JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
' 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 ! 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 Beanstalk 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 axe.'
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.
The Giant breaks his Neck.
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.