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Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition European folktale

Jack is helped with his quest by a stranger who he is kind to. A story to show that kindness towards others is a valuable trait to possess.


Three brothers set out to seek their fortune. Each meets a strange little man who asks for food. The older two refuse him but Jack is kinder and in return the man helps him in his quest.

Why we chose it

Jack’s Quest was one of the original stories in The Story Museum audio stories collection. These stories are particularly suitable for learning to retell.

Where it came from

Many oral story traditions have stories where help is asked for by a stranger who turns out to have the power to help the kind hearted and punish the mean.

Associated stories

There are many folk stories about Jack. Often Jack is a simple character, well-meaning but prone to misunderstanding and comic disaster, as in Jack and the Beanstalk and Lazy Jack. A number of pantomimes have a stock character called Jack whose comic role is to misunderstand.

Stories with magical helpers include the Norwegian folktale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the African folktale Chinye, the Brothers Grimm story The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Andersen.

Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition European folktale