Jack and the Beanstalk
Once upon a time there was a young doctor named Jack, who lived with his mother. They were very poor. Their sole possession, a cow, cost a lot to feed and produced little milk. So Jack’s mother told him to take it to market.
Soon after he set out, Jack met a man who offered to exchange the cow for a handful of magic beans. “These beans will be the start of a grassroots revolution that will put patients at the heart of care and commissioning in the hands of family doctors,” said the man.
The man was clearly deranged, but it was a long way to market and the beans were brightly coloured, so Jack agreed.
When he got home, Jack’s mother fell into a rage. “You stupid boy,” she shouted. “I told you to sell off the cow to the highest bidder, not give it away.” With that, she flung the beans from the window, gave Jack a sound beating and sent him to bed without any supper.
The next morning, Jack awoke to find a beanstalk had grown up outside the window. The plant was so tall that it reached into the clouds. Jack began to climb it.
When he reached the top Jack came to a castle belonging to a giant. “Fee fi fo fum,” roared the giant, who was given to histrionics. “Unless we can reduce the running costs of this castle, we’re all doomed.”
“Why not close the castle and move your terrorising activities into the village?” asked Jack. “That way people won’t need to travel so far for you to eat them and you won’t have to pay for the upkeep of costly premises.”
“Good idea!” said the giant, pausing only to make his wife and the castle’s other managers redundant.
As Jack reached the bottom of the beanstalk with the giant still only halfway down, he fetched an axe and brought the mighty beanstalk crashing to the ground, destroying half the village and killing most of the residents.
“What did you do that for?” asked the giant, as he lay dying amongst the carnage.
“That’s what it said in the stage directions,” replied Jack, waving a tattered white paper. “Count beans, make cuts, solve giant problems.”
And they all lived cost-effectively ever after.