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English Fairy Tales. A1

Народное творчество
English Fairy Tales. A1




© А. А. Грек, адаптация, словарь, упражнения, 2023

© ООО «Издательство АСТ», 2023

Before-reading questions:

What is your favourite fairy tale? Try telling it to your reflection in a mirror. What is the most important thing in telling a fairy tale?

What is the difference between a fairy tale written by a single person and a folk tale? What do they have in common?

One of the most common narrative tricks in fairy tales is repetition. Fairy tale characters do the same thing at least thrice. Yet it is not a complete repetition: they do the same thing with small changes. So, the Wolf first comes to the first little pig, then to the second little pig and, in the end, to the third little pig. Try telling a story about your everyday life as if it was a fairy tale, repeating the same thing for at least three times, while adding slight changes to the story.

Jack and the Beanstalk

There lives a poor widow who has one son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white. And all they have is the milk the cow gives every morning which they carry to the market and sell. But one morning Milky-white gives no milk and they don’t know what to do.

“What shall we do, what shall we do?” says the widow. She is unhappy and wants to cry.

“Cheer up, mother, I’ll go and get work somewhere,” says Jack.

“We tried that. Nobody wants you,” says his mother; “we must sell Milky-white.”

“All right, mother,” says Jack; “it’s market-day today, and I’ll soon sell Milky-white, and then we’ll see what we can do.”

So he takes the cow, and he goes. He meets a funny-looking old man who says to him: “Good morning, Jack.”

“Good morning to you,” says Jack, and he doesn’t know how the man knows his name.

“Well, Jack, and where are you going?” says the man.

“I’m going to the market to sell our cow.”

“Oh, you look the proper sort of boy to sell cows,” says the man; “I wonder if you know how many beans make five.”

“Two in each hand and one in your mouth,” says Jack.

“Right you are,” says the man, “and here are the beans,” he takes out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. “As you are so sharp,” says he, “I don’t mind doing a swop with you-your cow for these beans.”

“What!” says Jack; “the beans?”

“Ah! you don’t know what these beans are,” says the man; “if you plant them at night, by morning they grow right up to the sky.”

“Really?” says Jack; “it can’t be true.”

“Yes, that is so, and if it isn’t true you can have your cow back.”

“Right,” says Jack, and gives him Milky-white and takes the beans.

Then Jack goes back home, and as it isn’t very far it isn’t dusk by the time he gets to his door.

“Are you back, Jack?” says his mother; “I see you haven’t got Milky-white, so you sold her. How much do you get for her?”

“You’ll never guess, mother,” says Jack.

“Good boy! Five pounds, ten, fifteen, no, it can’t be twenty.”

“I tell you, you can’t guess, what do you say to these beans; they’re magical, plant them at night and-”

“What!” says Jack’s mother, “are you such a fool, such an idiot, as to give away my Milky-white, the best cow, for beans. Take that! Take that! Take that! And as for your precious beans here they go out of the window. And now go to bed. You will not eat, and you will not drink this night.”

So Jack goes upstairs to his little room in the attic. He is sad and sorry, to be sure. He is sorry because his mother screamed at him and because he is hungry.

At last he goes to sleep.

When he wakes up, the room looks so funny. The sun is shining into it, and all the rest is quite dark. So Jack jumps up and dresses himself and goes to the window. And what do you think he sees? the beans his mother threw out of the window are now a big beanstalk. It goes up and up and up till it reaches the sky. So the man said the truth after all!

The beanstalk grows up quite close to Jack’s window, so he opens it and jumps on to the beanstalk which is like a big ladder. So Jack climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs till at last he reaches the sky. And when he gets there he finds a long broad road going straight. So he walks along and he walks along and he walks along till he comes to a great big tall house, and on the doorstep there is a great big tall woman.

“Good morning, mum,” says Jack, quite polite. “Could you be so kind as to give me some breakfast.” For he didn’t have anything to eat, you know, the night before and is as hungry as a hunter.

“It’s breakfast you want, is it?” says the great big tall woman, “you will be breakfast if you don’t move off from here. My man is an ogre and there’s nothing he likes more than boys on toast. Go or he’ll soon be coming.”

“Oh! please mum, do give me something to eat, mum. I have nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum,” says Jack. “I may as well be cooked, as die of hunger.”

Well, the ogre’s wife isn’t such a bad sort, after all. So she takes Jack into the kitchen, and gives him a junk of bread and cheese and a jug of milk. But suddenly thump! thump! thump! the whole house begins to shake with the noise of someone coming.

“Oh my God! It’s my old man,” says the ogre’s wife, “what shall I do? Here, come quick and jump in here.” And she pushes Jack into the oven just as the ogre comes in.

He is a big one, to be sure. At his belt he has three calves, and he throws them down on the table and says: “Here, wife, cook me a couple of these for breakfast. Ah what’s this I smell?


I smell the blood of an Englishman,

Be he alive, or be he dead

I’ll have his bones to grind my bread.”

Nonsense, dear,” says his wife, “you’re dreaming. Or perhaps you smell the scraps of that little boy you liked so much for yesterday’s dinner. Here, go and tidy up, and by the time you come back your breakfast’ll be ready for you.”

So the ogre goes off, and Jack is just going to jump out of the oven and run off when the woman tells him not. “Wait till he’s asleep,” says she; “he always sleeps after breakfast.”

Well, the ogre has his breakfast, and after that he goes to a big chest and takes out of it a couple of bags of gold and sits down counting them till at last his head begins to nod and he begins to sleep till the whole house shakes again.

Then Jack creeps out on tiptoe from his oven, and as he is passing the ogre he takes one of the bags of gold under his arm, and off he goes till he comes to the beanstalk, and then he throws down the bag of gold which of course falls in to his mother’s garden, and then he climbs down and climbs down till at last he gets home and tells his mother and shows her the gold and says: “Well, mother, I am right about the beans. They are really magical, you see.”

So they live on the bag of gold for some time, but at last they come to the end of that so Jack makes up his mind to try his luck once more up at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning he gets up early, and gets on to the beanstalk, and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs till at last he gets on the road again and comes to the great big tall house. There, sure enough, is the great big tall woman standing on the door-step.

“Good morning, mum,” says Jack, “can you be so good as to give me something to eat?”

“Go away, my boy,” says the big, tall woman, “or else my man will eat you up for breakfast. But aren’t you the boy who was here once before? Do you know, that day, somebody took my man’s bag of gold.”

“That’s strange, mum,” says Jack, “I dare say I could tell you something about that but I’m so hungry I can’t speak till I have something to eat.”

Well the big tall woman is that curious that she takes him in and gives him something to eat. But he begins eating it slowly when thump! thump! thump! they hear the ogre’s footstep, and his wife hides Jack away in the oven.

All happens as before. In comes the ogre as before, says: “Fee-fi-fo-fum,” and has three cows for breakfast. Then he says: “Wife, bring me the hen that lays the golden eggs.” So she brings it, and the ogre says: “Lay,” and it lays an egg all of gold. And then the ogre falls asleep and the house shakes.

Then Jack creeps out of the oven very quietly and catches the golden hen, and is off before you say “Jack Robinson.” But this time the hen wakes the ogre, and just as Jack gets out of the house he hears him calling: “Wife, wife, what do you do with my golden hen?”

And the wife says: “Why, my dear?”

But that is all Jack hears, for he runs off to the beanstalk and climbs down very fast. And when he gets home he shows his mother the wonderful hen and says “Lay,” to it; and it lays a golden egg every time he says “Lay.”

Well, Jack is not satisfied, and soon he decides to have another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning, he gets up early, and goes on to the beanstalk, and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs and he climbs till he gets to the top. But this time he doesn’t go straight to the ogre’s house. He waits behind a bush till he sees the ogre’s wife come out of the house to get some water, and then he creeps into the house and gets into the copper. He isn’t there long when he hears thump! thump! thump! as before, and the ogre and his wife come in.


“Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,” cries out the ogre; “I smell him, wife, I smell him.”

“Do you, my dearie?” says the ogre’s wife. “Then if it’s that little boy that has your gold and the hen that lays the golden eggs he’s sure to get into the oven.” And they both run to the oven. But Jack isn’t there, luckily, and the ogre’s wife says: “There you are again with your fee-fi-fo-fum. Why of course it’s the boy you catch last night that I cooked for your breakfast. How forgetful I am, and how silly you are!”

So the ogre sits down to the breakfast and eats it, but every now and then he says: “Well, I can swear – ” and he gets up and searches the corners of the room and the cupboards, and everything, only luckily he doesn’t think of the copper.

After breakfast is over, the ogre calls: “Wife, wife, bring me my golden harp.” So she brings it and puts it on the table before him. Then he says: “Sing!” and the golden harp sings very beautifully. And it goes on singing till the ogre is asleep.

Then Jack lifts up the copper-lid very quietly and gets down like a mouse and creeps on hands and knees. He gets to the table, gets up, takes the golden harp and goes with it towards the door. But the harp screams: “Master! Master!” and the ogre wakes up. He sees Jack running away with his harp.

Jack runs as fast as he can. He gets to the beanstalk and starts climbing down. Well, the ogre doesn’t like such a ladder, and he stands and waits, so Jack wins more time. But then the harp cries out: “Master! master!” and the ogre runs down on to the beanstalk which shakes with his weight. Down climbs Jack, and after him climbs the ogre. By this time Jack climbs down and climbs down and climbs down till he is very nearly home. So he calls out: “Mother! mother! bring me an axe, bring me an axe.” And his mother comes out with the axe in her hand, but when she comes to the beanstalk she stands still with fright for there she sees the ogre just coming down below the clouds.

But Jack jumps down and gets the axe and chops the beanstalk and cuts it half in two. The beanstalk shakes so the ogre stops to see what is the matter. Then Jack chops with the axe, and the beanstalk is cut in two and begins to fall over. Then the ogre falls down and breaks his head, and the beanstalk comes after.

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