While he was at the market, Jack came across a mysterious looking old man. "You there, boy.", the old man said to Jack. "What are you doing here"
"I've come to sell our cow, sir.", Jack replied. "You see, my mother and I are very poor, and we have no food or money. If I can't sell her, we'll have nothing to eat for our next meal"
"Hmm.", said the old man. "I might be interested in buying her"
"What will you give me for her?", Jack asked excitedly. "A big loaf of bread would be nice, or maybe a few gold coins"
"I'll give you something even better than that.", the old man told him. He reached into the pocket of his cloak and pulled out a handful of beans.
"Beans?", asked Jack. "What good will beans do us"
"Oh, these are no ordinary beans.", the old man informed him. "These are magic beans. They will benefit you far more than any silly loaf or coins would"
"Cool beans!", Jack exclaimed excitedly. Without even stopping to consider the utter foolishness and sheer improbability of what he was doing, Jack said, "I'll take them"
"Good.", said the old man. He dropped the beans into Jack's outstretched hand, and took the cow for himself.
As Jack walked back towards him home, he thought to himself, "Won't mother be proud when she sees what a great bargain I've gotten for our cow"
But as it turned out, Jack's thoughts were completely wrong. When he arrived home and his mother realized what he had done, she was furious.
"Beans?", she yelled. "What good will these beans do us? They won't even serve a full meal!" Frustrated and angry, she threw the beans back at Jack and sent him to bed with no supper.
Crestfallen, Jack went up to his room, sat on his bed, and threw the beans on the floor. He was beginning to think that the old man had swindled him. "She's right.", jack said to himself. "What good will these beans do"
"Well, you might've asked that a little earlier.", said an unfamiliar voice.
Jack sat up, surprised. "Who said that"
"Down here, genius.", came another voice, still unrecognized. Perplexed, Jack looked to the floor, wanting to see who was talking to him. "You can't be down there.", he said to whoever it was, "Because all that's down there is those useless beans"
"Who you calling useless, buddy?", came the reply. "Can't you see? We are the beans"
"What?", Jack asked, still confused.
A deep, collective sigh was heard. The voice came again, dripping with sarcasm. "Look, remember the old guy told you that the beans were magic? Well, normal beans can't talk, can they"
"No, I suppose not.", Jack replied.
"So we're magic beans, and we're talking!", the beans clarified. At this remark, Jack, who was not the brightest bulb in the shed, finally understood. "I get it!", he cried. "But the man also said that having you was much better than having food or money. How is that so"
"Because we can tell you how to get rich!", the beans explained.
"I'm listening!", Jack said, jumping at the chance to redeem himself for his earlier failure. "What do I have to do"
"You see kid, there's a giant who lives with his wife on the other side of town. Filthy rich, but a real mean guy. Likes to eat humans. Terrible person. Anyway, we were thinking that if you were able to slay the giant, then you could have all his riches"
"Hey, that's a good idea! Thanks, beans"
But the beans' reply was lost on Jack; he was already out the door and on his way over to the giants' house.
It wasn't long before Jack arrived at the giants' house. Carefully, and remembering all of the terrible things that the beans had told him about the giant, he snuck secretively into the house and hid himself, foolishly, in the oven. There he sat, waiting for the opportune moment to strike; it was at this time that Jack found himself wishing for a weapon or tool of some sort with which to slay the giant.
Suddenly, Jack heard a loud voice that rumbled like a thousand thunders. He knew it must be the giant's. "FEE, FIE, FOE, FUM! I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN! BE HE ALIVE OR BE HE DEAD, I'LL GIVE HIM SOME MONEY AND A LOAF OF BREAD"
That puzzled Jack. Had he heard correctly? Had the giant really said he would freely give Jack money and food? Cautiously, Jack climbed out of the oven to meet the giant and inquire upon what had been said.
"Wait...did you just say you were going to give me stuff?", he asked.
Apparently nonplussed by Jack's uninvited presence, the giant shrugged. "Well, sure, if you'll accept it.", he stated, speaking in a much lower and less intimidating volume.
"But why?", asked Jack. "I'd heard you were mean and terrible"
The giant shook his head. "I get that a lot, but nah, not me. You see, you're not the first human to come here like this, and generally when that happens they're poor and in need of stuff"
"That's right.", said Jack.
The giant continued. "I thought so." He reached into his wallet. "So, do you think a hundred thousand dollars will be enough? It's the lowest bill I have on me at the present"
Jack gasped in awe, taking the bill. "Why yes, certainly! Thank you, kind sir"
"No prob, kid.", the giant replied. "See you later."
Jack returned to his home. He was glad that the giant was not, in fact, evil, and he was certainly overjoyed that he and his mother now had more than enough money to live off of. But there was still the question of why the beans had lied to him.
"Beans!", he shouted, entering his room. "I need to talk to you guys"
"Did you slay the giant?", the beans wondered.
"No, as a matter of fact I didn't.", Jack stated boldly. "In fact, the giant turned out to be a very kind man, and he gave me money to live on"
The beans gasped. "He did? No...! Our plan is ruined"
"Plan?", asked Jack. "What plan"
The beans were cringing in fear. "It wasn't us, we promise!", they whined. "We were working for that mysterious old man at the beginning of the story! He made us do it"
"That's right!", said the mysterious old man, who, for narratively convenient purposes, had suddenly showed up in Jack's room. "I sent the beans to trick you and send you to the giant. It was all part of my evil plan!" The old man then preseded with an evil laugh, long and loud.
"Wait a second...", said Jack, beginning to piece things together. "I know that voice! Let's see who this mysterious old man really is!" He reached over and pulled on the man's head. As it turned out, it wasn't a head at all, but a mask! And underneath the mask.
"You're our landlord!", Jack exclaimed.
"That's right!", the landlord admitted. "It was me all along! I took the cow because your rent has been overdue for months and you wouldn't pay me! And I sent you to slay the giant because he has been one of my biggest business competitors for years, and with him out of the way I could be even richer! It was the perfect plan...and I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling giant"
So, the police arrested the landlord, and the talking beans all went their separate ways. Jack and his mother used the money to buy not one, but several loaves of bread, and they both lived happily ever after together.