Writing Tips

Day 8

Rewrite a fairy tale from the bad guy’s point of view.

Jack and the Beanstalk has always disturbed me. There was something about the story that just seemed wrong and off but it wasn’t until much later in life that I finally understood what it was. Jack was a thief and a murderer.

The giant, whom we never learn his name, comes home from a hard day’s work. He finds someone has broken into his home and subsequently steals a bag of gold from him. Next day, it’s his goose that lays a golden egg. On the third day, he finally catches the thief in the act, stealing his golden harp. Did you ever wonder why the harp yelled out to the giant for help? Does this seem like the actions of someone wanting to be “freed”? When the giant chases the thief, he is then murdered when Jack cuts down the beanstalk.

What moral is this telling to our children? It’s okay to break into someone’s house, steal their things and then kill them if they object but as long as you’re poor and they’re not?  That if someone is different from you, then they’re fair game? The giant was a giant. That’s it. That was the sole difference between them. Sure, he had the line of “Fe, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.” However, that didn’t mean it was okay to break into his home. Jack was in the wrong and the giant was well within his rights to protect his property.

And speaking of the giant, why didn’t he have a name? Well, you don’t want to sympathize with the “bad guy”, right? As soon as he receives a name, he’s humanized. You no longer feel quite as compelled to root for Jack.

This is my story about Jack and the Beanstalk told from the giant’s point of view.

Working the field was hard, dirty work. Andrew didn’t complain though. The work needed to be done and he was the best one for the job.

The setting sun told him it was time to go home. He knew cheese, meat, and bread would be waiting for him. His stomach grumbled at the thought.

Wearily, he pushed open his front door, the loud creak echoed through his home. He reminded himself to oil the hinges, the same reminder he given for the past month.  Fixing the door just wasn’t a priority after a long day. He only wanted to sit and eat.

Sniffing, he realized something was wrong. There was a strange smell in the air. An Englishmen! One of the downworlders had been in his home. Maybe was still in his home!

“Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!” He bellowed, hoping to scare him into the open.  Squinting at the floor, he saw nothing move. Englishmen were tiny creatures, no bigger than a mouse to be sure, although more crafty and devious.

Tired after working hard, he sat down to his supper and barely finished eating before his head began to droop. Not wanting to fall asleep so soon, he pulled out several bags of gold and counted them. It soothed him to see his gold.

Soon, his eyelids felt heavy, impossible to hold up. They drooped down and he nodded off.

The next morning, he woke. Confused, he stared at his kitchen table. For a minute he couldn’t remember what happened. As he glanced around, he noticed something wrong, something missing. One of his bags of gold was gone! That Englishman had stolen his gold. He slammed his fist on the table. How dare he!

Quickly, he shoved the remaining bags of gold into his chest and locked it up tight.  Too angry to even eat breakfast, he stomped off to the fields, muttering the whole way.

Another back breaking day finally ended. He trudged home slowly, aching and sore from sleeping at the kitchen table and from stooping over most of the day. As his home came into view, he quickened his pace. Was that Englishman back?

Flinging the door wide open, he took a deep breath. Sure enough, the fresh scent of the intruder assaulted his nose. Wanting to frighten him into never coming back, he boomed,

“Fee-fi-fo-fum,

I smell the blood of an Englishman

Be he alive, or be he dead

I’ll have his bones to grind my bread.”

He waited, wondering if he’d see the nasty little intruder. Nothing stirred. As before, Andrew sat at the kitchen table and ate his supper. This time, he didn’t want to fall asleep at the table. He walked over to the pen he had set up in his den. Sitting on the couch, he leaned over and said to the goose within the pen “Lay!” and the goose laid a golden egg.

Petting the goose, he praised it for doing such a good job. Within minutes, Andrew felt sleep sneak upon him. He stretched out on the couch and passed out.

Morning came bright and early. And quiet. Much too quiet. He shot upwards and rushed to the goose’s pen. She was gone! That dirty, thieving Englishman had stolen his goose. He was going to savagely beat that Englishman if he ever got his hands on him.

Stomping to his bedroom, Andrew quickly changed, brushed his teeth and rushed out the door to the fields. He spent all day in the blistering hot sun.

This time, he rushed home, wondering if the thief had dared to break in his house again. The scent of that bloody Englishman drifted through the air. Furious and shaking in anger, he yelled out, this time meaning it,

“Fee-fi-fo-fum,

I smell the blood of an Englishman

Be he alive, or be he dead

I’ll have his bones to grind my bread.”

If he got his hands on that thief, he would grind his bones for his bread. Although it sounded pretty disgusted to actually do. As per usual, he didn’t see anything out of place. Deciding it was time to bait a trap for the thief, he brought out his golden harp.

“Sing,” he commanded her. Her lovely voice filled the air, the sweetest song ever. Exhausted, he slumped down into the kitchen chair and soon began to snore.

“Master! Help, help me, Master!” The lovely voice woke him from a deep sleep. The thief was stealing his harp!

Leaping to his feet, his chair crashing onto the floor, he raced after the Englishman. The little guy was quicker than he should’ve been, especially while carrying the harp.

Several feet outside of the castle, Andrew saw the bolt hole the thief had been using. It was the top of a beanstalk poking through the solid clouds. The little man jumped down the hole, racing along the beanstalk. Andrew followed.

Within a few minutes, he felt the stalk shake. He looked down and saw the thief standing at the base, whacking the beanstalk with an ax. He tried to hurry up, tried to race downwards, but he couldn’t move fast enough.

The beanstalk toppled over and with it, Andrew fell. His last thought was the realization that this thief was also a murderer.

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