In a small cabin near a country village, once upon a time there lived a poor widow who had only one child, a boy named Jack.
Jack was a real slob. He was kind-hearted but often did things without thinking. It was probably partly because his mother never reprimanded him when he was growing up. He usually chose to do what benefited him the most without thinking about the consequences for others.
Since the mother was poor and Jack only worked occasionally, she had to support both herself and her son. To get money for food, she had to sell almost everything she owned. In the end, she only had one cow left.
One day Jack's mother said to her son, “Oh, you naughty son, while you were enjoying yourself in town we had to eat the last food we had. I don't even have enough money to buy a piece of bread. Nothing is left but my poor cow. We have to sell it to be able to get food.”
Jack was for a while ashamed of his behavior, but after a while, as he grew increasingly hungry, he persuaded his mother to let him sell the cow. Since she knew no other way out, she allowed herself to be persuaded. She asked her son to have good judgment and see to it that he would get a good price for the cow.
So Jack started his journey towards the market, where he would sell the cow. On the way there, he met a butcher, who asked why he had brought the cow from home. Jack replied that he would sell it. The butcher had a bag with some beautiful beans in different colors that caught Jack's interest. The butcher who knew Jack saw this and decided to try to trick the cow. He therefore offered Jack his beans in exchange for his cow.
The stupid boy forgot what their needs were at home and what he promised his mother. He was just thinking about how much fun it would be to have the beautiful beans. He therefore accepted the offer and the butcher left with the cow. Jack hurried home and excitedly told his mother what he had done.
The mother was completely beside herself and burst into tears. "Stupid boy!" she shouted "now we have nothing to eat at all." You have sold my poor cow for some petty beans that tickled your fancy. Go your way, there will be no supper today.” Then she threw all the beans out the back door while crying over her son's stupidity.
For the first time in his life, Jack felt remorse for what he had done. He now realized how worthless these beans were and his mother's grief saddened him. He no longer felt like enjoying himself. Instead he went to his room lost in thought. He remembered how kind his mother had always been to him and how thoughtless he had been. Tonight he would be blamed for her getting hungry and having nothing to eat. He sat for a long, long time and mourned and decided the next day to get a real job.
Early the next morning when he got out of bed he saw that something strange and green had grown outside his window. He hurried to open it and then saw a huge climbing plant coming out of the ground. Some of his beans had taken root and were growing towards the sky. The stem was rough and the branches shaped like a ladder. Looking up, he couldn't see the end, it looked like it was growing up in the clouds. He tried stepping out on the stem and felt that it was stable and that it did not sway.
A thought struck him. This ladder that grew so strangely outside his window from the beans he had been given must be meant for him. Since he was now sad and repentant for his mistakes, he told himself that this had happened so that he could make amends for his mistakes. He would therefore climb the ladder. The steps would surely lead him to new opportunities and adventures where he would benefit from his newfound wisdom.
Filled with this thought, Jack hurried to his mother. She would have preferred to hold him back but she soon realized it was time to let him go and find his own way out into the world.
He immediately began his climb. He climbed and climbed. He began to worry but continued his climb. He became very worried indeed but still continued to climb. Finally, he finally reached the top and dismounted in a very strange landscape. It seemed a rocky and lonely place. Not a tree, bush, house or any living thing was to be seen. Jack thoughtfully sat down on a rock to rest.
He was very, very hungry because he hadn't eaten since the night before. However, he was still hopeful and believed that he had now arrived at the place where he would find his task. Suddenly, as he sat there thinking, hearing and wondering, a strange little old woman appeared before him. She wore a red, pointed cap and her hair fell loosely over her shoulders. In her hand she held a wand.
“Jack,” she said, moving closer to him, “I'm a fairy. Your remorse for your foolish actions and your desire to do a good thing caused your beans to grow into a ladder that brought you to me. If you had only looked at the giant beanstalk and foolishly wondered about it, you would never have found me. Now you showed curiosity, great courage and enterprise, therefore you deserve a reward. It is my mission to tell you what important things you should do here. What I am going to tell you now, your mother never dared to tell you. Boy, you will now be given a mission that will make you a man.”
Jack held his breath in curiosity and excitement as the fairy continued her story: “Your father was a rich man who was very generous. He was always kind to those around him and he not only helped those who asked him for help but anyone he saw needed something. He was so kind that he angered a gigantic giant who lived nearby. This terrifying creature was full of evil and cruelty and could not stand all the talk of how kind he was. When he heard that your parents were traveling away to visit a friend, he managed to trick them into a side road, captured them, and bound them hand and foot. Then he went up to the castle, drove out your parents' servants and took over the castle.
When this happened, you were only a few months old and, along with your mother and father, you were thrown into the deepest dungeon of the castle. All three of you lay there for several months, but finally he offered to let you and your mother go free on the promise that she would never tell anyone about what she had been through. To make it impossible for her to hurt him, he put your mother, with you in her arms, on board a boat bound for a distant land.
There she was now with only a little money that she got when she sold a few pieces of jewelry she had hidden under her dress. The giant is still alive and holding your father prisoner in the castle. You are the one who must free him and let him recover his possessions. Everything the giant has is yours. Recover everything you can. You will encounter difficulties and dangers, but you must show courage and complete your task. You don't need to rush, but show that you are now a wise young man. Remember that justice always precedes evil. Carry that knowledge with you and you can take on the task without fear and become one of those who can defeat giants.”
As soon as she finished her story, the fairy disappeared, leaving Jack, who was of course very excited by what she had said. It was no easy task before him. He walked and walked without coming to any settlement. Eventually it became evening and he lay down under the shelter of a rock and fell asleep. In the morning he saw, to his great joy, a large castle. He was now in dire need of food and walked slowly towards the door, lifted the door latch and knocked.
A very large woman, with a face that did not look very friendly, opened the door for him. She listened in great astonishment to him as he asked for something to eat.
"It was very surprising," she said, "to see a strange creature near this house," for it was well known that her husband was a cruel and ugly giant who was mean to all who came near him.
"If you know your best," she continued, "you run away at once as fast as your legs can carry you."
Despite his hunger, Jack's first thought was to do as she said and run away. But then he remembered what the fairy had said and the reason he was there. He therefore bravely remained and again asked for food. In exchange, he promised to do any kind of work.
The woman considered this for a moment. She worked like a slave from morning to night and was in dire need of someone to help her. So finally she allowed herself to be persuaded and brought Jack into the house.
First they passed an elegant hall, beautifully furnished, then they passed several large rooms, all in the same grand style but utterly desolate. Then came a long very dark corridor. There was just enough light to see that instead of walls on the sides, there were iron grates. Behind the bars were dark dungeons from which Jack could hear sighs and the rattle of chains.
His heart was now beating rapidly. Perhaps this is where his father was held captive. He became more and more convinced that he would find and free him. The woman now led him to a large kitchen where a large fireplace was burning. She asked him to sit down and gave him plenty to eat and drink. Now he realized that she was a kind woman, just overworked and worried about being mistreated by the mean giant.
When he had eaten his fill, she put him to work scrubbing floors and washing pots. He worked all day, harder and more persistently than he had ever done before and the woman provided him with plenty of food. Eventually evening came and suddenly there was such a loud knock on the door that the whole house shook. "Let me in! Let me in!” roared a boisterous voice. The giant's wife hid Jack in the oven and hurried to the door to let her husband in. Soon he came into the kitchen, a hideous monster with little pig eyes in a terrifying face. As soon as he crossed the threshold, he began sniffing and shouted: "Tvi vale I think it smells like human flesh!" Jack crawled further into the furnace but remembered that the fairy had told him that he had the right on his side and if he was brave and asserted his right he would be one of those who vanquished giants. So he regained his courage and waited quietly. Meanwhile, the woman had replied to her husband: "You will smell people as long as you keep them locked in the dungeons."
“Hmm!” Grunted the giant and sat down beside the fire while the woman cooked the evening meal. Through a crack in the oven, Jack could peek out. He was amazed at the amazing amounts the giant put in. It seemed he would never stop eating and drinking. When he finally finished his meal, a strange hen was placed on the table in front of him. He saw how the hen stood in front of the giant and when the giant said, "Lay eggs!", the hen laid an egg of golden gold. The giant amused himself with the hen for a long time while his wife went to bed. But eventually he fell asleep in his chair and started snoring like a booming cannon.
Jack saw his chance and carefully crept out of his hiding place, grabbed the hen and ran off with it as fast as he could. The hen then started cackling and woke the giant. Just as he was out of the house, he heard him call out: "Woman, woman, what have you done with my golden hen?" That was all Jack managed to hear as he hurried back to the beanstalk and climbed down, quick as oiled lightning.
His mother was overjoyed when she saw him.
"Mother," said Jack, "now I have brought home everything we need to be able to buy what we want." The hen laid as many eggs as he wanted. Jack sold them and had more money than the two of them needed.
For a short time Jack and his mother lived happily but the boy never stopped thinking about his father. Early one morning he climbed the stalk again and arrived at the huge house in the evening.
The big woman came and opened the door when he knocked just like before. Jack immediately requested that she allow him to sleep in the house during the night. At first she scolded him for taking her husband's hen the last time he was there, but by now Jack was sure that the woman was actually kind and he didn't need to be afraid of her. Besides, deep down, she knew that the giant had no right to the riches he had stolen. So finally she let him in and gave him supper.
After the meal, Jack paid back by working diligently in the kitchen until they heard the giant knocking on the door. This time she hid him in a closet. Soon the giant came in and sniffed around. "Tvi vale, I think it smells like human flesh!" he roared, but his wife reminded him again that he had prisoners in the dungeons and that must be where the smell was coming from. The giant then sat down and ate his supper.
Then he asked the woman to get the bags of gold and silver coins. Jack crept out of his hiding place and peered at him as he counted the fortune he had stolen from his father. Finally he poured the coins back into the bags and immediately his chin fell to his chest and he fell asleep. Jack then very carefully crept up to the table. Then a small dog under the giant's chair began barking hysterically and the giant squinted his eyes sleepily. Jack then grabbed his bags and ran. He soon reached the beanstalk, climbed down and was soon back in his room. His mother was overjoyed to see him back safe and sound and they were now very well off and could treat themselves to whatever they wanted.
However, Jack could not enjoy this knowing that his father was locked in a dungeon. Therefore, on the longest day of the year, he got up as soon as the sun rose and climbed up the beanstalk. He arrived at the giant's castle in the evening and found his wife standing in the doorway. This time she was much angrier because her husband had been very mean to her after his gold and silver coins disappeared. It was very difficult to get her to receive him, but at last he succeeded in persuading her to go in and work and have supper as he had done before. When the giant came home, Jack hid in the copper pot.
The big creature was uglier than ever and growled: "Tvi vale I think it smells human!" Regardless of what his wife said now, he searched every nook and cranny of the room. While all this was going on, Jack held his breath. The giant approached the copper cauldron and put his hand on the lid. Jack was convinced that he would now be discovered, but no! The giant stopped looking and sat down next to the fire.
When he had eaten his supper, the giant asked his wife to fetch the harp. Jack peered under the lid of the cauldron and soon saw the woman enter with the instrument. The harp was made of gold and on the front was a beautiful female figure with wings. Her dress floated to the floor, forming like a harp. The giant placed the harp on the table and said: "Play!" The harp immediately began to play. The music was so soft and melodious that Jack was filled with pleasure and anxious to capture this noble treasure as well. But the giant did not enjoy the pleasant music. Instead, he soon fell asleep. Jack immediately got out of the cauldron and took the harp. He had barely had time to grab it before it started shouting: “Master! Master!" Jack was afraid it would wake the giant, so he started running away with the harp in his arms. ''Master! Master!'' the harp continued to call. "Master! Master!" Jack was about to let it go, when suddenly he felt it pull him into his arm as if it were alive. The harp steered with its wings and pulled him along. Not towards the outer door but towards the dungeons. "Master! Master” it continued to call, pulling Jack towards the place where he knew his father was being held captive. "Master! Master! It screamed even louder and then he saw a white-haired man in chains who shouted: "My Harp! My Harp!” Who is it that brings it?” the man continued. Jack immediately replied, “Your son!”
"My son!", repeated the man with tears of joy, "My son!" As he spoke, he stretched out his hands through the grating, and the harp immediately flew into them. "Harp! Harp! Throw away my chains!” he commanded. As the harp played, the chains fell off the old man's feet. "Harp! Harp! Play to make the prison door open!” The harp played again. Then the door flew open, Jack's father came out and they hurried down the hall. But this day there was a big commotion in the kitchen. The giant was now wide awake and roaring for his harp. When Jack and his father ran out the front door of the castle, the giant was briskly on his feet. They ran and ran! Behind them the giant roared with a voice like thunder. Sometimes he was close to reaching them but they held the harp which helped them with their wings. Finally they reached the beanstalk. Jack and his father quickly climbed down. As soon as they reached the bottom the giant appeared at the top of the ladder. He huffed with his clenched fists. The giant came climbing down snorting and roaring but Jack fetched an ax and when the giant was almost down Jack started chopping off the stem. He barely had time to start before the whole beanstalk shriveled up and the big giant exploded like a huge lump.
Then Jack and his mother and father fell into each other's arms, rejoicing that they were finally together again.
As for the giant's wife, she was surely glad to have been freed from such a cruel and mean man.