Each day the little brown hen laid three golden eggs, and Jack knew that he and his mother would never again be poor. But Jack was an adventurous boy, and was always thinking about the beanstalk.
One day when his mother was away visiting friends, the temptation was too much for Jack. Knowing that he was pushing his luck, he went out to the beanstalk again, and climbed up, and up, and up, and up, to make one last visit to the Giant’s castle.
This time he was very careful not to be seen; so he crept round to the back of the castle, and when the giant’s wife went out he slipped into the kitchen and hid himself in the oven. In came the giant, roaring louder than ever:
“Fee, fi, fo, fum.
I smell the blood of an Englishman;
Be he alive, or be he dead.
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!”
But the giantess was quite sure that she had seen no little boys that morning; and after grumbling a great deal, the giant sat down to breakfast of a whole roasted sheep. Even then he was not quite satisfied, for every now and again he would mutter: “Fee, fi, fo, fum”; or “I smell the blood of an Englishman,” and once he got up and looked in the kettle. But, of course, Jack was in the oven the whole time.
When the giant had finished eating, he called out: “Wife, bring me the golden harp!” As bidden, she brought in a beautiful golden harp, and placed it on the table. “Sing!” said the giant; and the harp at once began to sing the most beautiful songs that ever were heard. It sang so sweetly that the giant soon fell fast asleep; and then Jack crept quietly out of the oven, and going on tiptoe to the table, seized hold of the golden harp. But the harp at once called out: “Master! Wake up! A thief!” and the giant woke up just in time to catch sight of Jack running out of the kitchen-door.
With a fearful roar, he seized his oak-tree club, and dashed after Jack, who held the harp tight, and ran faster than he had ever run before. The giant, brandishing his club, and taking terribly long strides, gained on Jack at every instant, and he would have been caught if the giant had not slipped over a boulder.
Before he could pick himself up, Jack began to climb down the beanstalk, and when the giant arrived at the edge he was nearly half-way to the cottage. The giant began to climb down too; but as soon as Jack reached the cottage he ran to the woodpile and grabbed his axe. Jack began to chop the great vine.
The giant, seeing what Jack was doing, called out in a great thunderous voice: “Boy, I offer you a solemn bargain. Return the harp and I will never again trouble you. The hen and gold rightly belong to you but the harp was made by my grandfather’s grandfather and is my most cherished possession. It will not sing for you, but will only cry sadly at missing its master.”
Jack, realizing he was wrong to have stolen the harp, agreed. The giant let down a long rope which Jack tied to the harp. The giant then hauled up the harp and returned to his castle. Jack finished chopping down the soaring vine so that he would never again succumb to the temptation to climb it.
The giant was true to his bargain and was never seen by Jack again. Jack and his mother lived happily ever after.