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Giant and the Bean Stalk


Once upon a time there was a giant. He was a big giant, as giants should be. But his mother was very tiny. In fact, she was so small that when she wanted to say something to him, he had to pick her up and hold her up to his ear.

Giant's mother had to work very hard to support her young son. But he ate so much that, hard as she worked, they were always poor.

Every now and then, Giant's mother saved enough to get him a treat. One day she gave him a whole quarter to go and buy something for himself. Giant took the quarter and went skipping down the road. (Wherever his feet landed, he left behind a big hole in the road.)

Soon Giant met a little old woman. He got down on his hands and knees to say hello to her. "Good morning," he roared, and the wind from his breath almost knocked her down.

"Would you like to buy something, my lad?" asked the old woman, holding up her basket.

"Oh, yes!" exclaimed the Giant. "I have a quarter to spend. My Mommy gave it to me."

Giant reached into his pocket. It was empty. He began to sob. "I lost my quarter!" Tears as big as watermelons rolled down his cheeks. Soon the ground was soaked. Huge puddles began to form and joined together to make a little lake. Giant tears continued to splash down. The old woman was afraid that she might drown.

"Just a minute, Giant," she shouted. "if you stop crying, I'll give you something."

Giant cheered up immediately. He rubbed away the last tears. "What will you give me?" he asked.

"I have a wonderful bean," she said. "It's as big as an orange." She held it out to him, and he carefully took it from her.

Giant skipped home to tell his mother about his wonderful bean. But when she heard that he had lost his quarter, she was very angry. "I sent you out with a quarter, and all you brought back is a bean!"

"But it's a big bean, Mommy," said Giant.

"A bean is a bean," she said, and threw it out the window. Then she sent her son to bed without his supper.

Early the next morning, Giant looked out his window and was surprised to see an enormous bean stalk growing in the garden. It reached up, up into the clouds and beyond. "I wonder where it goes," said Giant. "I'll climb it and see."

Although his mother tried to stop him, Giant wouldn't listen. Up he went. He climbed and climbed. The bean stalk still stretched up as high as he could see.

At last he reached the clouds. He climbed higher still. Then he came to a strange land. Orange cows grazed on purple grass. The trees all had purple leaves. Far in the distance he saw a house.

"I wonder who lives there," he said. He walked up to the house. It was a regular-sized house, but it only came up to Giant's knees. He knelt down and peeked through a window. Inside a boy sat by the kitchen table, playing with a hen. While Giant watched, the hen clucked loudly and laid a golden egg.

Giant wanted to see if the egg was really made of gold, so he poked his finger through the window. The glass shattered and cut his finger.

The boy, whose name was Jack, looked up and saw Giant holding his finger and crying. Frightened, Jack snatched up an axe. He came out of the house and ran after Giant.

But Giant did not even notice Jack, for he was already running back to the bean stalk. He scampered down the bean stalk, sobbing all the way. "Mommy, I cut myself," he said. "I need a bandaid."

His mother sighed, "I wish you would be more careful, Giant." She went to the medicine cabinet and took out a bottle of iodine and a box of bandaids. It took a whole bottle of iodine and a hundred bandaids, but soon Giant's finger was as good as new.

He told his mother about the hen with the wonderful golden eggs. Then he started up the bean stalk again.

Giant did not know it, but all the time he had been gone, Jack had been chopping away at the bean stalk. It was such a thick bean stalk that he still had not cut through. When Giant reached the top, it was just about to crack.

"Stop!" Giant called. "I'm sorry I broke your window. I'll help you fix it." So they patched up the window with some of Giant's bandaids until they could get some new glass. They used some more bandaids to fix the cut in the bean stalk.

Jack was lonely in the land in the clouds. Now he was so pleased to have a new friend that he promised to share his golden eggs with Giant. Now Giant would never have to be hungry any more.





©1972, 2013 The Silversteins