In the days of good King Alfred
lived a widow with her son;
She was kind, and he was idle, so
at last their wealth was done,
Nothing left remaining but a cow,
which must be sold for bread;
Jack, who was to sell, exchanged
her, and got only beans instead,--
Beans, which when his angry mother
saw, she flung away in scorn:
Think how great her Jack's sur-
prise was, when, on getting up
He perceived the beans had sprout-
ed,--grown so very tall and high,
That the topmost of their branches
seemed to lose itself in sky.
"I must climb," cried Jack, delighted,
"it seems strong to enough bear;"
When his mother would prevent him,
no remonstrance would he hear.
Up he goes among the branches,
easy as a winding stair;
Climbing on for hours, he reaches
desert lands and bleaker air.
Was no sight or sound to cheer him,
and he very hungry grew;
As he wandered, sick and weary, an
old woman came in view:
She was old, her garments tattered,
and half blind she seemed, and
But she asked of Jack his business,
and how he in that land came.
Jack then told her all his hist'ry,
though it presently appeared
She knew rather more than he did,
and some mysteries she cleared,
As to who his father was, and how
he lost his life and wealth,
Through the baseness of a giant,
who disposed of him by stealth,
Making off with all his riches; "In
this very land," said she,
"Lives he,--all is yours, and you
must claim your property.
I will help you,--I'm a Fairy;
turn directly to the right;
If with speed you journey on,
you'll reach his house before
On he went, and reached the giant's house, and found him
not at home;
Wife permitted Jack to enter, as to call so far he'd come;
Meat and drink she gave him also, showed him over all the
And at last she hid him, lest he'd tempt the hunger of her
Who, on entering, loudly stated that he plainly smelt fresh
But his wife persuaded quietly his meal to eat,
(Grieved I am that it consisted solely of the flesh of men);
And when he his supper ended, in was brought a splendid
Who a golden egg produced whene'er the giant shouted
When the giant fell asleep, Jack seized the hen and ran away.
Down the bean-stalk home he hastened, and
upon the magic pelf
Long he lived, his mother also, till at last he
Quite inclined for greater riches, as he knew
an easy road;
Up he climbed the bean-stalk ladder, and
returned with such a load!
But the giant nearly wakened with the bark-
ing of a dog,--
(Very lucky 'twas for Jack, that way of sleep-
ing was like a log).
Bags of gold and silver Jack took
home, but still his mind did lean
Towards another prize, and journey
up the lucky stalk of bean.
Hidden in his usual corner in the
giant's house, he spied,
Bought for that great man's amuse-
ment, playing sweetly by his side
While he slept, a golden harp, which
Jack at once caught up, and ran,
But the harp with voice cried,
"Master, master, stop this man!"
But so tipsy was the giant, though
he tried to run and bawl,
That, with all his pains, he could not
stop the flight of Jack at all.
Down the road and down the bean-
stalk swiftly ran and clambered
Joy was in his manly bosom, and
the harp upon his back.
Down the giant scrambles after
Jack, but little does he reck,--
With an axe he cuts the bean-
stalk, and the giant breaks his
After this, I need not tell you,
Jack resolved to settle down,
Stay at home, climb no more bean-
stalks, be respected in the town.