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Jack and the Beanstalk Commentary

The fairy tale reminds of Odysseus captured by the Cyclops (ring-eyed) and escaping by hiding under the belly of one of the Cyclops' sheep; and also of the Old Testament Jacob clothing himself in goat skin in order to trick Isaac into bestowing on him the blessing which was to go to the older son, Essau. That theme appears quite often in tales, the giant representing that older son archetype, and the hero the younger son who wins favors quite often through chicanery. The younger son in tales is usually depicted as having what was originally due him, and stolen, restored. But that is a simplification. There is more going on than that.

The tale upon which this retelling is based has Jack as a son of a knight who was killed by the giant, and in the end there is the restoration of the knight's fairy gifts to Jack. Because, however, these are fairy gifts which include a harp, and because fairy gifts (at least in Irish tales) are commonly granted to bards, this is the reason I've made Jack's father a bard. And so it is with the restoration of the harp that a healing is had which the money bags and golden goose couldn't purchase. Though healing harmonies would be needed in a knight's realm as well (shades of the terrible temper of the biblical Saul appeased by the harp of David, who replaces him as King).

Also, the conventional knight draws on the interminable, tiresome, everlasting assumption or propaganda that hey everyone wants to be a king or knight, don't you?


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