100 word fiction – Jack and the beanstalk, revised

Don’t trust this guy…

Another 100 word fiction exercise for today. If you missed an earlier post such as “What age does to you“, the three rules for 100 word fiction are as follows:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.

Jack and the Beanstalk, revised

Jack and his mother, who he lived with, were poor. Jack was an idiot. He convinced his mum to sell their cow, then traded it for “magic” beans.

A few days later Jack climbed a large green twisted vine, outside a rich guys house. He climbed in a window, stole some gold, and a harp. The rich guy saw Jack from his security camera, recognising him as the kid who called him giant. He called the Police who promptly arrested Jack.

Jack got prison, but the rich guy bought Jack’s mother a new cow. Kids, crime does not pay.

Prompt: A Jack and the Beanstalk book my son has. It is a version for tots and misses out several “key” details such as the giant grinding bones to make his bread. Interesting in itself this part, as it was a fear many people had about bakers a century or two ago, that things were ground up and used as substitute flour, such as bones. However if you’ve ever tried to make fresh bread, you will be aware how accurate the ingredients have to be, with next to no leeway, otherwise the thing won’t end up in a manner resembling bread. Anyhoo, tangent aside, Jack basically climbs the beanstalk, steals from the sleeping giant, then returns to do the same the following day. This time the hen, or the harp, I forget which, wakes the giant. Jack scarpers sharpish and chops down the beanstalk so the giant cannot get down to him. In this version, Jack is therefore nothing more than a common thief stealing from the innocent giant. Might as well teach em young eh?

Lexicon word of the day: indenture.


16 comments on “100 word fiction – Jack and the beanstalk, revised

  1. It was always curious to me, the sorts of stories we read as kids. Downright scary, especially the ones about witches who lived in the woods and cooked kids for dinner. Guess back then they didn’t much care about damaging our precious developing phyches. But now these stories aren’t around, which is probably a good thing for kids. The “Grimm” fairytales were just that. Loved the realistic story of Jack.

    • Elliot says:

      I find it interesting too, but I don’t think most of those stories are too bad for children though. They play on exaggerated fears, and only sound more sick as an adult. I suspect most children don’t see being cooked alive as something horrific, just a situation to run from because it is bad. I think they are worse when they are too edited down like this version of Jack and the Beanstalk (not mine the one pictured). It makes no sense. He is just a thief. I grew up on these stories, and as far as I am aware, I grew up ok.

      I suspect I will be reading a lot more of these tales over the next few years. I might be able to get some more prompts.

  2. DyingNote says:

    The subversive in me likes this version very much – he might even have twisted it to have Jack have a few bones crushed as the window comes smashing down as he scarpers. Sorry, that kind of happy day it’s been.

    My favourite line – “Jack was an idiot”. It hits you smack and comes as a relief from the tyranny of massively censored childhood stories.

    • Elliot says:

      There were a couple more things I would have liked to have added or done slightly differently. Unfortunately, the 100 word limit did me in.

      The thing is, I like the original version. When the giant is threatening to grind Jack up, that at least makes sense to get away quick. Not in this version.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Yeah, some of those fairy tales are downright creepy, especially the original versions before they were watered down. As for stealing a harp? I think Jack should have gone for the flatscreen instead. 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      I think I prefer the tales before they were too watered down. Some of the watered down ones make little sense. Plus I think they are only creepy to adult eyes, not a childs.

      In this touch and feel version (pictured), the giant does have a nice soft pair of boots, and some large gold coins. I’m not sure how Jack got back down the beanstalk carrying those.

  4. Anne says:

    Jack is a thief, not a really good message for our kids. 🙂 good twist on the story by the way.

  5. Great take on a classic tale. I’ve often wondered about the origins of some childhood stories, but I’ve got a theory that “The Three Little Pigs” was only propaganda to promote the brick industry. 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks – I think I was being a bit cheeky with the story (which I like) but that would be the reality of it these days. We should be thankful that “classic” children’s tales (modern horror stories as such) were written in more simple times.

      I would agree on the bricks although in the early days those were also a bit unstable due to the inconsistencies in the bricks, due to the varying quality of the kilns and what fired them. So they likely needed good marketing to begin with.

      • Oh my goodness, yes, glad they were written when they were. Most of the them wouldn’t make it past the current need to be politically correct anyway.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Well, remember when these stories originated, probably in the Middle Ages or thereabouts. Children didn’t live in coddled, pampered homes. As soon as you could, if you survived childhood illnesses, you started working. The long “childhood” we know simply didn’t exist. So no, those original tales weren’t too gruesome for the time.

    I’ve always thought there was a touch of the “Robin Hood” storyline in this one. Taking from the rich to give to the poor, except Jack and his mother were the poor. And Jack didn’t have Robin Hood to do the stealing for him.

    • Elliot says:

      That is very true. I always wondered how real some of these stories felt to the children of the time or whether they are “game like” as they are viewed these days.

      I think there is a touch of the Robin Hood in the full version. In the version on the book (pictured) he is nothing more than a thief, and the giant looks like he is being picked upon by the opportunistic Jack. As I replied to Carrie, the giant is also wearing a nice pair of touch and feel boots.

  7. Smaktakula says:

    I loved your new version. Jack went to jail and his mom and new cow lived happily ever after!
    Fi fi fo fatriate, I smell the blood of an expatriate.

  8. I like your version. Great morals. There are no short cuts in life. Don’t give away what you have for something you might never get. And listen to your mother. 🙂

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