the bean, mama!” Her face began to turn from red to a deep, anguished purple. She opened her mouth to scream, but a knock interrupted.
She demanded Jack to answer, so he sauntered towards their front door. But before he could reach it, the large plank flew off it’s hinges and slapped against the farthest wall.
A voice bellowed, reverberating off the walls of their tiny cottage. The wind from it displaced their scarce furniture.
“H-hello?” It breathed.
Jack stepped forward, peering through the empty doorway. A massive eyeball, bigger than the boy’s head bore into him.
“A-are you J-Jack?” The boy nervously nodded.
“Oh, good!” The eyeball moved away, and Jack stepped forward and through the doorway.
“My name is Littleton,” Jack nervously shook the extended finger of the man. No, not a man. A giant.
He was a mass of baggy clothes, messy hair, and a wide, goofy sort of smile. Most people would find the sight of him frightening, for he had to be twenty feet tall and ten feet wide. But Jack, of course, was not most people.
He was more amazed than anything. “Pardon me for askin’, but are ya a real there giant, sir?” Littleton blushed a little, before shyly nodding.
“Well, what can I be helpin’ ya with, sir?” The giant put his hand in his deep pockets, before pulling out a crumbled piece of parchment, big enough to cover their entire little cottage.
“Am I correct in that yesterday, at midday, you traded a certain fat cow for a bean by this man?” He held up a perfect drawing of the vendor who had given Jack his precious bean.
“Why, ya’d be correct there, Mr. Littleton.” The giant frowned.
“Well, you don’t happen to still have the bean in your possession do you?” It was Jack’s turn to frown this time.
He relayed to Littleton that the bean had been lost to him just that very morning. They wallowed in silent disappointment for a brief moment.
The giant then let out a heartless sigh, blowing back the boy by a couple of inches. “I was afraid this would happen.”
“I be not quite understanding, sir. What is the magic bean and the man to ya?”
The giant rolled the paper into a ball and stuffed it back in his pocket. “Well, you see lad, the man you met yesterday visited with me before. And though he pretended to befriend me, he stole a dozen of my prized, nosy beans.”
“N-nosy beans?” Jack interrupted. The giant shrugged.
“Why yes, nosy. I’ve got plenty of sorts of beans growing. Ones that jump. Ones that cry. Ones that grow massive roots. Those are handy, as I do often like to come down here and see the tiny sorts like you.”
The giant then pointed over to the vast country hillside. There, in the path of his mountain of a fist, was a massive beanstalk reaching far above the clouds.
Jack was in more awe and bewilderment than he had been in his entire life.
“I’ve been searching for the man, to try and warn him about those pesky beans.” He crossed his arms. “You see, Jack, they really like to watch people. Observe them. It’s rather disturbing actually….”
“But it’s good you lost it, boy. For the best, actually. Do you wanna hear the funny part of all of this?”
Jack nodded eagerly.
“He could have had a treasure beyond his wildest dreams. It was right there under his nose.” He motioned for Jack to come closer, pulling another object from his pocket.
No, not an object. A bird- a goose, in fact. And she was as big as Jack.
“Bridget here is an enchanted goose. She lays solid gold eggs.” Jack began to laugh, thinking of the foolish old vendor who could have stolen the eggs and gotten more than a silly cow.
The boy and the giant became fast friends. Littleton never treated Jack as a simpleton, not once. Which is probably why he left his parents a basket of a dozen of Bridget’s eggs- setting off with his new friend to find the thief and warn him.
Though Littleton wasn’t completely honest. He did rather enjoy giving the vendor a fright, lifting him off the ground and flinging him over to the next kingdom.
Jack then went to stay with Littleton high above where the beanstalk ended, in giant country.
The villagers just assumed Jack had been eaten. It was easier to take, I suppose. And you might wonder how I could possibly know this.
Well, that’s easy. For I am the bean. Yes. I never left Jack, but simply was always there…. watching.
And to this day, I still am… watching.