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Helen Campbell.

The American girl's home book of work and play online

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What I am laying up for you not far from my boot-heel !
BUTCHER (slowly puts beans in his pocket}. The fools ain't all dead

yet, I see. Now my words, young man, mind,
Some day yer'd give all your old shoes if yer hadn't been so blind :
A fortune is in every bean, yes, sir, there's millions in it :
If yer don't want 'em, then I'm off in less than half a minute.
JACK. Oh % if you're sure, now, very sure, they'll bring good luck

to me,
I'll take them and give you the cow. She's out there, don't you see ?

(Takes beans.}
BUTCHER. Thar, naow, yer growin' sensible. An' I'll jes bet yer,

lad,

Them little beans may keep yer back from goin' to the bad.
Di'monds ain't nothin 1 side of them ; and if yer've grit and pluck,
'Tain't long afore you'll bless them beans for bringin' yer good luck.

[Exit.
JACK (looks after BUTCHER, and then at beans in his hand}. Better

than diamonds, so he said. Well, really, I can't see
How a few common small white beans better than gold can be.
But then he said he was quite sure my fortune they would make.
Oh, dear ! I wish I'd thought to ask him just how long 'twould take.

(Looks at beans}

Now may be they are diamond-seeds, ^zr/-seeds there are, I know,
And, hocus-pocused underground, beans may to diamonds grow,



132 CHARADES AND PROVERBS IN ACTION.

And mine may yield at least a peck or bushel, maybe two.

Oh, golly ! I shall be (MOTHER enters^ and watches him silently) so rich

* I sha'n't know what to do !

Our house shall all be built of gold, our carriages of pearls ;
My clothes shall be made like a king's ; I'll wear my hair (considers) in

curls ;

Airily) I sha'n't mix up with people herej I never shall be seen
With any one but earls and dukes, and live quite near the queen.
My mother, she shall be arrayed in velvet, satin, silk,
And ride upon an elephant, a Jumbo white as milk ;
And she shall wear upon her head all day a golden crown,
And every one who sees her shall stop, and thus bow down (bows y as if

to royalty).
MOTHER (rushes wildly in). O Jack ! what are you talking of ? Tell

me what this all means !
JACK. Why, that I've traded off the cow for thirty little beans.

(Tableau)

MOTHER (weeps violently). O Jack, Jack ! Such a wicked thing you

cannot, Jack, have done :
There's nothing now to do but die. O Jack, my son, my son ! (Sinks

on floor.}

JACK. How could I have been such a fool to mind a word he said,
And my poor mother starving there, dying for want of bread. (Looks at

beans , and bites one in two)

They're nothing but just beans, yes, beans. That fellow liediQ me.
The cow was all we had yes, I have been a fool, I see. (Throws

beans away.)

Lie there and rot ! But, if /live to see another day,
I vow I'll spend it all in work, and not one hour in play.
I've been an idle, wicked boy, an unkind, cruel son,
And for my poor old mother there not one good thing I've done.

(Goes to MOTHER, and bends over her : she weeps and sobs)
O mother, don't cry any more ! and from this day you'll see
How hard I'll work, and how I'll try a real good son to be. (They both

sleep)

(Enter FAIRY QUEEN and ATTENDANTS.)
ATTENDANT (sings). Fairy queen, what do we here?



JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK. 133

FAIRY QUEEN (sings. Music, "Pinafore"}. Good work waits for us,

my dear.
Do you see that boy asleep ?

ATTENDANT. Perhaps " Boy Blue," without his sheep.
Lovely queen, is it so ?

FAIRY QUEEN. Ah, no, no ! Tis idle Jack,
Who to work won't bend his back;
Spending all the livelong day
Either in mischief or in play.

ATTENDANT. Is that so ! Oh, oh, oh !

FAIRY QUEEN. Boys and girls should never shirk
Doing their own share of work.
See this mother, sick and sad,
Grieving o'er this idle lad.

ATTENDANT. Yes, we know : that is so.

MOTHER (sings in sleep}. I may labor, I may preach ;
But my boy I cannot teach.
He would rather go and play
Than listen to a word I say.

ATTENDANT. Ah ! we know : that is so.

FAIRY QUEEN (speaks}. And before he wakes again,
To save them both from future pain,
I will let this young Jack see
What an idle life can be.
His own heart to him I'll show,
And what a monster there does grow.
If we can but his conscience wake,
Another path the boy may take ;
For I'm sure this mother's lad
Cannot be altogether bad.
And idle Jack shall, if we can,
Be made a good, industrious man.

MOTHER (speaks). Ah, if my poor idle Jack
Would only choose another track !
If these little, worthless beans,
To save my boy should be the means,
I'd be thankful even now
That we parted with the cow.
Jack, dear Jack ! I wish you would
Try to be useful, Jack, and good.



134 CHARADES AND PROVERBS IN ACTION.

For mine, your mother's sake, oh, try !
Or else I must lie here and die. (Sobs)

ATTENDANT (softly). Do not cry. We will try,
Ere too late, show him his fate.

FAIRY QUEEN (waves wand). Now all is still without, within.
Let idle Jack his dream begin.

Guard him with downy robes, lest fell night-dews arise :
With charms and flowers wreath him, that sleep seal his eyes.

(FAIRY QUEEN gives ATTENDANTS flowers. They advance to JACK ;
and, while covering him with flowers, he slips off stage unseen, while fac-
simile fl Us his place. All exit silently, dancing to soft music. Bean-
stalk should now appear as if shooting suddenly from the ground where
beans had been thrown. Enter JACK.)
JACK (yawns). Oh, dear ! oh, dear ! I cannot find a single thing to

eat!

I'd give, yes, all the world I would, for some good bread and meat;
But not a penny, no, not one, have we to buy food now,
Since I made such a stupid trade with our poor black-tailed cow. (Sees

bean-stalk.)

Why, what is that? By Jupiter, by Saturn, and by Mars,
The Sun and Moon, the Milky Way, and all the inferior stars !
A great green stalk (shakes if) so strong and tall ! I don't see what this

means.
Oh, golly ! By the great horn-spoon, it's sprung up from those beans !

(Looks up)

I really can't believe my eyes. In one night grown so high?
Why, I can't see the top of it: it must be near the sky.
I'd really like to find out where the plaguy thing does stop.
What fun 'twould be to climb up there, up to the very top!
Oh, dear, me! I'd go twice as far for something good to eat:
I'd give the world, if it was mine, for some cold bread and meat.
I'm sure to starve if I stay here : so I may as well try
To find out where this bean-stalk goes as stay down here and die.
Good-by, then, poor old mother dear (kisses her softly), and, if I don't

come back,
Don't grieve for such a worthless boy as your own lazy Jack. (Climbs

up bean-stalk.)

(Slow curtain)



JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK. 135

SCENE II. JACK climbing from bean-stalk; looks about in astonish'
mentj sees pretty country-place ; breathes hard.

JACK. By Jupiter, I'm up at last ! and I don't think I'd lie
If I should say that pesky stalk at least was ten miles high.
I guess I sha'n't be sorry, though. This place (looks around} is awful

pretty,
A great deal better than (hesitates) down there (points downward),

down in that noisy city.

Oh, dear ! if I could only find any thing I could eat !
I'll take a look around the place to see what luck I meet.
Poor mother! Oh, dear, how she cried! Ah! she was hungry too.

( Wipes eyes}

She sha'n't cry any more, though, now, if I get work to do.
(Enter FAIRY QUEEN and ATTENDANTS silently).

Jupiter and Hail Columbia ! I wonder what this means.
Perhaps this must be fairy-land, all sprung up from those beans;
Or maybe maybe I am dead, and these are little ghosts.

I'll get away, I will: I'll hide behind some of these posts.

They're not bad looking, though, for spooks ; but one can never tell

What mischief they are plotting there : so 'twill be just as well. (Tries

to hide.)
FAIRY QUEEN. There, Jack, you need not try to hide: 'twould be

no use, you see ;

For anywhere in fairy-land you can't escape from me.
I've watched you for a long time, Jack : I've brought you here to-night
To show you what you really are, a useless, lazy wight.

1 saw your poor old mother, Jack : I heard her moan and wecft
And grieve about her idle son, yes, even in her sleep.

A cruel boy you are to her, a useless, lazy lad,
And going nearer every day, much nearer, to the bad.
JACK (trembling). Yes, thank you, ma'am! I'm much obliged!

You're right / Oh, I mean, ma'am,
I'm nothing but a lazy fraud, and that's just what I am !
FAIRY QUEEN. Don't interrupt me any more, for I mean you shall

see

What a vile monster " Idleness " in any heart can be.
He is a giant in yours, Jack ; he fills up all your life ;
And, if a good thought comes to you, he kills it with his knife.
There is but one way left now, Jack, just one, for you to do,
To kill him : yes, indeed, you must, or else he will kill you.



136 CHARADES AND PROVERBS IN ACTION.

To-morrow it will be too late, it must be done tonight.
And, though I'll help you all I can, 'tis you alone mustyf^/.

JACK. Oh, yes, yes, ma'am, I will, I will! I'm ready now to go:
Just tell me where the beggar is, only give me a show.
Oh, yes ! I know I'm in his power, bound down with strong chains in it
No matter what I have to do, I'll do it, yes, this minute.
I'll stop for nothing, oh, no, ma'am, not even bread and meat!
This villain he shall die, I say, before one bit I eat.
My mother she shall cry no more ; for I've made up my mind
To be a good boy. Tell me, ma'am, where shall this wretch I find ?

FAIRY QUEEN. Ah, Jack ! I knew you'd try to be a good, or betttf

boy:

'Twill make your poor old mother glad ; her heart will leap with joy.
So now a secret I'll unfold, that no one knows but me,
Which, if you but prove faithful, Jack, soon all the world may see.
The giant in his stronghold hoards gems, jewels, silver, gold,
Which he has stolen from you, Jack, and has no right to hold.
If you are firm and brave and true, if you will kill him, Jack,
These precious treasures, all of them, to you will soon come back.
This is your last, your only chance, and this night you must choose ;
For, if he lives, much more than gold and jewels you will lose.
Though I must vanish from your sight, I still will linger near;
For none but you can fight this fight. Your enemy is here.

JACK (tries to detain her). Oh, please, ma'am ! oh, I beg of you ! oh,

please, don't go away !

I'll kill the biggest of them, ma'am, if you will only stay,
And tell me what I am to do, and whom I have to fight.
They're gone, and left me all alone ! I'm in a pretty plight!

(Enter GIANT and WIFE.)

Oh, mercy on me ! Who is this ? Is this the cruel man

That I must kill? Oh, I'm afraid ! I'll hide me if I can. (Hides.)

GIANT (loudly}. Fee, faw, fo, fum ! I tell you now I know I smeL
fresh meat.

WIFE. And that is all you care about, just something good to eat ?

GIANT. Why, that's the best thing I can do, then I can go to sleep :
I'd rather have a nice fat boy than any kind of sheep.
Oh, if I only had one now, I'll bet there'd be some fun !
They make, oh, such delicious pies, so tender ! ah, num, num I



JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK. 137

The idle boys and girls are mine, I catch them in my trap. (Sniffs

about.)

Fresh meat I smell : where can it be ? (Yawns.)
I think I'll take a nap. (Lays head on table, and snores^

[Exit WIFE
JACK (creeps out cautiously). And can it be that / am like that cruel,

dreadful man ?

I'll crush the monster "Idleness /" I'll kill him if I can.
But how can /, a weak, small boy, with neither sword nor gun ?
He'd crush me like a little mouse, and think 'twas real good fun.
I wish I had a good revolver, or a large bear-trap,
Something to whirl his ugly head off with a bang and snap.
What shall I do ? The fairy said it " must be done to-night."
'Tis my own idle wickedness has brought me to this plight.
Oh ! if the power to cleanse my heart is given now to me,
No more forever, from this hour, a lazy Jack I'll be.

(Enter WIFE.)
WIFE. Here, Idleness, wake up : here is your money, hen, and harp.

(Shakes him.)
GIANT (sniffs). I tell you, wife, I smell fresh meat. Why don't you

look round sharp ?

My appetite is poor to-day. If you could find a few
Nice well-grown boys, to make a pie, or put into a stew,
I think I might be tempted, wife, to eat them up : so come.
Look round! for I can smell fresh (rises) meat, nice, tender boys,

num, num !
WIFE (sees JACK). Oh, don't be foolish ! Sit down now ! See all

your bags of money ;

And, while you count it, I will go and bring some bread and honey ;
And then your pretty hen will lay for you a golden egg.
I'll find out if there's fresh meat here; but you sit still, I beg.

[Signs to JACK, and exit.
GIANT (sings). The king was in his counting-house, counting out his

money :

The queen was in the parlor, eating bread and honey. (Laughs boister-
ously.)

That wife of mine, I say she doitt give me enough to eat.
I'll take a nap, and then (sniffs) I'm sure, I know, I smell fresh meat
(Sleeps^



138 CHARADES AND PROVERBS IN ACTION.

JACK. He cares for nothing but to eat, to sleep lives like a pig.
Oh ! have my little idle ways grown up so fierce, so big ?
Now I can see how / appear in other people's eyes.
O Heaven ! no more let idleness in my young heart arise,
But give to my hands willingness, and find them work to do,
And give me strength to be a man, yes, and a good man too.
(Enter WIFE cautiously?)

WIFE. Are you the boy the fairy said was coming here to take
Me from this cruel giant here, before he is awake ? (JACK nods.)
We must be quick.; for, if he wakes, he'd kill you with one blow.
And you must take his precious treasures all with you, you know.
You take the bags, the money. Throw them down the great bean-stalk ;
Then come and help me with the rest. Be quick ! Don't stop to talk !

(JACK takes money-bags, and throws quickly down bean-stalk j hurries
back, and is about to take harp.)

GIANT (moves restlessly). Fee, faw, fo, fum ! Wife, wife, I know I

smell a tender boy.
Ah ! if I just could catch one now, I'd dance, yes, dance for joy.

WIFE. You'd better not wake up just yet. I'm fixing up a stew
And a nice broil, the very best I ever cooked for you.
'Tis nearly ready. Jack, be quick! He'll waken soon, I know.
He can't sleep well when boys are here : he smells fresh meat. Now go
And slip that box away from him, the one beneath his head ;
But, oh, don't let him catch you, Jack ! for, if he does, you're dead.
'Tis filled with things he stole from you ; oh, priceless treasures, Jack !
Uprightness, honor, industry. Do try to get them back ;
For all the money, without these, will do you, Jack, no good:
No wealth can ever make of you what these bright jewels should.
You, you alone, gave him the power to keep your treasures bright :
If you would have them back again, you must get (points to GIANT) them
to-night.

QACK goes cautiously to table, slowly slips box out from under GIANT'S
head, which bumps on table. JACK hides behind table. WIFE watches
eagerly.)

GIANT (wakes.) I tell you, wife, I smell fresh meat. Oh, I could eat

twelve boys !

While I was snoring, didn't you hear a very curious noise ? (Looks about,
Perceives JACK, who moves round nimbly. GIANT sits still.)



JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK. 139

Hullo, hullo ! Fresh meat, fresh meat ! I told you. so, didn't I ?

Here, little boy, come let me feel if you'll do for a pie.

If I can crack your bones between my finger and my thumb,

You'll make a tender, juicy pie. D'ye hear? Why dofft you come?

What are you doing with my things ? Where's my box gone, I say ?

You little villain ! I'll soon stop your very pretty play. (Gets up slowly)

Wife, wife ! where are you? Wife, I say! I've caught some nice fresh

meat.
You hurry up, and make the pie. Oh, won't I have a treat ! (Chases

JACK, who dodges and eludes him till he becomes furious?)
JACK. Say! don't you think, old kidnapper, it would be rather wise
To catch your nice fresh meat before you make it into pies ?
We've taken all your money-bags, your jewels, silver, gold :
Your wife and I we're going to leave you out quite in the cold.

(GiANT still pursues?)

Don't break its little heart, now don't. Ta-ta, my love, by by J
Remember me at dinner-time. I'm too fresh for a pie.

(They chase, dodge, and elude each other for some time; then WIFE
takes harp, and JACK the box, and escape to the bean-stalk. GIANT
follows clumsily. This action should be brisk and exciting.)

(Curtain?)



SCENE III. Same as first. WIFE, at foot of bean-stalk, holds harp,
etc. JACK climbs down, with strong box clasped closely to him.

JACK (hands box to WIFE). Please take the box, and hold it fast,

while I run double-quick

To get my axe. Then, just the moment beautiful old Nick
Puts his small feet upon the stalk, well, on the upper round,
I'll chop it here ; and then I think perhaps he'll tumble down.
Oh, dear, when he ran after us, how fast my heart did beat !
He roaring all the time to me, "Stop, stop, you young fresh meat!"

(Fetches axe.)
WIFE (trembles and weeps). O Jack ! But, if he catches us, I know

what he will do ;

He'll make me oh ! I'm sure he will into a nice lamb stew.
It was too bad for one so beautiful and delicate as I
To such a great, vile monstrous wretch my little self to tie.



140 CHARADES AND PROVERBS IN ACTION.

I loved him once, yes, long ago, before he grew so tall ;
But, now I know how bad he is, I don't love him at all.
O Jack ! I know he's coming. (Looks up.} Yes, I see both of his feet.

GIANT. Ha, ha! you can't run from me now: I'll catch you yet,
fresh meat.

JACK. Come ! come along, old Idleness, you miserable old sinner.
I'll do my level best to spoil your appetite for dinner.

(Chops stalk down. GIANT falls, shakes fist at JACK, and dies. They
look at him silently}

How could he thus have grown within my heart, and I not know it ?
WIFE. Because " none see themselves as others do," thus says the

poet.
JACK (solemnly). To idleness from this day / will yield, no, never,

NEVER !

WIFE. No more will /, I'm very sure ; no, no ! well, hardly ever.
JACK. But I'm in solemn earnest. Now say, shall we not both try
To make up for the precious time we've lost, both you and I ?
WIFE. Yes, yes, dear Jack ! with all my heart ; yes, and with both my

hands. (They join hands}

BOTH. We'll join the ranks of industry, and fulfil its demands.
JACK. I feel so happy ! I must run and find my dear old mother.
WIFE. Oh ! take me to your home, dear Jack : indeed I have no

other.
JACK. You never more shall want a home. Through you I've gained

this fight :
For mother and for you my hands shall toil from morn till night.

[Exit.
(FAIRY QUEEN and ATTENDANTS enter}

FAIRY QUEEN (sings}.

Happily breaketh the golden light

Of balmy, rosy morning,
When through the long, dark hours of night,

Is heeded a timely warning;
When in our dreams too well we see

What loves our hearts are holding,
What thoughts unholy there can be,

Our very lives infolding.



JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK. 141

MOTHER (sings sadly}.

Wearily breaketh the golden light

Of balmy, rosy morning,
When the heart dreads, through cold, sad night,

To see the new day dawning ;
When in our dreams too well we feel

Our hearts within us breaking ;
When the night brings no love to heal,

Nought but a bitter waking.
(Repeat as duet, each singing her own verse, " Merrily," " Wearily," etc.)

FAIRY QUEEN. Soft, soft, to young Jack's side now nimbly steal,
And from his warning dream his eyes unseal.

(ATTENDANTS all dance over to where JACK is supposed to be asleep;
and, while they uncover him, facsimile and JACK exchange places as
before. JACK wakens slowly. All on stage sing some lively song in
chorus. JACK appears bewildered^)

JACK. The fairies here ! Why, where am I ? What ! can this be a

dream ?

Is my name Jack? or Who am I ? How funny things do seem !
There's just one thing that I do know, and that is, I have been
A good-for-nothing vagabond

FAIRY QUEEN. Jack, is thai what you've seen ?

JACK (trembles'). Good-morning, ma'am ! Hope you are well. I'm

glad you've come again.

I did my level best to kill that beggar in his den.
FAIRY QUEEN. You know me, then ?
JACK. Should think I did ! Yes, ma'am, we met last night :
You said that what was in my heart must die before daylight.
We did it, ma'am, his wife and I. Yes, ma'am, he's very dead.
He tumbled down the bean-stalk, ma'am, and landed on his head.
O ma'am (kneels to FAIRY QUEEN), I'm much obliged to you ; and you

shall never rue it,

For telling me what I must do, and helping me to do it.
FAIRY QUEEN. Rise, Jack. I knew you'd faithful prove, if you could

only see

How great a tyrant sin becomes when it gains mastery.
'Tis better far to crush it out while it is weak and small,
But better, Jack, as you have done, than never done at all.



142 CHARADES AND PROVERBS IN ACTION.

MOTHER (awakes). O Jack, my idle, foolish boy, we've not a bit to eat 1
Your poor old mother now must starve, or beg out in the street.
JACK (embraces her}. No, never, mother, oh, no, no / I've seen my

wicked ways.

I'll work and comfort you, my mother, yes, yes, all your days.
See these kind fairies (Points to fairies}
FAIRY QUEEN. Friends, dear Jack.
JACK. They showed me, mother dear,
Just what I was, and helped me fight my pathway free and clear.

(Enter WIFE.)

And here is one whose courage filled with good thoughts my bad heart.
(Takes her hand}

(Enter BUTCHER.)

FAIRY QUEEN. And here, too, is another, Jack. As friend he

played a part :

I sent him in disguise to you, that he might be the means
Of opening your blind, selfish eyes by trading with his beans.
BUTCHER. That's jes so, stranger. Where abaout do yer think yer'd

be naow,

If yer hadn't swopped my precious beans for that ere darned old caow ?
/ knowed jes what a fool you was. You thought I lied to you.
'Twan't no use wastin' gold, you see, when them 'ere beans would do.
But truth I toldytr, Jack, my boy: not all of Injy's mines
Could fetch yer half the precious wealth that in yer heart now shines.

MOTHER. If Idleness indeed is dead, fair Industry will come,
And make our wretched hovel there a peaceful, happy home.

JACK. Yes, mother, faithfully I'll work to make up oh, lost time !
But do you think those little ones (points to audience} like " Jack's Bean

stalk in Rhyme ? "

I wish I dared say just one word to every little child.
Shall I ? (To audience} May I ? I think I will (nods inquiringly}. Yes,

that chap (points to some one in audience} winked at me, and smiled.
You grown-up folks there must not hear, of course not, you don't

need it :

'Tis only for the little ones, and they, I know, will heed it.
If any of you children here have just one idle way
That you encourage in your heart, a little more each day,
Don't 'wait till it becomes a giant, like poor, lazy Jack,
But go to work this very day, yes, now, and break its back.



JACK AMD TtfE BEAN-STALK. 143

There's work for every little hand, for every little heart ;
And every little child that's here must do its little part.
It may be difficult at first; but this, like every other
Hard task, will bring you blessings, if you really love your mother.
And should old Idleness e'er come to you, don't let him talk,
But send for these (points to all on stage), who helped poor Jack,
ALL. And don't forget the stalk. (All dance and sing.}

(Slow curtain?)



144 HALLOWEEN AND OTHER AMUSEMENTS.



CHAPTER IX.

HALLOWEEN AND OTHER AMUSEMENTS.
SNAPDRAGON.

THOUGH Halloween is really an English possession, it is
kept more and more by those who prefer old frolics to new ;
and in many Southern families there is a great bowl, used
for snapdragon or the christening punch, but never on any
less solemn occasion. The dragon is found in half a pint of
brandy or alcohol ; the " snap," in candied fruit, figs, raisins,
sugared almonds, which are thrown in after the spirit has
been lighted. Though there is a big bowl full of blaze, a
bit of fruit can be caught out without scorching the fingers,
provided the snap is sudden enough ; and the one who
secures the most desirable piece will meet her true love
within the year.

NUT BURNING.

Chestnuts are generally chosen, and named, either in pairs,
which are put side by side before the fire, or in threes, with
the names of possible lovers. If, in the last case, the nuts
fly about wildly, there is no dependence to be placed on their
truth or faithfulness. If the pair burn steadily and quietly,
the courtship will be happy, and the marriage prosperous.
Burns tells the story in his " All-halloween."

" The auld guidwife's weel-hoarded nits

Are round an' round divided,

An' monie lads' an' lasses' fates

Are there that night decided :



Online LibraryHelen CampbellThe American girl's home book of work and play → online text (page 9 of 28)