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I -- like most children -- grew up reading fairy tales. The fantastical adventures of giants, witches and princesses kept my young imagination in stitches. I could don glass slippers, run from big, bad wolves and check my mattress for peas -- all before breakfast.

As a few decades drifted by, I reread some of these tales and wondered whether the authors were on acid when they wrote. I mean, I get the need for inspiration in creative writing, and I've downed a stack of Little Debbie products in the name of artistic fortitude. But they've only conjured a sugar rush and mild digestive distress -- not visions of a gal in the woods boiling children or a wolf devouring a grandmother. What hallucinogenic did these writers ingest centuries ago to make them tell such tall tales?

Now, a recent turn of events has me considering whether they weren't telling the truth after all. And it all started with a bean ...

Once upon a time not long ago, in a land near, near here, a gardener and her friend were shopping for seeds.

"Here are some pole beans," said Ms. Gardener's friend. "Won't you plant them in your courtyard?"

"Of course!" Ms. Gardener replied. She happily put up an old porch railing and planted five beans beneath the support.

Soon, beautiful green sprouts poked their heads from the soil. They grabbed the porch railing and basked in the sunshine. Then, the spring rains set in.

Drip, drop! Drip, drop! So many drips and drops fell that the plants and the gardener had soggy feet. One day, the clouds parted, and the sun's rays warmed the earth. And the garden grew and grew.

And grew and grew. It grew so much, that before Ms. Gardener knew, the beanstalks were at the top of the porch railing!

The vines were lush and thick, with only a few blossoms and nary a bean.

The next morning, the stalks blanketed the tomato plants. Ms. Gardener tried to rescue the tomatoes, but it was too late. She pulled and pulled, yet everywhere she turned was another beanstalk, for each time one touched the ground, 12 more stalks grew!

Ms. Gardener apologized to the tomatoes and thanked them for their sacrifice. They told her they would try to keep the stalks at bay.

And try they did. But the next morning, the stalks opened the door to Ms. Gardener's house and took the coffee cup from her hand. One stalk ate her dog's food while another chased her cat. With axe in hand, she demanded the stalks stop at once, but they ignored her pleas.

The goose that lays the golden egg, the harp that plays by itself, and Ms. Gardener and her pets were last seen running toward the Bentonville square in the dead of night. A reward has been offered for information on their whereabouts.

The morals of this story: Friends don't let friends plant beans. Try adding phosphorus and potassium to nitrogen-rich soil. And stay away from those boxes of Fudge Rounds when you write your column.

NAN Our Town on 09/01/2016

Print Headline: Fee-fi-fo-fum!

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