Oct 16, 2011

Jack And The Beanstalk

By Zubair Bashir

There, underneath the dead tree –which had shed its leaves to welcome Autumn- stood a skinny, young boy; wearing a rusty brown, spacious, sleeveless patched shirt which drooped over his shoulders all the way to his knees. His half torn blue pants had holes in several places –definitely not the fashion of the time. That boy was none other than the quiet and traumatized Jack, who lived in the prosperous city of Athens. He suffered from a terrible fate which brings him to this very moment which may be the turning point in his life.

His father had abandoned his mother, who was forced to raise her child all on her own with minimal income. She made use of all opportunities to earn some extra money so that her child would not have to spend the night on an empty stomach, then it did not matter whether it was cleaning a house or spending a day at the brothel. She vowed to protect her child and she did just that. However; Jack was ostracized from society because soon the news had spread that Jack’s mother was nothing more than a mere, prostitute; and the damage was done. This news devastated Jack who then decided to spend the gloomy evening under the tree.

As he recollected his thoughts an old man walked along, eager to inquire the reason behind Jack’s gloom. “My child your face, it is like a book”, he stated.

“What do mean sir?” asked Jack in a soft, slightly shaky yet humble tone.
“Something seems to be troubling you. Would like to share the cause of your distress?”
“Is that a pun sir, because I am in no mood to be ridiculed and isolated anymore!” Jack stated in a firmer manner.
“Not at all, in fact to prove the sincerity of my question I gift you these beans. Do not take them to be random jelly beans just because they are multi-coloured boy”, the old man said with some wisdom in his voice “plant them next to the almighty Mount Olympus as an offering to your lords and maybe they might change your fate once and for all”, the old man walked away leaving Jack on his own, so that he may dwell with his thoughts.
“What the heck, I have nothing to lose”, and with that Jack made his way towards Olympus. He planted the beans, watered them and made his way home which coincidentally was not that far a walk.

Jack forcefully spent another sleepless night but the obedient child did not complain but rather respected his mother’s sacrifices. In the night he felt a strong tremor which wakes him from his sleep. He tip toed outside to investigate and was blankly staring at the huge beanstalk that had grown, whirling around Olympus. All of a sudden he could see see two horses galloping towards him. They were by no means normal but rather huge in size and elegant with dark thick hair. They were none other than Balius and Xanthus. Jack found a note attached to their mane which contained the following message:


He followed the instructions and clumsily mounted Balius and with a roaring neigh-which seemed to disturb no one else- they are off like lightning. They galloped on the beanstalk which took Jack high above the clouds where he could see Centaurs grazing the fields on the flat plains of Olympus which are not visible from ground level. Then there stood a huge statue of the Minotaur right outside an opening which probably lead to the Cretan Labyrinth. The horses do not stop till they reached The Arena. After dropping Jack they immediately dispersed. The Arena floor was glistening with the turquoise coloured marble. There stood numerous, huge, tall, white pillars which were supporting a glass dome above. On the dome was a detailed painting of a muscular man, with a long beard; wearing a white robe and was assisted by the lightning in his hand. The poor boy was still trying to recollect all that has taken place, when a soft yet strong voice surrounded The Arena.

“Young Jacques, welcome. Welcome to the Realm of the Lords”. A graceful lady walked down the stairs and made her way towards Jack. She wore a shiny white robe with borders made of gold. In one hand she held a spear made of white marble. Her blonde hair neatly tied up and revealed as she took of her metal helmet which was immediately carried away by a Laelap, which had escorted her.
“A-a-are you Athene?” Jack whispered in awe.
“Yes I am and I have called you here for a reason. I have for long monitored your mother’s wretched life and I do pity her. I am aware of a man’s selfish desires and of the hardships you have faced, that too without complain. As a reward I shall grant you and your mother a more prosperous life”, and with that the Laelap returned with a sack in his mouth and brought a small herd of sheep with him. “This is your gift. Appreciate it, and be loyal to your gods”.

With that statement Balius returned to The Arena. “Take him back Balius”. Jack is not slow and again mounted Balius who with powerful stride took Jack back to the Earthly realm. As soon as he reached he decided to go back to sleep after the exhausting and confusing events of the night. He got up to the braying of sheep and looked outside the window to find the entire herd. He took a step back causing the sack to topple and reveal its contents, which were pure gold. The event was far from a figment of the boy’s imagination.


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