Jack is a young lad living with his widowed mother and a milk cow who is their only source of income. When the cow stops giving milk, Jack's mother has him take her to market for sale. On the way, he meets an old man who offers "magic beans" in exchange for the cow, and Jack makes the trade. When he arrives home without any money, his mother becomes furious, throws the beans to the ground, and sends Jack to bed without supper.
A gigantic beanstalk grows overnight, which Jack climbs to a land high in the sky. There he comes to a house (or in some cases, a castle) that is the home of a giant. He asks at the door for food and the giant's wife takes him in. When the giant returns, he senses that a human is nearby:
- I smell the blood of an Englishman,
- Be he alive, or be he dead,
- I'll have his bones to grind my bread.
Jack is hidden by the giant's wife and he overhears the giant counting money. When the giant sleeps, he steals a bag of gold coins and makes his escape down the beanstalk.
Jack returns up the beanstalk twice more. Each time he is helped by the wife, learns of another treasure, and steals it when the giant sleeps: first a hen that lays golden eggs, then a harp that plays by itself. He is almost caught with the harp, however. The giant follows him down the beanstalk and Jack calls to his mother for an axe. Jack chops down the beanstalk, killing the giant, and they live happily ever after with their riches.
Public Domain Comic Appearances
- Fairy Tale Parade #8
- Jingle Jangle Comics #7
- Christmas Carnival (1952 Series) #nn
- Christmas Carnival (1955 Series) #2
- Four Color #220: Anthropomorphic animal version of the Jack and the Beanstalk story with Jack as a rabbit and the giant as a tiger.
Public Domain Appearances in Other Media
- The History of Jack and the Bean Stalk (1807)
- English Fairy Tales (1890)
- Red Fairy Book (1890)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1902)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (Jan 1912)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (Nov 1912)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1913)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1917)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1922)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1931)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1933)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1952)
The character should not be confused with Jack the Giant Killer for, although being similarly named and both stories involving vanquishing giants, they are NOT one and the same.