Jackie and the Beanstalk

20 Mar

Three Cheers for Spring!

Hip-hip-hurray!  Hip-hip-hurray!  Hip-hip-hurray!

Today is the First Day of Spring! And Susanna Leonard Hill is having a spring writing contest on her site, details below.


Basically, The March Madness Writing Contest is a challenge to write a fractured fairy tale in 400 words or less.  Having a spring theme is optional, and I decided to give it a try since today is the official first day of spring… at least on the calendar!  My story is based on an old favorite, Jack and the Beanstalk.  Now, before you get all outraged at using a familiar folk tale, remember that fairy tale is the umbrella for fables, folk tales, myths, and legends.  Besides, on her own website, Susanna uses a picture of The Three Little Pigs, and her sample story (which is great, by the way) is based on The Gingerbread Boy, both folk tales under the fairy tale umbrella.  

So without further ado, I present to you a 400 word fractured fairy tale….

Jackie and the Beanstalk

(A fractured fairy tale formally known as Jackie and the Three Beans)


Jackie’s mother sent her to buy milk, eggs, and bread for the umpteenth polar vortex of the year.  Obviously, she was preparing French toast for breakfast.  Along the snow-covered path to the market, Jackie met a kindly old man; I think his name was Winter.  He offered to sell Jackie three magic beans, which he assured her, would trumpet the arrival of spring.  Removing her gloves, Jackie traded the man the coins her mother had given her for his mysterious magic beans.

Jackie raced home; okay, maybe she slipped and slid and skated home.  Either way; she kicked the snow off her boots, unwrapped the scarf from her neck, flung her overcoat on the table and announced, “Good News: Spring is on the Way!”

Upon hearing her freezing child’s tale, Jackie’s mother raged.  “How could you fall for that old geezer’s trick?”  She opened the door, letting in another cold blast of artic air, and flung the beans into the snow.

Well, you know where this is going, right?  Overnight, a giant beanstalk grew outside Jackie’s door.  In the morning she saw that it reached up, up, up, over fresh-fallen snow, above frosted trees, and past crystal clouds.  Jackie donned her gay apparel, which wasn’t a gay as it had been three months earlier, and climbed the sturdy beanstalk.

When she arrived at the top, breathless and a little dizzy, Jackie saw a radiant glass castle shimmering under the sun.  A lively elf with green thumbs greeted her.  “Come in,” he welcomed her.  “We were just preparing breakfast.”

Jackie, tired and extremely hungry from her long ascent, accepted.  She filled her belly with the most delicious French toast she had ever eaten and then immediately laid down for a quick morning nap.  She dreamt of lush green lawns, fragrant flowers, and warm sunshine on her face.  Waking up, she noticed that she was in a greenhouse.  Why she didn’t realize that earlier, we’ll never understand.  Regardless, Jackie tracked down the elf and pleaded her case.  Joyfully he explained that this was Mother Nature’s greenhouse.  He sprinkled a little magical soil over her and sent her home.

As Jackie descended, she could feel the sunshine on her back and a warm breeze in her hair.   She noticed the buds on the trees and the robin’s return.  She jumped into a puddle and ran into the house.

“Spring has sprung!” she proclaimed.

34 Responses to “Jackie and the Beanstalk”

  1. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner March 24, 2014 at 1:20 PM #

    Such fun! Polar vortex! LOL. And I love your asides…”Why she didn’t realize that earlier, we’ll never understand”…I can totally see this as a welcome to spring Picture Book.


    • Juliana Lee March 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM #

      Thanks Donna! I’m not sure a publisher would like the tongue-in-cheek flavor of the story, but I thought it would be fun to use my own voice for this one!


  2. shellysteig March 23, 2014 at 11:47 PM #

    Love the line, “the umpteenth polar vortex of the year”! Nice story!


    • Juliana Lee March 24, 2014 at 12:15 AM #

      Thanks Shelly! It sure felt like that this year didn’t it. We barely recovered from one before another one hit! And of course between snowstorms, everyone stormed the grocery stores for milk, eggs, and bread! So glad that’s behind us.


  3. Cathy C. Hall March 23, 2014 at 10:21 PM #

    I think someone was a *little* tired of the cold. 🙂 But I’m feeling nice and toasty, now. Cute story!


    • Juliana Lee March 23, 2014 at 11:12 PM #

      Thank you Cathy! We had a nice first day of spring here, but expecting more snow on Tuesday…. ugh!


  4. Dawn Young March 23, 2014 at 4:51 PM #

    Cute story – what a way to bring in spring!


    • Juliana Lee March 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM #

      Thanks Dawn! Hope spring is showing it’s face where you live!


  5. Elliah Terry March 23, 2014 at 4:24 PM #

    Beautiful descriptions.


    • Juliana Lee March 23, 2014 at 4:27 PM #

      Thank you Elliah! It was fun to write, and more fun to meet new people. Come back often!


  6. Laura Shovan March 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM #

    I love winter as an old geezer. He had an ulterior motive for trading those beans — he’s as tired of the weather as we are. Cute, timely story, Juliana!


  7. Steve Moran March 21, 2014 at 6:04 PM #

    I love the contrast between the start of the story and the end – not just the weather but the way you change the mood with your phrasing. Good job.


    • Juliana Lee March 21, 2014 at 6:25 PM #

      Thanks Steve! I was really feeling it a few days ago. So glad spring is in the air now!


  8. Patricia Tilton March 21, 2014 at 10:48 AM #

    Never would have thought to include the weather and mother nature in the story. Very clever entry. I enjoyed the twist at the end.


    • Juliana Lee March 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM #

      Thanks Pat! I think the weather’s been on everybody’s mind lately. We’re obsessed with it! What’s the wind chill factor? How many inches of snow are predicted? Are the roads passable? Yeah, no school! (until you realize how long into June you’ll be going) But most importantly… do we have enough bread, milk, and eggs? Quick get to the store immediately! Ahhh, Spring…. what a relief. Aaaachoooo!


  9. Cecilia March 21, 2014 at 9:29 AM #

    well that certainly put a smile on my face. Delightful turns of phrase and a light hearted look at an old bean.


    • Juliana Lee March 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM #

      Thank you Cecilia! (I almost can’t say that without saying, you’re breaking my heart. Thanks Paul Simon!) Sorry, you probably get that a lot. And, in fact, you’re not breaking my heart, you’ve made me feel very happy this morning with your kind words. Thank you Cecilia!


  10. lindaschueler March 21, 2014 at 8:48 AM #

    Ah, I can relate to this story this winter…It’s great how she pleaded her case and was allowed to bring spring with her.


    • Juliana Lee March 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM #

      Thanks Linda, Yes, if only it was so easy! I guess that’s why it’s a fairy tale!


  11. AlenaT March 20, 2014 at 11:23 PM #

    This is a fun version of the story! Great job.


  12. Joanne Roberts March 20, 2014 at 8:25 PM #

    This was a fun story. I love your comedic voice.


    • Juliana Lee March 20, 2014 at 8:32 PM #

      Thanks Joanne! Susanna always provides a good challenge, doesn’t she? It’s fun to try something different.


  13. viviankirkfield March 20, 2014 at 7:27 PM #

    Do you think I can meet Mr. Winter and trade something for a couple of those magic beans? We need spring really badly.:) 🙂
    Great story, Juliana…very creative and fun voice…I loved it!


    • Juliana Lee March 20, 2014 at 8:21 PM #

      Thanks Vivian! Old Man Winter could make a bundle after this year!


  14. cherylsec March 20, 2014 at 6:28 PM #

    This is wonderful, Juliana! What a fun voice. I loved your play with words. A nice twist on the tale. Great job!


    • Juliana Lee March 20, 2014 at 6:31 PM #

      Thank you Cheryl. It was fun to write, and even more fun to go back and read everyone else’s entries!


  15. Susanna Leonard Hill March 20, 2014 at 6:27 PM #

    Hurray for Jackie that she found spring and brought it back with her. I hope she rings it to my house soon! 🙂 No worries either – I count Jack And The Beanstalk as a traditional fairy tale even though I guess technically it might be a folk tale, same with, as you pointed out, The Gingerbread Boy 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the fun – this was a great read! Nicely done! 🙂


    • Juliana Lee March 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM #

      Thanks Susanna. I think, I’ll go back and change the title here on my post so it matches the one on your blog though! 🙂


  16. Erika W March 20, 2014 at 3:07 PM #

    Fun! I like your writing style, with a nice sort of “narrative commentary” going on here and there. It makes it fun to read.


    • Juliana Lee March 20, 2014 at 5:28 PM #

      Thanks Erika! It’s a voice I would certainly use only with older readers. Since fractured fairy tales are meant for those who already know the originals, I thought this was appropriate. Glad you liked it!


  17. pathaap March 20, 2014 at 2:49 PM #

    Cute twist on the original, Juliana Lee! (I wish I had some magical beans to hurry Spring up!)


    • Juliana Lee March 20, 2014 at 5:26 PM #

      Thanks Pat! I was writing this a few days when I was wishing the same thing!


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