Tonight H8 was doing his homework for me, which was to read aloud from “Jack and the Beanstalk”. He performed brilliantly, but it started me thinking about the story.
It’s a strange one, putting aside the obvious problems with plant growth, conservation of matter, structural integrity and the practicality of living in a castle on a cloud. But the glaring problem I thought of was this – why does the giant’s wife invite the young scoundrel into the castle in the first place? She has no obvious reason to do so. And then why, even more bizarrely, does she invite him back after he has proven that he is a thief and, as mentioned, a scoundrel?
And then the answer occurred to me. Obviously the giant’s wife cannot be having a fulfilling sex life with the giant, given the mechanical difficulties implied. So when a strong young lad happens by, looking for a bite of food and a bit of company, what does the good lady do? Why, she invites him inside for a bit of whatever. This is why she is so eager to hide him from her husband, whose love of human flesh is no great secret.
So Jack performs services for the lady of the house, who happily looks the other way while old Jack slips a bag of gold or magic harp into his bulging shorts. Jack is, in short, the original gigolo.
And of course you could paste as many smutty beanstalk analogies as you wish onto this analysis, which I will leave to you all as homework. 200 words on “hidden sexual messages in traditional fairy tales” and have it off on my desk by Wednesday.