Jack's Magical Beanstalk & Sam's Quandary Book 4
finds Jack and Sam living happily on the farm. Sam is able to visit his family by climbing up the magical beanstalk. When Jack becomes sick with Giant Fever Sam must try to find the spice, saffron, somewhere in the supposedly uninhabited castle. Sam is surprised by two adolescent giants, Buck and Ben, playing in the former mansion of the deceased giants. They whet their appetites by capturing humans in the surrounding forests.
While Sam struggles to acquire the spice, Zeke cares for the delirious Jack. Jack confesses the attraction he still has for Zeke. Zeke has been very fond of Jack, too. Jack’s temptation with Zeke stirs tension between Jack and Sam. But when Lorene becomes deathly ill with Giant Fever, Sam had to seek more saffron from the castle. He is caught by Buck and Ben. Calhoun, a former love interest, rescues Sam. Calhoun mends the broken bond he had with Sam in their scheme to steal the spice. Sam realizes Jack’s temptation with Zeke as Sam becomes confused about who to choose, Jack or Calhoun, and survive the wrath of the teenage giants. Will Jack resurrect his relationship with Sam when he goes to the castle to look for a permanent supply of saffron?
One time after Jack and Sam had visited Sam’s family, Jack became quite ill. Fighting a fever, he had never experienced, he scoffed at Sam’s concern that he had Giant Fever. Lorene had never seen the symptoms of this dreaded disease but soon began to believe Sam was right.
Five days after Jack became sick, Lorene requested privacy with Sam, after Jack fell asleep. Zeke and Adam had just received orders from Jack to schedule the harvesting of the corn crop and left Jack’s bedroom.
“I’m worried about Jack. I have never seen him sick like this through all his childhood. Tell me more about this Giant Fever that your father and brothers had weathered.” Lorene wringed her hands with worry.
Lorene’s concerned demeanor was obvious to Sam. “I know he has it. He has every symptom I’ve seen with my brothers and father. Chills, cold sweats, very high fever are the beginning symptoms. If the fever is not broken soon he will become delirious and incoherent.”
“Isn’t there anything we can do?”
“The giants cooked meat. A broth from that can stop the fever. Poultry with a special rare seasoning is the best cure. My sense of smell can detect it. But since no giant has lived in the castle since we came back, there is no way to get that food or that seasoning.”
“Do you know what that spice is?” Lorene’s pupils narrowed to pinholes. “Maybe we can get some at market.”
“I think it is saffron. I have asked all the vendors if they have it. No one’s ever heard of it. The best thing we can do is keep applying cold compresses and change the bedding everyday with warm sheets and blankets.” Sam’s thoughts drifted away from the conversation as Lorene continued to seek more remedies. I could go to the castle. Maybe I could search in the cabinets or near the stove for this spice. But the rumors about it make finding it difficult. They kept it stored away so we could never find it. But I have been the only human who has developed the sense of smell to detect it. It’s worth a try. “I’m climbing the beanstalk and I’ll go to the castle. I’ll search the kitchen. Now that there are no giants it will be easy to look. I can take my time and be more thorough.”
“Oh, Sam, be careful. I worry about you going there, even if there have been no giants, lately.”
“I best go now. Jack may become delirious soon.”
Lorene hugged and kissed Sam, like a mother. “Be careful.”
Sam told Zeke and Adam where he was going and to presume their roles as managers of the farm for the time being. He grabbed his knapsack and headed toward the magical beanstalk.
Standing in front of the giant, magical beanstalk, Sam whispered words of hope, while grasping and squeezing simultaneously, “If you have the magic that peculiar, old man prophesized, lead me to spice, saffron that will cure Jack of Giant Fever.”
Sam catapulted in a rush up the beanstalk in a whirlwind, leaving the farm and Jack behind. He landed in a bounding leap to the side of the castle’s kitchen door. He fell with a thud, and billowed a cloud of dust upon his arrival. Blowing and waving with his hands the particles of a cloud of obscure illusions from his sight, Sam beheld the kitchen pantry within his reach. He stood up from his confused and wobbly perception of his surroundings to focus more clearly. Before him was a rack of canned goods and spices in sealed containers. He scoured the contents of the spices, unaware which one might contain saffron. He picked up each jar, inspecting it thoroughly. He picked up a very light, tightly sealed jar. The label contained the images of two gods in mortal battle.
This must be it- saffron. Why did they put an image like that upon the jar unless they met to fool us? It is extremely light like the spice should be. Sam attempted to unscrew the tight lid, but it failed to giver no matter how much strength he applied.
All of a sudden, a loud thunderous bellow of words echoed from within the castle. He barely understood the words spoken but soon realized he was not alone. A cacophonous, shrill screaming match ensued, sounding like two juvenile demons. There tones of voice were definitely not hospitable. Sam took the warning and hid behind the jars on the pantry shelf.
Peering behind one labeled, aphrodisiac, Sam watched as two young giants, still massive in size but with youthful faces and bodies entered the pantry. They each grabbed an assortment of jars in their massive hands. Fortunately the jars they gathered were not be the ones camouflaging Sam. He listened and watched them plot.
“Those human dudes we caught yesterday were mighty tasty.” The bigger giant snickered. Taller by a foot. This beast had long blond hair, capped with a cowboy hat, like the shorter giant. The smaller giant had long black hair. Dressed similarly to Jack, Zeke, or Adam, and even Sam, they wore plaid, flannel shirts, suede leather chaps, and cowboy boots.
“But, Buck, we must find us more this time. Just one was not enough for me.” The shorter giant insisted on whetting his appetite with more human delicacies.
“Ben, you heard what Mother said, ‘Eating too many humans will stunt your growth.’”
“She may have a point. You grew a foot last year; I only grew a couple of inches. I was hanging out with Fat Wally then."
“I know. Mother told me to keep an eye on you. That is why you aren’t playing with him anymore.”
Buck unscrewed the lids off the jars he had removed from the shelf. He set them on the stove, along with Ben’s jars. “Find out what spices you have.” Buck proceeded to smell each of the opened jars.
“We can’t tell Mother and Father about this hideout. We have to keep it our secret.” Ben removed the lids form his containers.
After smelling the contents, Buck screwed the lids back on his jars. “None of these have that spice Mother cooks with. Do any of yours smell like it?”
“No, but I smelled cinnamon and clove. They would make humans taste good with sugar.”
“You should leave out the sugar if you want to grow tall like me. This is too obvious a place for saffron to be stored, anyway. Mother and Father always have it hidden somewhere. Let’s try upstairs.”
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