Jack and the Beanstalk

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A story from a collection of fairy tales compiled by the famous storyteller Joseph Jacobs.

The popular tale of a magic bean and a poor boy. He climbs the plant up to the sky, even defeats a giant, and eventually becomes rich.

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Jack and the Beanstalk
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A very poor family lived a humble life in a small shack at the edge of a village — a widow and her son Jack. Jack’s father had made a living as a woodcutter. But one day a tree fell on him, and it killed him. Ever since then, his wife has taken care of the household and their little boy.

After the death of Jack’s father, a cloud of misery hung over the house. Jack and his mother often had nothing to eat, and only Milky, their cow, helped them make it through the hard times. Milky provided milk, and sometimes it was the only food they had.

Now winter was coming, and the family hadn’t a single penny left. Jack’s clothes were so worn-out — they were mostly just patches of thin fabric stitched together. Jack could only dream of having a warm coat and new shoes.

One day, in desperation, Jack’s mother said to him: “We have to sell the cow! Take her to market in the morning and get as much money for her as you can. It’s the only way we will be able to survive the winter.”

The next day, Jack got the cow ready and his mother drew the last bucketful of milk. She said goodbye to her beloved Milky, with tears in her eyes. After Jack polished the bell that hung around Milky’s neck, he grabbed the reins and started walking the cow towards the market. It was a very hot day, and there was a long dusty road ahead of them.

“Who knows if anyone will even buy our Milky,” Jack mumbled to himself.

They hadn’t gone far when they chanced upon a strange old man. His long snow-white beard glittered against the backdrop of his red robes, and…

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