Jack of All Trades
Art by Lauren Montgomery. This is in HTML, so your formatting may be off if your resolution is weird.
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And thus the giant did waken,
   and found his pet had been taken.
“Alas! Poor Yorick is lost!
   I’ve to call for a friend’s help, of course!”

He stared at the door, waited and waited,
   pacing the floor, his anger unsated.
’Till at last arrived, the girl in red;
   and this to her, the giant said –

“Jill, my friend, I’m sorry to say,
   I called you not for tea today.”
“What is the matter, Blunderbore?
   You look unwell, indeed, quite sore.”

“All was fine when I arose at dawn,
   but alas, it would not be fine for long.
Even before I had left my bed,
   well, let me tell you what was said –
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

“But I would not win this hateful day,
   for the thieving knave did get away.
A harp he stole, and some change, quite loose,
   but, which is worse, he stole my goose!

He is quite cunning, this human boy,
   who beguiled my wife with lies quite coy;
Be he alive, or be he dead,
   bring me his bones to make my bread.”

“Wanted, dead or alive, I understand,
   I shall hunt down this thieving, cunning man;
When I find his hide, his head I’ll take,
   his skull I’ll bring for you to bake.”

“My goose, you see, is no common fowl,
   I’ll let you in on the secret now:
Each day it’ll lay a golden egg;
   the magic of Delicious Cake.

No keyless lock, to find this louse,
   follow that beanstalk unto his house;
Be he alive, or be he dead,
   bring me his bones to make my bread.”

“You’ve said that already, Blunderbore
   (yet, knowing you, you’ll say it more).
I’ve handled a few, of these bounty cases,
   for other such, friends in high places.”
Dancing the dance, of the dewdrop descend,
   a drop of red, down the beanstalk she went,
’til at the last, she reached its wide root,
   in the shadow of which, the thief’s house stood.

On her murderous errant for Blunderbore,
   rather exhausted, she knocked on the door.
“I don’t want any!” came the voice from within.
   “Delivery!” she said. “Please let me in!”

“I’ve made no order, of any manner of thing,
   What do you deliver? What do you bring?”
The door swung open, and Jack was inside;
   “I deliver vengeance! I’ve come for your hide!”

He looked down in shock, at the long knife in her hand.
   “Please,” pleaded he. “You do not understand!”
“I guess killing you now, I might morally fail.
   Very well, then, Jack knave, tell me your tale.”

“First you should know, that it wasn’t just me;
   two others did follow, together makes three.”
“Who are these others, what part did they play?
   Who went to the market? Who ran away?”
He told of his friends, for he was deathly afraid.
   She was quite confused, and this then she said –
“You’re kidding, right? You’re all named ‘Jack’?”
   “It’s quite a common name, in fact.”

“So you three Jacks from the giant stole,
   a magic harp, a goose and gold.
You have the harp, I can clearly see.
   Why would you want it? Explain to me.”

He told her the story, of the princess he loved,
   he was but a butcher, a boy of low birth.
“So the harp I stole, to win me her hand,
   to stand tall before her, prove my worth as a man.”

“Kindness and virtue, are what makes our hearts rise,
   brings smiles to our faces, tears to our eyes.
It is poison to think that love removes blame;
   to sin for love, is to put love to shame.”

“You, Butcher Jack,” she raised up her blade,
   “are unworthy of love, and better off dead.”
“No,” shouted he, and turned round to run,
   but her blade was faster, and the deed was, thus, done.
With bloodied trophy, up the beanstalk Jill went,
   one treasure returned, down the beanstalk again;
“One Jack laid to rest,” she said to the sky.
   “Two others await, two others to die.”

Jill went to the shoppe, of the next Jack in line,
   a candlestick maker, he was not hard to find.
She pushed through the door, and entered within,
   where a single man stood, and she enquired of him –

“Are you the candlestick maker who is called ‘Jack’?”
   “Indeed I am,” he answered right back.
“Well then, dear Jack, I am not too sorry to say,”
   she drew forth her knife, “for your crime you must pay.”

He held up his hands: “But what did I do?”
   “A giant was robbed; and the culprit is you.”
“But please,” pleaded he, “I did not do it alone!”
   “Then tell me who else, has crimes to atone.”

“Two of my friends, went up the beanstalk with me,
   we are all named ‘Jack’, together, us three.
All I did take were gold coins in a sack,
   if you let me live, I’ll give it right back!”
“How stupid to think, that you can undo what is done,
   that you can unburn the candle, or turn back the sun.”
“But please,” pleaded he, “I really needed the gold!
   I am deeply in debt, and it is not to nice people I owe!”

“How then, Jack knave, did you get into debt?
   Is your business not thriving? Is your health not well kept?”
“I have a problem, a sickness, I am saddened to say,
   I love to gamble, and I have to do so each day.”

“Very well then, Jack knave, a wager proposed;
   if you win, you are free; if you lose, you are toast.”
“A wager, you say? And if I win, you will go?
   I accept, I accept! I find it hard to say ‘no’.”

“First return to me, the gold in its sack,
   then I’ll tell you our wager, Candlestick Jack.”
He handed the gold, the wages of sin,
   smiled as he knew, he was going to win.

“Thus, then,” Jill said, “our bet is to be:
   jump over that candle, and then you are free.”
“Jump over that candle? Easily done!
   Why it feels as if, I’ve already won!”
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,
Jack jump over, the candlestick.

Jack be quick, Jack get the handle,
Jack pick up, the fallen candle.

Jack get the handle, Jack be steady,
Jack put out, the curtains already!

Jack be steady, Jack be dire,
Jack escape, the blazing fire!

Jack be dire, Jack be alight,
Jill bids Jack, the last goodnight.

With burnt offering, Jill walked through the night,
   the shoppe of Jack behind her, still partly alight.
Up the beanstalk she went, and to the giant she gave,
   a sack of gold, and the head of the knave.

“Did he give you much trouble?” the giant did ask.
   “Not in the least, it was no insurmountable task;
A gambler looks to the sky, awaiting a shower of gold,
   yet with each bet he places, he is digging a hole.

The path of the gambler, leads always to sin,
   before he had known it, he took a bet he can’t win.
Driven to crime, to get out of his debt,
   death is the fate of Candlestick Jack.”
Jill stayed at the castle, ’til the sky had turned blue,
   then “Jack number three, I am coming for you.”
Dancing the dance, of the dewdrop descend,
   a drop of red, down the beanstalk she went.

Jack number three was a baker, she found,
   and his bakery had lots of people around.
“Why is it so crowded?” she asked of someone.
   “We’ve come for a taste, of his bread, cake and bun.”

“This will not do,” to herself Jill said.
   “How am I, to get me his head?
I cannot kill him, where others may see,
   I need to bring him, to where it’s just him and me.”

She waited and waited, tarried and tarried,
   ’till Jack left his shoppe, with the bucket he carried.
“It appears he is going, to fill up his pail,
   I shall follow along, and strike where I will.”

She followed Jack three, ’till there was no one around;
   it had gotten deserted, on the outskirts of town.
Carrying his bucket, he went up a hill,
   unbeknownst to him, so followed Jill.
He filled up his bucket, Jill went up to him.
   “Hello,” she said. “The giant’s greetings I bring.”
“Oh no!” said Jack, as he put down his pail.
   “Spare me the drama, just tell me your tale.”

“I am a simple baker, you must understand,
   tired of being, unknown in the land.
I wanted fame, for the bread that I bake,
   I wanted the secret of Delicious Cake.

I went up the beanstalk, into the castle of sky,
   inside the kitchen, the golden goose I did find.
Each day it’ll lay a golden egg;
   the secret of Delicious Cake.”

“That is your story? It does make me laugh.
   Instead of working, of perfecting your craft,
you went to steal, this fame that you sought,
   but instead of fame, it is you that is caught.”

“You’ll not take me alive!” he cried out aloud.
   “I never intended to, and you don’t have to shout.”
“You mean to say that you’ll allow me to go?”
   “That ‘alive’ part, I meant; that part… No.”
These words exchanged, she was drawing her blade,
   when he picked up his bucket, and swung at her head.
She ducked to the floor and kicked at his feet,
   and he tumbled forwards, for the path was quite steep.

He teetered, unbalanced, and before she could tell,
   he had pulled at her cloak, and together they fell –
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
   to fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
   and Jill came tumbling after.

Jill to Jack went up to check,
   to see if he was dead.
Jill was pleased that he was deceased,
   and Jill did remove his head.

Her trophy acquired, Jill went into town,
   the shoppe was deserted, the goose quickly found.
She climbed up the beanstalk, and made her way back,
   with the golden goose and a head in a sack.

The giant was waiting, still pacing the floor,
   and eagerly leapt when he heard the knock on the door.
Jill stood without, a big grin on her face:
   “Here is your goose, back in its place!”

They went in the kitchen, and there was a tub,
   with the head of two Jacks, like grapes in a cup.
She opened her sack, and smooth as can be,
   in went the head, of Jack number three.
Rub a dub dub,
Three men in a tub,
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick maker.
Turn them out, knaves all three.

By Lauren Montgomery