Jack and the Beanstalk

By Dogfire

"CURSES!, those Gnomes have chopped down my seed beans again!". The Gardener looked at the remains of several rows of bean stalks, stems cut neatly by tiny knives. "Axes to those pox-faced buggers!" He turned his wheelbarrow around and headed back home, a stone structure with a thatch roof. He parked the wheelbarrow in the courtyard and opened the door to the side kitchen. Jean, his wife, was preparing breakfast. Nearby, a large, black dog sat quietly. He patted the Labrador Retriever, the dog nudged him affectionately, then she put her head down.

Jean said "Coda's still moping, It'll be a week before she's back to normal."

Coda hadn't accompanied him to the garden. She'd been dispirited since her two puppies died a few days ago from Parvo, a fatal disease.

"I know, She hasn't been guarding the garden lately, and those damn Gnomes took the opportunity to chop a whole row of stalks down."

"Not again! We need the extra beans for tomorrow's fair!"

"Jean, better bring more quilts for your booth, I won't have that many seed beans to sell."

She said, "Sit down, eat first."

The huge couple sat down to eat. They had only finished one bowl of porridge, when a loud noise disturbed their meal, "CLANK, CLANK"; the door knocker. Coda barked and followed her master to the front door. He pulled open the enormous door. A well dressed man stood before him.

The man saluted them, "Good day to you sir and to your lovely dog!" His skin was colored blue. Thunder!, thought the Gardener, a traveling salesman at this hour! To the Gardener's surprise, Coda quietly looked at the salesman. Normally solicitors would be running for their lives, with Coda snapping at their heels. Coda just stood there, fascinated at the salesman with the odd skin color.

"What do you want?", growled the Gardener.

"I couldn't help but notice your fine bean field, are those stalks from the seed line 'Legume Normandy'?, the blue-skinned salesman asked.

"That they are, what do you want?", repeated the Gardener.

"Those seeds yield the finest beans this side of the mountains", quipped the salesman, "Alas, the local Gnomes cannot resist them. I am a seed grower myself. After many years of plant breeding and testing, I've come up with these 'Makawish' beans! Guaranteed to repel Gnomes and other garden pests, or fulfill the dreams you cherish." The blue-colored salesman open his hand to reveal a handful of beans. He put a few in the huge man's hand, "I plan on trading these at tomorrow's fair, and I'm offering you a free sample."

The Gardener's critical eye saw nothing special in the beans. He threw them down on the door stoop. "Get out of here! I never wanted anything from an Afrit. Every gift your kind offers always carries a hidden price! Now git, before I take an axe to you!"

The salesman bowed "A good morning to you again, I won't trouble your house anymore. However, what the beans offer are still free to whom ever wants them! Visit my booth at the fair." The salesman turned and walked down the path towards the village.

Good riddance, thought the Gardner, he looked down and saw Coda slurp down the last of the beans. He said, "Coda, don't get sick on me. Jean and I will be leaving tonight to go to tomorrow's village fair. We'll be back tomorrow afternoon. Coda, promise me you'll keep an eye on things." She looked back at him with a 'yes sir, sir' look. "Good girl, Coda, now let's finish breakfast." He closed the door.

Far away in a distant land, a man, called Jack, withered under the verbal assault from his brother. "JACK, CAN'T YOU FOLLOW SIMPLE DIRECTIONS!?" "All I asked YOU to do was sell a milk cow to JONES, our brother-in-law! He'd agreed to give you six sovereigns for the cow. Did you go to him to sell her? NOOOOO! YOU had to stop and talk to a traveling salesman and trade MY COW for some friggen BEANS!" He stabbed a finger at the offending leather pouch hung around Jack's neck. "JACK! WHERE WERE YOU when BRAINS were handed out! GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!"

Jack slinked off to his hut. The hut was part of his brother's estate, he had lived in it for years. A never-do-well young man, he liked the simple things in life, fishing, hunting deer and small game. The venison he brought in was the rental payment. His sister-in-law unflatteringly called him the 'family pooch' in reference to his lack of paying skills. Inside the hut, Jack looked around, a straw bed lined with fur blankets, chair, crude desk with a candle, eating utensils, and a chest were the only household possessions. A new massive object filled the tiny room, a huge clay storage jar, three feet tall, and over a foot wide. Jack lifted a metal lid, the jar was filled with cooking oil. Where in tarnation did this come from? Jack remembered, his sister-in-law purchased it yesterday at the market, she couldn't resist a bargain, even if the oil was available in bulk jars. Jack snorted, this is seven years worth of cooking oil! It'll go rancid long before that!

His brother and spouse must've had no room for it in their kitchen. They decided Jack's hut was the perfect place to store it. Of course, Jack bitterly thought, the 'family pooch' won't mind having the jar take up what little room he had. A hut no better than a dog house! Well this old 'pooch' may just hit the road. And he had the means to do it! Jack walked over to his bed, opened the leather pouch around his neck and poured the beans onto the fur blanket. The beans, in the light from the window, glistened in rainbow colors. Jack imagined them being iridescent jewels. According to the salesman, the beans would fulfill anyone's wishes for pest-free harvests, travels to distant lands and even cure warts.

Travels, Jack thought, new places to see, woods to explore, hunting, fishing and no tyrant brother snapping curses. He had no money to pay for road tolls out of the kingdom. But these beans will be my passport, all he needed to do was wish. But how? Jack took a deep breath, "Beans, Beans, of Rainbow Colors!" That should get their attention. "Take me to another land, far, tall and wide!" Nothing happened. "Come on! Up, up and away!" Still nothing, except for Jack's embarrassed face. A few hours of pleas, abbracadabra's and shouts failed to stir action from the beans. He flung the beans out the window. That evening, Jack changed his mind, he collected as many of the beans as he could, leaving several on the ground. Frugal, he put the gathered beans into his cooking pot. He quietly sat at his table, eating bean soup and smoked meat. After cleaning his dishes, Jack removed his clothes, crawled into bed and pulled fur blankets over him. He drifted off to sleep, wondering if he'd ever get the chance to travel.

Outside the window, the missed beans sprouted, sending up shoots. The plant tendrils grew at an astonishing rate. Green tentacles snaked around the hut, becoming thicker and thicker. The growing plant stalks, thick as tree trunks, surrounded the hut, more silently grew through the floorboards. With a hushed groan, the hut was wrenched off its foundation. The noise failed to wake Jack. His room tilted like a wave-tossed ship, he continued to snore. The hut slowly arose into the air. If a nocturnal visitor had stood outside, he would have seen a vast stalk in place of Jack's hut. The hut was embedded in the joined trunks of several enormous bean stalks. The beanstalk, with hut, then softly and quietly vanished away. Stalk, hut, and Jack faded into transparency; Gone, leaving a patch of disturbed ground in the moonlit night.

Jack opened his eyes to green filtered sunlight. He yawned, stretched, he felt strange. It was those iridescent beans he ate last night. He had the thick, inert hurt of a hangover, and his mind was buzzing to strange, faint noises. Better fix a brew of medicinal tea from the herbs he kept in in the pantry. Jack placed a foot on the twisted, crooked floor. Crooked floor? Earthquake!? Jack stumbled over a floor of green stalks, torn planks and furniture jostled about. The enormous clay jar of cooking oil was still upright and intact. But it had several hairline cracks and the jar's sides glistened with a film of oil. Great, it'll fly apart soon and coat everything with oil. Jack noticed his front door was missing, and the outdoors definitely looked different from yesterday. He reached the warped door frame, stopped and stared out. A good thing, he didn't walk out. The first step was a steep one, fifty feet, or so, to the ground. The hut was suspended around several green tree trunks. Like a tree house. He stared at his surroundings and the unfamiliar green tree. Short branches supported the largest leaves he had beheld. But the leaves look familiar, they resembled bean leaves. Slap me silly, Jack thought, they ARE bean leaves. His broken hut was embedded in a tree-sized bean stalk, surrounded by a FOREST of gigantic beanstalks. No earthquake caused this, this landscape seemed to come from a friggen fairy-tale dream. Hangover forgotten, Jack thought, well the first thing to do is explore around. Jack gripped the course strands of the stalk and carefully climbed down. No dream he had ever had seemed this detailed.

The bean forest lay in rows, each stalk growing from a hillock row covered by boulder sized piles of sod, arranged by a skilled hoe. Shit, thought Jack, who ever did that, well tall couldn't even begin to describe him/her. Jack started walking down the enormous garden row, picking his way over humongous clumps of sod with his bare feet. His foot pads were tough and leathery. Jack often went barefoot in the woods. He was thrilled at being immersed in such a scale, a Giant land to explore, but a bit chilly. Forgot something! Jack looked down at himself and laughed, He had been so engrossed of his surroundings, he forgot to dress! All he had on was his loincloth! He was about to turn around when he saw three huge shapes running towards him! Giants!

The Giants wore blue pants, red shirts and oversized red caps topped their heads. Feral bearded faces were panting in effort, fear in their eyes. They carried huge knives. Yikes!, thought Jack, I've no weapon! He froze, the first Giant, ran by him, ignoring him! He had to be sixteen feet tall! The second one, also ran by him, the third almost collide with him, the red-capped Giant hissed, pointed back in the direction he came from before he tore off at an astonishing speed. What where the Giants running from? Jack looked in the distance, down the garden row, he saw the cause of their terror. A mammoth black shape, four-legged, galloping towards him. Large ears, muzzle and panting tongue, a GIGANTIC DOG! The dog was too close, Jack had no where to run, or hide. Gripped by an insane compulsion, Jack turned around and held up his hands, "STOP!!", he yelled.

The enormous canine, braked to a halt, forepaws throwing up dust clouds of sod. The dog towered over him, panting loudly. Jack saw ebony tree-trunk limbs, supporting a thick black furred body. Familiar breed, Jack thought, a Labrador Retriever, a big fellow. No, make that a big lady! Jack saw the rows of heavy, swollen nipples along her belly. By the looks of her, she must be nursing pups. He couldn't believe he was before a monstrous dog taller than a church steeple! Jack stared into her yellow eyes. He shuddered, from her perspective, he was as tiny as a mouse! What is she going to do?

Coda, the Giant canine, was just as puzzled as Jack. She woke up that morning feeling strange, from eating yesterday's raw beans. She felt compelled to go to the garden. She scented Gnomes and gave chase, yet she couldn't catch them! Then she spotted a tiny two-legged thing. It told her to stop! It talked to her! She stood there confused, and panting. Catching her breath, she lowered her nose to investigate the curious little man. It didn't smell like a Gnome!

Jack saw her cock her head in curiosity, she lowered her snout, Jack felt the door-sized nostrils inhale and blow warm dog breath around him like a fog. Just checking me out, she's relaxed, no sign of aggression. Jack had a way with dogs. He calmly reached out with both arms and scratched the tip of her muzzle. "Good girl, I'm a friend...that's a good girl." "You're just a sweet, playful gal...am I right?" Jack had used his voice and mannerism's to pacify wary dogs before. His charm worked. The immense dog raised her head, she backed up a few steps, then she put out her huge front paws and lowered her shoulders in a play bow posture.

"Hey that's my girl, I'd like to play too.", said Jack, "Only I am a bit undersized, I don't have a ball to toss." She seemed to understand every word he said! Her eyes registered disappointment. She gently whined, lowered her enormous haunches, reclined on her belly and rested her head on her paws. She looked at him, her eyes relaying a request! Jack found he could read her eyes like speech! She seemed to want him to follow her home!

"I'd be glad to. Only you have to follow me to yonder beanstalk first." Her eyes responded with a 'yes'. Jack jogged back to the beanstalk, Coda followed. They stood in front of the stalk containing Jack's hut, Jack turned, looked up at her and said, "Sit!", Coda lowered her hips. "That's a good girl!, stay here! I'll be right back! When I return, I'll follow you home!"

Jack clambered up the stalk, gripping convenient handholds. That's a change of pace, he thought, following a stray dog to her home, not the other way around. Still it should be interesting to see what kind of place the dog lives in. Jack climbed into the twisted entrance of his home. Coda, curious, moved forward, she placed her tremendous muzzle against the bean stalk, just underneath the hut doorway. Inside, Jack pondered, better get my traveling cloths on. The chest was on it's side. Jack knelt and tried rolling the clothes chest upright. He meant to be careful, but he bumped the chest against the cracked clay storage jar. The huge jar, filled with cooking oil, flew apart. Gallons of cooking oil spewed out like a waterfall, enveloping Jack. Soaked and blinded, Jack stumbled backwards, out the doorway, his feet planted themselves in thin air, he fell, but only a short distance. Instead of hitting the ground, he landed on something hard, and furry, knocking the breath out of him. An oil-soaked Jack lay draped on top of the dog's snout.

Coda, excited at smelling the fatty, oil soaked treat, instinctively flipped her muzzle, tossing Jack skywards. She gaped her cavernous jaws open. Jack's trajectory carried him up, he slowly spun around and fell into an eagar canine maw. He dropped between fangs, landing heavily in the back of her mouth. Coda snapped her jaws shut, Jack was clamped between the roof of her mouth and tongue, ivory carnivore teeth forming a cage around him. Saliva flowed around Jack, coating and lubricating him. The slick, creased tongue flowed back and forth, grinding his back against her palate ridges. Pebbled pores, from the enveloping, hot tongue, sucked in the taste of his body. The dog savored the wriggling mouthful, just the right size. Like a plunger, the muscular tongue surged backwards, shoving Jack into her craw. Powerful throat walls contracted, propelling him under the soft palate, over a closed trachea flap and into the dog's gullet.

Coda swallowed the tiny man in a great gulp, she felt the little bundle glide down her neck and into her chest, towards a waiting belly. Jack smoothly slid down the slimy esophagus; the embracing walls firmly squeezing him along. At journey's end, he felt himself pass through a thick, ring and then plop into a dark, humid, hollow chamber. Oddly, Jack did'nt panic from being engulfed inside the dog's stomach. He sat down in sludgy muck, unsure what to do. This whole thing had to be a dream, a huge beanstalk brought me to a Giant land, try to make friends with a colossal dog and she swallowed me! Could you blame that dog for considering you, oil-soaked and tiny as a mouse, a delectable snack? Inside the warm gut, Jack listened to the bellows inrush of her breathing and the bass thumping of the gigantic animal's heart. He heard faint rushing noises and the grumble of various things in the dog's innards. A sudden heaving motion pressed Jack to the belly wall. The pitch-black chamber swayed to the graceful rhythm of a trotting dog. A short interval later, Jack felt an abrupt decent; she must be lying down. Then stillness.

Coda trotted into the farmhouse courtyard, she sauntered into the side kitchen to curl up in her basket. She closed her eyes and dreamed.

Detecting the morsel of live meat, Coda's stomach began contracting and relaxing in a wave-like motion. Jack was tossed like a cork in surf. Potent gastric juices flowed up from underneath and around him. Churned about by muscular contractions, he felt his own body gradually dissolving into the mix of acids and enzymes. Slowly being incorporated into the gargantuan animal. He choked in the foul air. He was losing sensation to his legs, arms and torso. Deep inside the dog who had eaten him, Jack imagined this nightmare was just a dream, it wasn't really happening to him. He wasn't being digested and absorbed into the canine's body. The surrounding warm, dog flesh was his bed, of course. All he'd have to do was wake up. He closed his eyes and drifted away.

Jack opened his eyelids to sunlight coming from a window. His head laid against a fold of warm fur, his bed. A bad dream, growing bean stalks, running madly about. He opened his muzzle, yawned deeply, flexed his long tongue and moved his furry limbs. He whined a call and awoke the sleeping wall of warm fur. The furry belly twisted about, a giant dog snout investigated, and massaged his body with a huge, warm tongue. He felt a gnawing emptiness within him. The snout pushed him against a nipple, he started suckling, pushing his paws against the warm flesh. Why did he think he was called Jack? He forgot the name, he focused on consuming the nourishing milk, while his mind finished being assimilated into the canine world.

The giant and his wife looked down at Coda and her pup. The giant turned to his wife. "A different pup! How did Coda find an abandoned puppy so quickly? He can't be more than six weeks old!"

The wife replied, "Dear, it's not coincidence, those free sample wish beans the salesman left behind. You threw the beans to the dog!"

The giant shook his head, "No it can't be, that salesman was just an Afrit wagging a crooked tongue. Those had to be plain beans. Besides wishes come with a hefty price tag!"

The wife said, "If that's true, then Coda got a free deal. Her litter died a few days ago. Now she has an orphan to take care of. I think this one will make her proud! What do you think?"

He mused, "Hmm...you know I believe this little pup will grow up to be a fine hunting dog. He'll rid us of those Gnomes infesting the garden. Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, this dog will smell out the blood of Gnomes. We'll grind their little bones to make fertilizer!"

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