|Jack and the Beanstalk, the PC version.
by James Finn Garner
(copyright, all rights reserved)
|Once upon a time, on a little farm, there lived a boy named Jack. He lived on the farm with his mother, and they were very excluded from the
normal circles of economic activity. This cruel reality kept them in straits of direness, until one day Jack's mother told him to take the family cow
into town and sell it for as much as he could.
Never mind the thousands of gallons of milk they had stolen from her! Never mind the hours of pleasure their bovine companion had provided!
And forget about the manure they had appropriated for their garden! She was now just another piece of property to them. Jack, who didn't realize
that nonhuman animals have as many rights as human animals -- perhaps even more -- did as his mother asked.
On his way to town, Jack met an old magic vegetarian, who warned Jack of the dangers of eating beef and dairy products.
"Oh, I'm not going to eat this cow," said Jack. "I'm going to take her into town and sell her."
"But by doing that, you'll just perpetuate the cultural mythos of beef, ignoring the negative impact of the cattle industry on our ecology
and the health and social problems that arise from meat consumption. But you look too simple to be able to make these connections,
my boy. I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll offer a trade of your cow for these three magic beans, which have as much protein as that entire cow
but none of the fat or sodium."
Jack made the trade gladly and took the beans home to his mother. When he told her about the deal he had made, she grew very
upset. She used to think her son was merely a conceptual rather than a linear thinker, but now she was sure that he was downright
differently abled. She grabbed the three magic beans and threw them out the window in disgust. Later that day, she attended her first
support group meeting with Mothers of Storybook Children.
The next morning, Jack stuck his head out the window to see if the sun had risen in the east again (he was beginning to see a pattern
in this). But outside the window the beans had grown into a huge stalk that reached through the clouds. Because he no longer had a
cow to milk in the morning, Jack climbed the bean stalk into the sky.
At the top, above the clouds, he found a huge castle. It was not only big, but it was built to larger-than-average scale, as if it were the
home of someone who just happened to be a giant. Jack entered the castle and heard beautiful music wafting through the air. He
followed this sound until he found its source: a golden harp that played music without being touched. Next to this self-actualized harp
was a hen sitting on a pile of golden eggs.
Now, the prospect of easy wealth and mindless entertainment appealed to Jack's bourgeois sensibilities, so he picked up both the
harp and the hen and started to run for the front door. Then he heard thundering footsteps and a booming voice
"FEE, FIE, FOE, FUM,
"I smell the blood of an English person!
"I'd like to learn about his culture and views on life!
"And share my own perspectives in an open and generous way!"
Unfortunately, Jack was too crazed with greed to accept the giant's offer of cultural interchange. "It's only a trick,"
thought Jack. "Besides, what's a giant doing with such fine, delicate things? He must have stolen them from
somewhere else, so I have every right to take them." His frantic justifications -- remarkable for someone with his
overtaxed mental resources -- revealed a terrible callousness to the giant's personal rights. Jack apparently was
a complete sizeist, who thought that all giants were clumsy, knowledge-impaired, and exploitable.
When the giant saw Jack with the magic harp and the hen, he asked, "Why are you taking what belongs to me?"
Jack knew he couldn't outrun the giant, so he had to think fast. He blurted out, "I'm not taking them, my friend. I
am merely placing them in my stewardship so that they can be properly managed and brought to their fullest
potential. Pardon my bluntness, but you giants are too simple in the head and don't know how to manage your
resources properly. I'm just looking out for your interests. You'll thank me for this later."
Jack held his breath to see if the bluff would save his skin. The giant sighed heavily and said, "Yes, you are
right. We giants do use our resources foolishly. Why, we can't even discover a new beanstalk before we get so
excited and pick away at it so much that we pull the poor thing right out of the ground!"
Jack's heart sank. He turned and looked out the front door of the castle. Sure enough, the giant had destroyed
the beanstalk. Jack grew frightened and cried, "Now I'm trapped here in the clouds with you forever!"
The giant said, "Don't worry, my little friend. We are strict vegetarians up here, and there are always plenty of
beans to eat. And besides, you won't be alone. Thirteen other men of your size have already climbed up
beanstalks to visit us and stayed."
So Jack resigned himself to his fate as a member of the giant's cloud committee. He didn't miss his mother or
his farm much, because up in the sky there was less work to do and more than enough to eat. And he gradually
learned not to judge people based on their size ever again, except for those shorter than he.