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Jack and the Beanstalk

Page history last edited by Amber Autry 13 years, 7 months ago

"Up, and Up..."

The first literary telling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” was as a skit in J. Roberts’ 1734 edition of “Round about our Coal-Fire: or Christmas Entertainments.” It was called “Enchantment demonstrated in the Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean.” In this story Jack is a lazy, poor boy who lives with his grandmother. The old woman has a magical bean that Jack steals and plants. The bean instantly begins to grow and stretch into the sky. Because Jack planted the bean his grandmother will suffer the consequences of becoming a toad. She therefore chases Jack and he runs up the beanstalk while it is still growing. He proceeds to defeat a giant, rescue a vast about of people, and get married.


The full version of the story was printed in 1807 in two different collections. One was “The History of Mother Twaddle, and the Marvellous Atchievments of Her Son Jack” by B. A. T.. The other was written by Benjamin Tabart and edited by William Godwin and was called “The History of Jack and the Bean-Stalk, Printed form the Original Manuscript, Never Before Published.” In the B. A. T. version Jack’s mother sends him to market to by a goose and instead he buys a magical bean. His mother is furious with him. He plants the bean and it grows into a huge beanstalk over night. He climbs it, kills a giant that he finds at the top, and marries a girl who had been a captive of the giant. The Grimm Brothers included a story similar to that of Jack’s in a tale about a man who plants a turnip and it grows into a tree that reaches to the sky. He climbs the tree and finds another world beyond the clouds. 


Check out the stories for yourself


  • Ashliman, D. (2010). Grimm brothers’ home page. Retrieved from http://www.pitt.edu.
  • Heiner H. (1999). SurLaLune fairy tales. Retrieved from www.surlalunefairytales.com.
  • Opie P., Opie I. (1974). The Classic Fairy Tales. New York, Oxford; Oxford University Press.
  • Owens, L. (1981). The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, Auckland; Crown Publishers, Inc., Random House.
  • Warner, M.(1994). From the beast to the blonde: On fairy tales and their tellers. New York; Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Zipes, J. (2000). The Oxford companion to fairy tales: The western fairy tale tradition from medieval to modern. New York; Oxford University Press.

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