19th January

Jack and the Tin of Beans

Jack was driving his cow home from market. He was fed up. Yet again, he had failed to find anyone prepared to buy the beast, at any price. He was not looking forward to telling his mother this depressing news.

So when a man coming in the other direction stopped to inspect the cow, Jack’s hopes were raised.

‘How much will ye gie me for her?’ he asked.

‘Oh, I’ve no money,’ the man said. ‘All I can give you for that old cow is this tin of beans.’

It was just an ordinary tin of beans in tomato sauce, but Jack thought this was better than nothing. The deal was struck, the man went on his way with the cow, and Jack bore the tin of beans homeward.

When his mother heard what he’d done she went berserk. ‘Ye’re naethin but a pure eejit, Jack,’ she said. ‘Whit use is a tin of beans? We canna even plant them so they grow intae a beanstalk. And noo we dinna hae a coo.’ And she took a broom and beat him with it till he was covered in bruises, kicked him out of the house and flung the tin of beans at his head.

‘That’s aw there is for yer tea,’ she yelled, ‘so if ye want tae eat, away and open it!’

Well, Jack tried every way he could to break into that tin. He used a tin-opener, knives, a hammer and chisel, he smashed it off rocks, he even took an axe to it. But after all his efforts, there the tin was, without so much as a dent or a scratch on it.

‘Tae hell wi this,’ Jack said, wiping his brow. ‘That tin’s no right. I’d have mair chance gettin at thae beans if I shouted “Open sesame!” ’

No sooner had he uttered the magic words than an enormous genie dripping in tomato sauce stood before him.

‘I am the genie of the tin of beans,’ this being intoned, ‘and your every wish is my command, O master.’

‘Aye, well fuck off, will ye?’ cried Jack. ‘And gie me back ma fuckin coo.’ And in an instant these things were done.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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