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Old 05-11-2011, 07:54 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Evanstonia
Posts: 9,603
From the Wiki article, regarding the telling of the story that all subsequent tellings have used as a basis:

In Tabart's 1807 version, the story is set in the days of King Alfred. A poor woman lives far from London in a cottage with her "indolent, careless, and extravagant" son, Jack. The two have little money and are forced to sell their last possession, a cow. Jack leads the animal along the road and meets a butcher whose hat is filled with beans. Jack sells the cow for the beans. His mother is furious when she discovers the transaction and tosses the beans away. The next morning, Jack finds a beanstalk has grown to the clouds and climbs it against his mother's wishes. At its top, he discovers a barren countryside, and happens upon an old woman. She warns him that she is a fairy and he must do exactly as she commands or he and his mother will be destroyed.
According to the fairy, Jack's father was a rich, hospitable, and charitable gentleman killed by a giant who envied his wealth. The gentleman's wife and son were spared on the condition she never tell her son the cause of his father's death. She fled with her babe to dwell in a lonely cottage. The fairy was formerly the guardian of Jack's father but transgressed on the day of his death. Her powers were suspended by the fairies, and she was unable to protect him. Her powers were restored the day Jack accepted the beans and it was she who caused the beanstalk to grow. She now tells Jack he is the one appointed to avenge his father's death and he may take anything that belongs to the giant because it is rightfully his.
The plot thickens...