Jack the Giant-Killer

Preface: if you’re wondering why you’re stuck on this specific post, not to worry. It’s supposed to be like that, at least until July 2nd. To view content, new or old, you can either utilise the search bar on the left-hand side of the screen or scroll down to the recent lapses in judgement section and use that to navigate your way through archived posts.

Hello there. This is a short story I wrote. It’s about Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk (also known as Jack the Giant-Killer), although my story is a little off kilter in that it’s not really about beanstalks. It’s also pretty long. *Coughs awkwardly* That is all.

Scavenger hunt- n. a game in which individuals or teams try to locate and bring back miscellaneous items on a list.
This online scavenger hunt has the same idea. But you’ll be hunting for bold words. It starts here: http://www.eshysletters.wordpress.com/where you need to find the one bolded word throughout the post. Write it down somewhere. Then go on to the next blog in the hunt by clicking the link at the bottom of the post that will take you to the next one. Find the bold world and then go onto the next. Eventually you’ll be led back to http://www.eshysletters.wordpress.com/ , where you’ll find a fairytale with a few words missing and replaced with blanks. Copy and paste that fairytale into an email. Unscramble the order of the bold words you’ve found and pop them into the blanks. Put “Once Upon A Time” as the subject of the email and address it to eshydog2@gmail.com. To be entered to win you must have the correct words in the correct order sent in an email by July 2nd. If you have the bold words in the correct order you’ll be entered to be drawn at random for a limited edition book of fairytales and rewritten versions of the very same classics and a handwritten letter from eshy. Any questions, email eshy or comment on eshy’s blog. Happy hunting everyone!

Jack the Giant-Killer

Once upon a time (and a very good time it was) there was a moocow coming along the road, lead by a young chap named Jack. Jack to his old dairy cow said, sorry Ol’ Bessie but mum thinks you’re not useful anymore, so I have to take you to the market and sell you. I don’t think it’s personal but then again you did chew on her favourite brooch, and she isn’t one to forgive lightly I don’t think.

From the opposite direction came an old hermit, who lived nearby but who no one ever saw because he never went out. He was called Mallory. Hello, my dear boy, the old man Mallory said, tipping his hat at Jack. He walked on.

Jack was a lazy boy and had a lazy plan—Say, Mr. Mallory, do you find yourself in the need of a fine cow? He asked, thinking to himself If I can sell the cow before I get to town I won’t have to walk as far and that’s alright by me.

Mallory stopped and turned back and examined the cow. She’s old, he remarked. Not much good anything, is she? Does she still give milk?

Jack shook his head. Nay, but she’s still youngish—you might be able to get a few good offsprings out of her yet.

Mallory said, well, it doesn’t seem like she’s worth so much but I’ll tell you what—how about a trade? His eyes lit up. Yes, a trade! Now, see here, young Jack—I have some magic beans that certainly must be worth something, he said with a sly grin. These beans grow faster than the eye  can see, produce enough with two pods to feed a family for months, provided you can dry the beans properly and what not. He saw the look on Jack’s face and added, oh but you must not give me that look, boy; they are not witchcraft, they are the work of the good Lord. ‘Twas the blessing of a priest did give them these powers.

Jack was still unsure but said, Alright, you’ve got yourself a trade. So he took the beans and Mallory took the cow and everyone was happy except for—

I’m not, his mother said. Happy, that is. You traded our cow for a bit of magic beans? She threw a knitting needle at him. You go trade back right now, Jackie Boy, or I swear I’ll tear you apart inch by inch.

But Jack did what he did best—which was lying to save his own neck—and repeated to his mother all the grand promises the hermit had made to him. At the end, his mother had no choice but to agree. You can plant them if you’d like, she said, but if they don’t grow then…Well, you know.

Remarkably, the beans did grow, and Jack and his mother made enough that year to hire extra help, and to buy adjacent plots of land from their neighbours. Soon the bean business was booming, with nowhere to go but up.

The hermit was not so lucky. At first his cow manure business was a success, but he was old and his help was unreliable, and one day the farmhand forgot to lock up the gate. When old Mallory woke up and saw a cow right outside his window, its head looming over him dangerously, it gave him a right shock and the right shock gave him a heart attack.

A peasant family moved into the plot and tried to continue on with the business, but mad cow disease ravaged their herd and it seemed to them as if their only option was to sell.

So the poor peasant man went to Jack and said, Jack, I know my land is poor and all but useless, but it is all I have and I’m wanting to sell it to you, because I know that with a little work and your green thumb you can it profitable, and as a bonus I’ll throw in all the manure I have left.

Jack thought about this for a moment and said, All right, and he named his price, so paltry that he was certain that the peasant would ask for more, and he was prepared to haggle, but the peasant man (not knowing the true value of his land) agreed and contracts were made and signed.

The peasant went off with his wife and young daughter and they became minstrels, travelling about the countryside, but with little success—at the end of ten years they were barely making enough to subsist and so the peasant man and his family headed back to the place of their genesis, where they discovered that Jack was in all but name ruler of that place.

The peasant went to Jack and said, I am not sure if you remember me but I remember you, I sold you my land, ten years ago, and now I have come back asking if you could possibly spare a plot for me to farm.

Jack regarded the peasant with distaste and scoffed. What could you possibly have to offer me?

The peasant man said, I will offer you my daughter’s hand in marriage. She is not of fine blood, but she is a magnificent creature and I am certain that you will agree. So the peasant man took his daughter to Jack and Jack fell in love and they married, and a contract was agreed upon, in which the peasant could farm the land for one year but if at the end of the year he had not produced ample crops he would be evicted.

As the days wore on, Jack saw how his wife loved her father—one might say more than she loved her husband, who was by no means an attractive man—and he became jealous. In his jealously, he hired three men to salt the peasant’s plot of land in the night. At the end of the year, still nothing would grow and Jack was prepared to evict the man. His wife said, no, Jack, have mercy on my father—give him another year, and I am certain that he will produce more than enough to make it worthwhile. Jack knew this was not true—that the old peasant man would never be able to produce anything—but he wished to show his bride how feeble her father truly was, and so he received the man once more and said, I will give you one more year, on the condition that you teach me to play the violin as well as yourself. And, if by the end of the second year you still have not produced a fair crop I will chop off your head myself, no matter what my wife begs of me.

So the peasant went about teaching Jack to play the violin, which was an easy enough task because Jack had natural talent—not much, but enough—and soon was almost as good as the man himself. Jack grew proud and confident in his talent and challenged the man to a battle of sorts, a fiddling duel in the village.

It was a close battle, and one that the peasant man threw because he knew that if he did not allow Jack to when then his death was assured. Jack celebrated that night at a tavern, drinking his fill and more. The more he drank the more talkative he became, until eventually it came out that he had hired three men to salt the Earth in an effort to destroy the poor peasant man, not realising he had been heard by the victim himself.

The peasant man now knew the full depth of Jack’s treachery, and how his death was all but assured. Using the little gold he had, he commissioned the village blacksmith to sharpen his axe—not an odd request as winter was coming and axes had to be sharpened in order to cut logs for fires. He took his axe and one moonless night stole into Jack’s home and revenged himself against the beast, for even giants must fall.

The End 

~~La Stranezza

P.S. go to blueepicgeek.wordpress.com for the next part of the contest.

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