|Jill and the Beanstalk
Author: Elliot Pole PM
Imagine if Jack had been a girl, and the beanstalk had been pink. Also, throw in the Mock Turtle and Disney's Aladdin, and you've got this tale!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Horror/Humor - Words: 2,356 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 10-06-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3821509
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Jill and the Beanstalk
There was once upon a time an old cobbler, who was very poor. He had one daughter, a girl of medium height, whose age was somewhere around fifteen.
One day he asked his daughter to go out and sell a pair of shoes he had created for a Grecian god named Hermes, who had got himself killed by some Titan or other. Whoever wore them would be the fastest runner in the word.
The girl, whose name was Jill, went to the market to fulfill her filial duties, but nobody wanted shoes that belonged to a dead being. Finally, she met a man as lean as a telephone pole, who said he'd take the shoes in exchange for three beans.
Seeing how they had no food to eat and nobody else was desirous of purchasing the shoes, she made the sale and hastened home.
But when the cobbler found out that she had bartered the best shoes he had ever made for leguminous bodies, he was furious. "What have I to do with beans!" he shouted, tossing them out the window and sending his daughter to bed early.
In consequence, she was the first one to awaken, and she was astonished when she glanced out the window and saw a tall beanstalk of a pink hue. She went outside to examine it closer.
Thereupon, Jill noticed that its vine was made for climbing, and though she was no Gibson girl, she was confident in her ability, and so she began to escalate the beanstalk.
Knowing that it was ill to her design to look down, she kept her gaze upward, until she saw a popinjay fluttering in the air, and wondered just how high up she had gotten. When she turned her eyes downward, she saw clouds, and so frightened that she almost released her grip on the vine. Luckily, she was steady, and she proceeded to climb with newfound determination.
At last she reached the crest of the infernal pink beanstalk, and she stepped onto land, with a haze of mist in her way. She advanced forward, timorously, and at last the mist cleared, to reveal a silver castle, complete with moat, turrets, and drawbridge.
Wondering how to get across, since the drawbridge was not lowered, Jill saw a mock-turtle approach her.
"You don't eat mock-turtle soup, do you, lass?"
"I've never heard of the dish in my life."
"Good. Then I'll tell you the gloomy password. It is 'melancholy.' Just yell that at the top of your lungs, and the drawbridge will come tumbling down. Well, ciao. I have a date with a Cheshire cat." And with the most surprising speed, the mock-turtle went traipsing into the still-hovering mist.
Deciding that it would be more propitious to take the mock-turtle's advice than not, Jill bellowed, "MELANCHOLY!"
But the voice that came out of her mouth was a singsong one, and it sounded as if bells chimed as she yelled. And sure enough, the drawbridge fell down, admitting her passage into the castle.
Once, inside, the drawbridge slammed shut, obstructing the exit. It was as dark as a Cimmerian forest, and Jill groped around for a taper or candle or something.
She saw a lambent glow approaching her, and heard a chant, "Lee, Lye, Lo, Dum! We smell human blood!"
The speakers of this chant revealed themselves. None of them were above three feet tall, and three of them were boys, while the last was assuredly a girl.
"What lonesome creature has invaded our castle?" asked one, with a very toothsome grin.
"A tiny morsel for our big appetites," the girl said.
"I don't know if she'd be delectable enough for my tastes," said one of the boys, "for I am an Epicurean."
"Actually, I'm not worth eating," Jill said. Or tried to, but instead music came out of her mouth—wordless music, the kind that David must've listened to in his idyllic dreams.
The boys yawned, and swooned, falling to the ground in a fitful sleep. The girl ran at Jill, grabbed her by the neck (she had to reach up), and screamed, "What have you done to my brothers?" flashing her razor-sharp teeth.
"I don't know," Jill said, perspiration running down her face.
"I believe you," the girl said, letting her go. "I suppose it's for the best; you would not have been able to sate our hunger, although if it is only I who consumes you, the energy and protein of your meat may do us some good."
"But do you have to eat me?" Jill asked as calmly as possible. "I'm not really that tasty after all, as your brother noted."
"You are human, and your meat will suffice, whether it is delicious or not, for palatability is the key here."
"Well, but you can't possibly eat me without cooking me first," Jill said.
"Of course not," the girl retorted, "so I will have you follow me."
Seeing that it would be foolish to refuse, Jill followed placidly. Not wanting to tick off the girl, she kept silent the whole way to the kitchen, in case it were possible to get out of this scrape.
When they arrived there, the girl indicated a large cauldron, into which Jill was supposed to step.
"Oh, but I couldn't possibly, without knowing the name of the person who's going to eat me."
"I'm Lolita, Lo for short."
"And your brothers? What are they called?"
"One's Lee—he was the first who spoke. Lye was the Epicurean, and Dum was the other."
"How old are you?"
"That is a personal question, and I do not tolerate such by my dinner. Now, step in so that I can add the cucumbers and carrots and stuff, before I start the fire."
Jill did so, deciding it would be best to delay the big question a little longer. As Lo was cutting a radish above the cauldron, however, she decided that it was time, with vegetables up to her chest.
"Um…isn't there something I can do to avoid being eaten? Like marrying one of your brothers?"
Lo dropped the radish, and looked at Jill's earnest face. "You would not want to marry one of them, for all they would of is how you would nourish their bodies. However, there is something you can do."
"Great! What is it?"
"You can hunt for the Golden Moose. If you find him and bring him to me, I will let you go scot-free."
"Yes, I will do that," Jill said.
"Then, I shall pull you out of this cauldron," Lo said, doing so. She led Jill through the backdoor into a forest, full of deciduous trees. "Somewhere in there lies the Golden Moose. Sing to him, and he should fall asleep. If not, you have no choice but to be my supper."
Jill winced, then stepped forward, and heard Lo yell behind her, "You have half an hour, starting now!"
She ran like a gazelle, searching avidly for a golden moose. Not watching where she was going, she bumped into a white rabbit holding a pocketwatch.
He was dazed for a second, but he then picked up the watch. "Oh, I'm late, I'm late! Better get going!" And he hopped away as fast as his short rabbit legs would carry him.
Then Jill heard a swooshing sound behind her, and turning about face, she saw the mock-turtle.
"If you're looking for a golden gander, you want to go that way," he said, his eyes indicating a southeasterly direction.
"Actually, I'm after a golden moose, not a goose."
"Oh, I can't help you there. Unless you know how to get to China."
"Dig a hole in the ground and come out on the other side," Jill suggested.
"Yeah, that might work! Okay, since you've scratched my back I'll scratch yours. If you want find a golden moose, just follow the yellow brick road."
"But there's no—"
"Look again," the mock-turtle said, and sure enough, a faint yellow road was discerned a few yards away. Jill advanced toward this, leaving the China-seeker behind. She walked a great deal, her socks full of cockleburs, before she at last saw the golden moose, in all its radiant luminosity. She sang to it, and it fell presently to sleep.
"Now what?" she asked herself. "If only I had a nook, or a yoke…"
"Ahem," said a voice nearby.
"Yes?" Jill asked the shadowy bushes, where the noise seemed to come from.
"Don't go there."
"To the land of 'if only.' Some people never come back."
"Yes, but I don't know how I'll be able to drag this thing back to the castle."
"You don't have to," said the voice, emerging from his hiding place. He was a surly youth with black hair and a monkey on his shoulder. "Name's Aladdin, and we can fly on a magic carpet."
Standing behind him was a timid blue and yellow rug, which acted afraid of strangers.
"Carpet, say hello to this damsel in distress. What is your name, by the way?"
"Shake hands with Carpet. He's a little shy, but he'll get over it."
Jill reached out a tentative hand, and Carpet loaned her its ruffled ends of yarn.
"Now Carpet," said Aladdin, "do you think you can lift that Golden Moose?"
It nodded, and slid itself under the heavy body of the dozing quadruped. Aladdin pulled Jill on the back of the carpet, and they flew towards the castle.
When they had landed, Lo chastised Jill. "You're one minute late, and even though you brought me the moose, you have to undergo another challenge."
"Wait, what is this about?" Aladdin asked Jill.
"If I don't perform some tasks, I will be this girl's meal."
"Why should you be? I'd rather be eaten in your place. Take me instead!" he said, kneeling before Lo.
The girl looked incredulous. "Well…" she said, thinking. "A man would be preferable, indeed. But even so, I will require Jill to do something for me. If she succeeds, I will let her go, and you will be my supper. All of you, follow me."
She led them to the foyer, where her brothers lay sleeping like babies. Turning to Jill, she said, "I want you to induce my brother Dum to talk."
"How do I do that?"
"There is an old myth that when beautiful maiden kisses midgets who cannot speak, they will become paragons of volubility. I have never heard Dum speak, and if you will condescend to kiss him, I am sure he will awaken and start talking at a hundred miles an hour. However, a word of caution: as soon as he has spoken eleven words, I want you to put him back to sleep with your excellent voice, for I fear danger otherwise."
Jill went over to Dum, and brought her pure maiden lips to his loathsome, dried-up ones, and kissed him.
He awoke, and gazed around the room. Seeing Lo, he said, "I just had the strangest dream—I dreamt I could talk!"
Before he could go any further, Jill sang again, and he fell blissfully to sleep.
"You are now free, unless the youth wishes to retract," she said, talking to Jill but looking at Aladdin.
"I will do no such thing," said the heartsick boy. "It's better my flesh than Jill's. So let her go, then do what you want with me."
"As you wish!" Lo said, and she lowered the drawbridge, permitting Jill to leave.
Once Jill's back was to the castle, she never turned around to give it another glance. She went to the place where the beanstalk was, but before she left, she heard a cough.
"Leaving so soon?" asked the mock-turtle.
"I thought you were going to China."
"Been there, done that. I brought you a fortune cookie."
Jill took it, and the mock-turtle told her how to open it.
"Sometimes the greatest riches are found in adventure, not in cash," the cookie said.
"Thank you," Jill said.
"There's one more thing: on the top of my shell, there is a bar of gold. Take it to your father, and may you never go hungry again."
Jill showed her gratitude effusively, and then finally took leave of the mock-turtle. She climbed down the beanstalk at a slower pace then she had going up, for losing one's footing was much easier in the down direction..
At last she reached the solid ground of planet Earth, and entered the cobbler's house.
Her old man was working with his thimble and leather in the process of making a shoe when she came in. "I'm home, father," she said, "and I brought some gold!"
She held out the mock-turtle's gift to him, but he didn't even look at it. "Jill! What need I of gold with you gone? I thought I'd never see you again!"
"I've only been gone a few hours," Jill said, thinking of her time in the castle and the forest, but forgetting completely how tall the beanstalk was.
"A few hours? You mean, several weeks! And you left no note or anything; I was worried sick."
Jill was surprised that she had been away from her home for so long. "And the gold, father?"
"Do whatever you want to do with it. Sell it for beans for all I care! Just don't ever leave me again, Jill."
And she never did. The cobbler died a happy man, buried in his rags, the gold left untouched. Their life was no better after the beanstalk than before, but the cobbler only needed to be sure that Jill was safely in the house to be cheerful and to work assiduously on his shoes.