Sympathy for the Beanstalk Giant

Day 15 Of NaPoWriMo 2018.

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Why is it so wrong, if I, the Giant, toil for magic things with zeal?
My beloved wife, it is for your love, that I work so hard and make deals.

I heard gossip from the villagers that you are harboring an Englishman,
So are you really protecting this young Jack, and feeding him meals?

Look, a month ago, when that beanstalk first reached our castle,
I lost all my hard earned (albeit looted) gold coins and the golden seals.

And two weeks after that, the hen that laid the golden eggs disappears.
Pray, tell my pretty wife, are you having an affair with Jack, and letting him steal?

And tonight when I was resting my bones and listening to the magic harp, my love
I heard some other sounds mixed with yours, is it Jack that you conceal?

And lo and behold, here you are canoodling with this filthy Jack, the Englishman
Fi, fo, fum, I make my bread from his bones that I grind in these millstone wheels.

I let my imagination go wild. I picked the folk tale of Jack and Beanstalk and I put it into adult context with sympathy for the villain – the Giant, but keeping his villainy. Here’s the prompt:

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). In her interview, Blake suggests writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves).

I did write this in the ghazal format, but I had to forego the refrain (the radiff), as I just couldn’t make it work. And I also think that the couplets may not work independently, but need the whole poem to establish context.

Untold tale of panchtantra

Yes it is known that I was rewarded by
My wealthy master to a Brahmin
For performing religious rites.

Yes, it is known the Brahmin
Was carrying me on his back while
Returning home.

Yes, it is true and that
while going home he encountered
three thugs who scheme
To obtain me from the Brahmin
And make a meal out of me.

Yes, it is known that the first
thug asked the Brahmin,
“why are you carrying a dog”.
Next one asked, “why are you carrying
A dead calf.” By this time,
The Brahmin was having doubts.

Finally the third one asked the Brahmin
“Why are you carrying an ass.”
By this time, my new owner, the Brahmin,
Didn’t realize the thugs’ ploy
He spooked and thought I was a ghost
and threw me by the roadside.

It is also known that thugs were
Happy that they outsmarted the Brahmin,
were getting ready to make me into
A meal.

What is perhaps not known is that
I wasn’t just a goat, I am a
shape shifter. So when the thugs
came to make a meal out of me,
I turned into a roaring lion
And chased the thugs away.

Notes: Day 21 of NaPoWriMo 2016. Prompt was to write a poem from a point of view of a minor character. I picked a panchtantra tale with a twist.  Light blogging day today, so penned a quick draft.