Definition of Jack and the Beanstalk from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Jack and the Beanstalk

; NAmE
jump to other results
a traditional story often told to children and used as a pantomime. Jack is a boy who sells a cow for three magic beans. He plants these and they grow into a very tall beanstalk (= bean plant). He climbs up the beanstalk into the clouds where a giant (= a very large person) lives, and steals a hen that lays golden eggs, some bags of money and a magic harp (= musical instrument). Jack escapes down the beanstalk and then cuts it down, so that the giant, who is climbing down after him, falls to the ground and is killed.The details in the story are sometimes mixed with those of another old story, Jack the Giant Killer. In it a boy called Jack travels around the country killing giants with his magic sword and wearing a coat that makes him invisible (= unable to be seen). In both stories the giants, trying to find Jack, repeat the rhyme:
Fee, fi, fo, fum,I smell the blood of an Englishman.Be he alive or be he dead,I'll grind his bones to make my bread.