Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jack Strikes a Bargain

Jack hadn’t got far before he reached a fork in the path.
There at the fork stood a man dressed all in black.
The man carried a leather bag.

“That’s a very old cow you’ve got there,”
Said the man dressed all in black.

“Yes,” Jack said, “and it pains me to part with her.
But I am taking her to the village to sell.”

“Ah,” said the man, turning to go down the fork in the road.
Jack scratched his cap and considered for a moment.

“Might you buy her?” Jack said.
“That would save me hours and hours of walking.”

“Well,” said the man dressed all in black,
“That I just might. But I have no money.
All I have is a magic bean.”

So saying, the man dressed all in black
Opened his leather bag. The bag was filled
With one huge, gleaming, golden bean.

“This is a magic bean,”
The man dressed all in black said.
“And I will trade it for your cow.
Use it wisely and you will never hunger again.
Use it unwisely, and you will want always.”

Jack scratched his Considering Cap and considered it.
It was a beautiful bean.
And. . .imagine! . . .Never wanting hungry again.

It was not hard to imagine the bean was magical,
Just as the man dressed all in black said it was.

“Alright, then,” Jack said, pulling off his cap
And holding it out toward the man dressed all in black.

The man dressed all in black reached into his leather bag,
Pulled out the beautiful magic bean,
And slipped it into Jack’s Considering Cap.

Then the man dressed all in black
Grasped the cow’s rope
And off he went down the fork in the road.

“Goodbye, Cow!”
Jack said.

A Considering Cap full of magic bean!
Ah, now, there’s a good thing to have, thought Jack,
Hugging his cap and the bean tight
And heading home to find his mother.


JAR said...

I was just trying to read Jack and the Beanstalk to the kids the other night but they got too scared. After they went to sleep I wikipedia'd it because it was clear there was quite a bit of symbolism in it. I want to read both of the major versions. It seems that fairy tales are really a piece of a more current mythology for us today.

d. breeden said...

Yes, my version is accentuating some of the themes, but it is at bottom a brutal little story.

JAR said...

So many of them are, I think that is why they survive. Maybe to nice ones are quickly forgotten because they don't resonate with us the same way.