"Now, my dear, with your leave I am going up to my room to finish the story I am reading. If you want me, call for me."
"First," answered the Giant, "bring me my money bags, that I may count my golden pieces before I sleep." The Giantess obeyed. She went and soon returned with two large bags over her shoulders, which she put down by her husband.
"There," she said: "that is all that is left of the knight's money.
When you have spent it you must go and take another baron's castle."
"That he shan't, if I can help it," thought Jack.
The Giant, when his wife was gone, took out heaps and heaps of golden pieces, and counted them, and put them in piles, till he was tired of the amusement. Then he swept them all back into their bags, and leaning back in his chair fell fast asleep, snoring so loud that no other sound was audible.
Jack stole softly out of the wardrobe, and taking up the bags of money (which were his very own, because the Giant had stolen them from his father), he ran off, and with great difficulty descending the Beanstalk, laid the bags of gold on his mother's table. She had just returned from town, and was crying at not finding Jack. "There, mother, I have brought you the gold that my father lost."
"Oh, Jack! you are a very good boy, but I wish you would not risk your precious life in the Giant's castle. Tell me how you came to go there again."
And Jack told her all about it.
Jack's mother was very glad to get the money, but she did not like him to run any risk for her.
But after a time Jack made up his mind to go again to the Giant's castle.
So he climbed the Beanstalk once more, and blew the horn at the Giant's gate. The Giantess soon opened the door; she was very stupid, and did not know him again,. but she stopped a minute before she took him in.
She feared another robbery; but Jack's fresh face looked so innocent that she could not resist him, and so she bade him come in, and again hid him away in the wardrobe.
By and by the Giant came home, and as soon as he had crossed the threshold he roared out:
"Fe, fa, li-fo-fum,
I smell the breath of an Englishman.
Let him be alive or let him be dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."
"You stupid old Giant," said his wife, "you only smell a nice sheep, which I have grilled for your dinner.'
And the Giant sat down, and his wife brought up a whole sheep for his dinner. When he had eaten it all up, he said:
"Now bring me my harp, and I will have a little music while you take your walk."
The Giantess obeyed, and returned with a beautiful harp. The framework was all sparkling with diamonds and rubies, and the strings were all of gold.
"This is one of the nicest things I took from the knight," Said the Giant. "I am very fond of music, and my harp is a faithful servant."
So he drew the harp toward him and said:
And the harp played a very soft, sad air.
"Play something merrier!" said the Giant.
And the harp played a merry tune.
"Now play me a lullaby," roared the Giant; and the harp played a sweet lullaby, to the sound of which its master fell asleep.
Then Jack stole softly out of the wardrobe, and went into the huge kitchen to see if the Giantess had gone out; he found no one there, so he went to the door and opened it softly, for he thought he could not do so with the harp in his hand.
Then he entered the Giant's room and seized the harp and ran away with it; but as he jumped over the threshold the harp called out: "MASTER!
And the Giant woke up.
With a tremendous roar he sprang from his seat, and in two strides had reached the door.
But Jack was very nimble. He fled like lightning with the harp, talking to it as he went (for he saw it was a fairy), and telling it he was the son of its old master, the knight.
Still the Giant came on so fast that he was quite close to poor Jack, and had stretched out his great hand to catch him. But, luckily, just at that moment he stepped upon a loose stone, stumbled, and fell flat on the ground, where he lay at his full length.
This accident gave Jack time to get on the Bean stalk and hasten down it; but just as he reached their own garden he beheld the Giant descending after him.
"Mother! mother!" cried Jack, "make haste and give me the ax."
His mother ran to him with a hatchet in her hand, and Jack with one tremendous blow cut through all the Beanstalks except one.
"Now, mother, stand out of the way!" said he. Jack's mother shrank back, and it was well she did so, for just as the Giant took hold of the last branch of the Beanstalk, Jack cut the stem quite through and darted from the spot.
Down came the Giant with a terrible crash, and as he fell on his head, he broke his neck, and lay dead at the feet of the woman he had so much injured.
Before Jack and his mother had recovered from their alarm and agitation, a beautiful lady stood before them.
"Jack," said she, "you have acted like a brave knight's son, and deserve to have your inheritance restored to you. Dig a grave and bury the Giaint, and then go and kill the Giantess."
"But," said Jack, "I could not kill any one unless I were fighting with him; and I could not draw my sword upon a woman. Moreover, the Giantess was very kind to me."
The Fairy smiled on Jack.
"I am very much pleased with your generous feeling," she said.
"Nevertheless, return to the castle, and act as you will find needful."
Jack asked the Fairy if she would show him the way to the castle, as the Beanstalk was now down. She told him that she would drive him there in her chariot, which was drawn by two peacocks. Jack thanked her, and sat down in the chariot with her.
The Fairy drove him a long distance round, till they reached a village which lay at the bottom of the mill. Here they found a number of miserable-looking men assembled. The Fairy stopped her carriage and addressed them:
"My friends," said she, "the cruel Giant who oppressed you and ate up all your flocks and herds is dead, and this young gentleman was the means of your being delivered from him, and is the son of your kind old master, the knight."
The men gave a loud cheer at these words, and pressed forward to say that they would serve Jack as faithfully as they had served his father.