Several months ago now, Jacob wanted me to tell him a story like Daddy does before he puts him to bed. My husband usually just makes up something involving Elmo, the Count, or some character he knows. But my imagination isn’t that great, especially around 10 pm when my brain is fried, so I told him the first children’s story that came to mind—Jack and the Beanstalk.
Except, I couldn’t ever remember what happened in the middle. Not such a bad thing, I guess, since it made the story shorter. In my abbreviated version, Jack climbs up the bean stalk, the giant smells him and says “Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman” (which Jacob always enthusiastically recites), the giant chases him, Jack climbs down the beanstalk, he cuts the stalk at the bottom with an ax, the giant falls and dies, and Jack goes back home to his mommy. I remembered he somehow got rich out of the whole deal but couldn’t remember the details, so I left them out. Again, for the sake of time.
So, several nights and months later (the story is always requested), I decided to just look it up online. The first trip, he steals two gold coins. He and his mom use it to buy food, but it eventually runs out. He climbs up again and steals a hen that lays golden eggs. Then they were rich, but he gets bored, so he makes a third trip. This time, he steals a harp that plays beautiful music. The giant chases him down this time but falls to his death after Jack cuts down the beanstalk. The hen continues to lay golden eggs, so Jack and his mother are set for life.
Speaking of details, I also forgot the giant said, after the “fee fi fo fum” line, “Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.” Probably not a great one to recite to a 3-year-old I’m trying to get to sleep anyway. And, as far as adding the details, will I insert this into the nightly ritual? Uh…no.