by S.E. Schlosser
Mighty the black Labrador watched the Hadley’s mount their horses. All their equipment was packed on their saddles. “Take good care of the farm, Mighty,” said Mrs. Hadley as they rode away. The Hadleys were going on an overnight camping trip. Mighty did not want them to leave. There were strange rumors flying around the neigborhood about a door to door salesman with long white hair, a crooked nose and strange silver eyes. A golden retriever on the next block claimed the old peddler had hypnotised her into letting him poke around her house when the family was not home.
Mighty was worried. The same door to door salesman had come to the Hadley’s house last night while the family was packing. The peddler knew they were going away. Mighty decided to go back to the barn and check on the chickens. As she emerged from the barn, she caught a glimpse of someone skulking around the corner of the house. She was about to bark at the intruder when she recognized the strange peddler. Mindful of the retriever’s warning, Mighty slipped into the bushes to watch him.
The ancient peddler came around the corner of the house. “They’ve taken the dog with them,” he said with a satisfied grin. His voice creaked like a squeaky hinge. “Very good. They will be gone two days. I will have time enough and to spare.” he muttered as he passed Mighty’s hiding place. He carried a large pack on his back. Inside it were a shovel, a rake, a saw, and many other things Mighty could not see.
The peddler opened the gate and carried his pack to the center of the pasture. He pulled out his shovel, pointed it to the ground and tapped it twice. At once the shovel began to dig. The peddler tapped it once more when the hole was large enough, and the shovel fell to the ground. The peddler removed a small seed from his pack and planted it in the hole. Then he had the shovel fill in the hole, and magic-ed a watering can into watering the seed. The peddler gave a crooked smile and said: “Tomorrow.” Then he packed up his sack and left.
Mighty slipped into the pasture. To her surprise, a small plant was already growing out of the bare spot. Mighty had never seen a plant grow so fast. As she watched, it unfolded another leaf. Mighty growled at the plant, but it kept growing. It was already as tall as Mighty. Mighty soon recognized it as a bean vine. Why would the peddler plant string beans? Mighty wondered. Mighty kept a wary eye on the quick growing plant all day.
That night, Mighty’s dreams were filled with the rustling and sighing of giant leaves growing in the pasture. Mighty woke just before dawn. There was an eerie quiet over the farm. A huge dark cloud had settled over the pasture, obscuring all the light. Mighty went to see what had become of the plant. As she ran into the field, she saw a tall cone reaching up into the cloud. It was the beanstalk! The beanstalk was as wide as a room, with giant leaves that formed a rustling staircase round and round the vine and up through the dark cloud. Mighty shivered, but set determined paws on the first leaf. She had to know if there was anything in the cloud which threatened her farm.
Slowly Mighty climbed. She did not like the springing feel of the leaves under her feet. They bounced around and made Mighty feel as if she was going to fall. Mighty entered the cloud. She could see nothing but mist. Suddenly, Mighty found herself stepping off the last leaf into a garden. The sun was rising behind a huge house. To Mighty’s left, a gigantic walkway, lined by equally gigantic trees gleamed in the sunshine. It was made of glass. Mighty was amazed by the wonderful sights. But mindful of her duty, she slipped through the garden and into a huge side door of the house.
Mighty found herself in the kitchen. She could hear a deep, low grumbling sound from upstairs. A swishing sound to her right warned her to hide under the tablecloth. Mighty peered out and saw a giant women whisking around the kitchen making breakfast. The smells made Mighty’s mouth water. She had forgotten to eat breakfast. The woman put the food on a tray and went up the side staircase. Mighty followed; the thick red carpet muffling her footsteps. The giant women went through a door. The grumbling sounds turned into a deep voice. Mighty peered in the door. A huge, black bearded, scowl faced giant lay in bed with a large orange nightcap askew over one ear.
“Fee Fie Foe Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!” roared the giant.
“You smell bacon and eggs,” said his wife.
“I’m keeping in practice,” explained the giant. “Now that we’ve managed to get the peddler back on Earth, the beanstalk will soon be up and I can eat as many Englishmen as I like.”
“We sent the peddler to America,” said his wife, settling the tray on his lap.
“England, America, what’s the difference,” muttered the giant through his egg.
“I suppose it doesn’t make a difference.” said his wife. “Just think of all the lovely things we can steal.”
“The houses we can smash,” said the giant.
“The people we can scare, just before we roast them,” continued his wife with a dreamy smile on her ugly face. Mighty had heard enough. She raced silently out of the house and through the garden.
Mighty went down the beanstalk much faster then she had gone up. It took a long time to reach the pasture. By the time she reached the ground, Mighty had a plan.
Mighty hid under one of the giant leaves and waited for the peddler to come. He arrived mid morning. “It worked,” cried the peddler, jumping up and down in delight. His pack fell from his shoulder as he capered madly around the beanstalk. In a flash, Mighty was out from under the leaf. She grabbed the magic saw from his bag and rushed back to her hiding spot.
The peddler danced over to his bag, slung it over his shoulder and began the long climb up the beanstalk. Mighty waited until the peddler had disappeared into the cloud. Then she set the saw to the base of the beanstalk. Mighty tapped the saw twice. It quivered into life and began sawing away at the beanstalk. Mighty watched it impatiently. She was afraid the giants would start climbing down the beanstalk and tumble to earth when it fell. The saw sawed steadily on. Finally, it saw through the last of the beanstalk. Mighty tapped the saw once more with her nose and it fell to the ground.
From up in the cloud, Mighty heard the sound of voices. The giant leaves were trembling from the weight of mighty footsteps. The giant’s were coming! Mighty put her paws on the beanstalk and pushed. First it quivered. Then it trembled. Suddenly the beanstalk fell with a roar. The peddler and both giants toppled with it! They hit the ground with a bang, and disappeared in a huge puff of smoke. Above Mighty, the dark cloud turned white.
Mighty shook herself and blinked. It all seemed like a dream. Except for the magic saw, which still lay at her feet. Mighty picked up the saw in her mouth and put it in the barn. Then she went to eat some breakfast and take a well earned nap.
The Hadley’s rode into the farmyard at dinnertime. Mr. Hadley came in to the kitchen after feeding the horses. He had the magic saw in his hands and a puzzled frown on his face.
“I’ve never seen this saw before,” he said to his wife, “I thought I knew every tool we kept in the barn.”
“Maybe Mighty put it there,” said Mrs. Hadley. They both laughed. Mighty just wagged her tail and went back to sleep.
Copyrighted content: This is an original story by S.E. Schlosser, who owns the copyright. It may not be reproduced, reprinted or used in any other way without the permission of the author. Teachers may link to or photocopy this story as part of their classwork.