Jack stood in the middle of the market feeing very nervous. He had never sold a cow before!
‘Cow for sale, who will buy my fine cow?’ he cried out. ‘A bargain at just five gold coins!’
Soon, a small crowd of people had gathered round. ‘Five gold coins for that poor, old creature?’ said a man. ‘You must be joking!’
‘Alright then,’ replied Jack, ‘four gold coins.’
‘How much milk does she give?’ asked a woman.
‘Er – none at all’, replied Jack.
‘What good is a cow if you can’t milk it?’ laughed a young girl. ‘It’s not even worth one gold coin. Go, and take your cow with you. No-one here will buy it.’
Jack felt worried as he led Daisy home. Ma would be cross with him! And what would they eat for dinner tonight? Jack’s tummy rumbled as he thought of all the lovely food at the market. He had never felt so hungry! Perhaps he should have kept quiet about Daisy not having any milk. If he had, perhaps he would be walking home with four gold coins in his pocket.
‘You were right to tell the truth, Jack’ said a voice. Jack looked round but no-one was there. ‘Who said that?’ he called out.
An old man with twinkly eyes stepped out from behind a tree. ‘How do you know my name, and what I was thinking?’ asked Jack.
‘Ah, that’s my secret,’ replied the old man. ‘I know many things. I know all about Daisy - and I would like to buy her. But I will give you something much more valuable than five gold coins...’
The old man opened a wrinkly old hand, to reveal five, tiny, brown beans. ‘Beans?!’ spluttered Jack. ‘We won’t be able to buy any food at all with beans!’
‘Ah, but these are magic beans,’ smiled the man. These tiny beans will bring you riches beyond your wildest dreams. You and your Ma will never have to worry about money again, and you’ll have all the bread and cheese and fruit and cakes and biscuits that you want.
Jack was confused. Should he sell Daisy for just five beans? How could he know if the man was telling the truth about the beans? Jack didn’t know what to believe – or what to do.