In the countryside, just outside a small village, three young girls lived in a farmhouse with their parents.
One fine day, the three girls said to their father: “Dad, we do not grow beans like other farmers who live nearby. If we were to grow this vegetable too we would no longer be hungry, as we are suffering at present”.
Their father replied that they should fetch him dried beans so that he could sow them, and in due course they would have a supply of fresh beans just like the other neighbouring farmers.
The girls managed to get some dried beans for their father, and he immediately went to sow the beans in his field. However, the poor man was so hungry that, suddenly having so much to eat, he ended up biting the husk of the beans and eating the raw beans inside.
He ate all of the beans before he realised what he had done! He felt very guilty for having cheated his daughters and said to himself: “Let me try and see whether if I sow the husk of the beans they will grow into plants, just the same as if it was the whole bean”. And that is what he did.
The rainy season came and soon after the plants were fully grown, the farmers nearby started harvesting their beans. The girls asked their father when they too could go and harvest the beans in their field!
The father was well and truly in a tight spot, because he confirmed for himself that there were no beans to be collected from his field.
Besides committing the first mistake he now continued another one, and in order to cover up his guilt he took them to a field, which was not his and where beans were actually growing, and told them: "Here are the beans, which you can bring home”.
He left them by themselves to do the job of harvesting the beans from that field, and he returned home.
The poor girls had been tricked by their father and, overjoyed, they soon were going every day to the field to pick the beans from the plants. They felt that their hard work was worth it, since now they would no longer be suffering from hunger.
However, unluckily for them, the field which their father had pointed out as his field was in fact the field of a giantess.
This cunning woman soon realised that the crop in her field was being harvested by somebody unknown. Consequently, she decided to hide in a hut in the field to watch what was going on.
One fine morning, she caught the three girls busy picking the beans from her field. She ran towards the girls, and when the girls saw this big woman running towards them they got frightened and ran off.
Unluckily for the youngest sister, Connie, she tripped on some stones, hurt her leg and the giantess caught up with her. She dragged the terrified girl to her house.
As if that did not instill enough fear in Connie, the giantess threw the girl in a large earthen empty water jar. The cat and the dog of the giantess also joined Connie by jumping into the jar. At this point, the giantess covered the jar with a heavy lid.
The giantess used to feed Connie quite well, even though the girl was in the jar all the time. The woman owned a bakery, and she always had plenty of food baked in the oven.
The cunning and cruel giantess had plans in mind to fatten up Connie, and when the girl would have gained enough weight she would bake her in the oven.
From time to time she used to say to Connie: “Lift out your finger so that I can tell whether you have put on weight.”
The girl was clever, and she used to lift the leg of either the dog or the cat to fool the giantess, who had very bad eyesight. “You have still not put on enough weight” the giantess used to tell the poor girl.
However, one day, both the cat and dog managed to flee from the jar and unfortunately for Connie she had to give the giantess her own finger to feel.
When the giantess touched Connie’s finger she was surprised, and exclaimed: “Oh how big you have grown! Get out of there”.
Connie obeyed, and the giantess told her: “Now go to my neighbour and ask her to give me back the oven shovel I loaned her after the one she had got broken. With the help of the shovel I would be able to train you to become a good bakery woman like me”.
Like the good girl she was, Connie obeyed and went to get the oven shovel from the next door neighbour. This woman, who was a kind person, immediately understood what evil thoughts the cruel giantess had in her mind regarding the poor girl.
She took pity on Connie, and told her: “Be careful my dear girl, that giantess does not need the oven shovel to teach you how to bake bread. She wants it to lie you on it and slide you into the oven to roast you ready for eating".
She continued: "So now my dear girl, do as I am going to tell to save your life! When the giantess orders you to lie down on the oven shovel saying that that was necessary in order to teach you how to bake bread, you are to reply to her: 'In this manner I will never learn properly and quickly, because I will not be able to see the proper way to handle the shovel. It would be better if you yourself lie down on the shovel and whilst I push you in, you teach me how best to push in the raw bread on the shovel into the oven' ".
Connie meekly accepted the advice of the good woman and she returned with the oven shovel to hand it over to the giantess. As the good woman had foreseen, the giantess immediately told the girl: “Come on, lie down on the shovel and I will soon teach you how to be an able bakery girl”.
But Connie, remembering the warning which the good neighbour had given her, replied: “Master woman, in that manner I would never learn properly, because lying on the shovel how will I ever learn what has to be done when pushing the shovel into the oven? Would it not be better if you yourself lie down on the shovel and tell me step by step what I have to do?”
At first the giantess did not want to hear anything of this suggestion. But Connie persisted, and after a lot of attempts at persuading the giantess, the girl won her argument!
It is true that the giantess was a big woman, but it seems she did not possess much intelligence. The giantess, thinking she was so strong that nothing bad would happen to her, laid down on the shovel and Connie pushed her with all her might into the oven.
She pulled back the oven shovel, and ‘bang!’, she banged the door of the entrance to the oven and locked it tight. In this manner she got rid of the cruel giantess!
However, she knew that her problems were not completely over, for she still had to face the husband of the giantess, who was a big giant too. At that moment he was not home.
Cunningly, Connie dyed her hair white with flour, and put some clothes on her back under her dress so that she looked as if she was hunchbacked, just like the giantess had been.
In this manner she hoped that the giant, who was short sighted, might mistake her for his wife. She then threw the earthen lamps, which used to light the room when it got dark, straight into the water well. She also hid the pitcher in which the fresh water was kept.
Soon enough, the giant returned home. As soon as he opened the door to let him in she changed her voice, and started grumbling: “Oh, you will not believe how much that girl gave me trouble today! She had the guts to throw the earthen lamps into the well! And now we have to stay in the dark. But I saw to her as I deemed fit, and threw her into the oven”.
Then she opened the door of the oven and got him the roasted big thigh which had belonged to his wife. What a nice aroma of roasted meat there was throughout the kitchen! The giant ate with such great relish.
After he licked his fingers to make sure he ate all that was in front of him, little knowing that he had just eaten his wife’s thigh, he asked for a big jug of water to quench his thirst.
Without any hesitation, Connie replied: “Heaven knows where that cursed girl hid the water pitcher. We do not have a single drop of water to drink!”
The giant exploded with anger and started banging his hands on the table, shouting that he was thirsty and did not care where they were going to get the water from. Connie now saw her last chance to get rid of the giant too, and to be free again.
After some bickering, she persuaded him that she should lower him into the well hanging to a rope so that he could drink as much water as he wanted. Connie lowered him into the well, which was very, very deep.
Then she asked him whether he had drunk enough water, and he replied that he had, and ordered her to pull him up from there.
Connie then told the giant to say “Oops!”. The giant replied angrily: “Stop saying silly things, come on, hurry up, pull me out of here!”
She repeated: “Say oops!” and the giant, seeing that he better say that word in order to be pulled out, did reply: ‘’Oh the devil with you! Oops then!”
At this point, Connie immediately replied: ‘’And the rope has said oops too”, and she let go of the rope and left the giant down there for good.
She could not believe how lucky she was, and she ran out of the house happy that she had regained her freedom from the cruel control of the giants.
Connie ran home like she never had run before, and she was given a very warm welcome and plenty of hugs by all her family, who had thought that they would never see her alive again.