Jack and the Bean Tree 

Part. II

So she took him and hid him under the bread bowl. The old giant came in, says, 


I smell the blood of a Englishmum. 

Bein' he alive or bein' he dead, 

For supper tonight I'll have some." 

"No. You must be mistaken," says his old lady. "Must be that mutton you killed the other day. That's what you smell." 

The old giant started lookin' around, and she says to him, says, "You can look if ye want to. You'll not find none." 

Fin'ly they eat supper and went on to bed. 

When they were both of 'em fast asleep, Jack came out and looked around, saw a nice skinnin' knife. Decided he'd like that, so he took it and slipped back down the bean tree. 

Jack's mother said that looked to her like stealin', but Jack said he figgered the bean tree was his'n and that ever'thing on it belonged to him. 

Well, he played around with that knife a right smart while. Then he told his mother that he was gain' back up, but he said this 'uld be his last trip. Said there was just one thing more he wanted up there. 

Now Jack took the hand-axe and cut the bean tree half through, left the axe a-layin' by the tree. Then he cloomb up to the giant's house again. 

That old woman opened the door, says, "Why, buddy, what in the world you coin' up here again? My old man missed that knife, and he'll sure kill ye if he finds ye here." 

"You better not speak too sharp," says Jack. "This here bean tree belongs to me, not to you." Says, "I reckon you'll just have to hide me again somewhere." 

"Well," she says, "hit don't differ. Next time you come back I'm just gain' to tell him and let him kill ye. I'll not hide ye now, neither; unless you promise not to never come back here." 

"I'll not promise," says Jack, "but if you hide me, hit'll be an accommodation." 

Well, she took Jack and set him in a corner, turned the old giant's hat over him. 


I smell the blood of a English mum. 

Bein' he dead or bein' he alive, 

I'll grind his bones, 

To eat with my pones." 

"Just look, then," says the old lady, "and if you find him you can sure kill him." 

So the old giant looked around and smelled around ever' place in the house tryin' to find Jack. Looked in the bake-oven and looked under all the bowls, says, "Sure seems like I can smell one, strong." 

But he never did look under his hat, and pretty soon they went on to bed. 

Then when Jack heard the giant a-snorin' right big, he came on out from under the hat. 

Now, there was a coverlid on the old giant's bed, had little bells sewed all over it about a inch apart, and that was what Jack wanted so bad. But he knowed hit would rattle and wake the old giant up. So Jack went and fixed all the chairs up close to the bed, took the old giant's boots and hid 'em. Then Jack crope up and raised one corner of the rug. The bells went "dingle!" and woke the giant up, sat up right quick, hollered, "Scat there!" 

Jack kept right still till the giant laid back down and set in to snorin' again. Then he went and eased the door open, went back and got him a good hold on the coverlid, jerked it off and made for the door as hard as he could tear. The bells rattled, "dingle! dingle! dingle !" The old giant jumped up, and started bustin' against all them chairs, a-hollerin', "Where's my boots? Where's my boots?" 

Jack was just a-sailin' toward the bean tree. 

The old giant kept knockin' them chairs around, says, "Where's my boots, old woman? Where's my boots?" 

The old lady says to him, says, "They're right where you left 'em, I reckon." 

Well, he had to get a light 'fore he found 'em. Fintly he got 'em on and lit out after Jack. 

Jack was a-scootin' down that bean tree so fast you'd 'a thought he was fallin'. Got on the ground, he laid that coverlid to one side, grabbed up his hand-axe, chopped two or three licks and that bean tree fell down, down, down, clean across the fields and hills and hollers. Took it about an hour to fall allAfter the bean tree hit the ground, Jack went along it to see how far the old giant had got. Found him about a half mile off and he didn't have but one boot on. 

Then Jack went on across the country to where the giant's house fell. Th e dishes were broke up pretty bad, but he and his mother got a lot of good house-plunder, all that wasn't smashed up when the house landed. And the last time I was down there Jack was gettin' to be a right big boy, and he was doin' well. 


The Jack Tales, by Richard Chase. Copyright 1971.