- The Mysterious Man
The Mysterious Man first appears in the woods as Jack is going to market with Milky-White. While the intentions of the Mysterious Man are unknown, he does reveal certain knowledge of Jack, such as his name and what he intends to do with Milky-White. After insulting his mother, he disappears. He appears again when the Baker and the Baker's Wife attempt to buy Milky-White in order to lift a spell that will allow them to have children; the Mysterious Man repeats his earlier insult and disappears as they buy the cow. He then makes a brief appearance during "First Midnight."
The Mysterious Man and the Baker meet for the first time in Scene Three, where the Mysterious Man causes him to wonder how far he is willing to go to have children. He then steals the Baker's gold and disappears, just as the Baker learns that his wife has lost Milky-White. Against his earlier personality, the Mysterious Man finds Milky-White and returns her to the Baker. He is then attacked by the Witch who cast the spell on the Baker's family; although the Mysterious Man claims otherwise, the Witch believes he is trying to disrupt the reversal of the spell.
When Milky-White dies, the Mysterious Man appears again and gives the Baker enough gold to buy another cow. He appears again when the Baker's Wife and the Steward are fighting over the golden slipper; the Mysterious Man claims that all will come to a happy ending if the Baker's Wife receives the slipper. He helps again by telling them to feed the hair of corn to the revived Milky-White, and this creates the magic potion the Baker needs. Before drinking the potion, the Witch reveals that the Mysterious Man is the Baker's father; the Witch drinks the magic potion as the Mysterious Man suddenly dies.
In Act II, the Baker is blessed with a child, but his wife is nevertheless killed by a giant. The Mysterious Man's spirit appears, but the Baker rejects him, upset that he abandoned him as a child and provoked the Witch's anger, causing all of the Baker's resultant problems ("No More"). Granting his son's wish, the Mysterious Man abandons him. He appears for a final time when the people killed in the events return, giving his son a final moral before disappearing forever.
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