Daily Express



ONCE upon a time there was a poor but dim widow who had an ever dimmer son called Jack and a useless, milkless cow. So without thinking it through, she sent Jack to the market to sell the cow but he swapped it for a handful of beans.

As you probably know, the widow was furious and chucked the beans out of the window where they grew overnight into a massive beanstalk, and that’s where the true story begins:

In the morning, Jack and his mum were woken by a banging on the door. It was men from the council who demanded to know whether they had planning permission for the beanstalk.

“It’s a vegetable,” the widow replied. ” We don’t need planning permission.”

“We have grounds for believing that it’s a geneticall­y modified vegetable,” said the council men, “and we don’t hold with GM food in this town.”

“We’re not going to sell the beans,” the widow said. “We’re going to eat them, for we have nothing else to eat.”

“What?” shrieked the men from the council. “You can’t eat the beans before they’ve been passed by the Health and Safety people.”

By that time a large crowd of protesters had assembled chanting, “No GM beans; no GM beans,” and carrying placards on which was written, “Fry the Frankenbea­nz”.

“You’ll have to chop it down,” said another council man. “It’s a hazard to low flying aircraft and may be poisonous to the indigenous wildlife.”

“Can I climb up it first and see what’s at the top?” asked Jack.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said the man from the council. “It goes up into the clouds. You wouldn’t be able to see anything and would freeze to death. And what do you expect to see at the top of the beanstalk anyway?”

“I believe,” said Jack, “that some beanstalks have giants at the top who own geese that lay golden eggs.”

They all stared at Jack incredulou­sly. “First,” said one council man, “I should like to point out that it is metabolica­lly impossible for a goose to lay a golden egg.”

“Second,” said the next man, “I must inform you that under VAT Notice 701/ 21, gold used for industrial purposes is subject to VAT although gold for investment is exempt. You are strongly advised to consult your financial advisers before embarking on this beanstalk adventure.”

“And third,” said the next man, “we must ask how the giant and his alleged goose arrived at their location as there was no means of getting there before the beanstalk grew. Unless, of course, he and the goose sat on the bean when it was planted and waited to be lifted aloft. Which probably means he’s an illegal immigrant as he’s not on our database.”

Jack was detained for psychiatri­c investigat­ion, the widow was taken into care, the goose was examined by a proctologi­st and subsequent­ly put down, the giant was charged with illicit intrusion into British airspace, the beanstalk was ordered to be incinerate­d by the Ministry of Health, and the man who gave Jack a handful of beans for his cow is currently helping police with their enquiries.

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