Once upon a time there lived a poor widow and her son Jack. One day, Jack’s mother told him to sell their only cow.
“But mother,” protested Jack, “It is our last cow. If we sell Daisy then we will have no milk and if we have no milk we cannot sell anything to earn a living. She is in effect a cash cow, I learned all about that at school in economics.”
“Don’t you try and show me up by using long words,” snapped Jack’s mother.
“Economics isn’t a long word?”
“Yes it is and so is cow and milk. Now, get to market and stop defying me or you will feel the back of my hand you good for nothing.
So Jack set off for market with Daisy and en route he met a man who declared Daisy to be a fine heifer and ripe for the milking. He offered to buy Daisy.
“Hmm, what will you give me in return for my cow? How about a gold coin?” asked Jack.
“You seem a sharp fellow, young man, tell me, have you studied economics?”
“Indeed I have.”
“Good well I offer you these five magic beans. Plant them and you will be able to substitute Daisy here with a cash crop instead.”
“Fantastic, mother will be delighted with my economic prowess, although I shall have to draw her a diagram so she can understand,” smiled Jack.
Jack took the beans and handed over Daisy. Jack shed a tear as he was fond of Daisy as he was a big animal lover, so her departure was rather moo-ving.
When Jack reached home his mother was furious.
“Magic beans? Magic beans? You idiot. You are too trusting. I expected you to return with a bag of gold, a new Mercedes E-class, a holiday booked in Hawaii and two, no three hampers from Fortnum and Mason!” shouted Jack’s mother.
“But mother, that is magical thinking. Nobody would pay that for a cow but with thesebeans I can grow a crop of beans, sell some and plant more and thus provide us with a sustainable and environmentally friendly existence.”
“Balls to that you idiot I want the best and I deserve it too!” raged his mother. She cracked him about the head, grabbed the beans and flung them through the window.
“Now, get to bed and no supper, I have er a visitor coming around,” hissed Jack’s mother.
Upset and hungry, Jack trudged to bed and eventually fell asleep.
The next day Jack woke up and he looked out of the window to see a marble pedestal with steps carved into it had sprung up outside. It was very tall and disappeared high into the sky.
Jack crept from his room and saw his mother asleep in a bed with a group of small men splayed around her.
“I didn’t know she was expecting the bell-ringing team around for supper, but I guess they must be thanking mother for all her good work with the church,” thought Jack as he quietly left the house and ascended the pedestal.
He climbed higher and higher and as he did so he felt happy and elated and special until when he reached the top he found a magnificent golden castle. It was most impressive and as Jack wandered in he found a huge table laden with the most splendid food. Having been denied any supper, Jack was most hungry and although he knew it was wrong to steal, he reasoned that there was more than enough food to eat. He first of all wrote an IOU and climbed on to the huge table and set about tucking in.
Whilst he was eating, Jack heard a booming voice.
“Fee fi fo faf I smell the blood of an empath, be he clever or be he a fool, I will provoke him until he gives me fuel!”
Jack saw a giant enter the massive dining room. He hid behind a huge turkey and watched as the giant fed himself before leaving. Jack carefully followed the giant who sat counting gold coins into a sack. Once finished, the giant headed to his bed and was soon asleep. Jack knew stealing was wrong but reasoned that the giant had plenty of gold and he could do much good work with just one sack of the gold coins by setting up a trust to save the Gay Unicorns in the Forest of Empathy and also to pay for the medical treatment for a Prince who had set up a crowdfunding page to have his bottom repaired after a terrible violation. Jack carefully took one of the sacks of coins and headed to the pedestal. He climbed down and handed the sack to his mother.
“Where the hell have you been, the house needs clea….oh, what’s this?” asked Jack’s mother.
“Mother there is a giant’s castle at the top of this pedestal filled with food and riches, more than enough for one person, so I have taken this money which I shall use to do good for the Save the Gay Unicorn and…”
“Yes, yes, yes you give that money to me and shin back up that pedestal young man and see what else you can find. I will er invest this money in the meanwhile.”
Jack being always eager to please his mother, did as she instructed and climbed back up the pedestal. He returned to the giant’s castle and this time found the giant talking to a large hen. The hen seemed unhappy and this made Jack sad. When the giant fell asleep, Jack grabbed the hen.
“Don’t worry chicken, you need plenty of room to roam and peck, this castle is no place for you. You can live on our farm and go where you like. Jack headed down the pedestal and when he reached the bottom eventually he entered the cottage to find his mother reclining on a large leather reclining chair, swigging Deutz champagne and watching Real Housewives of Faraway Land on a huge 4K television screen.
“Mother,” announced Jack, “ I have rescued this hen from the clutches of the giant.” Jack plonked the hen down on a heap of Gucci boxes.
“A hen? You moron, what have you got a useless hen for, go and get some more…”
But just then the hen laid a large golden egg. Jack’s mother snatched it up and her eyes shone with greed.
“Can the hen live with us rather than in that castle?” asked Jack.
“Oh of course it can, I will look after it. You just pop back up that pedestal and see if you can rescue some more animals from the giant. See if you can find a sheep with platinum fleece or a goat with diamond horns or a cow which squirts out champagne!”
Jack smiled ,delighted to be pleasing his mother and bounded back up the pedestal.
This time he found the giant listening to a magical harp that was playing the most beautiful tunes which filled the air with uplifting music. The harp played away until the giant dozed off.
“Imagine how many people would be made happy listening to that harp play itself. I could organise a benefit concert to raise funds for a search party to help Little Bo Peep find her sheep and another so the Three Little Pigs can rebuild their homes. Goodness, I do like to be good!”
So Jack crept near and grabbed the harp and as he made for the exit from the castle, the harp, which was of course a magical harp shouted out to the giant,
“Master, master, help me, this boy is stealing me, help, help!”
“Fee fi fo faff I smell the blood of a thieving empath!” boomed the giant and he leapt up grabbing a massive axe from the wall.
Jack ran as fast as he could and reached the pedestal in double quick time. With the harp still shouting he raced down the steps of the pedestal until he reached the bottom and burst into the cottage (which now seemed to have been extended and had a swimming pool) to find his mother sat with the seven little men from the bell-ringing team. They all wore gold rings, gold necklaces and gold chains and were busy eating fried chicken.
“Mother, mother quick, the giant is coming after me, he is climbing down the pedestal!”
“What’s that?” asked his mother
“A speaking harp that plays itself, it is marvellous, but…”
“Does it do requests?” asked one of the seven little men.
Just then the booming voice of the descending giant could be heard.
“Be he clever or be he a fool, I am coming to provoke him to gain his fuel!”
Jack’s mother jumped up and followed by Jack and the chicken chomping seven little men headed outside.
Jack’s mother strode with purpose to the pedestal and showing impressive upper body strength she pushed the pedestal until it rocked and then there was a loud cry of anguish before a huge thud and a cloud of dust in the distance.
“Hurrah!” shouted Jack, “the cruel giant is dead!”
“Sure is kiddo, when you reach the top get ready to drop,” smiled his mother as he brushed her hands together.
“How did you do that?”
“Oh it is easy knocking someone from their pedestal when you know how.”
“Fantastic, well, we can go and get the rest of the giant’s treasure now and distribute it to the poor and needy,” smiled Jack.
“Er yes, look you have had a busy day, you go and have some fried chicken in the kitchen and me and the boys here will go and make sure it is safe up in the castle. Come on lads. Don’t wait up!”
Jack’s mother and the blinged up seven little men began to ascend the pedestal. Jack watched them disappear into the clouds before shrugging.
“I had best feed that hen it will be hungry, where are you chicken?” he asked as he looked around for the strangely absent hen.
And Jack never saw his mother again and found the pedestal gated and secured with barbed wire, CCTV and attack dogs so he contented himself with teaching the harp the works of G T Hudor for the purposes of spreading the word and enjoying re-runs of Up the Garden Empath on the spanking new 4K television, so it wasn’t all bad.