• I see two clues: First, most of the picture books show people dressed in Medieval clothing; Jack is in a "Robin Hood" outfit that would date him a little before the signing of the Magna Carta of the 1200's. Second, the Giant's soliloquy (Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum...) places Jack's nationality in England. So we're seeing Jack, a thief who lives in England, killing a giant who lives in the clouds about 1/2 mile above the earth. A good example for the kids.
  • The origins of the story are unknown, but it's probably English or Germanic. The oldest surviving printed version is the 1807 "The History of Jack and the Beanstalk", printed by Benjamin Tabart, and a reference is made in Shakespeare's "King Lear." (Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum!" The prevalence of the tale in England, combined with the similarities between the story and the Saxon(Early Britons) belief in a World Tree that connects heaven to Earth, is pretty strong evidence that it's set in England.
  • Hmm! Somewhere in Europe a very long time ago!

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