Jack’s widowed mother had been sent him into the town to sell the family cow. It was hoped that the money raised by the sale of the beloved creature would be enough to tide the family over, through the long winter.
As Jack entered the market, a fruit vendor began calling out.
“Roll up. Roll up. We is comin’ to the end of the day, and this fruit ain’t goin’ to be eat’n itself. Nanners, Nanners, two bunches for a pound.”
The appeal of the idea of fresh fruit became too much for the half starved boy, so he headed directly to the vendor’s stall.
“I don’t have any cash for the bananas, but I have a cow,” he announced.
The shrewd merchant looked the beast over and said, “I’ll give ya eight bunches for er.”
Jack shook the man’s hand, and handed him the lead.
The wily vendor, then took sixteen bananas and separated them into pairs.
“Eight bunches,” he announced, wrapping them in old newspaper.
The dejected lad trudged home with his purchase and laid them on the kitchen table.
“Bananas!” his mother roared. “I was expecting beans!”