A poor woman lives far from London in a cottage with her "indolent, careless, and extravagant" son, Jack. The two have little money and are forced to sell their last possession, a cow. Jack leads the animal along the road and meets an old man who trades some magic beans for the cow.
Jack’s mother is furious when she discovers he has come home with no money, and tosses the beans away. The next morning, Jack finds a beanstalk has grown to the clouds and climbs it... finally reaching a castle, high above the sky!