Beanstalk Climbing French folktale

A poor farmer complained one day of his misfortunes. A beggar who passed said to him: "Hey, friend. Why are you complaining?"

"It is because I am almost starving; I barely earn enough to buy bread for my wife and me. I have asked the Lord for a better forture, but He seems to be too high up to hear me.

"Take comfort. Here is a bean to plant near your hearth. It will grow so tall that you will come to heaven if you climb it all the way. Goodbye!" The beggar disappeared at once.

Although he did not quite trust his bean would be that marvellous, he planted it. Two days later it sprouted and grew as high as the fireplace, and eventually grew so high that he lost sight of it in the sky. The farmer climbed the stalk. The stems of the leaves served him as rungs of a ladder. After long hours of climbing came to a lovely plain filled with many different flowers. He followed a path that led him to a stately house. Holy Pierre lived there.

The farmer knocked on the door.

"Quiet! Quiet, please! Who is there? The door is always open." Holy Pierre appeared in the doorway and asked the farmer why he had come there.

"I have come to find out how I could get from the Lord a small house on a hill, with a small sum of money to help me if I should get ill.

"Nothing more? You can go home again. Your wish is fulfillled."

After thanking holy Pierre the farmer got down again. He found his wife rejoicing wildly in front of a beautiful house. In the yard were many fowls pecking. But blind ambition seized the farmer's wife. A happy farm life on a hill was not good enough for her. She forced her husband to climb into the sky again. He did, and came to holy Pierre.

"There you are again. What did you miss, since you have come back? Didn't your house and treasure suit you?

"I got all that, and I would be happy about it all too, thank you. But my wife has forced me to come back to ask for a castle with big treasures and with many servants.

"You want it; you shall have it. But I fear it will be the ruin of you two."

The farmer climbed down again and strove to get through the crowds of servants who blocked a magnificent lounge. He hardly dared to raise his eyes towards his beautiful mate, for she was sumpteously dressed and covered with diamonds, throning in the middle of careed-seekers and attendants eager to fulfil her slightest desire.

But she was not content with her position. "Return to the Lord and ask him to make me a queen.

"I cannot. I have been up there twice already. It is enough. I fear holy Pierre could push med down from the sky if I come there again.

"Go. If I don't become a queen, I will leave you. It seems you would rather let me die than to please me. Oh, what misfortune!"

The large-hearted farmer climbed the beanstalk a third time. Holy Pierre looked strangely austere this time, but he gave the farmer what he asked for this time too.

When he came down to earth again, he found himself surrounded by guards and soldiers. Foreign ambassadors came to the castle every day with presents for him, asking a little good will from him.

But the queen was not perfectly happy. Something was missing still. This time she forced her husband to climb the beanstalk and ask for a pope's title for his wife. The man had to obey her, even though he was the king. He nearly fainted when he saw the looks of holy Pierre, but explained nevertheless.

"You wretched fellow," cried the saint. "How dare you ask me such a thing? I have warned you before, and I'm not going to grant all future desires. You wife wants to be a pope, you say? OK. But that's it."

The new title was not enough for the woman. This time she wanted to be God. Her husband climbed the beanstalk again. As soon as he told why he had come, he was thrown out, fell from the sky and got very bruised when he landed. In front of their hut was his wife in the poor clothes she had wore before.

The bean was broken by a dreadful lightning that nearly knocked down the small cottage.