Roald Dahl

“Jack and the Beanstalk”

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Plot Description

Spoiler warning! Jack and his mother are completely broke, so she sends him off to sell their old cow to someone wealthy. Instead he comes back with only one bean. She can’t believe his stupidity and throws the bean out onto the rubbish dump. Then she beats Jack with the vacuum cleaner handle. The next day they see that the bean has sprouted into a huge beanstalk. Jack is pleased, but his mother complains that there aren’t any beans for them to pick. Jack points out that the leaves above them are pure gold. She is entranced and tells him to climb up and cut them off. As he climbs, though, he hears a giant above say, “FEE FI FO FUM, I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN!” Jack scurries down and reports back to his mother. She tells him it’s no wonder the giant smells him, as Jack never bathes and he stinks. She decides to climb it herself. Not long after, Jack hears the giant eat her up. He realizes that if he wants the gold, he’s going to have to wash. So he cleans himself thoroughly. When he climbs the beanstalk again, the giant doesn’t smell him at all. Jack waits til the giant is sleeping and then gathers up enough gold to make himself a millionaire. “A bath,” he said, “does seem to pay. I’m going to have one every day.”