Six Sentence Stories: The hen that came down a beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk. Illustration by Eric Winter, 1965, Ladybird Books.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Eternal.

 

 

The hen that came down a beanstalk

Jack is dead, oh, eternal be his memory –

Yet I have no time for his eulogy, as I clamber down this bristling stalk,

Over leaves as long as surfboards, over beans as big as basketballs,

Down, down, to meet my new horizon which shimmers with a hope

That I may return to a coop of my own.

 

Down I climb to claim this liberty, but – curses – that ogre is after me;

Bigger than me, bolder, brasher, brawnier, broiling with anger and betrayal and

Bloodlust!

 

“Get back ‘ere!” the ogre screams.

 

Frightened, frantic, faster and faster down the beanstalk I scarper,

While above me the ogre booms down oaths of murderous revenge:

The rain is his sweat, the wind is his breath, thunderbolts his words,

Flies and mosquitoes his crumbs of bread…

Broken from the bones of Englishmen like Jack.

 

Down, down, about to touch the ground, and there at the foot of the beanstalk stands

Jack’s mother – her each axe-chop a strike for Jack (oh, eternal be his memory) …

Chop… chop… chop… and at last the beanstalk topples, and with it the ogre

Who breaks his neck as easily as once he broke his bread.

 

Jack’s mother, she scoops me up and cradles me with more love

Than I had ever thought possible could exist; and for this, tomorrow,

After resting, and mending my wings and bruised beak,

I will lay for her a golden egg, as she puts on black robes for the eternal memory

Of her son, brave Jack, who set me free from a castle in the sky.


 

25 thoughts on “Six Sentence Stories: The hen that came down a beanstalk

  1. Though I have summertime temps outside, reading this created sensations of a fireplace, crackling sounds of firewood, late evening wide open children eyes staring at the voice saying”faster and faster”…

    You did it again my friend,(◠‿◕)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lisa, me too. When researching a picture for the SSS I came across the Ladybird Books version which I remembered reading as a kid. Then I saw the others like Beauty and the Beast, Rumplestiltskin, Puss in Boots – and the memories came rushing back, not just the stories but the wonderful illustrations!

      Like

      • We found a few in random second hand shops in Australia but that might be harder in France. You can still support little shops by shopping online… Just a few? But maybe you’ll start a new collection …

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t seen any in France. They were British published and appeared in some commonwealth countries, especially the Peter and Jane reading series, which is why you found some in Aus maybe?

        Like

  2. I agree with the above, aforementioned* Comments.

    Don’t get me started on fairy tales! aka, to add insult to injury, bedtime stories.
    (“What? You don’t think I can’t frighten my own children before they fall asleep? Thank you very much, Messrs. Grimm, Perrault, Andersen, I’ll handle the childhood trauma.” )

    Damn! Where was I? oh, yeah… good Six.

    Nice re-tell. (Hey, I’m not a poem guy, but I do spend an inordinate amount of my time, here at the SSS, trying to deconstruct the Sixes of others… search for rhetorical licks I can cop for a future story of my own. There’s a pattern to the verses, is there not? (In the interest of staying on topic, I’ll wait ’til later to look up the five-four-five pattern my brain seized on).

    Actually, J&BS is one of the more innocuous of the fairy tales, at least imho. The guy makes a mistake, tries to correct his error and seeing an opportunity, trespasses on to some one else’s property… steals the guy’s asset, …uh and kills him, in the process of his escape.

    (“Honey? Are the kids asleep yet? Get them up, I have the perfect lesson in successful participation in our culture! No, never mind, I’ll read to them in their sleep.”)

    *sorry, holdover from a legal pastiche Comment, over at Lisa’s Six

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Clark, thanks for the cool comment. I think the structure kind of found its own way after some splicing on my part, and fell into that tempo.
      You’re spot on about Jack. He’s one of my least fave protaganists which is why I didn’t feature him as the escapee, and didn’t mention how he died – at least he perhaps redeemed himself by setting free the hen, who is the only victor I think in this retelling. (I was so tempted to have the enchanted harp as my escapee, but the hen won 🙂 )

      Like

  3. I love the alliterative poetry of this Six, but also the use of the prompt word. It’s fascinating to me how the linked up stories are so different–and yet we both somehow stumbled across beans as a topic!

    Liked by 1 person

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