Jack And The Bean-Stalk.

A poem by Clara Doty Bates

Versified by Mrs. Clara Doty Bates.


A lazy and careless boy was Jack,--
He would not work, and he would not play;
And so poor, that the jacket on his back
Hung in a ragged fringe alway;
But 'twas shilly-shally, dilly-dally,
From day to day.

At last his mother was almost wild,
And to get them food she knew not how;
And she told her good-for-nothing child
To drive to market the brindle cow.
So he strolled along, with whistle and song,
And drove the cow.

A man was under the wayside trees,
Who carried some beans in his hand--all white.
He said, "My boy, I'll give you these
For the brindle cow." Jack said, "All right."
And, without any gold for the cow he had sold,
Went home at night.

Bitter tears did the mother weep;
Out of the window the beans were thrown,
And Jack went supperless to sleep;
But, when the morning sunlight shone,
High, and high, to the very sky,
The beans had grown.

They made a ladder all green and bright,
They twined and crossed and twisted so;
And Jack sprang up it with all his might,
And called to his mother down below:
"Hitchity-hatchet, my little red jacket,
And up I go!"

High as a tree, then high as a steeple,
Then high as a kite, and high as the moon,
Far out of sight of cities and people,
He toiled and tugged and climbed till noon;
And began to pant: "I guess I shan't
Get down very soon!"

At last he came to a path that led
To a house he had never seen before;
And he begged of a woman there some bread;
But she heard her husband, the Giant, roar,
And she gave him a shove in the old brick oven,
And shut the door.

And the Giant sniffed, and beat his breast,
And grumbled low, "Fe, fi, fo, fum!"
His poor wife prayed he would sit and rest,--
"I smell fresh meat! I will have some!"
He cried the louder, "Fe, fi, fo, fum!
I will have some."

He ate as much as would feed ten men,
And drank a barrel of beer to the dregs;
Then he called for his little favorite hen,
As under the table he stretched his legs,--
And he roared "Ho! ho!"--like a buffalo--
"Lay your gold eggs!"

She laid a beautiful egg of gold;
And at last the Giant began to snore;
Jack waited a minute, then, growing bold,
He crept from the oven along the floor,
And caught the hen in his arms, and then
Fled through the door.

But the Giant heard him leave the house,
And followed him out, and bellowed "Oh-oh!"
But Jack was as nimble as a mouse,
And sang as he rapidly slipped below:
"Hitchity-hatchet, my little red jacket,
And down I go!"

And the Giant howled, and gnashed his teeth.
Jack got down first, and, in a flash,
Cut the ladder from underneath;
And Giant and Bean-stalk, in one dash,--
No shilly-shally, no dilly-dally,--
Fell with a crash.

This brought Jack fame, and riches, too;
For the little gold-egg hen would lay
An egg whenever he told her to,
If he asked one fifty times a day.
And he and his mother lived with each other
In peace alway.

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