Once there was a young man named Jack. He lived with his mother on a small farm at the foot of the Foggy Mountains.
Jack and his mother were very poor. Their only way of making money was selling the milk from their cow, Bess.
One morning, Jack's mother woke him up early. It was still dark outside. She was crying.
"Jack, wake up! Go to the market today and sell our cow, Bess."
"But why?" asked Jack, yawning.
"We need money to fix our house. There are holes in the roof. The windows are broken. For heaven's sake, we have no front door. Winter is coming soon. If we don't fix the house, the cold will kill us!"
Jack packed his bag and fetched Bess from the barn.
As he was walking out the gate, he heard his mother shout: "She is worth at least five gold coins! Don’t sell her for less!"
When Jack was half way to the market, he met an old man.
"Good morning, my boy!" said the old man. "Where are you going today?"
"Good morning, sir," replied Jack. "I'm going to the market to sell my cow. Her name is Bess."
"She is a beautiful cow," said the man. "I will buy Bess, and I will give you a very good deal!"
“How much will you pay for her? I won’t take less than five gold coins!” said Jack.
“I don't have five gold coins," whispered the man. "But I have these five black beans. These beans are magic beans! They are worth more than gold! If you take these beans, you will be richer than the richest man in the world.”
Jack thought about his mother. He thought about how happy she would be if they were rich. They could fix the roof, the windows, and the front door. Maybe they could buy a new cow!
“Okay," said Jack. "You’ve got a deal. Give me the beans!"
Jack was very excited. He ran home and showed his mother the beans. But instead of being happy, she was furious.
“You foolish boy! You traded our only cow for a handful of beans?!”
She took the beans and threw them out the window. Then she sat down beside the fire and cried.
Jack was devastated. He shut himself in his bedroom. He felt so stupid. They no longer had a cow, and now they were poorer than before. What a disaster! And it was his fault!
The next morning when Jack opened the curtains, he saw something very strange.
In the same place where his mother had thrown the beans, there was a giant, green beanstalk. It stretched from the ground, up, up, up… all the way to the clouds.
“The beans really are magic!” whispered Jack. "The old man was telling the truth!"
Need help? How to download audio to your device