(豆の子ジャック, lit. Beanchild Jack
There once lived a woman by herself on a farm, with nothing but a milk-producing cow to keep her company. Every morning she would juice the dairy out of her cow and head off to market to sell it at noon. And in the evening she would write bad poetry and feed it to her cow in embarrassment.
Now there came a time when the cow's teat ran dry and the woman could no longer support the two of them. She said to her cow, "How now, brown cow?" Her cow looked back at the woman with her big cow eyes seeming to say, "You should sell me at the market. You can use the money to invest in the farm and actually grow vegetables or something. You could live off of that and sell the surplus so you can buy other foodstuffs to complement your diet. I, on the other hand, will probably be eaten or turned into glue, but I'm down with that."
"Yes," said the woman, "I shall do just that," and she proceeded to the market the next day.
She came home with no cow and a single magic bean in hand. "Aw, poop!" said the woman, "I've just realized this might not
actually be magic, and could have very well been a swindle." It was sucks, but she decided to make the best of the situation anyway and planted the bean. A planted bean grows bean-producing beanstalks, no?
Not if it's a magic bean. The next morning, the bean had grown into a beanstalk, yes, but within the bean pod was a young child! "Aw, poop!" said the woman, "I don't think I can raise a bean child," but she was awful lonely after she had sold her cow to that suspicious businessman, so she took in the child anyhow. Luckily, the beanstalk produced only big non-magical beans after that, and the two of them were able to live off of it as per the cow's wisdom.
Now there came a time when the stalk's pods ran dry and would no longer yield beans. By now it was an enormous beanstalk that poked into the heavens. While the woman/mother was thinking about what she could sell it as if she cut it down, the beanchild Jack climbed up the beanstalk and disappeared out of sight. When the child returned, he had with him a hen that laid golden eggs!
His mother was amazed by this and asked her son how he came by such a discovery. Upon learning that he had stolen it from a giant in the sky, she frowned. "Jack, my son," said she, "it is not good to steal from one's neighbors. You must return this hen at once." But while she was scolding the beanchild, the gold pooper hen had escaped into the wilderness.
In any case, a hen had to be returned. The mother took one of their own which they had been raising and climbed up the beanstalk with her son. At the top of the beanstalk they found a great dwelling which must have stood at least the height of twenty men. Gathering her courage, the mother approached the front door and pulled the cord to ring the door bell: FEE ♪ FI ♪ FO ♪ FUM ♪
The door opened in, nearly vacuuming Jack and his mother inside. A great towering giant leaned out and peered down at them from the doorway. "What ho!" he boomed. "A manling and its mother! A delightful surprise!" And before either Jack or his mother could react, the giant picked them up and brought them inside.
Once inside, the giant set down Jack and his mother on a table and sat down. "Do tell, what brings you two to my home today? How can I help you?"
The mother looked at the giant's great yellow teeth and summoned her courage to answer as best she could. "Sir Giant, I've come to apologize on behalf of my son Jack, who has recently bereaved you of one of your hens. I hope you will accept this hen as a token of our sincerest apologies."
Just then, the hen laid a single egg into the bean child's palm.
The giant examined the hen and her egg with a scrupulous eye. "I appreciate your honesty, madam," said he, "but unless this hen lays eggs of gold, it cannot replace the hen I've lost."
"But Sir Giant!" exclaimed the mother, eager to clear the family's debt, "Please look within the egg of brown if you will." The giant took the egg as a child takes an ant, and crushed it between his fingers, revealing the sticky yellow yolk.
"Liquid gold!" he exclaimed in amazement. Upon learning that the gold itself was rich in protein and cholesterol and that the eggs could also yield golden chicks that would grow into more egg-producing hens, the giant was ecstatic. In his gratitude, he accepted the farm hen and even gave the mother and child a milk-less cow he had received when he sold magic beans (different
magic beans, that is) to a suspicious man.
And then everyone went home safely and had food to eat and work to do and that was good enough.Alternate Ending: Jack speaks. The talk goes downhill. The giant eats everyone. The End.
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