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"Fee, Fie, Fo, Fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."
"Wife, I smell fresh meat. There is another boy in the house. I must have him for my supper."
His wife replied, "It must be a piece of meat the crows have left on top of the house."
While she was preparing the supper that night the giant was ill-tempered and impatient, frequently striking his wife and always scolding her for the loss of the hen and the money bags. When he had finished his enormous supper, he wanted something for amusement, as before. So he called to his wife, "Bring me my harp that I may have a little amusement while you are clearing up the dishes." The giantess obeyed and brought in a beautiful harp whose framework sparkled with diamonds and other precious jewels, and whose strings were all of gold.
"This is the finest thing I took from the knight," said the giant. "Its music is delightful, and it is a faithful servant to me."
So he drew the harp till it sat facing him, and then he said, "Play!"
And the harp played a very soft, sad air.
"Play something merrier," said the giant.
Then the harp played so wild and rollicking a tune that the giant laughed aloud, and could hardly keep himself from dancing.
"Now play me a sweet lullaby," roared the giant, and the harp played so soothingly and softly that its master fell sound asleep.
No sooner had the snores of the giant drowned the sweet voice of the harp than Jack crept softly out of the boiler, looked through the kitchen, opened the door softly and returned to the giant's room. He caught up the harp and ran out of the room, but as he leaped across the threshold the harp called out in frightened tones, "Master! Master!"
The giant started from his sleep with a tremendous roar and flew in pursuit of Jack. But Jack ran like lightning, talking all the time to the harp, telling it he was the son of its old master, and quieting its fears by promising that no harm should befall it; for the harp was really a fairy, as Jack had suspected. Still the giant followed so fast that he was only a step behind Jack, who certainly would have been caught had not a loose stone thrown the unwieldy fellow full length on the ground. Jack took advantage of this, reached the beanstalk, and was well on his way down before the giant had discovered what had become of him.
THE GIANT'S DEATH
MOTHER, mother," cried Jack, rushing furiously into the house. "Quick, give me
His mother, though frightened very much, handed
him a hatchet, and with a single bound he was out
of the house, chopping furiously at the beanstalk.
Soon all the strands were severed except one.
just then Jack cut the last strand in two and darted from the spot. Down came the giant with a terrible crash, landing on his head and rolling dead to the feet of the woman whom he had robbed so shamefully. Before the mother could recover from her astonishment and Jack from his delight, the beautiful lady again stood before them.
"Jack," said she, "you have acted like the brave son of a brave knight, and now your inheritance is restored to you; for the giantess has just been killed in an uprising of your father's people, who will hail you as their new master."
Then the fairy explained to Jack's mother all that had happened; and charging Jack to be dutiful to his mother and to follow his father's example, she disappeared forever.
Children in many countries have listened to this exciting story and now there is hardly an educated man or woman who does not like to recall it. If you say only "Fee, Fie, Fo, Fum" to a man, straightway he laughs as he thinks of the stupid old giant, the good fairy and brave little Jack. And he was brave, wasn't he?
You see he knew his mother thought him a foolish boy to trade his fine cow for the beans, however beautiful they may have been; and he thought he must do something to help the mother who had cared for him so lovingly. That made him brave. Brave boys may feel afraid, but they never show it. They cover up their alarm and go out into dark places and do their duty without a quiver. When we grow up we find that sometimes we have to struggle with things that are worse than Jack's giant; but, like Jack, we hide our fear and win our victories.
BED IN SUMMER
By Robert Louis Stevenson
IN winter I get up at night
I have to go to bed and see
And does it not seem hard to you,
THE GOOSE THAT LAID THE
ONCE upon a time there lived a man who had a handsome Goose that every day laid a large golden egg. The man thought the Goose must have much gold inside of her, and so one day he wrung her neck, and found that she was just like any other Goose. Thinking to find wealth, he lost the little he had.
This fable teaches that every one should be content with what he has, lest in striving for more he lose everything.
JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
HEN Arthur was king of England there lived close to Land's End, in the county of Cornwall, a worthy farmer who had an only son named Jack. He was not only a strong and lively boy, but had a sharp wit as well, so that what he could not do by force and strength he accomplished by cunning devices. His great delight was in hearing or reading stories of the fairies, giants and witches; but more than all, he loved to hear his father talk of the great deeds of the brave knights of King Arthur's Round Table. At running, jumping and wrestling, he far outdid any of the boys of his neighborhood, for if he could not beat them by main strength he was always ready with some quick-witted scheme that would defeat them. Jack's only real work was to tend the sheep, but while doing this he would spend most of his time lying on the grass thinking of himself as a knight in armor, and planning the wonderful battles and sieges in which he would engage when he became a man.
Saint Michael's Mount, in Cornwall, is a great rock which rises out of the sea some distance from the mainland. In those days a huge giant, eighteen feet in height and three yards around, lived upon the Mount and kept all the neighboring towns and villages in terror. His home was in a gloomy cave