Jack and the Beanstalk

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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 5:23 pm

Yes, it's a member of the nightshade family, and the tomato leaves can be poisonous.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby hvered » 7:06 pm

If certain varieties of beans are poisonous, or have undesirable side-effects, one way of discouraging people is some slightly weird link with dead souls as a warning, metaphorical or even literal. More effective than a forbidden fruits ban.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 9:08 pm

It's certainly discouraging people round me. They ask: "Has something died?" I try and look innocent, or blame it on the beans.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 10:52 pm

Boreades wrote:Considering tomatoes were once considered poisonous (because they reacted with pewter), beans in tomato sauce might once have been even more deadly than we imagine.


I'd like someone to challenge me on this urban-myth.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pewter
Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally 85–99% tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and sometimes, less commonly today, lead. .. (and ) ... Tableware (pewter) consisted of tin with as much copper as it could absorb, which is about 1%.


WTF is going on here? All this time we've been told that tin was a scarce, rare and valuable metal. And then we're being told it was c.95% of dinner plates?
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Mick Harper » 10:58 pm

Yes, it is a puzzle and some old friends are involved

Once the Romans had left in the 5th century little pewter was made here until the craft was reintroduced in the 12th century, probably by Cistercian monks. They used the metal to make chalices, patens and spoons for ceremonial use but the versatility of pewter was soon recognised by the wider community.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 11:17 pm

Oh God, not more elite ritual goods?
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 12:08 pm

Perhaps the Cistercian monks wanted fine dining wares to reflect their status in society. The old upper-class job-finding habit of one for the army, one for the navy and one for the clergy certainly(?) would have filled monasteries with entitled people who expected to live well, with high-status goods around them.

Tangentially, is the image of Celtic Saints (etc) of poor folk devoted to poverty a delusion? Based on what?

Meanwhile, my status in society must be slipping rapidly. The last two times I have dined out, I have been served food on a wooden board. Less hygenic, and frustrating to use because bits keep dropping off of the side of the board. Why do they do it? What are they trying to tell me? What am I, some kind of less-entitled medieval farm labourer? Don't they know who I am? Bah. Git orf moi laand.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Mick Harper » 2:00 pm

I fear you are missing the important point

but the versatility of pewter was soon recognised by the wider community.

My own experience is that in ordinary households ie my grandparents, pewter was for ornamental objects only (which makes it not-very-significant) but the word 'versatility' suggests it was used in many workaday applications in earlier times. This would in turn mean that tin was cheap. Which is important for various reasons.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 3:06 pm

I did notice that phrase ...

but the versatility of pewter was soon recognised by the wider community.


.. and it struck me as odd, but I couldn't pin it down.

What does it mean? The wider community was getting more avaricious? more wealthy? If so, how? Or, the price of tin was dropping? If so, why? Or were the monks selling off the pewter as they upgraded to silver and gold?
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby TisILeclerc » 8:19 am

An interesting fairy tale on the Beeb site this morning taken from the Royal Society Open Science Journal. It would appear that fairy tales are much older than previously thought after linguistic analysis by a couple of academics.

Dr Tehrani said Jack And The Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre's Treasure, and could be traced back to when Eastern and Western Indo-European languages split more than 5,000 years ago.

Analysis showed Beauty And The Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old.

And a folk tale called The Smith And The Devil, about a blacksmith selling his soul in a pact with the Devil in order to gain supernatural abilities, was estimated to go back 6,000 years to the bronze age.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35358487

It's good to see the literate giving the non literate credit for something.

It would be useful in this light to reassess all those other legends about giants throwing stones at each other, dragons guarding treasure etc. It's more than likely these tales also go back to the same source and for similar reasons.
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