Transcript

Are you looking for a way to level up your English? Have you tried reading, but you always get bored, or find it too hard?

Then you should try my new book! Easy Stories in English is a collection of 10 short stories, with vocabulary descriptions and images. You can get it in four levels: beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced. You can even reread the same stories in each level, and really level up your vocabulary.

To get the book, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Book.

Take your English to the next level today!

[introduction music]

Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.

I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for intermediate learners. The name of the story is Jack and the Beanstalk. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Jack. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Jack. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.

So, on the 21st of August, I will finally be moving out of my flat in Bath and moving in with my girlfriend in Cornwall! It’s exciting and kind of scary. But mostly exciting.

To be honest, I’ve basically already been living with my girlfriend. I come up here for four or five weeks at a time and really only go back to Bath for doctor’s appointments and things like that. And to pick up my post.

So this is really just a formality. It’s something we have to do, but really I’ve already moved in. However, it will be nice to have all of my stuff here. And it means that some nice decorations and stuff that I didn’t bring before can finally be placed in this house, and it will really feel like I live here!

In particular, I have a statue of a golden monkey, a wooden golden monkey, that I inherited from my grandparents. It is probably one of the strangest things they owned, but I loved it and I was so happy when I was the one who got the golden monkey. So I need to decide where the golden monkey is going to go…

Anyway, the other day, me and my girlfriend booked a moving van. So we’re getting a van to come and pick up all my stuff. So that’s good, because I have, you know, a big desk, a big mirror and lots of boxes of belongings to take, although not too much.

It feels like there’s still so much for me to do, but also, not that much, you know? When I look at people moving after 10 or 20 years in a place and they have boxes and boxes of books and DVDs and stuff like that, I think, ‘Phew! I really don’t have that much to move.’ But it’s boring stuff. It’s packing, and I hate that kind of stuff.

Still, I am really excited to be moving into this new chapter of my life!

So I’ll be returning to Bath about a week before the moving date to take stuff to the dump—so that’s a place you take old things when you want to throw them away. So I have to throw away an old mattress, some old clothes with holes in them and so on. I have to pack up everything I’m taking, and I have to do a really good clean. Because I want my deposit back, right?

The deposit is—in the UK, it’s usually about £500—money that you give to the landlord or the letting agency when you move into a flat, and then at the end, if everything is clean and undamaged, they give you the deposit back. So I really want my deposit back! So I’m gonna do my best to clean.

Black mould (Nordomerll CC BY-SA 4.0)

But if you’ve been following the podcast for a long time, you will know that that flat leaks a lot in the rain, it gets really wet inside when it rains a lot, so that’s gonna make it really hard because there’s a lot of mould, like black mould. Really horrible stuff.

So I’m… You know, it’s not our responsibility to clean away the black mould. It’s the landlord’s responsibility. So if they try and get mad that I didn’t get rid of all the mould, I won’t be happy. Um, but I’m gonna, you know, seriously clean everything else and, yeah… All of that fun stuff.

And I suppose while I’m in Bath I’ll try and really enjoy my last week in the city and go out and do things. I’ll probably come back in the future, of course, but you know, it’s been a big part of my life. I grew up in Bath and, sure I went to university, but after graduating I came back to Bath and lived there for a few years, and then, even when I lived in Bristol, Bristol is really close to Bath, so it is really a city that’s close to my heart, and I honestly believe it’s one of the nicest cities to live in the in the UK. It’s got such a beautiful balance between history and culture and food and shopping. It’s just got everything you want, really. It’s only a shame how expensive it is!

So yeah. I’m moving to the countryside, woo!

OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.

A mansion (UpstateNYer CC BY-SA 3.0)

A mansion is a big, expensive house where a rich person lives. Most people can’t afford mansions. I certainly can’t afford a mansion!

Glory is a feeling of something being really important, powerful or beautiful. For example, when people talk about how great things were in the past, they are talking about the ‘glory days’. Some people might talk about the glory days of English football, as we haven’t won a world cup in very long. You might also look at an old house that was once beautiful and speak of its ‘former glory’.

A goose (Mysha Shorif Khan CC BY-SA 4.0)

A goose, and the plural is geese, is a white bird with a long neck that usually lives in the water. Geese honk, [honks], and they can be cooked and eaten. I think geese are very cute.

Someone playing the harp (Fred Ernst CC BY-SA 2.0)

A harp is a big wooden instrument with long strings. To play a harp, you sit down and run your fingers over the strings. Harps sound like this: [sound of harp playing].

A giant is a magical creature that is very, very big. Basically, a giant is a very big person. In Harry Potter, Hagrid is half-giant. In fairy tales, giants are very scary, and they sometimes eat humans.

A two-headed giant

A witch is an evil woman, a very bad woman, who does magic. Witches go [cackle]. They have black cats as pets, they wear big black hats and they fly on broomsticks. In Harry Potter, Hermione is a very successful witch. The musical Wicked, which is one of my favourite musicals, is about witches.

A witch casting a spell

A beanstalk is part of a bean plant. When you grow beans, there is a green bit in the middle that the beans hang from, and this is the beanstalk. Beanstalks grow very fast, and they are tall.

Jack climbing a giant beanstalk

An axe is a big tool that you use to cut down trees. It has a long handle and a large blade. Nowadays, we don’t use axes so much because we have machines to cut trees for us. Axes can also be used as weapons. For example, Gimli in Lord of the Rings uses axes, and so does Jack Torrance in the film The Shining.

When you chop something down, you cut it until it falls down. For example, you might use an axe to chop down a tree so that you can use the wood for a fire. To be honest, it’s really mainly trees that you chop down. I’ve never chopped down a tree myself.

Axes (タクナワン CC BY-SA 3.0)

When you stomp, you walk very loudly, you hit your feet on the ground very loudly. People stomp when they are angry. If you stomp around your house, you might damage something.

When you want to make something into a powder, or into lots of small pieces, you grind it, and the past tense is ground. For example, sometimes when you buy salt or pepper, it is in big pieces. To put it on food, you need to grind it first. When you want to make a cup of coffee, and you have coffee beans, you have to grind them first. You can make flour by grinding wheat.

Enchant is another way of saying cast a spell on someone, or something. If I was a witch, I would enchant my shoes so that they always fit me, and I would enchant my hair so that it never got wet. ‘Enchant’ usually has a positive meaning, and it doesn’t just have to be magic. Maybe someone is so beautiful that they are enchanting, and you just can’t take your eyes off them. Or maybe there’s a beautiful little island that you go on holiday to that is just enchanting.

If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support me on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.

A big thank-you to my new patron: Domenico Zinzi. Thank you so much, Domenico. Your support really means a lot to me.

OK, so listen and enjoy!

Jack and the Beanstalk

Once upon a time, there was a young man called Jack, who lived with his elderly parents in an old mansion that was falling apart. It had once been a great building, filled with gold, servants and fine food, but now it only had dust, spider’s webs and hard bread.

Just like the mansion, Jack’s parents were past their former glory, but whenever Jack asked them how they had achieved such a wonderful life in the past, they were always unclear. Jack wasn’t sure if his parents had gotten the money from their parents, worked hard to earn it or stolen it from a rich person.

Still, this didn’t stop them talking endlessly about the ‘glory days’.

‘Oh!’ Jack’s mother would cry. ‘I remember the days when we were swimming in gold.’

‘Yes!’ cried Jack’s father. ‘We had a magic goose that laid diamond eggs.’

‘And we had that wonderful silver harp that played itself and sang to us all day!’

Jack could never quite believe these stories, and many times he asked, ‘How did you lose the diamond goose and the silver harp? Did somebody take them away?’

Then Jack’s parents would look scared and say, ‘Oh, it was that awful giant! That monster stole our lovely things!’

‘A giant?’ said Jack. ‘But giants aren’t real!’

And then his parents would scratch their heads and ask when dinner would be ready.

So things continued in this way. Jack’s parents complained about aches and pains in their back, and when they needed to eat, they sold a piece of furniture, or one of the animals.

But the mansion only contained so much former glory, and the furniture and animals gradually began to run out.

Whenever Jack suggested he get a job, his parents cried, ‘No, dear boy! You must stay and look after us. We were heroes, you know. We deserve to be looked after!’

So one day, all they had left to sell was their cow, Melisande. Of course, Melisande was a ridiculous name for a cow. Why give such an elegant French name to a farm animal, when ‘Betsy’ or ‘Buttercup’ would be just fine?

But despite the cow’s elegant name, Jack had grown close to the animal, and he was very sad to sell her.

‘Go and sell her!’ cried his mother. ‘I think she’s more Smellisande than Melisande, anyway. She wouldn’t taste nice. Go and sell her and buy some nice cheese or something!’

So Jack led Melisande into town to sell her, wondering what they would do the next time they needed food. There would be nothing to sell, and Jack would have to get a job. But his parents had never sent him to school, and he had no skills, apart from looking after his parents.

When he arrived at the market, a strange old woman with nails as long as Jack’s hand approached him.

‘Dear boy,’ she said, ‘you look lost. You are worried about the future, yes?’

‘How did you know?’ said Jack, amazed.

‘Ah, I know more than you can imagine… But that is not important. You want to sell your cow, yes? I will trade her for these.’

She held out a handful of beans.

‘Oh,’ said Jack, disappointed. ‘Beans? I could buy a lot more than that with the money I’ll get for Mel.’

‘Not just any beans, boy!’

The woman waved her hand over the beans, and they shone strangely in the light.

‘Are you a witch?’ said Jack nervously.

‘These are magic beans, boy,’ said the woman, ignoring his question. ‘Plant them tonight, and in the morning… Well, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. But just know that these beans will grant you a golden future.’

Jack hesitated. He needed to find a way out of his desperate life, but was this witch with her ugly smile and knife-like nails really the answer?

But he had to try something, so he said, ‘Fine. But if I don’t get something really magical, I’m coming back to get Melisande.’

‘Yes, yes, of course,’ said the witch, waving a hand.

So he said a tearful goodbye to the cow, took the beans and went home. Jack expected that his parents would scream at him for being stupid and not selling Melisande for cheese, but instead they were thrilled.

‘Oh, you met a witch!’ cried Jack’s father. ‘It’s been so long since… wait, dear, have we ever met a witch?’

Jack’s mother chewed on a fingernail. ‘I… think we have. Gosh, it’s been so long! Anyway, Jack, go and plant those beans! Hopefully, a really nice beanstalk will grow, and we’ll have bean pie for supper.’

‘Yes, yes, Mother.’

So Jack planted the beans outside the house, put his parents to bed and went to sleep.

In the morning, he noticed there was less light in his room than usual, and when he went to the window, he saw why. Overnight, a beanstalk had grown, and it was huge! It rose above him like a tower, thick as an oak, and reached far away into the sky where he couldn’t see.

Jack and his parents were thrilled about the magic beanstalk.

‘This is perfect!’ said Jack. ‘Just imagine how many beans will grow on here. We’ll be able to sell them all year and make plenty of money!’

‘Stupid boy!’ said Jack’s father. ‘Forget about beans. Just think of where that beanstalk leads!’

‘Huh?’

‘Yes!’ said Jack’s mother. ‘It must lead to some magical place where, where… I don’t know, but you have to climb it, obviously, boy!’

‘Climb it?’

Jack had never loved heights, and he couldn’t understand why his parents would want him to climb the beanstalk. He’d only damage it. But they insisted and insisted, and he knew he couldn’t get out of it.

‘Fine,’ said Jack. ‘I’ll climb it, but all I’ll see is clouds. Because that’s what’s in the sky. Clouds.’

So Jack’s parents watched on as he climbed the beanstalk. Surprisingly, it was very easy, as the beanstalk had plenty of strong branches to rest his hands and feet on. He climbed up it quickly, the air growing colder as he reached the top.

When he put his head through the clouds, however, he did not see what he was expecting. Yes, there were clouds, but on top of the clouds was something else: a great big castle with huge walls.

‘I, I… what?!’

Jack climbed down the beanstalk a bit and shouted down to his parents what he had found.

‘Go inside, boy!’ shouted his mother.

‘Why?’ said Jack.

‘Our diamond goose and silver harp must be inside!’ said his father. ‘Yes, the thief must be hiding in that castle!’

‘You don’t even remember who the thief is!’ said Jack.

‘Yes we do!’ said his father. ‘It’s… I don’t know, but they’re very dangerous, so be careful, boy!’

Jack groaned. This was a waste of time. But if he tried climbing down without going into the castle, his parents might try to chop the beanstalk down with him still on it.

So he climbed onto the clouds, finding that they could just about hold his weight, and went to the castle.

‘I’ll just knock on the door and tell the person inside what happened. Once I can confirm they don’t have my parents’ treasures, I’ll be on my way…’

But when Jack reached the castle, there was no door to knock on. The building was huge, with walls that were ten times as tall as him, but the entrance was empty.

‘Hello?’ cried Jack.

He listened for a while, but heard nothing.

‘Maybe nobody lives here,’ he said, as he walked in. ‘I mean, it is a castle in the sky, after all.’

Jack started exploring. There was plenty of comfortable furniture in the castle, except it was all far too big for a human to use. Jack couldn’t even climb onto the chairs he saw.

‘Does a giant live here?’ Jack wondered. ‘No, that’s silly. Giants don’t exist… right?’

He walked around until he heard a honking sound coming from one of the rooms.

‘Is that a goose?’

He walked into the room, and found a small bed to the side. A goose was indeed lying in the bed, honking happily. When the animal saw Jack, she was so shocked that she jumped and laid an egg. Then the goose let out a long, sad honk.

‘Oh dear!’ said Jack, examining the goose. ‘I didn’t mean to frighten you.’

He came closer, and saw that the egg was made of diamond. It didn’t look how Jack expected. It was not smooth, but sharp. Where the goose had laid it, her body was bleeding.

‘I’m so sorry…’ said Jack.

But he was curious, and picked up the egg.

‘Ow!’

The egg was so sharp that it cut his hand, causing him to drop it. But there was no doubt. His parents hadn’t been lying. The goose really did lay diamond eggs.

‘Well then,’ said Jack. ‘I suppose I should take you home.’

He lifted the goose and put her under his arm, and she started honking madly.

‘Shh, shh, it’s OK!’

As Jack left the room, he felt the whole castle shake. Someone was stomping around, and Jack thought he knew who it was.

‘Betsy! Betsy! Are you alright?’ cried a deep, loud voice. It was so loud that it made Jack’s head hurt.

‘I guess giants are real!’ he said. ‘But I’d rather not see one with my own eyes!’

He ran away, but he had forgotten the way out of the castle. He ran through corridors, looking in different rooms, desperately trying to find the way out.

Meanwhile, the giant had reached the goose’s room, and smelt the blood that Jack had left there.

Once again, his voice shook through the castle.

‘Fee, fi, fo, fum!

I smell the blood of an Englishman.

Whether he’s alive, or whether he’s dead

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!’

Jack heard the giant’s words and squeaked like a mouse. He did not want to become somebody’s bread, thank you very much!

Unfortunately, fate was not on Jack’s side, and the next room he ran into was the kitchen. He was just about to leave, when he heard a small voice from the corner.

‘Atlas, is that you stomping around? Please stop. I have a headache.’

Jack walked forward and saw a harp standing by the window. It was beautiful, with golden strings, and it had a young girl’s face made of wood on it. But when Jack came closer, the face began to speak, and he jumped.

‘Oh!’ cried the harp. ‘Who are you? And what are you doing with Betsy?’

‘You’re a magic talking harp!’ said Jack.

The harp blinked twice. ‘Well, yes, yes I am. And you… you’re a thief, aren’t you? Atlas, Atlas, come quick!’

But it was too late. Jack pulled the harp under his other arm and ran out of the kitchen.

‘Help, help! I’m being stolen!’ screamed the harp. ‘Put me down!’

The goose honked and honked, and when Jack wouldn’t put them down, the harp bit his arm.

‘Ow!’ cried Jack. ‘You’re sharp for a piece of wood!’

Another drop of his blood fell on the floor, and the giant stomped towards it. Jack was already gone by then, but it didn’t stop the giant from repeating his warning.

‘Fee, fi, fo, fum!

I smell the blood of an Englishman.

Whether he’s alive, or whether he’s dead

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!’

Jack ran out of the castle, still carrying the goose and the harp, and the giant, Atlas, stomped after him. Jack made the mistake of looking behind him, and wished he hadn’t.

The giant was huge, easily ten times as big as Jack, and he was covered with muscles that were probably perfect for grinding up little boys to make bread.

Jack reached the beanstalk, but it immediately became clear that the harp and the goose were going to slow him down. For a moment, he considered dropping his prizes and climbing to safety, but equally, he knew his parents would just make him go back up.

‘Mum, Dad, I’m coming!’ he shouted, and began to climb down.

‘Fantastic, Jack!’ cried his parents. ‘And you have our goose and our harp! Did anyone try to stop you?’

‘Yes!!’ cried Jack. ‘A horrible giant is chasing me! Please get the axe and chop down the beanstalk, so that he can’t get down!’

‘Oh dear!’ said his mother. ‘A giant? We should hide!’

So instead of getting the axe, Jack’s parents ran inside, and continued to watch from the window. Jack was almost down the beanstalk, but the giant was climbing down, too, and he was much faster than Jack.

Jack jumped down the last few feet, landing safely, and dropped the goose and the harp. He didn’t care if they ran away at this point. He ran to the side of the house and got the axe, and went to chop down the beanstalk.

CHOP!

The axe sank into the beanstalk, but it was so thick that it didn’t fall.

‘Evil English boy!’ shouted the giant. ‘I’ll get you!’

He swung again: CHOP!

This time, the axe sank halfway into the beanstalk, but still, it did not fall.

‘I’m warning you, boy! Each swing of that axe will only make your punishment worse!’

Jack swung the axe a third time: CHOP!

This time, it almost cut entirely through the beanstalk. The plant started to creak, and then came falling down.

‘Aaaaaaarrgghhh!’ cried the giant.

He let go of the beanstalk and fell down. Jack raised his hands above his head, but the giant did not fall on him.

Jack looked up, and realised, too late, what was happening. The giant fell, bringing all his weight down on the old mansion, right where Jack’s parents were watching through the window.

SPLAT!

‘Oh no…’ said Jack.

The mansion disappeared into a cloud of smoke, and when it cleared, it was obvious that nobody could have survived that fall, especially his elderly parents. The goose was honking wildly, and the harp was crying like a baby.

The giant, however, did not look hurt. In fact, when Jack examined him, he was barely even bleeding. He was unconscious, but Jack wondered for how long. And what would happen when the giant woke up? It didn’t matter how far Jack ran away. The giant would easily catch up to him and deliver his punishment.

Jack briefly considered climbing onto the giant and cutting his throat open with the axe, but just the thought of it made him shiver.

No, he was not Jack the Giant Killer. He was just Jack.

When the giant woke up, Jack fell to the ground and laid his hands out.

‘I am sorry,’ said Jack. ‘I did not want to climb the beanstalk. My parents made me, and they told me that the goose and the harp belonged to them. I should not have stolen from you. If you want to grind my bones for bread, then do so. I only ask that you make my death quick.’

The giant scratched his head and watched Jack for a long minute.

‘You know, that whole “grinding bones to make bread” thing… It’s just to frighten people.’

The giant’s voice sounded different. Much friendlier, and not nearly so loud.

‘Clearly, I need to work on my threats,’ said Atlas.

Jack looked up. ‘You’re… not going to grind my bones?’

‘No!’ said Atlas. ‘Are you kidding? Bread made from bones would taste horrible.’

‘Oh,’ said Jack, getting up. ‘How did you know I was English?’

‘Well, have you ever heard of Welsh, Scottish or Irish giant killers? Only the English are stupid enough to try and kill a giant, and cruel enough to boast about it afterwards. Ah, Betsy, Fennel, there you are!’

The giant got up and picked up the goose and harp, stroking them delicately with a finger.

‘I hope this boy didn’t hurt you too much. Betsy, did you lay an egg? Oh, we’ll have to treat your wound later.’

‘That nasty boy tried to steal us!’ cried the harp. ‘Personally, I think you should grind up his bones.’

‘I’m sorry!’ cried Jack. ‘Really. I shouldn’t have let my selfish parents influence me like that.’

‘Speaking of which,’ said the giant, looking down at him. ‘What is your full name?’

‘Me? I’m Jack Blake.’

‘Ah,’ said Atlas. ‘I feared as much. Jack, did your parents ever tell you how they made all their money?’

‘No, they could never remember.’

Atlas smiled. ‘Then Teagan the Terrible actually did something right for a change.’

Atlas put Betsy and Fennel down, and then sat down to talk to Jack.

‘Jack, your parents were giant killers. Hunters. They found and killed at least a dozen of my kind.’

‘Oh.’

Suddenly, everything made sense: their mysterious wealth, their magical possessions and their constant warnings of giants.

‘Many humans think that we are evil monsters. Or they thought so, back when we still lived among your kind. You see, people like your parents caused most giants to hide away, to find places where humans can’t get us. Like my castle.

‘Your parents were heroes among your kind, but they lived a dishonest life. Their gold was stolen from the giants they killed, as were Betsy and Fennel.’

Jack bit his lip. He had always had issues with his parents, but he couldn’t imagine them as killers. They had always been so weak and old.

‘But where did the goose and the harp come from? I mean, how did they get their powers?’

‘Hey, we have names, you know!’ cried Fennel.

Atlas stroked her and continued talking.

‘That was not your parents’ fault, at least. A witch, Teagan the Terrible, enchanted them. She enchanted Betsy to lay diamond eggs, no matter what pain it caused her, and she enchanted Fennel to live inside that harp. She was once a young child, you see, just like you.’

Jack shivered. He couldn’t imagine being trapped inside an instrument all his life. No wonder Fennel had such a temper.

‘And your parents were some of the worst owners we had!’ cried Fennel. ‘They made me play all day, the most awful songs, and they had Betsy laying eggs until she bled buckets. They deserved to die.’

‘Fennel,’ said Atlas, telling her off. ‘This young man has just lost his parents. Let him have his feelings.’

To be honest, Jack didn’t feel so sad about his parents’ death, not now that he knew who they had really been.

Atlas turned back to him. ‘We finally caught the witch, Teagan the Terrible, and made her promise to stop doing such things. We made a deal with her, and she enchanted your parents, and all other giant killers, making them forget about their “adventures”. Slowly, humankind forgot about us, and we could live in peace.’

‘Uh, well… What exactly did this witch look like?’

‘Oh, she had nails almost as big as me!’ said Atlas, pushing his fingers out. ‘You didn’t…?’

‘Yes, I did. I met her. She was the one who gave me the magic beans.’

‘Ah,’ said Atlas, rubbing his head. ‘It looks like Teagan the Terrible is back to being terrible again. Do you think you could talk to her for me?’

So the next day, Jack brought Fennel to the market. Teagan the Terrible was there again, and he told her that he’d give her the harp—and the magic goose—if she gave him more magic beans.

‘I was worried about the goose running away, but if you come with me, I can hand her over.’

‘Brilliant!’ cried Teagan. ‘You killed that old giant then, finally? Another less of those awful things in the world. You planning on going out and killing more of them? Smart boy. They think they’re all safe in their sky castles. Pah! They should be knocked down.’

When the witch arrived and saw Atlas, however, she was not so thrilled. She screamed, and tried to run away, but the giant picked her up between his fingers.

‘Teagan,’ said Atlas, ‘you’ve been behaving badly again, haven’t you?’

‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ she cried. ‘I won’t do it again, I promise!’

‘No, you won’t. You’re going to burn all your magic beans, throw away all your magic drinks, and never bother young boys and girls like this again. Understood?’

‘Yes, yes, I promise, I promise!’

‘Good,’ said Atlas, putting her down. ‘Now, Jack, give me your axe.’

Confused, Jack took his axe to Atlas, who held it in front of the witch.

‘You’re going to enchant this, Teagan. Make it so that it will chop down any tree with one swing. And don’t try anything funny, or I’ll find you.’

Teagan did as he said, enchanting the axe. Atlas sent Teagan away, and Fennel stuck out her tongue and said, ‘I hope you die, you miserable old witch!’

Then Atlas turned to Jack and gave him the axe.

‘I don’t understand,’ said Jack. ‘I don’t deserve this.’

Atlas smiled. ‘Ah, but you do. Your parents may have been killers, but you are not. And you managed to cut through a magic beanstalk in just three swings. You would make a great wood-cutter, judging by that. Anyway, I can’t leave you with no parents, no house and no money.’

Atlas stood up, collecting Betsy and Fennel in his hand. The goose honked happily, rubbing herself against him. Fennel hummed quietly.

‘Wait!’ said Jack. ‘Where will you go? How will you get back to your castle?’

Atlas smiled, and put a hand in his pocket. He took out some magic beans.

‘I took these from Teagan, while she wasn’t looking. Silly old witch. She’ll go mad trying to find them. “Oh no! If I don’t burn all my beans, that Atlas will kill me!” Hopefully, it keeps her up all night.’

So Jack said goodbye, and Atlas the giant walked off into the distance.

Jack went to the forest and put the axe to work, and sure enough, it could chop down any tree with just one swing. He built himself a house, and led a simple life cutting and selling wood.

And the next time a witch tried to sell him some magic beans, he chased her away with his axe.

THE END

If you enjoyed the story and want to say thank you, you can buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Just go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com and click the orange button that says Buy me a coffee! Then you’ll be able to send me $3 so that I can buy a coffee, but really, I’ll probably get a bubble tea. And I’ll think of you while I drink it! Thank you for listening, and until next week.

Also, if you heard strange sounds this episode, it was probably my stomach rumbling. Sorry! Apparently, I’m very hungry.

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