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Title: Children's Classics in Dramatic Form
Author: Stevenson, Augusta
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Children's Classics in Dramatic Form" ***

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Formerly a Teacher in the Indianapolis Public Schools



Assistant Superintendent
Indianapolis Public Schools

[Illustration: "The moon changes into the red beard of the old


This book is intended to accomplish three distinct purposes: first, to
arouse a greater interest in oral reading; second, to develop an expressive
voice--sadly lacking in the case of most Americans; and third, to give
freedom and grace in the bodily attitudes and movements which are involved
in reading and speaking. The stories given are for the most part
adaptations of favorite tales from folklore,--Andersen, Grimm, Aesop, and
the Arabian Nights having been freely drawn upon.

Children are dramatic by nature. They _are_ for the time the kings, the
fairies, and the heroes that they picture in their imaginations. They _are_
these characters with such abandon and with such intense pleasure that the
on-looker must believe that nature intended that they should give play to
this dramatic instinct, not so much formally, with all the trappings of the
man-made stage, but spontaneously and naturally, as they talk and read. If
this expressive instinct can be utilized in the teaching of reading, we
shall be able both to add greatly to the child's enjoyment and to improve
the quality of his oral reading. In these days when so many books are
hastily read in school, there is a tendency to sacrifice expression to the
mechanics and interpretation of reading. Those acquainted with school work
know too well the resulting monotonous, indistinct speech and the
self-conscious, listless attitude which characterize so much of the
reading of pupils in grades above the third. It is believed that this
little book will aid in overcoming these serious faults in reading, which
all teachers and parents deplore. The dramatic appeal of the stories will
cause the child to lose himself in the character he is impersonating and
read with a naturalness and expressiveness unknown to him before, and this
improvement will be evident in all his oral reading, and even in his

The use of the book permits the whole range of expression, from merely
reading the stories effectively, to "acting them out" with as little, or as
much, stage-setting or costuming as a parent or teacher may desire. The
stories are especially designed to be read as a part of the regular reading
work. Many different plans for using the book will suggest themselves to
the teacher. After a preliminary reading of a story during the study
period, the teacher may assign different parts to various children, she
herself reading the stage directions and the other brief descriptions
inclosed in brackets. The italicized explanations in parentheses are not
intended to be read aloud; they will aid in giving the child the cue as to
the way the part should be rendered. After the story has been read in this
way, if thought advisable it can be played informally and simply, with no
attempt at costuming or theatric effects. It will often add to the interest
of the play to have some of the children represent certain of the inanimate
objects of the scene, as the forest, the town gate, a door, etc.
Occasionally, for the "open day," or as a special exercise, a favorite play
may be given by the children with the simplest kind of costuming and
stage-setting. These can well be made in the school as a part of the manual
training and sewing work. In giving the play, it will generally be better
not to have pupils memorize the exact words of the book, but to depend upon
the impromptu rendering of their parts. This method will contribute more
largely to the training in English.

The best results will usually be obtained by using these stories in the
fourth grade. In some schools, however, the stories in the first part of
the book may profitably be used in the third grade.

The author has been led to believe from her own experience and from her
conversation with many other teachers that there is a pronounced call for
this kind of book. She therefore hopes that in the preparation of this book
she may have been of service to the teachers and children who may be led to
use it.

A. S.


_Adapted from Aesop's Fable, The Travellers and the Hatchet._

_Adapted from Grimm's The Old Man and his Grandson._

_Suggested by Aesop's Fable, The Crow and the Fox._

_Suggested by Aesop's Fable, The Miller, his Son, and their Ass._

_Suggested by Grimm's The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage._

_Adapted from Hans Andersen's What the Goodman does is always Right._

_Suggested by Grimm's The Cat and the Mouse._

_Suggested by Hans Andersen's The Girl who trod on the Loaf._

_Suggested by Hans Andersen's The Ugly Duckling._

_Suggested by Hans Andersen's The Red Shoes._

_Adapted from The Story of Ali Cogia from The Arabian Nights'

_Suggested by Hans Andersen's The Wild Swans._

_Suggested by an oriental legend; source unknown._

_From a folk-tale of Spanish Honduras._

_Suggested by Grimm's The Three Spinners._
















TIME: _last week_.
PLACE: _a high road_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ TWO TRAVELLERS _journey along the road. A hatchet lies in the dust
at one side._][Footnote: The explanations in _brackets_ may be read by the

FIRST TRAVELLER (_seeing the hatchet, taking it up_).[Footnote: The words
in _parentheses_ are not intended to be read aloud; they will give the
child the cue as to how the part should be rendered.] Ah, see what I have

SECOND TRAVELLER. Do not say _I_, but rather, what _we_ have found.

FIRST TRAVELLER. Nonsense! Did I not see the hatchet first? And did I not
take it up?

SECOND TRAVELLER. Well, then, claim the hatchet, since that is plainly your

[_Enter the_ CARPENTER.]

CARPENTER (_to First Traveller_). Aha, thief! Now I have caught you!

[_He seizes the First Traveller._]

FIRST TRAVELLER. No thief am I, sir!


CARPENTER. But my own hatchet is in your hand, sir. Come along to the
judge, sir!

FIRST TRAVELLER (_to Second Traveller_). Alas, we are undone!

SECOND TRAVELLER. Do not say _we_. You are undone, not I. You would not
allow me to share the prize; you cannot expect me to share the danger. I
bid you good day, sir.


TIME: _now_.
PLACE: _a certain_ MAN'S _house_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ MAN, _his_ WIFE, _little_ HANS, _and the_ GRANDFATHER _sit at the
table eating the noon meal._]

MAN. Be careful, father! You are spilling the soup on your coat.

GRANDFATHER (_trying to steady his trembling hand_). Yes, yes, I'll be

[_Short pause._]

WIFE (_sharply_). Grandfather! You have spilled the soup on my clean

GRANDFATHER (_embarrassed_). Dear me! Dear me!

[_Short pause._]

MAN. Here, father, is your plate of meat.

[_The old man takes the plate, but lets it fall._]

WIFE (_angrily_). There now! Just see what
you have done!

GRANDFATHER. My hand shook so--I'm sorry--so sorry!

WIFE. That won't mend the plate!

MAN. Nor buy a new one!

WIFE (_to her husband_). He should eat from wooden dishes.

MAN (_nodding, pointing to a wooden dish_). Let him have that one for his

[_The Grandfather sighs sadly. The Wife gets a wooden dish and fills it
with meat. Little Hans leaves the table and plays with his blocks on the

WIFE (_handing the wooden dish to the Grandfather_). Here's one you can't
break. Go now and sit in the corner behind the oven. You shall eat there
hereafter. I cannot have my tablecloths soiled--that I cannot!

[_The Grandfather takes his wooden plate and goes to the seat in the corner
behind the oven. His eyes are filled with tears._]

MAN. Come, little Hans, and finish your dinner.

WIFE (_turning to Hans_). Bless me! What are you making, child?

HANS. A wooden trough for you and father to eat out of when I grow big.

[_The Man and his Wife look at each other; there is a pause._]

MAN (_showing shame_). He will treat us as we have treated father!

WIFE (_weeping_). 'T will serve us right!

MAN (_kindly_). Father, throw that wooden dish out of the window. I am
ashamed of what I have done; forgive me!

WIFE (_kindly_). Father, come back to the table. I too am ashamed. Forgive
me, dear father.


TIME: _yesterday noon_.
PLACE: _a high tree in a grove_.

       *       *       *       *       *

MISS CROW, _her Daughter_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[MADAM CROW _sits in the tree. Enter_ MISS CROW. _She carries a large piece
of cheese in her mouth._]

MADAM. O joy! O joy! Come, dear daughter, come! We'll dine as if we were
queen and princess!

[_Miss Crow flies to Madam Crow. Enter_ MASTER FOX.]

FOX. I bid you good morning, dear madam.

MADAM. Good morning to you, dear sir.

FOX (_sitting under tree_). With your permission, I'll speak with your

MADAM. She'll be pleased to listen, that she will--you are so clever.

FOX (_modestly_). Nay, madam, not so clever, only thoughtful.

[_He sighs deeply twice._]

MADAM. You have something on your mind.

FOX (_sighing_). Yes, dear madam,--I am thinking of your daughter.

MADAM. Then speak! Speak now, sir!--at once, sir!

FOX. I speak. O sweet Miss Crow, how beautiful your wings are!

MADAM (_pleased_). Do you hear that, daughter?

[_Miss Crow nods, spreading her wings proudly._]

FOX. I speak again. How bright your eye, dear maid! How graceful your neck!

MADAM. Bend your neck, child! Now bend it well that he may better see your

[_Miss Crow bends neck twice._]

FOX. But oh, that such a sweet bird should be dumb!--should be so utterly

[_He weeps gently in his little pocket handkerchief._]

MADAM (_indignantly_). Do you think, sir, she cannot _caw_ as well as the
rest of us?

FOX. I must think so, dear madam. Alas!

[_Weeping again in his little pocket handkerchief._]

MADAM. You shall think so, then, no longer! Caw, child, caw, as you have
never cawed before!

MISS CROW (_opening mouth; dropping cheese_). Caw! Caw!

[_Fox quickly snaps up the cheese._]

FOX (_going_). Thank you, Miss Crow. Remember, dear madam, that whatever
I said of her beauty, I said nothing of her brains.

[_He goes, waving the crows a farewell with his little pocket


TIME: _this morning_.
PLACE: _a bridge, near a town and not far from a Fair_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ MILLER _and his_ SON _are driving their donkey across the bridge.
They go to the Fair._]

SON. Do you expect to get a good price for our donkey, father?

MILLER (_nodding_). Aye, lad; the Fair is the place to take your wares.

SON. Our donkey is not so young, though.

MILLER. Neither is he so old, though.

SON. But he is not so fat, though.

MILLER. Neither is he so lean, though.

SON. Truly he might be worse.

MILLER. Better or worse, he must be sold.

[THREE MAIDS _enter the bridge. They go to the Fair._]

FIRST MAID (_pointing to the Miller and his Son_). Look there! Did you ever
see such geese?

SECOND MAID. As I live!--walking when they might ride!

THIRD MAID (_to the Miller_). You'll get a laugh at the Fair, old man!

[_The Maids pass on._]

MILLER. This may be true. Get you upon the beast, lad.

[_The boy mounts the donkey. Enter_ THREE OLD MEN. _They talk together
earnestly. They go to the Fair._]

FIRST OLD MAN (_pointing to the Miller and his Son_). Look you there! That
proves what I was saying.

SECOND OLD MAN (_nodding_). Aye! There's no respect shown old age in these

THIRD OLD MAN (_nodding_). Aye! There's that young rogue riding while his
old father has to walk!

[_The Old Men pass on._]

MILLER. Get down, lad. 'T would indeed look better should I ride.

[_The lad dismounts; the Miller mounts. Enter_ THREE GOODIES; _they go to
the Fair._]

FIRST GOODY (_indignantly, pointing to the Miller and his Son_). Look,
Goodies, look! Did you ever see anything so cruel?

SECOND GOODY (_to the Miller_). You lazy old fellow! How can you ride while
your own child walks in the dust?

THIRD GOODY (_to the lad_). You poor, poor child!

[_The Goodies pass on, shaking their heads and their canes indignantly._]

MILLER. Come, lad, get up behind me.

SON. Why, father, I'm not tired!

MILLER. I know, but we must try to please them. Come.

[_The lad mounts, sitting behind his father. Enter the_ MAYOR _and his_
CLERKS. _They go to the Fair._]

MAYOR (_turning to his Clerks; pointing to the Miller and his Son_). Look,
will you!

(_He turns to the Miller._)

Pray, honest friend, is that beast your own?

MILLER. Yes, my lord Mayor.

MAYOR. One would not think so from the way you load him. Say you not so, my

FIRST CLERK (_bowing_). Just so, my lord Mayor.

SECOND CLERK (_bowing_). Even so, my lord Mayor.

THE MAYOR (_to the Miller and his Son_). Why, you two fellows are better
able to carry the poor donkey than he you! Say you not so, my Clerks?

FIRST CLERK (_bowing_). Just so, my lord Mayor.

SECOND CLERK (_bowing_). Even so, my lord Mayor.

MILLER. Come, my son, to please them, we'll carry the donkey.

[_They dismount and try to lift the donkey. This frightens the poor beast.
He tries to get away, and falls over the bridge into the deep river._]

MILLER (_weeping_). I have tried to please every one! I have pleased no

SON (_weeping_). And we have lost our donkey in the bargain!

[Illustration: "WE HAVE LOST OUR DONKEY"]


TIME: _yesterday_.
PLACE: _in a tiny house_.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE STRAW _who brings in the wood_.
THE COAL _who makes the fire_.
THE SNOWFLAKE _who draws the water_.
THE SUGAR LOAF _who lays the table_.
THE SAUSAGE _who cooks the meals_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[_The tiny kitchen is seen. The_ SAUSAGE _is stirring the pot. The_ COAL
_is tending the fire. The_ SUGAR LOAF _is laying the table. Enter_ STRAW
_with a load of wood._]

STRAW (_throwing down wood_). Think you'll need more wood for the dinner,

[_Sausage does not answer. She gets into the pot to flavor the

COAL (_whispers to Straw_). Sausage is quite put out.

STRAW. What's the trouble?

COAL. No one knows.

[_Enter_ SNOWFLAKE _with a pail of water._]

SNOWFLAKE (_looking about_). Where's Sausage?

STRAW. She is flavoring the vegetables.

[_Sausage comes out of the pot._]

SNOWFLAKE. Here is the water, Sausage.

[_Sausage does not answer._]

SNOWFLAKE (_speaking louder_). Will you come for the water, Sausage?

SAUSAGE (_sharply_). No, madam, I will not!

THE OTHERS (_with surprise_). Sausage!

SAUSAGE. I've been slave here long enough!

THE OTHERS (_as before_). Sister Sausage!

SAUSAGE. I mean just what I say!

SNOWFLAKE. Have I not done my share of the work?

COAL. Have I not done my share?

STRAW. Have I not done my share?

SUGAR LOAF. And have I not done my share?

SAUSAGE. Please to tell me what you do.

STRAW. I bring in wood that Coal may make the fire.

COAL. I make the fire that the pot may boil.

SNOWFLAKE. I draw the water and bring it from the brook.

SUGAR LOAF. I lay the table nicely.

SAUSAGE. What do I? Eh? What do I? I must stand over the fire. I must not
only stir the dinner, I must flavor it with myself. For each of you there
is one duty. For me there are plainly three.

STRAW. But, sister--

SAUSAGE (_interrupting_). Don't "sister" me!

SNOWFLAKE. Sausage, dear, would you break up our pretty home?

SUGAR LOAF. And we all so happy here!

SAUSAGE. There must be a change! Some one else can stand over the fire--can
stir the pot--can flavor the vegetables.

COAL. If I flavored them, they could not be eaten.

SAUSAGE. That's what you're always saying, but I'm not so sure of it.

SNOWFLAKE. If I stirred the pot, 't would be the end of me.

SAUSAGE. Yes, you say that often enough, but I'm not so sure that it is

STRAW. Should I stand over the fire, I'd be no more.

SAUSAGE (_scornfully_). Excuses! Excuses!

SUGAR LOAF. 'T is plain that I should not get into the pot.

SAUSAGE. And why not, Miss? why not?

SUGAR LOAF. 'T would be good-by for me, if I should!

SAUSAGE. Excuses! Excuses! I say there must be a change! 'T is I who will
bring the wood or draw the water.

COAL. But, Sausage, you should stay within.

SAUSAGE. Not I, sir! I'll out of the pot and out of the house, I will! I'll
see a bit of the world, I will!

SUGAR LOAF (_sighing_). Well, if she will, she will!

SAUSAGE (_getting slips_). Come, now, and draw for it.

[_She holds the slips for the others to draw._]

STRAW (_drawing; reading from slip_). "Who gets this must make the fire."

SUGAR LOAF (_drawing; reading from slip_). "Who gets this must draw the

SNOWFLAKE (_drawing; reading from slip_). "Who gets this must stir the pot
and flavor it with herself."

COAL (_drawing; reading from slip_). "Who gets this must lay the table

SAUSAGE (_reading from last slip_). "Who gets this must bring the wood."
Well, that pleases me! Straw, see if the fire needs wood.

(_Straw hesitates._)

Come, come, do your duty!

[_Straw crosses the hearth and looks into the fire. He is very careful, but
the fire reaches him and he is gone in a puff!_]

SNOWFLAKE. Poor Straw! Well, 't is my duty to stir the pot and to flavor it
with myself.

[_She crosses to the hearth, but just as she reaches it, she disappears
without so much as a cry._]

SUGAR LOAF. Poor Snowflake! Well, 't is my duty to draw the water.

[_She forgets that the pail is full, falls into it, and is seen no more._]

COAL. Poor Sugar Loaf! Well, 't is my duty to lay the table nicely.

[_He forgets that he is still burning from having lately tended the fire.
As he places the plates, the tablecloth catches fire and wraps itself
around him._]

COAL (_from inside the burning cloth_). This is the end of me!

SAUSAGE (_weeping_). Dear me! Dear me! Who would have thought 't would turn
out so badly! Well, 't is my duty to bring in wood.

[_She opens the door and is face to face with a hungry dog who is sniffing

DOG. Ah, I thought you'd be coming out soon!

SAUSAGE (_pleased_). Do you want to see me, sir?

DOG. Why, yes, I've been waiting for you.

SAUSAGE. How good to be out in the world! They always said my place was

DOG. They did, eh? Well, just to please them, I'll put you there.

[_He swallows her quickly, which ends both Sister Sausage and our story._]



TIME: _early one morning_.
PLACE: _a very old farmhouse_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ GOODMAN _and his_ WIFE _are seated in their spare room because it is

WIFE. Yes, I think it would be as well to sell our horse. Or, as you say,
we might exchange him for something more useful.

GOODMAN. What shall we exchange him for?

WIFE. You know best, Goodman. Whatever you do will be right.

GOODMAN (_starting out_). It is Fair-day. I will ride into town and see
what can be done.

WIFE. Wait till I fasten your neckerchief! You shall have a pretty double
bow this time, for you are going to the Fair.

(_She ties the neckerchief. The Goodman starts out._)

Wait till I have smoothed your hat!

(_She smooths his old hat._)

Now you are ready.

GOODMAN (_going_). Be at the window, Wife.

WIFE (_nodding_). Yes, surely, and I will wave at you as you ride by.


TIME: _two hours later_.
PLACE: _near the toll-gate on the road to the Fair_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ GOODMAN _is seen riding his horse. Enter, from a country lane, a_
PEASANT, _driving a cow._]

GOODMAN (_stopping; calling_). Halloo, there--you with the cow!

PEASANT (_stopping_). Yes, Goodman.

GOODMAN. Your cow gives good milk, I am certain.

PEASANT (_nodding_). None richer in this country!

GOODMAN. A horse is of more value than a cow, but I don't care for that. A
cow will be more useful to me; so if you like, we'll exchange.

PEASANT. To be sure I will. Here is your cow.

GOODMAN. Here is your horse.

[_The Peasant goes off riding the horse. A_ SECOND PEASANT, _driving a
sheep, enters from a field near by._]

GOODMAN (_sees him and calls_). Halloo, there--you with the sheep!

SECOND PEASANT (_stopping_). Yes, Goodman.

GOODMAN. I should like to have that sheep.

SECOND PEASANT. She is a good, fat sheep.

GOODMAN. There is plenty of grass for her by our fence at home, and in the
winter we could keep her in the room with us.

SECOND PEASANT. Do you wish to buy her?

GOODMAN. Will you take my cow in exchange?

SECOND PEASANT. I am willing. Here is your sheep.

GOODMAN. Here is your cow.

[_The second Peasant goes off driving the cow. Enter, from a farmyard near
by, a_ THIRD PEASANT _carrying a goose._]

GOODMAN. What a heavy creature you have there!

THIRD PEASANT (_stopping_). She has plenty of feathers and plenty of fat.

GOODMAN. She would look well paddling in the water at our place.

THIRD PEASANT (_stopping_). She would look well in any place!

GOODMAN. She would be very useful to my wife. She could make all sorts of
profit out of her.

THIRD PEASANT. Indeed she could, Goodman!

GOODMAN. How often she has said,--"If now we only had a goose!"

THIRD PEASANT. Well, this goose is for sale.

GOODMAN. I will give my sheep for your goose and thanks into the bargain.

THIRD PEASANT. I am willing; here is your goose.

GOODMAN. Here is your sheep.

[_The Peasant goes off with the sheep. The Goodman discovers a hen in the_
TOLL-KEEPER'S _potato field._]

GOODMAN (_calling_). That's the finest fowl I ever saw, Toll-keeper!

TOLL-KEEPER. You're right about that, Goodman.

GOODMAN. She's finer than our pastor's brood-hen! Upon my word she is! I
should like to have that fowl!

TOLL-KEEPER. She is for sale.

GOODMAN. I think it would be a good exchange if I could get her for my

TOLL-KEEPER. Well, it wouldn't be a bad thing.

GOODMAN. Then here is your goose.

TOLL-KEEPER. Here is your fowl.

[_Enter a_ HOSTLER _carrying a sack._]

GOODMAN (_to Hostler_). What have you in that sack, friend?

HOSTLER. Rotten apples--to feed the pigs with.

GOODMAN. Why, that will be a terrible waste. I should like to take them
home to my wife.

HOSTLER (_astonished_). To your wife?

GOODMAN (_nodding_). You see, last year our old apple tree bore only one
apple, which we kept in the cupboard till it was quite rotten. It was
always property, my wife said.

HOSTLER. What will you give me for the sackful? Your wife would then have a
great deal of property.

GOODMAN. Well, I will give you my fowl in exchange.

HOSTLER. Here is your sack of rotten apples.

GOODMAN. Here is your fowl.

[_The Hostler goes with the fowl._]

TOLL-KEEPER. Toll, Goodman!

GOODMAN. I will not go to the Fair to-day. I have done a great deal of
business, and I am tired. I will go back home.


TIME: _two hours later_.
PLACE: _the old farmhouse_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_Enter the_ GOODMAN, _carrying the sack. The_ WIFE _waits for him in the
spare room, because he has been away._]

GOODMAN. Well, Wife, I've made the exchange.

WIFE. Ah, well, you always understand what you're about.

GOODMAN. I got a cow in exchange for the horse.

WIFE. Good! Now we shall have plenty of milk and butter and cheese on the
table. That was a fine exchange!

GOODMAN. Yes, but I changed the cow for a sheep.

WIFE. Ah, better still! We have just enough grass for a sheep.--Ewe's milk
and cheese! Woolen jackets and stockings! The cow could not give all those.
How you think of everything!

GOODMAN. But I changed the sheep for a goose.

WIFE. Then we shall have roast goose to eat this year. You dear Goodman,
you are always thinking of something to please me!

GOODMAN. But I gave away the goose for a fowl.

WIFE. A fowl? Well, that was a good exchange. The fowl will lay eggs and
hatch them. We shall soon have a poultry-yard. Ah, this is just what I was
wishing for!

GOODMAN. Yes, but I exchanged the fowl for a sack of rotten apples.

WIFE. My dear, good husband! Now, I'll tell you something. Do you know,
almost as soon as you left me this morning, I began thinking of what I
could give you nice for supper. I thought of bacon with eggs and sweet

GOODMAN. But we have no sweet herbs.

WIFE (_nodding_). For that reason, I went over to our neighbor's and begged
her to lend me a handful.

GOODMAN. That was right; they have plenty.

WIFE (_nodding_). So I thought, but she said, "Lend? I have nothing to
lend, not even a rotten apple." Now I can lend _her_ ten or the whole
sackful. It makes me laugh to think of it. I am so glad.

GOODMAN. So you think what I did was right?

WIFE. What the Goodman does is always right.


TIME: _perhaps this minute_.
PLACE: _perhaps your own garret_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[MOTHER MOUSE _and_ MISS MOUSE _are in their spare room because Mother
Mouse is getting ready for a journey. Miss Mouse helps her. The_ CAT _is
outside, peeping now and then through the window, but so slyly that the
mice do not see her._]

MOTHER MOUSE (_going_). Now mind you keep one eye on our grease-pot, child.

MISS MOUSE. That I will, dear mother!

MOTHER MOUSE. Let no one in,--no one! no one!

MISS MOUSE. No one, dear mother!

MOTHER MOUSE. I'll not be long away. Good-by, my child.

(_Starting out; stopping._)

Mind you show no one the grease-pot, child,--no one! no one!

Miss MOUSE. No one, dear mother!

[_Mother Mouse goes out of the front door._]

CAT (_calling through window_). Oh, Miss Mouse! Oh, Miss Mouse!

MISS MOUSE (_showing alarm_). Who calls?

CAT (_very sweetly_). Only I! Will you please let me in?

MISS MOUSE (_shaking head_). Mother said--

CAT (_interrupting quickly_). 'T is a matter of business!

MISS MOUSE (_shaking head_). But mother said--

CAT (_interrupting_). 'T is most important!

MISS MOUSE (_as before_). But mother said--

CAT (_interrupting_). I wish your advice--you are so clever!

MISS MOUSE (_showing she is pleased; starting to window_). Oh, do you truly
think so?

CAT (_nodding_). Every one thinks so!

MISS MOUSE (_showing she is more pleased; going to the window_). Oh, do
they, truly?

CAT. Oh, truly they do!

MISS MOUSE (_showing she is most pleased; opening window_). What else nice
say they?

CAT (_jumping in_). That I'll tell you by and by.

(_Sniffing about._)

There must be a grease-pot about! Am I not right?

MISS MOUSE. Mother said--

[Illustration: THE CAT AND THE MOUSE]

CAT (_interrupting_). Only tell me if I be right! 'T will do no harm!

MISS MOUSE (_hesitating_). Well--then--yes. But 't is put away for our
winter stores.

CAT (_nodding_). Just so! Now, I can't decide where to keep my grease-pot
when I have bought one. Won't you give me your advice? You are so wise.

MISS MOUSE. Do you truly think I'm wise?

CAT (_nodding_). Aye, and if you will tell me where to keep my grease-pot
when I have bought it, I'll tell you something more.

MISS MOUSE (_greatly pleased_). About me?

CAT (_nodding_). Yes,--what every one says about your being so beautiful.
But first I must know where to keep my grease-pot.

MISS MOUSE. Then listen--you must keep it, when you have bought it, in the
northwest corner.

[_The Cat runs quickly to the northwest corner._]

MISS MOUSE (_in alarm_). Come away! Come away!

CAT. Why, here is your grease-pot!

MISS MOUSE (_as before_). Come away, I say!

CAT (_looking into the pot_). Truly, the fat is kept hard and cool here.

MISS MOUSE. I pray you come away! Mother does not so much as let me look
into it. 'T is not yet time, she says.

CAT (_looking again into pot_). Exactly!

(_She leaves the pot and joins Miss Mouse._)

'T is just what I'll tell my kittens about my grease-pot when I have bought

MISS MOUSE. Ah, then you have kittens at home?

CAT (_nodding_). Such beautiful kittens! The eldest is white, with brown

MISS MOUSE. He must be charming!

CAT. I've a mind to tell you his name. First, though, run out to see if
your dear mother is not coming.

[_Miss Mouse nods and runs out. The Cat quickly creeps to the grease-pot
and licks the top off. She crosses to the window just as_ MISS MOUSE

MISS MOUSE. Mother is nowhere to be seen. Now what did you name your eldest

CAT. Top-off.

MISS MOUSE. Top-off? Why, that is a curious name! Is it common in your

CAT. Oh, no! My second child has a white ring around his neck.

MISS MOUSE. Remarkable!

CAT. Very!

MISS MOUSE. What did you name him?

CAT. I gave him an unusual name. I will tell you what it is. First, though,
run out to see if your dear mother is coming.

[_Miss Mouse nods and runs out. The Cat creeps to the grease-pot and eats
half the fat; then crosses to window._ MISS MOUSE _returns._]

MISS MOUSE. Mother is nowhere to be seen. Now what did you name your second

CAT. Half-out.

Miss MOUSE. Half-out? I never heard such a name! 'T is not in the calendar,
I'm sure.

CAT. What does that matter, if it pleases me? Now the last child is really
a wonder. He is quite black and has little white claws, but not a single
white hair on his body.

MISS MOUSE. What have you named him?

CAT. I'm afraid that will please you no better than the others, but still I
will tell you. First, though, run to see if your dear mother is not coming.

[_Miss Mouse nods and runs out. The Cat creeps to the pot and eats all the
fat. She then crosses to the window._]

CAT. What one begins one must needs finish.

[MISS MOUSE _returns._]

MISS MOUSE. Mother is nowhere to be seen. Now tell me what you named your
youngest child.

CAT. All-out.

MISS MOUSE. All-out? Why, that is more curious than the others. I have
never seen it in print.

CAT (_glaring at Miss Mouse_). You never will!

MISS MOUSE (_frightened_). What do you mean?

CAT (_preparing to spring_). I mean to put you down with the fat!

MISS MOUSE. Help! help!

[_Enter_ MOTHER MOUSE _just as the Cat clutches her daughter and jumps out
of the window with her. Mother Mouse crosses and looks into the empty

MOTHER MOUSE (_sighing sadly_). 'T was ever thus! Show your grease-pot, and
you'll go with it!



TIME: _the day before Christmas_.

PLACE: _Ingé's Mother's home_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ MOTHER _stands at the kitchen window, watching for Ingé._]

MOTHER. Ah, here she comes at last!

(_Short pause. Enter_ INGÉ.)

I have waited long for you, my child. Where have you been?

(_Ingé is silent._)

Have you been to the Elf Hill? Tell me.

INGÉ (_hesitating_). Just for a little while, mother.

MOTHER. Ingé! Ingé! What have I ever told you?

INGÉ. I thought I'd go just this once.

MOTHER (_showing sorrow_). Ah, Ingé, that's what you always say.

INGÉ. There's no harm talking with the elves.

MOTHER. And I, your mother, say there is harm.

INGÉ. But, mother,--they talk so prettily.

MOTHER (_nodding_). Aye! and that's the harm. They've put such silly ideas
into your head.

INGÉ. They say 't is friendship makes them talk as they do.

MOTHER (_indignantly_). Friendship! 'T is friendship, is it, to tell you
not to fetch the wood?

INGÉ. They say 't will spoil my hands.

MOTHER. Out upon them and their pretty talk! You shall go there no more. Do
you hear me, Ingé?

INGÉ (_pouting_). I hear.

MOTHER. Now take this loaf of bread to your sick aunt. Say to her 't is her
Christmas gift.

INGÉ. But, mother, I must cross the muddy road to go there.

MOTHER. Well, you are neither sugar nor salt.

INGÉ. I'll spoil my shoes!

MOTHER. You think of your shoes, and your aunt lies ill?

INGÉ. Wait till spring and the mud will be gone.

MOTHER. Wait till spring and your aunt will be gone! Here is the loaf--now
off with you!

[_Ingé takes the loaf and goes, but not willingly._]


TIME: _a few minutes later_.
PLACE: _the muddy road_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[INGÉ _is seen stopping at the muddy road._]

INGÉ. 'T is too wide to leap!

[_The_ WICKED ELF _suddenly appears on the opposite side of the road._]

WICKED ELF. Good day to you, pretty maid!

INGÉ. Good day to you, dear Elf!

WICKED ELF. Wilt cross this muddy road?

INGÉ. I must.

WICKED ELF. Then I'll tell you how to do it and not so much as wet your

INGÉ. Oh, thank you, dear Elf!

WICKED ELF. Throw down your loaf and--

INGÉ. (_showing surprise; interrupting_). Throw down the loaf?

WICKED ELF. Why, yes,--to use it for a stepping-stone.

INGÉ. But 't will spoil the bread!

WICKED ELF. But 't will save your shoes!

INGÉ. Well, that's true--

WICKED ELF. A pretty maid ne'er wears a muddy shoe.

INGÉ. That's true, too--

WICKED ELF. Come, then, throw down the loaf!

INGÉ. Well, I'll do it!

(_She throws the loaf and steps upon it._)

'T is sinking! What shall I do?

WICKED ELF. Why, then, jump off!

INGÉ (_trying to jump_). I can't! Don't you see I can't?

WICKED ELF. Ha, ha! You're fastened to it!

INGÉ. 'T is drawing me down! Help me! Help me!

WICKED ELF. There's no help for you.

INGÉ. No help? What do you mean?

WICKED ELF. You must go down with the loaf.

INGÉ. I pray you help me! See how I'm sinking! The mud will soon be over my

WICKED ELF. The mud will soon be over your head!

INGÉ (_weeping_). Save me! Save me!

WICKED ELF. Will you be saved by magic?

INGÉ. Yes, yes!

WICKED ELF. Listen, then--I'll change you into a bird. Are you willing?

INGÉ. Yes, yes! Quick now, before I sink deeper!

WICKED ELF (_nodding head three times_). A sparrow shall you be! Change,
now change!

[_Ingé changes into a_ SPARROW, _with a tuft of white feathers, just the
shape of a loaf of bread, upon its head. The Sparrow flies from the mud._]

SPARROW. Now change me back into Ingé.

WICKED ELF. You shall remain as you are.

SPARROW (_showing surprise_). Remain as I am?

WICKED ELF (_nodding_). Until you can change yourself back.

SPARROW. And when will that be?

WICKED ELF. When the loaf has gone from your head.

SPARROW. The loaf from my head? What do you mean?

WICKED ELF (_going_). Fly away to the brook and see! Ha, ha, ha!

(_She runs away, calling back._)

Fly away to the brook and see! Ha, ha, ha!

[Illustration: "'T IS SINKING! WHAT SHALL I DO?"]


TIME: _the day following Christmas Day_.
PLACE: _an old stone wall by a brook_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ SPARROW _sits in a hole in the wall._]

FIRST STONE. Come, come, be not so sad, little Sparrow!

SECOND STONE. Come, lift up your head and sing!

THIRD STONE. Come, sing us your Christmas song!

SPARROW. Sing! I have nothing to sing about.

FIRST STONE. Sing of your friends.

SECOND STONE. Sing of their love for you.

THIRD STONE. Sing of their kindness to you.

SPARROW. Talk not to me of friends, or love, or kindness! There's none in
the world.

[_Enter a_ PEASANT _with his little_ GRETEL. _The Peasant carries two ears
of corn._]

PEASANT. Now, my Gretel, we'll place the corn here on the old wall.

GRETEL. Mother thought you brought too much.

PEASANT. Well, 't is true there are only three ears left at home, but the
birds must have their Christmas dinner.

[_He places the corn on the wall._]

GRETEL. There's none about to see it!

PEASANT. Oh, some bird will soon find it!

GRETEL. But will it call the others?

PEASANT. We'll wait to see. Come, we'll sit there on the log.

[_They go to a log near by._]

FIRST STONE. There, little Sparrow, say you now there is no kindness?


THIRD STONE. Or friendship?

SPARROW. No, no! I can never say that again. The peasant's heart is full
of kindness and love and friendship. I will sing of it! 'T will be my
Christmas song!

[_The Sparrow leaves the hole and flies to the corn._]

GRETEL. Look, father, there is a sparrow! And hear it sing! Just hear it!

PEASANT. It is calling the other birds.

GRETEL. Why, it doesn't even touch the corn!

PEASANT. It's waiting to share it with the others. Is it not a pretty
sight? Come, we must go to tell mother.


TIME: _one month later_.
PLACE: _same as_ SCENE III.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_All the_ SPARROWS _except Our Sparrow sit on the stone wall._]

YOUNG SPARROW. I say the stranger should be driven away!


OLD SPARROW. The stranger is a sparrow, but still not a sparrow.

VERY OLD SPARROW. And yet she is only different by a tuft of white

YOUNG SPARROW. And such a tuft! For all the world like a loaf of bread!

VERY YOUNG SPARROW. I'd think it shame to carry such on _my_ head!

OLD SPARROW. I fear 't will shame us all to have this stranger about.

VERY OLD SPARROW. And yet we are not ashamed to eat the crumbs this
stranger brings.

OLD SPARROW. Well, 't is true she has been most kind.

VERY OLD SPARROW. 'T is a hard winter! Shall we drive away the one who
finds food where we find none?

YOUNG SPARROW. And calls us every time!

VERY YOUNG SPARROW. And never eats till we have come!

VERY OLD SPARROW. I've kept in mind the crumbs she has found us. Now, how
many do you think?

OLD SPARROW. I cannot say, for I did not think to notice.

VERY OLD SPARROW. There only lacks two or three now of being a loaf.

OTHER SPARROWS (_greatly surprised_). A loaf?

VERY OLD SPARROW (_nodding_). A loaf.

VERY YOUNG SPARROW. Here comes the stranger now!

OLD SPARROW. She brings a crust!

[OUR SPARROW _flies up with a crust in its bill._]

OUR SPARROW. Come, friends, 't is for all of you!

VERY OLD SPARROW. Do you know, stranger bird, that, with these crumbs, you
have brought us in all one loaf?

[_Our Sparrow drops the crust for the others. At once it changes into_
INGÉ. _The birds fly away frightened._]

INGÉ. Ah! Now I understand. The loaf had to be made up, crumb by crumb.

[_The_ WICKED ELF _suddenly appears._]

WICKED ELF. Come, pretty maid, come to the Elf Hill!

INGÉ. No, no! I will not!

WICKED ELF. But we have such pretty things to tell you!

INGÉ. I care not for your pretty things! I go to fetch wood for my mother.
I go to walk in the mud if need be. Away with you! I'll have none of you!
Away, away, I say!



TIME: _one summer morning_.
PLACE: _the farmyard of the Moor Farm_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[MADAM DUCK _enters the farmyard with her new brood of_ DUCKLINGS. _The
other fowls approach._]

TURKEY (_showing displeasure_). A new brood of ducks! Look you all--a new
brood of ducks!

GRAY GANDER (_also displeased_). As if there were not enough of us here

WHITE GOOSE (_likewise displeased_). True enough,--I can scarce find a
corner for my afternoon nap!

RED ROOSTER. It seems to me, Madam Duck, that you should not have brought
us a new brood this summer.

MADAM DUCK. What is that you are saying?

TURKEY. It seems to all of us, madam, that there is no room here for a new

PLYMOUTH ROCK HEN. Friends, be just. Madam Duck has a perfect right to
bring her ducklings here. Besides, the children are quite pretty.

MADAM DUCK. They are beautiful! You shall all see that for yourselves.
Come, children, into a row with you!

[_The Ducklings form themselves into a row. The Ugly Duckling is last._]

MADAM DUCK. Legs wide apart! Toes out! Now speak prettily to my old

DUCKLINGS (_all but the last_). Quack! Quack!

MADAM DUCK. There now--are they not charming?

GRAY GANDER (_looking down row_). Why, yes, they all seem graceful
enough--here--wait a moment! Does that last one there belong to you?

[_All the fowls look at the last Duckling._]

MADAM DUCK. Oh yes! He is larger than the others and perhaps not so pretty,

TURKEY (_interrupting_). Make no excuses for him, madam. We can see for
ourselves what he is.

GRAY GANDER. In all my life I never saw anything so ugly!

WHITE GOOSE. He is neither duck nor goose!

PLYMOUTH ROCK HEN. Nor duck nor chick!

TURKEY. I'd be 'shamed to have a turkey look like that!

RED ROOSTER. I'd allow no hen of mine to claim him!

MADAM DUCK. Come now, come now, friends. The poor child is not pretty, but
he is good, and he can swim even better than the others.

TURKEY. That he can swim well is nothing to me!

RED ROOSTER. Nor to me! He should be driven out, I say!

MADAM DUCK. Let him alone; he is not doing any harm.

FIRST DUCKLING. But, mother, no one will look at us if he stays with us!

MADAM Duck (_thoughtfully._) Now perhaps it may turn out that way.

SECOND DUCKLING. I'll not walk about with him!


MADAM DUCK. Well, well! He must be uglier than I thought!

FIRST DUCKLING. Besides, dear mother, he will not quack.

MADAM DUCK. What is this? Did he not quack but just a moment ago?

SECOND DUCKLING. He turned his toes out, but quack he would not.

THIRD DUCKLING. 'T is true, dear mother.

MADAM DUCK (_to the Ugly Duckling_). Quack! Quack now--at once!

[_The Ugly Duckling tries to quack, but chokes. The fowls laugh and jeer at

GRAY GANDER. Ha, ha! There's a "quack" for you!




TURKEY. Ha, ha!

MADAM DUCK (_angrily_). Once more I tell you--quack!

[_The Ugly Duckling tries again; chokes._]

ALL FOWLS. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

UGLY DUCKLING (_weeping_). I'm sorry--I'd quack if I could.

MADAME DUCK. Ah, if you were only far away!

[Illustration: THE UGLY DUCKLING]

FIRST DUCKLING. I wish the cat would eat you!

SECOND DUCKLING. I wish the swans would kill you!

WHITE GOOSE. And they will when they see him--you may be sure of that.

GRAY GANDER (_nodding_). Aye, they'll not suffer such an ugly creature to
swim in the brook!

RED ROOSTER. We must drive him off--that's clear!

(_Running at the Ugly Duckling._)

Come now, out with you!

PLYMOUTH ROCK HEN (_pecking Duckling_). Out with you!

UGLY DUCKLING. Mother, save me!

MADAM DUCK. Call not on me!

GRAY GANDER (_striking Duckling with his wings_). Out with you!

UGLY DUCKLING (_running to Ducklings_). Brothers, sisters, save me!

FIRST DUCKLING. Come not to us!

SECOND DUCKLING. We'll not save you!

THIRD DUCKLING. Away with you!

TURKEY. At him, hens to peck him! At him, geese to beat him! At him, all of

[_They all rush upon the Ugly Duckling, who escapes them, running out of
the farmyard into the moor._]


TIME: _the next winter_.
PLACE: _the Peasant's cottage_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ PEASANT _enters the cottage, carrying the_ UGLY DUCKLING.]

PEASANT. See what I'm bringing you!

WIFE. Why, 't is a duckling--half frozen, too!

PEASANT. I found him frozen in the pond. I had to break the ice to get him

ELIZABETH. Give him to me, father. I will put him behind the stove.

PEASANT (_giving Duckling to Elizabeth_). That's a good child.

WIFE. Handle him tenderly, daughter.

ELIZABETH (_taking off her shawl_). He shall lie upon my shawl. You poor,
dear, ugly little duckling!

[_She places the Duckling upon the shawl behind the stove, near the_ CAT
_and_ HEN.]

PEASANT. 'T is the duckling I told you of!

WIFE. The one you saw on the pond yesterday?

PEASANT. Aye, and the day before, and all winter long, for that matter.
Yesterday I saw him try to join the wild ducks on the river, but they drove
him back to the pond.

ELIZABETH. Poor duckling! The pond was freezing then!

PEASANT (_nodding_). Then he tried to find a place among the rushes on the
moor, but the birds drove him from there.

ELIZABETH. Why did they all treat him so, father?

PEASANT. I do not know, unless it is because he is so ugly.

WIFE. Come now to dinner, father--Elizabeth. By the time we have finished,
our duckling will be warmed and awake.

[_They go into the kitchen. The Duckling stirs and looks about._]

HEN. Can you lay eggs?

DUCKLING (_politely_). No, madam.

CAT. Can you set up your back?

DUCKLING. No, dear sir.

CAT. Can you purr?

DUCKLING (_frightened_). No.

HEN. Then you can't stay here.

DUCKLING. Do not drive me out, I pray you!

CAT. Will you learn to purr?

HEN. And to lay eggs?

DUCKLING (_sadly_). Alas, I can do nothing but swim.

CAT. Swim! Well, I must say that is very queer.

DUCKLING. Oh, no, dear sir! It is most pleasant when the waters close over
your head and you plunge to the bottom.

CAT. Plunge to the bottom, indeed! I'd never think of doing such a silly

HEN. Nor I!

CAT. 'T is clear you can't remain here.

DUCKLING. Where am I to go?

CAT. Go lie in the rushes. The birds flew south this morning.

DUCKLING. I shall starve there.

CAT. It would really be a good thing for you if I should eat you.

DUCKLING. I'd thank you to do so, dear sir.

HEN. Eat him, since he is so willing. He is too ugly to live.

CAT (_turning away_). I can't, he is too ugly to eat.

(_To the Duckling._)

Come, out with you!

HEN (_running at him_). Yes, yes! Out with you! Out with you!

[_They push the Duckling out of the door into the snow._]

DUCKLING. Alas! What shall I do? Where shall I go? Why was I made so ugly
that every one despises me!


TIME: _the next spring_.
PLACE: _the brook on the Moor Farm_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ UGLY DUCKLING _sits on the hill of a_ MOLE _near the brook which
winds through the Moor Farm._]

MOLE (_from the mole hill_). Will you please move? I wish to come out.

DUCKLING (_rising quickly_). Why, 't is a mole hill I've been sitting on!

(_The Mole comes out from the hill._)

I'm sorry, friend Mole, I didn't notice your hill.

MOLE. Who are you?

DUCKLING. Madam Duck of this farm is my mother.

MOLE. That can't be! You are no duck.

DUCKLING. Yes, but I am. Only, I am uglier than any duck in the world.

MOLE. You have not the voice of a duck. You do not speak with the quack of
which they are so proud. And then, if you are truly a duck, why are you not
with your family?

DUCKLING. They drove me out last summer because I was ugly and could not

MOLE. Then why have you come back?

DUCKLING. To let the swans kill me.

MOLE. What! To let them kill you?

DUCKLING. I would rather be killed by those beautiful birds than pecked by
the hens, beaten by the geese, or starved with hunger in the winter.

MOLE. Perhaps you are not so ugly now as you were then.

DUCKLING. I have not looked at myself in the water since spring came and
took the ice away. But I know well enough how dark and badly formed I am.
The swans will kill me if I dare to approach them.

[_A noise is heard in the distance._]

MOLE. They are coming! Go, while there is yet time.

DUCKLING. There is no place to go to. All winter long I was driven from
moor to moor. I could not make a friend--I no longer wish to live.

[_The_ SWANS _are seen swimming down the brook._]

MOLE. They are here! Do not go to them, I pray you!

DUCKLING (_shaking head_). Farewell!

[_He flies to the water and swims toward the Swans. They see him and rush
to meet him with outstretched wings._]

DUCKLING. Kill me! Kill me!

FIRST SWAN. Kill you! Why, we have come to welcome you, beautiful stranger.

SECOND SWAN. We saw you from afar, and came to meet you.

THIRD SWAN. We are so happy to have you with us!

[_Enter several_ CHILDREN.]

FIRST CHILD. See, there is a new swan!

SECOND CHILD (_calling_). Father, mother, come! There is another swan!

[_Enter the_ FATHER _and_ MOTHER.]

FATHER. What were you calling?

THIRD CHILD. A new swan has come! Look!

MOTHER. I see him! He is beautiful!

FATHER. He is very young, but he is the most beautiful of all!

FOURTH CHILD. See how the others stroke him with their beaks!

MOTHER. They are showing him how glad they are to have him with them. See
how they swim around him and how gently they touch him!

FATHER. I have never seen anything so pretty. How happy the new swan is!
See how he rustles his feathers! See how proudly he curves his slender

FIRST CHILD. And see how he looks at himself in the water!

SECOND CHILD. Let's get bread and cake for him!

THIRD CHILD. Yes, yes!


[_The Children run off, followed by the Father and Mother._]

MOLE (_going into his hill_). 'T was not so bad after all--not to have the
family quack!



TIME: _one morning_.

PLACE: _the Shoemaker's shop_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ GRANDMOTHER _and_ KAREN _enter the shop of the_ SHOEMAKER.]

GRANDMOTHER. This is my little granddaughter Karen, Shoemaker. Please to
take her measure for a pair of shoes.

SHOEMAKER. What kind do you wish, madam?

GRANDMOTHER. Morocco, the finest you have, Karen is to wear these shoes to

SHOEMAKER. What color do you wish, madam?


KAREN (_whispering to Shoemaker_). Red.

SHOEMAKER (_puzzled_). Eh?

GRANDMOTHER (_louder_). Black.

KAREN (_whispering to Shoemaker_). Red.

SHOEMAKER. Of course, madam, if you say black, black they shall be.

KAREN. The little princess wore red shoes, Grandmother.

SHOEMAKER (_nodding_). That is true; I saw them myself.


KAREN (_nodding_). Of beautiful red morocco. The queen let the princess
stand at a window so every one could see her new shoes.

SHOEMAKER. It is all true, madam.

GRANDMOTHER. No matter; Karen is to have black shoes.

(_Taking up a pair of shoes._)

Here, this pair suits me exactly.

SHOEMAKER (_surprised_). But, madam, those shoes are--

KAREN (_interrupting; whispering_). Hush, Shoemaker! Do not tell her. She
can't see very well.

GRANDMOTHER (_giving shoes to Karen_). Are they of polished leather? They
shine as if they were.

KAREN. Yes; they do shine.

(_Trying on the shoes._)

And they just fit me, Grandmother.

GRANDMOTHER. I will take them, Shoemaker.

SHOEMAKER. But, madam--

KAREN (_interrupting; whispering_). Hush, Shoemaker! She will never know
the difference.

GRANDMOTHER. Here is the money, Shoemaker. Come, Karen.

SHOEMAKER. But, madam--

KAREN (_interrupting_). I am ready, Grandmother.

GRANDMOTHER. Good day, Shoemaker.

SHOEMAKER. But, madam--

KAREN (_interrupting_). Good day, Shoemaker.

[_The Grandmother and Karen go._]


TIME: _the next Sunday, after church_.
PLACE: _the Grandmother's home_.

       *       *       *       *       *

              { _Second_.
              { _Third_.
              { _Fourth_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ NEIGHBORS _sit with the_ GRANDMOTHER _in the spare room because it
is Sunday._]

FIRST NEIGHBOR. I did not see you at church to-day, Grandmother.

GRANDMOTHER. I could not go, but I sent little Karen.

SECOND NEIGHBOR (_mysteriously_). Oh, yes; we saw her! Everybody saw her!

GRANDMOTHER (_proudly_). People do look at her; she is so pretty.

THIRD NEIGHBOR. People didn't look at her face to-day.

GRANDMOTHER (_alarmed_). What do you mean?

THIRD NEIGHBOR. Ask Karen when she returns. We're not the ones to carry

GRANDMOTHER (_looking out window_). Here she comes now!

FOURTH NEIGHBOR. Just ask her about the sermon and the hymns!

GRANDMOTHER (_proudly_). She will tell me almost every word the pastor
said. She is a smart girl--that Karen.

[_Enter_ KAREN.]

KAREN. Well, Grandmother, here I am! Good morning, Neighbors.

NEIGHBORS (_coldly_). Good morning, Karen.

GRANDMOTHER. Now tell me about the sermon, Karen. What was the text?

KAREN (_with confusion; stammering_). The text? It was--it was--Oh, I will
tell you all about it by and by, Grandmother. Our Neighbors want to talk
with you now.

FIRST NEIGHBOR. Oh, no! We would rather hear you tell your Grandmother
about the sermon and the music.

GRANDMOTHER. What hymns did they sing, Karen?

KAREN (_as before_). Hymns? They sang--let me see--they sang--

[_She stops in confusion._]

GRANDMOTHER. Why, Karen! Are you ill?

SECOND NEIGHBOR. No, Grandmother, Karen is not ill. She is ashamed. She was
not thinking of the beautiful music nor of the sermon this morning. Is that
not true, Karen?

KAREN (_ashamed_). Y-e-s--

GRANDMOTHER. What is this?

THIRD NEIGHBOR. Tell your Grandmother what you were thinking about in
church, Karen.

KAREN. I was thinking about--about--my new shoes.

GRANDMOTHER. A great thing to think about in church--a pair of plain black

FOURTH NEIGHBOR. She did not wear her black shoes; she wore _red shoes!_

GRANDMOTHER (_gasping_). Red shoes--to church?

FIRST NEIGHBOR (_nodding_). Every one was terribly shocked!

GRANDMOTHER (_still gasping_). Red shoes to church!

SECOND NEIGHBOR. Even the pastor looked at her shoes!

GRANDMOTHER (_indignantly_). Red shoes to church!

THIRD NEIGHBOR. The choir looked! All fixed their eyes on Karen's red

GRANDMOTHER. It is the most shocking thing I ever heard! Do you hear me,

KAREN (_hanging her head in shame_). Yes, Grandmother.

GRANDMOTHER. You must never, never, so long as you live, wear red shoes to
church again. It is not at all proper. Do you hear me, Karen?

KAREN (_as before_). Yes, Grandmother.

FOURTH NEIGHBOR. Do you think she should have her Sunday dinner?

GRANDMOTHER. Not one bite! She shall stay in her room all day. Do you hear
me, Karen?

KAREN. Yes, Grandmother.

GRANDMOTHER. Thank you for telling me, Neighbors. To think of it! Red shoes
to church!


TIME: _the following Sunday, after church_.
PLACE: _the churchyard_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ GRANDMOTHER _and_ KAREN _come from the church. The_ OLD SOLDIER
_stands near the church door. He tries to speak to the Grandmother, but she
does not hear him._]

KAREN. Wait a moment, Grandmother! The Old Soldier wants to speak with you.

GRANDMOTHER (_turning_). What do you want, Old Soldier?

OLD SOLDIER. I want to dust your shoes, madam.

GRANDMOTHER. That is very good of you.

(_Old Soldier dusts her shoes_).

Thank you; now I will go to my carriage while you dust Karen's shoes.

[_She goes._]

OLD SOLDIER. Stretch out your foot, little Karen.

(_Karen thrusts out her foot._)

What is this? Red shoes for church?

KAREN. I looked at my old black shoes--

OLD SOLDIER (_interrupting_). And then at your new red ones?

KAREN (_nodding_). Yes, and then at my black ones again--

OLD SOLDIER (_interrupting_). And then put on your red ones!

KAREN. Sh-h! Grandmother must not know.

OLD SOLDIER. She can't hear, for I am talking through my long red beard.

KAREN. Why is your beard so red, Old Soldier?

OLD SOLDIER. To make more light for my eyes--that I may see without

KAREN. See without looking?

OLD SOLDIER (_nodding_). I was not in the church, yet I saw you clearly
when you knelt at the altar and raised the golden cup to your lips.

KAREN (_surprised_). You saw that?

OLD SOLDIER (_nodding_). And more--I saw your thoughts.

KAREN. You saw my thoughts?

OLD SOLDIER (_nodding_). It was to you as if your red shoes passed before
your eyes in the cup. Am I not right?

KAREN (_showing fear_). Y-e-s--

OLD SOLDIER. And I saw by the light of my beard that you forgot to sing the
hymns; eh, Karen?

KAREN. Y-e-s--

OLD SOLDIER. And that you forgot to say your prayers; eh, Karen?

KAREN. Y-e-s--

OLD SOLDIER. You were thinking of your red shoes all the time.

KAREN. Y-e-s, Old Soldier.

OLD SOLDIER (_holding Karen and stooping until his beard covers her
shoes_). Cover and touch and change, my beard! Cover and touch and change!

KAREN. What are you doing? Let me go!

OLD SOLDIER (_holding her firmly_). I am turning your red shoes into
dancing shoes!

KAREN. I am afraid of you! Let me go!

OLD SOLDIER (_slapping soles of her shoes with hand_). Now I have made them
stick fast to your feet!

KAREN (_calling_). Grandmother! Grandmother!

OLD SOLDIER. Now you may go! Ha, ha!

KAREN. Why! I am dancing! I can't stop! Grandmother! Grandmother!

GRANDMOTHER. What is this? Mercy on me! She is dancing down the street! Run
after her, Coachman! Quick! Stop her!

COACHMAN (_running after Karen_). Stop, Mistress Karen! I'm after you!

OLD SOLDIER. Ha, ha, ha! You will never catch her!

GRANDMOTHER (_calling after Coachman_). There she goes around the corner!

COACHMAN (_calling off_). I'll get you, Mistress Karen! Just stop a bit!

OLD SOLDIER. Ha, ha, ha! You will never catch her!

GRANDMOTHER. My poor Karen! My poor Karen!

COACHMAN (_returning_). I couldn't catch her, madam! She danced right out
of the town gate!

GRANDMOTHER. Out of the town gate?

COACHMAN. Yes, madam, and straight for the dark wood.

GRANDMOTHER. We will drive after her!

[_Coachman jumps to his seat._]

OLD SOLDIER. Ha, ha, ha! You will never catch her!

GRANDMOTHER. Quick, Coachman, quick! We must catch her before she gets to
the dark wood. My poor Karen! My poor Karen!

[_The carriage dashes off._]


TIME: _three days later; evening_.
PLACE: _the dark wood. A hut is seen among the vines_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ FORESTER _and his_ SON _are felling a tree._]

KAREN (_heard calling off_). Stop me! Stop me!

SON. Heard you that cry?

FORESTER (_looking off_). Mercy on us! 'T is the dancing girl I told you

[_Enter_ KAREN, _dancing._]

KAREN. Stop me, Forester!

FORESTER. No, no! I dare not!

KAREN (_to Son_). Stop me, I pray you! Three days have I danced! I can
endure it no longer!

SON (_to Forester_). Come, let us help her!

FORESTER. Do not touch her! She is bewitched!

KAREN. 'T is my shoes are bewitched--not I!

SON. I say, little maid, pull off your shoes!

KAREN. They will not come off. See!

[_She pulls at her shoes._]

SON (_starting towards Karen_). I'll get them off, bewitched or not

FORESTER (_seizing Son_). Would you get yourself into trouble? Come home
with me!

[_Forester runs from wood with Son. The_ MOON _arises suddenly in a fir

KAREN. O Moon, see how I dance below you! Pray tell me how to break this

MOON. Ha, ha, ha!

[_The Moon changes into the red beard of the_ OLD SOLDIER.]

OLD SOLDIER. My beard makes moonlight for me that I may watch you dance.

KAREN. Mercy, Old Soldier! I pray you break your spell!

OLD SOLDIER. You forgot to say the prayers! You thought only of your red

KAREN. I will go barefoot to church!

OLD SOLDIER. You whispered "red" to the Shoemaker!

KAREN. I will never deceive my dear Grandmother again! Have pity!

OLD SOLDIER. You shall dance in your red shoes till you are pale and cold!
By night and by day you shall dance; in sunshine and in rain; in snow and
in sleet. Over highways and byways shall you dance; in dark swamps and on
mountain tops. You shall go on dancing, dancing, dancing, forever and ever!

[_He disappears._]

KAREN. I cannot dance on forever! I cannot! I cannot!

(_Weeping; pause._)

Well, I know a way to break the spell, and I'll do it!

(_Crossing to hut of the_ EXECUTIONER; _knocking._)

Come out! Come out!

EXECUTIONER (_from within the hut_). Come in!

KAREN. I cannot come in; I must dance.

EXECUTIONER. Then I will come out.

(_The Executioner comes out from hut._)

Well, do you know me?

KAREN. You are the Executioner.

EXECUTIONER. I am the Executioner. I cut off the heads of wicked people
with this great ax.

KAREN. Do not strike off my head!

EXECUTIONER. And why not strike off your head, pray?

KAREN. I must have that to repent of my sin. So please to cut off my feet.

EXECUTIONER. It shall be as you say. Thrust out your foot, maid.

[_Enter_ FAIRY QUEEN.]

FAIRY QUEEN. Stay, Executioner, stay! I've come to save you, Karen!

KAREN. To save me?

FAIRY QUEEN. Whenever a child repents of a sin, lo, I am there to save.

KAREN. Will you remove this spell from me?

FAIRY QUEEN. Will you give up your red shoes?

KAREN. Gladly! Gladly! I wish I might never see them again!

FAIRY QUEEN. Then dance to me that I may touch you with my wand.

[_Fairy Queen touches Karen's shoes with her wand. The shoes fall off._]

KAREN. Dear Fairy Queen! Dear Fairy Queen! I thank you! I thank you!

FAIRY QUEEN. Look, Karen, your shoes are dancing away! Soon they will be
lost to you forever. Shall I not bring them back?

KAREN. No, no! Let them go! Now I am free! Now I can rest!

FAIRY QUEEN. Then come, dear child, I will guide you to your home.



TIME: _one evening_.
PLACE: _the house of a merchant in Bagdad_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ MERCHANT _and his_ WIFE _are at supper._]

WIFE. Our neighbors bought some fine olives to-day. It has been a long time
since we have had olives. I am quite hungry for them.

MERCHANT. Now you speak of olives, you put me in mind of the jar which Ali
Cogia left with me.

WIFE (_pointing to a jar in another part of the room_). There is the very
jar waiting for him against his return.

MERCHANT. Certainly he must be dead, since he has not returned in all this
time. Give me a plate; I will open the jar, and if the olives be good, we
will eat them.

WIFE. Pray, husband, do not commit so base an action. You know nothing is
more sacred than what is left to one's care and trust.

MERCHANT. But I am certain All Cogia will never return.

WIFE. And I have a strong feeling that he will. What will he think of your
honor if he finds the jar has been opened?

MERCHANT. Surely a jar of olives is not to be guarded so carefully, year
after year.

WIFE. That is Ali Cogia's affair, not ours. Besides, the olives can't be
good after all this time.

MERCHANT (_taking a plate_). I mean to have a taste of them, at least.

WIFE (_indignantly_). You are betraying the trust your friend placed in
you! I will not remain to witness it.

[_She leaves the room. The Merchant crosses and takes cover from jar._]

MERCHANT (_looking in jar_). My wife was right--the olives are covered with
mould, but those at the bottom may still be good.

[_He turns the jar up and shakes out the olives. Several gold pieces fall

MERCHANT. What is this? Gold pieces! As I live! Gold! gold!

[_He shakes the jar again; a shower of gold pieces fall._]

MERCHANT (_dropping the jar in astonishment_). A thousand pieces at least!
The top of the jar only was laid with olives!

(_He puts the gold into his pockets._)

To-night, when my wife is asleep, I will fill the jar entirely with fresh
olives, for these show they have been disturbed. And I will make up the jar
so that no one, except Ali Cogia himself, will know they have been touched.



TIME: _one month later; a moonlight night_.
PLACE: _a small court opening upon a narrow street of Bagdad_.

       *       *       *       *       *

FIRST CHILD, _who plays he is the Cauzee_[Footnote: A Mohammedan judge.]
SECOND CHILD, _who plays he is the officer_.
THIRD CHILD, _who plays he is Ali Cogia_.
ZEYN, _who plays he is the Merchant_.
TWO BOYS, _who play they are Olive Merchants_.
MANY OTHER CHILDREN, _who look on_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ CALIPH, _accompanied by his_ GRAND VIZIER, _enters the narrow street
upon which the court opens. They are in disguise, appearing as merchants._]

CALIPH. Perhaps we may hear some talk of this affair of Ali Cogia and the
merchant, as we go through the city to-night.

VIZIER. It is possible, O Commander of the true Believers! The affair has
made a great noise in Bagdad.

CALIPH. Ali Cogia carried the merchant before the Cauzee, I believe.

VIZIER. Yes; he claimed that the merchant had taken from him one thousand
pieces of gold.

CALIPH. Proceed; I would know all.

VIZIER. Ali Cogia left with this merchant, so he says, a jar in which he
had placed this money. Upon his return, which was but yesterday, he went
to the merchant, and, having received the jar, opened it. To his surprise
he found that the gold, which he had hidden below a layer of olives, was no
longer there.

CALIPH. Ah, that is what Ali Cogia says. What says the merchant?

VIZIER. The merchant made oath before the Cauzee that he did not know there
was money in the jar, and so of course could not have taken it.

CALIPH. And the Cauzee dismissed the merchant, I believe.

VIZIER. Yes, Commander of the Faithful, the merchant was acquitted.

CALIPH. This Ali Cogia presented a petition to me to-day, and I promised to
hear him to-morrow. Would that I could know the truth of the matter that I
may give a just sentence!

[_They arrive at the court where several_ CHILDREN _are playing in the
moonlight. The Caliph stops to watch them._]

FIRST CHILD. Let us play that the Cauzee is trying the Merchant.

SECOND CHILD (_joyfully_). Yes, yes!

THIRD CHILD (_joyfully_). Yes, yes!

ALL CHILDREN (_clapping their hands_). Yes, yes!

CALIPH (_softly to Vizier_). Let us sit on this bench. I would know what
these children are playing.

[_They sit, but are not seen by children._]

FIRST CHILD (_taking his seat with great dignity_). I choose to be the

SECOND CHILD (_taking his place behind the Cauzee_). I choose to be the

THIRD CHILD. I choose to be Ali Cogia!

CAUZEE. Who chooses to be the Merchant?

[_Long pause; all the Children hang back._]

CAUZEE. Come, Zeyn, you be the Merchant.

ZEYN. Not I! The part does not please me.

OFFICER. Would you spoil everything, Zeyn?

ZEYN. Oh, well, then, I'll be the Merchant this time.

CAUZEE. Officer, bring in the accused and his accuser.

[_The Officer presents the Merchant and Ali Cogia before the Cauzee._]

CAUZEE. Ali Cogia, what charge have you to make against this Merchant?

ALI COGIA (_bowing_). Sir, when I journeyed from Bagdad seven years ago, I
left with this Merchant a jar. Now, into this jar I had put, with some
olives, a thousand pieces of gold. When I opened the jar, I found that it
had been entirely filled with olives; the gold had disappeared. I beseech
your honor that I may not lose so great a sum of money!

CAUZEE. Merchant, what have you to say to this charge?

MERCHANT. I confess that I had the jar in my house, but Ali Cogia found it
exactly as he had left it. Did he ever tell me there was gold in the jar?
No. He now demands that I pay him one thousand pieces of gold. I wonder
that he does not ask me for diamonds and pearls instead of gold. I will
take my oath that what I say is the truth.

CAUZEE. Not so fast! Before you come to your oath, I should be glad to see
the jar of olives.

(_Turning to Ali Cogia._)

Ali Cogia, have you brought the jar?

ALI COGIA. No; I did not think of that.

CAUZEE. Then go and fetch it.

[_Ali Cogia goes._]

CAUZEE (_to the Merchant_). You thought the jar contained olives all this

MERCHANT. Ali Cogia told me it contained olives at the first. I will take
oath that what I say is the truth.

CAUZEE. We are not yet ready for your oath.

[ALI COGIA _enters. He pretends to set a jar before the Cauzee._]

CAUZEE. Ali Cogia, is this jar the same you left with the Merchant?

ALI COGIA. Sir, it is the same.

CAUZEE. Merchant, do you confess this jar to be the same?

MERCHANT. Sir, it is the same.

CAUZEE. Officer, remove the cover.

(_The Officer pretends to remove the cover._)

These are fine olives! Let me taste them.

(_Pretending to eat an olive._)

They are excellent! But I cannot think that olives will keep seven years
and be so good. Therefore, Officer, bring in Olive Merchants, and let me
hear what is their opinion.

OFFICER (_announcing_). Forward, two Olive Merchants!

[_Two_ BOYS _present themselves_].

CAUZEE. Are you Olive Merchants?

BOYS (_bowing_). Sir, we are.

CAUZEE. Tell me how long olives will keep.

FIRST OLIVE MERCHANT. Let us take what care we can, they will hardly be
worth anything the third year.

SECOND OLIVE MERCHANT. It is true, for then they will have neither taste
nor color.

CAUZEE. If it be so, look into that jar and tell me how long it is since
those olives were put into it.

[_Both Merchants pretend to examine and taste the olives._]

FIRST OLIVE MERCHANT. These olives are new and good.

CAUZEE. You are mistaken. Ali Cogia says he put them into the jar seven
years ago.

SECOND OLIVE MERCHANT. Sir, they are of this year's growth. There is not a
merchant in Bagdad that will not say the same.

CAUZEE. Merchant, you stand accused. You must return the thousand pieces of
gold to Ali Cogia.

MERCHANT. Sir, I protest--

CAUZEE (_interrupting_). Be silent! You are a rogue. Take him to prison,

[_All the children seize the Merchant and run from the court, laughing and

CALIPH (_rising_). I know now what will be a just trial. I have learned it
from the child Cauzee. Do you think I could give a better sentence?

VIZIER. I think not, if the case be as these children played it.

CALIPH. Take care to bid Ali Cogia bring his jar of olives to-morrow. And
let two olive merchants attend.

VIZIER. It shall be done, O Commander of true Believers!

CALIPH. If the olives be indeed fresh, then the merchant will receive his
punishment and Ali Cogia his thousand pieces of gold.

(_Starting off; stopping._)

Take notice of this street, and to-morrow present the boy Cauzee with a
purse of gold. Tell him it is a token of my admiration of his wisdom and



TIME: _a long time ago_.
PLACE: _on the seashore_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ GOODY _is seen walking along the shore._ ELIZA _enters from the

GOODY. Bless me! What is the little girl doing in this lonely place? And
alone, too!

ELIZA. I seek my eleven brothers.

GOODY. Ah! Then you must be the Princess Eliza!

ELIZA (_sadly_). Yes, Goody.

GOODY. And the eleven brothers you seek are the eleven little princes!

ELIZA. Yes; do you know them?

GOODY. I saw them in school one day. Each prince wore a golden crown on his
head, a star on his breast, and a sword by his side.

ELIZA (_nodding_). They studied very hard, just as princes should.

GOODY. They wrote on gold slates with diamond pencils. I myself saw them!

ELIZA. I sat on a little stool of plate-glass. Did you know that?

GOODY. Oh, yes! And I know about your picture-book worth half a kingdom.

ELIZA. We were all so happy then! Our dear mother was alive and sometimes
went to school with us. Now all is changed.

GOODY. What has happened?

ELIZA. They have driven us from the palace.

GOODY (_indignantly_). I said so! On the day of that wedding I said so.

ELIZA. Then you know that my father married again?

GOODY. Yes, I know. I wept when I heard our good king had married that
wicked queen.

ELIZA. She drove my brothers away, the very day of the wedding feast.

GOODY. And now she has driven you away!

ELIZA (_nodding_). If only I could find my dear brothers!

GOODY. You may hear something about them very soon.

ELIZA (_quickly_). Do you know where they are? Tell me! I pray you tell me!

GOODY (_shaking her head mysteriously_). I cannot say where they are. I
only know what they are.

ELIZA. I do not understand--

GOODY. The wicked queen has turned your brothers into wild swans.

ELIZA. Wild swans?

GOODY (_nodding_). I saw them yesterday, at sunrise, flying out over the
sea. Each swan wore a gold crown on his head.

ELIZA. The queen could not take their crowns from them!

GOODY. As the swans flew upward, their eleven crowns glittered like eleven
suns. My eyes were dazzled. I was obliged to look away. At that moment the
swans disappeared.

ELIZA (_sadly to herself_). My poor brothers! I shall never see them again.

GOODY (_suddenly_). Do you see those great blue bluffs to the south?

ELIZA. Yes; the sea is dashing against them.

GOODY. In those bluffs, back from the shore, is a cave. Go at once to that
cave and enter.

ELIZA. And what shall I do there, good woman?

GOODY. Perhaps you may learn how to break the spell over your brothers.

ELIZA (_surprised_). How to break the spell?

GOODY. Ask no questions, but go at once to the cave.

ELIZA (_going_). Thank you, good woman. You are very kind to me.

GOODY. Go now, child, and fear nothing.

[_Eliza goes; the Goody disappears._]


TIME: _a half-hour later_.
PLACE: _the cave_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[ELIZA _is seen at entrance of cave. She stops; is afraid to enter._]

ELIZA. I am afraid to enter! It is so dark--I know not what is within! It
may be the den of some wild animal.


Not a sound do I hear! But wild animals are cunning. They know how to lie
as still as death and then to leap quickly.


Well, be it so. I will enter, for I must save my

[_She enters the cave._ FAIRY _is within the cave, but invisible._]

FAIRY. You have courage, little Eliza.

ELIZA (_showing relief_). Oh! Are you here, good woman?

FAIRY. Behold!

[_The cave is filled with light; a beautiful Fairy is seen._]

ELIZA. Ah! I thought it was the Goody.

FAIRY. No matter, dear child. I knew you were to come here.

ELIZA. I was afraid to enter.

FAIRY. But you did enter. Your love for your brothers was greater than your

ELIZA. It was that which gave me courage.

FAIRY. It was a test of your courage. And now I can tell you how to break
the spell over your brothers.

ELIZA. I will do whatever you say.

FAIRY. You will suffer greatly.

ELIZA. What matter, if I save my brothers!

FAIRY (_nodding_). Then listen. Do you see the stinging nettles which I
hold in my hand?

ELIZA. Yes, dear Fairy.

FAIRY. You must gather great quantities of these.

ELIZA. I noticed many of the same sort growing near this cave.

FAIRY (_shaking head_). You must gather only those that grow in graveyards.

ELIZA. It shall be exactly as you say, dear Fairy.

FAIRY. The nettles will make blisters on your hands.

ELIZA. I will not think of myself; I will think only of my brothers.

FAIRY. Break the nettles into pieces with your hands and feet, and they
will become flax. From this flax you must spin and weave eleven coats with
long sleeves. If these eleven coats can be thrown over the eleven swans,
the spell will be broken.

ELIZA. It shall be done.

FAIRY. But remember, that from the moment you begin your task, until it is
finished, you must not speak. Even though it should occupy years of your
life, you must not speak.

ELIZA. I shall remember.

FAIRY. The first word you utter will pierce through the hearts of your
brothers like a dagger. Their lives hang upon your tongue. Go now and begin
your task.

ELIZA (_going_). I go, dear Fairy.

FAIRY. Remember all I have told you, dear child. Farewell!

[_Eliza goes; the cave becomes dark; the Fairy disappears._]


TIME: _two days later_.
PLACE: _a distant country; the King's palace_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ WICKED UNCLE _stands waiting to receive the King. Enter the_ KING
_with_ ELIZA. _She is pale and sad._]

WICKED UNCLE. Welcome, your Majesty! Welcome home from your hunt! But who
is this maiden?

KING. I know not, my Uncle.


KING. My huntsmen found her in a cave in a far-off country.

WICKED UNCLE. In a cave? Alone?

KING (_nodding_). Alone; spinning coats out of flax.

WICKED UNCLE. This is very strange.

(_To Eliza._)

Why were you all alone in a cave, and why were you spinning coats?

(_Eliza shakes her head._)

KING. She is dumb, Uncle. Not a word has she uttered since we found her.

WICKED UNCLE. Why did you bring her with you?

KING. I will make her my queen.

WICKED UNCLE (_angrily_). Your queen?

KING. See how beautiful she is.

WICKED UNCLE (_whispering to King_). She is a witch!

KING. Nonsense! She is as good as she is beautiful.

WICKED UNCLE (_whispering as before_). She has bewitched your heart!

KING. Nonsense, I say! She did not want to leave the cave. She wept
bitterly when I put her on my horse.

(_He turns to the servants._)

Let the music sound! Prepare the wedding feast!

(_He turns to Eliza, who weeps._)

Do not weep, my beautiful maid.

WICKED UNCLE (_whispering to King_). She is not beautiful. She has
bewitched your eyes.

KING. I will not listen to you! Go, bid them ring the church bells.

WICKED UNCLE (_going; speaking aside_). I must poison his heart against her
in some way; else I'll never wear the crown.

[_Wicked Uncle goes._]

KING (_to Eliza_). Do not weep. You shall be dressed in silks and velvets
and I will place a golden crown upon your head.

(_Eliza weeps and wrings her hands._)

Well, then, I know how to make you smile.

[_The King opens a door into an inner room. Eliza looks in, smiles, and
claps her hands for joy._]

KING. I thought 't would make you happy! 'T is very like your cave--I had
it made so.

(_Eliza tries to thank King with her eyes._)

But no more spinning! Your fingers shall be covered with diamonds instead
of blisters.

(_Eliza sighs very sadly._)

Something troubles you, little queen. If you could only tell me of your

(_Eliza shakes her head sadly._)

Well, I can at least save you from a life of labor. You shall be most
tenderly cared for.


Ho, there, Guardsmen!

(_Enter_ GUARDSMEN.)

Guardsmen, behold your queen!

(_Guards kneel before Eliza._)

Guardsmen, arise and hear my commands.

(_Guards rise._)

Your queen is never to do any of the work about the castle. Do you hear me,

GUARDSMEN (_bowing_). We hear, O King!

KING. Not even the spinning or weaving. Do you hear me, Guardsmen?

GUARDSMEN (_bowing_). We hear, O King!

KING. Those are my commands. Now attend us to the banquet-hall.

(_To Eliza, who is weeping._)

Weep no more, little queen. I wish only your happiness. Come, give me your
hand. We go now to the wedding feast.

[_They go out, the Guards attending._]


TIME: _two weeks later; sunrise_.
PLACE: _the open just without the town gate_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_Enter crowds of people from the town gate. Enter the_ GOODY _from the
forest. Enter the_ WICKED UNCLE _from the town gate._]

GOODY (_to Wicked Uncle_). Why these crowds so early, sir?

WICKED UNCLE. Do not call me 'sir.'

GOODY. What shall I say, sir?

WICKED UNCLE. Say, 'Your Highness.'

GOODY. But you are not the King, sir.

WICKED UNCLE. I'm very near it, old woman.

GOODY. Not so near, sir, as you were, sir. There is the new queen, sir.

WICKED UNCLE. The new queen is about to die.

GOODY (_alarmed_). About to die?

WICKED UNCLE (_nodding_). Aye, because she's a witch. They're bringing her
out here now.

GOODY. The King permits it?

WICKED UNCLE (_nodding_). He soon found out the truth about her.

GOODY. And what was that?

WICKED UNCLE. Just what I told him the first time I saw her. "She's a
witch," said I, but he would not believe me.

GOODY. What has so changed him?

WICKED UNCLE. 'T was I who saw her slip forth from the castle one midnight.
I followed her; straight to the graveyard she went.

GOODY. To the graveyard?

WICKED UNCLE (_nodding_). In she went--I following. I saw her gather the
stinging nettles that grow there.

GOODY. But they would blister her hands. Did she not cry out?

WICKED UNCLE. Not a sound did she utter! That would prove her a witch, were
there nothing more.

GOODY. Ah, there is something more, then?

WICKED UNCLE (_nodding; mysteriously_). I followed her back to the castle;
through the marble halls and up to the little cave room. I saw her break up
the nettles. Then I saw her spin and weave this flax into a magic coat.

GOODY. Bless me! A magic coat?

WICKED UNCLE (_nodding_). There were ten of them hanging from the ceiling.

GOODY. Of course you told the King?

WICKED UNCLE. Just as soon as I could waken him, but he would not believe
me. He said there was but one coat when they brought her here, and that
there could be but one now.

GOODY. She worked at night, then, while the castle slept.

WICKED UNCLE. True queens do not work--nay, can't be made to work. Every
one knows that.

GOODY. But how did the King find out the truth?

WICKED UNCLE. I persuaded him to watch with me the next night. Just at
midnight the queen came out. We followed her to the graveyard. "That is
enough," said his Majesty, "she is a witch and must die."

[_The_ CITIZENS _rush to the gates._]

CITIZENS (_calling_). See the witch!

GOODY. Is she coming?

WICKED UNCLE (_looking_). Yes, she is just within the gate. She rides in an
old cart drawn by an old horse--quite good enough for a witch.

[_Enter the_ KING _with servants and_ GUARDS. _Behind them is the cart. In
the cart sits_ ELIZA. _She is spinning and weaving, never once looking

GOODY. How pale she is! Bless me! She is spinning and weaving.

WICKED UNCLE. It is the eleventh coat and it will be the last.

GOODY. How she hurries to finish it!

[_The cart stops._]

KING (_to Eliza_). Once again I ask you,--Are you a witch?

(_Eliza shakes her head._)

Then give up the coats. They are of no use to any one.

[_Eliza again shakes her head._]

WICKED UNCLE. That proves her a witch! Else, she would give up the coats.

KING (_to Eliza_). Once more,--Will you not give them up?

[_Eliza shakes her head. The King turns away. He is very sad; his eyes are
filled with tears._]

FIRST CITIZEN (_calling_). See the witch!

SECOND CITIZEN (_calling_). See her magic coats!

THIRD CITIZEN (_calling_). Let us tear them to pieces!

FOURTH CITIZEN (_calling_). At them, Citizens! Tear them to shreds!

GOODY (_looking up; speaking aside_). Here come the Wild Swans! Now we
shall see what we shall see!

[ELEVEN WILD SWANS _descend from the sky and alight on the cart. Each wears
a golden crown._]

FIRST CITIZEN. Back, Citizens, back! Wild Swans have alighted on the cart!

FOURTH CITIZEN. What do we care for Wild Swans? Forward, Citizens!

FIRST CITIZEN. Back, I say! The Swans are beating us with their strong

SECOND CITIZEN. Back! back, Citizens! We dare not approach the cart!

GOODY (_calling to the people_). The Swans have come to save the queen! 'T
is a sign from heaven that she is innocent!

WICKED UNCLE (_angrily_). Be silent, old woman!

(_He turns to the Executioner._)

Executioner, do your duty!

EXECUTIONER. Out of the cart, witch!

(_Eliza shakes her head; takes up coats from floor of cart. The Executioner
turns to the Wicked Uncle._)

She will not come!

WICKED UNCLE. Seize her--I command you!

FIRST CITIZEN. Seize her! Seize her!

GOODY. Look, Citizens, look! She is spreading the coats over the Swans!

[_Eliza throws the eleven coats over the eleven Swans, who turn to eleven
little princes, but the youngest has a swan's wing instead of an arm, for
the last sleeve was not finished._]

FIRST CITIZEN. Do you see that, Citizens? They are princes! She has saved

SECOND CITIZEN. She is no witch!

THIRD CITIZEN. She is an angel from heaven!

THE ELEVEN BROTHERS. Dear sister, you have saved us!

ELIZA. Now I may speak--I am innocent!

ELDEST BROTHER (_to King_). Yes, she is innocent!

NINTH BROTHER. How you have suffered for us, dear Eliza!

CITIZENS (_to Eliza_). Forgive us!

KING (_to Eliza_). Forgive me! I did not understand.

WICKED UNCLE (_annoyed, but trying to conceal it_). And I did not
understand, I--

KING (_sternly_). Be silent!

(_To Guards._)

Seize him!

(_The Guards seize the Wicked Uncle._)

Take him to the mountains where the stinging nettles grow.

WICKED UNCLE. Mercy! Mercy!

KING. You had no mercy on brave little Eliza! Now you shall gather nettles
for the rest of your life. Away with him, Guardsmen!

(_The Guards take the Wicked Uncle away. The King turns to his servants._)

Let the music sound! Bring forth the queen's golden crown!

(_To Eliza._)

My whole kingdom shall do you honor! This land has never seen a more
beautiful thing than your love for your brothers.

GOODY (_whispering aside_). Ring, church bells! Ring of yourselves!

[_All the church bells are heard ringing._]

CITIZENS. Hear the church bells! They ring of themselves!

KING. They ring for this sweet queen whose heart is as good as her face is
beautiful. Come, Citizens! Away now to the castle! Away to the



TIME: _evening_.
PLACE: _a large city; a quiet corner with a high wall back_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_Great crowds of people are seen in the streets. The_ TWO COUNTRYMEN _have
just arrived. They find a quiet corner where they place their blankets and
baskets of gourds which they carry._]

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. I fear something most dreadful must have happened in that
street. See what crowds of people pass that way!

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Perhaps there is a fire. And yet--

[_He stops, showing he is puzzled._]

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_anxiously_). What troubles thee?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Look thou into that other street! It, too, is full of
people, and yet none are gone from here.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Some awful accident hath called them from all parts of
the city. We must find out what it may be.

[_A_ MERCHANT _passes._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_to Merchant_). I pray thee stop, citizen.

(_The Merchant stops._)

Canst thou tell us what dreadful thing hath befallen this city?

MERCHANT. What do you mean?

[TWO CITY WAGS _pass; they stop to listen._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Whither do they go, these vast multitudes? What dreadful
thing go they to see?

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Perhaps they flee from some monster just come out of the

MERCHANT. It is ever thus--always the great crowds surging through the

[_The Merchant goes._]

SECOND WAG (_to Countrymen, winking aside at First Wag_). This is your
first visit to a city, I take it?

BOTH COUNTRYMEN (_bowing_). It is, good sirs.

FIRST WAG (_winking aside at Second Wag_). You know what happens to
strangers in our city, of course?

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_anxiously_). No, good sir.

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_anxiously_). Pray tell us what it may be.

FIRST WAG. 'T is said they become so dazed by the noise of the city and the
rush of such countless numbers, they forget who they are.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Eh? Forget who they are?

FIRST WAG (_nodding_). Aye.

(_He winks aside at Second Wag._)

You have heard of this, dear friend?

SECOND WAG (_winking aside_). To be sure; 't is quite common.

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Forget their own faces?

SECOND WAG. Aye,--their faces. At least, they are not certain as to whose
faces theirs may be.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Then we dare not leave this corner!

FIRST WAG. I would not advise it.

SECOND WAG. It would be most unsafe,--at least for to-night.

FIRST WAG. Of course there is this danger,--when you awake in the morning
you may not know whether you are yourselves.

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Would that I had never left my farm!

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Would that I had never left my wife!

SECOND WAG. Do not despair; there is a way out of your troubles.

BOTH COUNTRYMEN. Tell us, we pray thee!

SECOND WAG. Each of you must take a gourd from his basket there and tie it
around his ankle. Then, in the morning, when you awake, you will each know
that it is yourself and none other.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_to Second Countryman, joyfully_). Dost thou hear? By our
gourds we shall know!

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_joyfully_). I hear! Thanks and yet again more thanks to
thee, good sir!

[_The Wags turn to go._]

FIRST WAG. May you know yourselves in the morning for what you truly are!

[Illustration: THE TWO COUNTRYMEN]

[_They go, laughing aside. Each Countryman ties a gourd around his ankle,
wraps his blanket round him, and lies down. They sleep. Pause.

Enter the_ WAGS _softly, each carrying a small flag. They remove the gourds
from Countrymen's ankles and hide them under their blankets. They then tie
the flags around Countrymen's ankles and go, greatly pleased with their


TIME: _the next morning_.
PLACE: _same as Scene I_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ WAGS _are seen peeping around the corner._]

FIRST WAG (_softly_). They are sound asleep.

SECOND WAG (_softly_). Then come.

[_They enter and throw the two baskets of gourds over the wall. They then
retire around the corner, peeping as before._]

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_waking; shaking Second Countryman_). Wake up! Wake up!

[_Each yawns; stretches; throws off his blanket; arises._]

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_remembering_). Ah, the gourds!

[_Each looks at his ankle, then at the other's ankle._]


FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Did we not tie gourds around our ankles?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_nodding_). Why, surely we did.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_looking about_). Did we not have two baskets of gourds
with us?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_nodding_). Surely; there in the corner.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_holding up foot to which flag is tied_). Is this a gourd
or is it not a gourd?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Of a surety it is a flag.

(_Holding up his foot with flag._)

And if this be not a gourd, keep thy silence.

[_The First Countryman stares at the flag, placing his finger on his closed

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Then it hath indeed happened!

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. What hath happened?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. The dreadful thing foretold by the citizens. I am not I!
Thou art not thou!

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_trembling with fear_). How can that be?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. I know not. I only know that it is.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_weeping_). I cannot think I am not myself!

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_weeping_). Thou needst must think it, whether thou
wouldst or no.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Dost thou indeed think thou art some other person?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. If I were myself, would not the gourd still be around my

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Then who art thou? And who am I?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Alas! I know not.

[_Enter the_ WAGS.]

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_joyfully_). Here come those who will know whether we are

[_The Wags pretend not to know the Countrymen who are bowing before them.
They pass on._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Stop, good sirs!

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. A word with thee!

[_The Wags stop._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Dost thou not know us?

FIRST WAG. I have not that pleasure.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Thou didst talk with us but yester-eve!

SECOND WAG. Some mistake, I fear, my good man.

[_The Wags start off._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_weeping_). Wait! I pray thee, wait!

(_The Wags stop._)

Canst thou not tell us who we are?

FIRST WAG. Do you not know yourselves?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Alas! we are not ourselves.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Thou wouldst know us were we as we were once.

SECOND WAG. Perhaps those flags will solve the riddle.

FIRST WAG. True enough; let us look at them.

[_The Countrymen remove flags and hand them to Wags, who look at them

SECOND WAG (_mysteriously_). Can it be?

FIRST WAG. It is! It is!



SECOND WAG (_to Countrymen_). Your pardon! I do crave your pardon!

FIRST WAG (_taking a ring from his finger; turning to Second Countryman_).
Please to accept this ring. I shall then know I am forgiven for not
recognizing you at first.

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_accepting ring; putting it on the first finger of his
right hand_). Why, yes, I forgive thee.

SECOND WAG (_to First Countryman, taking off his gold chain_). Please to
accept this chain. By that I shall know I too am forgiven.

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_accepting chain; putting it on_). Thou art forgiven. Now
tell me what great person I have become.

SECOND WAG (_gravely_). Jest with us no more!

FIRST WAG. We go now to announce your arrival to the Lord Mayor.

SECOND WAG. Presently, we will return. Await us here.

[_They go, laughing aside._]

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Dost thou know, I have always felt that I was really a
great person. Hast thou not always noticed something unusual about me?

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. I cannot say that I have. There is, however, certainly
something wonderful about me. I have noticed it for a long time. Hast thou
not felt it when in my company?


SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_indignantly_). Thou hast not?

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Never! thou silly goose!

[_The Second Countryman snatches First Countryman's chain and throws it
over the wall._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Mind how thou callest me names, thou booby!

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_tearing off Second Countryman's ring and throwing it
over the wall_). Silly goose!

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. I will now depart for my home. I do not desire thy

FIRST COUNTRYMAN. I likewise will return, and likewise I wish to journey

[_They take up their blankets and discover the gourds._]



FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Let us tie them around our ankles. We may then discover
whether we are ourselves.

[_They tie the gourds around their ankles._]

SECOND COUNTRYMAN (_joyfully_). I am myself!

FIRST COUNTRYMAN (_joyfully_). And I am myself!

SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Come, let us journey back together.

[_They go out. Pause. Enter the_ WAGS. _They remain at entrance, not
knowing Countrymen have gone._]

FIRST WAG (_whispering_). Do you think the musicians should follow them?

SECOND WAG (_whispering_). No, they should follow the music. What a joke it

[_They look around and discover that the Countrymen have gone._]

FIRST WAG (_sadly_). My ring!

SECOND WAG (_sadly_). My chain!



TIME: _the morning after the cyclone_.
PLACE: _The Man's garden_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ MAN _enters the garden carrying his big stick and small net. The
garden has been almost destroyed by the_ ALLIGATOR, _who still wallows
among the beds._]

MAN. There should be enough apples on the ground to fill my net. 'T was a
fierce storm last night!

(_He looks about; sees the Alligator; shows indignation._)

Thou--within my garden!

ALLIGATOR (_meekly_). Be not angry with me, O master! By accident I--

MAN (_indignantly_). Accident! Thou hast wallowed among my flowers by
accident, hast thou?

ALLIGATOR. It is true; not of my own will came I hither.

MAN (_more indignantly_). Thou hast broken my fruit trees by accident, I

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). It was not of my own intentions, I assure you. I--

MAN (_interrupting_). Thou art this moment crushing my strawberry plants
beneath thy great body! I've a mind to beat thee with my big stick!

ALLIGATOR. Do not beat me, O master! The cyclone is at fault.

MAN (_surprised_). The cyclone?

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). Aye, it blew me here from the river last night.

MAN. Ha, ha! A likely story!

ALLIGATOR. I speak the truth. A great waterspout lifted me out of the
river. Then a fierce wind caught me and blew me about as if I were a
feather. Finally, I was dropped here within thy garden.

MAN (_only half convinced_). Well, there's no cyclone to blow thee back.
Wilt thou be good enough to walk thyself out?

ALLIGATOR. Alas! I can scarcely move me. I fear some of my ribs are broken.

MAN. Nonsense! Out with thee!

ALLIGATOR. But see how the wind has crippled me! It has even blown some of
my claws loose--

MAN (_interrupting_). I am sorry for thee, but thou canst not remain here.

ALLIGATOR. I will go now, if thou wilt help me.

MAN (_surprised_). _I_ help thee?

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). I will be so grateful to thee!

MAN. Oh, I know how grateful thou canst be! The other animals have told me

ALLIGATOR. What say they?

MAN. That thou art the most cruel of all the animals--that thou never dost
any one a favor--

ALLIGATOR (_interrupting_). Nonsense! No one could be more grateful for
favors than I! I'll prove it to thee!

MAN. Prove it? How?

ALLIGATOR. If thou wilt help me to the river, I'll show thee where to find
the biggest fish.

MAN. Well--that's something--

ALLIGATOR. And when thou wouldst cross the river, I'll carry thee.

MAN. Of a surety, that's good of thee! Perhaps, after all, thou art not so
black as thou art painted. I'll help thee this time.

ALLIGATOR. Thanks to thee, master. I will never forget thy kindness; I will
always be thy friend.

MAN. Why, I am glad to help thee. Now how am I to get thee to the river?

ALLIGATOR. Carry me, please, O master!

MAN. What! carry thee?

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). I'll get into thy net.

MAN. Thou get into my small net!

ALLIGATOR. Only hold thy net open!

MAN (_holding his net open_). I tell thee, thou canst never get in!

ALLIGATOR. See how I fold my arms! My legs go under--so! Now I roll myself
up and up and up! And now I am in--all in!

MAN. Well, seeing is believing!

ALLIGATOR. Please to tie up thy net, master, that I may not fall out.

MAN (_tying net_). 'T is done!

(_Throwing net over shoulder._)

Thou art heavy!

ALLIGATOR. I know, it will be hard work for thee, but some day thou wilt
see how grateful I am.

[_The Man goes, carrying the Alligator over his shoulder and his big stick
in his hand._]


TIME: _the afternoon of the same day_.
PLACE: _the river bank_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_Enter the_ MAN _carrying the_ ALLIGATOR _over his shoulder. He stops,
throws down his big stick and places the Alligator carefully on the bank._]

MAN. Our journey is ended, brother.

(_Untying net._)

Now then, roll thyself out!

(_The Alligator comes out of the net._)

Well, how dost thou feel now?

ALLIGATOR. Much better, thanks to thee; but I'm very hungry and I find I'm
still quite weak. I pray thee help me down the bank, O master!

MAN (_helping the Alligator down the bank_). Now, then, thou art close to
the water.

[_He turns to go._]

ALLIGATOR. Just a little farther, please. I am still so weak!

MAN. Then I'll help thee into the water.

(_He helps the Alligator into the water._)

Now thou art in; and now I will depart.

[_He turns to go._]

ALLIGATOR (_seizing the Man's leg_). Not yet!

MAN. Let go of my leg!


MAN (_indignantly_). Why! Why!

ALLIGATOR (nodding_). Why and wherefore?

MAN. Thou art hurting me!

ALLIGATOR. It will soon be over.

MAN. What dost thou mean?

ALLIGATOR. What I have just spoken.

MAN. Why dost thou look at me so?

ALLIGATOR (_slowly_). Because--I--mean--to--eat--thee.

MAN. Eat me!

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). Eat thee.

MAN. Me?

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). Thee.

MAN. Thou didst promise to be my friend.

ALLIGATOR. I was only fooling thee.

MAN. But I helped thee out of trouble.

ALLIGATOR. No matter--I mean to eat thee.

MAN. Is that the way to repay a favor--by doing a wrong?

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). That's the way of all the animals.

MAN. Thou art surely mistaken--not all the animals--

ALLIGATOR (_interrupting_). There's not one of them remembers a favor or a
friend when hungry.

MAN. I cannot think that! Suppose we ask the first animal that comes to

ALLIGATOR. Ask any of them--I know what they will say.

[_Enter the_ WOLF. _He comes down the bank to drink._]

MAN. Wolf, I would question thee.

WOLF (_gruffly_). Well?

MAN. How dost thou repay the one who doth thee a favor?

WOLF (_gruffly, as before_). By doing him a wrong.

[_The Wolf drinks and goes._]

ALLIGATOR. Ha, ha, ha! Just what I said! Now I shall eat thee forthwith!

MAN. I can't believe that every animal would so answer.

ALLIGATOR. I don't intend waiting for thee to find out.

MAN. I pray thee wait till the next animal comes to drink!

ALLIGATOR (_impatiently_). Have I not told thee of my hunger?

MAN. Listen! Some animal comes through the forest now.

[_Enter the_ LEOPARD. _He comes down to drink._]

Leopard, I would question thee.

LEOPARD (_curtly_). Well?

MAN. How dost thou repay the one who doth thee a favor?

LEOPARD (_curtly, as before_). By doing him a wrong.

[_He drinks and goes._]

ALLIGATOR. Ha, ha, ha! It is just as I said! I will now eat thee forthwith!

MAN. I pray thee--

ALLIGATOR (_interrupting_). It is now all over with thee!

MAN (_calling_). Help! help!

[_Enter the_ RABBIT.]

RABBIT. A word with thee, Ally dear!

ALLIGATOR. I shall be busy for a few minutes, Brother Rabbit.

RABBIT (_going down bank quickly_). Who is this thou art about to dine
upon? Why, 't is the Man!

MAN. How dost thou repay a favor, Brother Rabbit?

RABBIT. Why dost thou ask?

MAN. I found the Alligator in my garden this morning. He had destroyed my
plants, my fruits, and--

ALLIGATOR (_interrupting_). I was blown in by the cyclone last night.

MAN. He said he had been hurt and begged me to help him to the river. He
promised me his friendship if I would do so.

ALLIGATOR. Ha, ha, ha! I told him I'd show him where to find the biggest

RABBIT. And now thou wilt not?

ALLIGATOR. But I will. He'll find it after he is _inside_ of me. Ha, ha!

RABBIT. Ha, ha! A good joke!

ALLIGATOR. I told him I'd carry him across the river. I didn't explain he'd
go _inside_. Ha, ha!

RABBIT. What a joker thou art, Ally dear!

(_He turns to the Man._)

But how didst thou get him here?

MAN. I carried him in this small net.

RABBIT (_looking surprised_). Thou art trying to fool me!

MAN. No, Brother Rabbit, it is quite true.

ALLIGATOR (_nodding_). Yes, it is true.

RABBIT. But, Ally, try as thou mightst, thou couldst not so much as get thy
head into that net.

[Illustration: "HELP! HELP!"]

ALLIGATOR. But I tell thee I did!

RABBIT. Ha, ha, ha! That's too funny!

ALLIGATOR (_angrily_). I do not like thy manners, young man.

RABBIT. But it's such a joke! Ho, ho, ho!

ALLIGATOR. Cease thy laughing or I shall eat thee some day!

RABBIT. I laugh because I must laugh! Ha, ha, ho, ho!

ALLIGATOR. Thou wilt not believe it, eh?

RABBIT. Well, not unless I see it.

MAN. We can prove it to thee, Brother Rabbit.

RABBIT. Oh, that's good too! Ha, ha, ho!

ALLIGATOR. Dost thou think we cannot?

RABBIT. Of course thou canst not! If thou couldst, thou wouldst.

ALLIGATOR. And we will! Get thy net ready, Man.

MAN. But how? Thou art holding my leg.

ALLIGATOR (_freeing the Man; turning to the Rabbit_). We'll show thee just
how it was done, young man.

RABBIT. Seeing is believing.

[_The Man brings his net; opens it._]

ALLIGATOR. See! I put my legs under--so! Then I fold my arms--so! Now I
roll myself up and up and up. And now I am in--all in!

RABBIT. As I live--thou art! Well, seeing is believing. But how couldst
thou remain within the net? It is quite open.

ALLIGATOR. Tie it up, Man. Show him exactly how we did it.

MAN (_tying net_). I tied it tight--like this, Brother Rabbit.

RABBIT. Is it quite tight?

ALLIGATOR. Let him try the knot, Man.

RABBIT (_trying knot_). Most truly, it is tight.

(_Turning to the Alligator._)

Thou dost look as if thou couldst not move, Ally dear.

ALLIGATOR. Of a surety--I cannot.

RABBIT. Well, Brother Man, now that thou hast him, don't be foolish enough
to let him go. Get thy big stick and beat him to death.

ALLIGATOR (_surprised_). Eh?

MAN (_not heeding the Alligator_). That is just what I will do, that I
will! Thanks to thee for helping me, Brother Rabbit.

ALLIGATOR. Have pity!

RABBIT (_not heeding the Alligator_). No thanks are necessary, Brother Man.
I haven't forgotten the good turnips thou didst give me last winter when
the ground was covered with snow. Some of us know how to return favor for



TIME: _once upon a time_.
PLACE: _in the house of the poor Spinner_.

       *       *       *       *       *

ISABEL, _her daughter_.
HANGING-LIP } _the Three Great-Aunts_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[_The living-room in the Dame's cottage is seen. The_ DAME _and the_ THREE
GREAT-AUNTS _are spinning._ ISABEL _sits at her spinning-wheel, but has
stopped work and looks out of the open door._]

DAME (_sharply_). Isabel! You gaze without!

ISABEL (_nodding_). Upon those great trees, mother. How beautiful they are!
How like sentinels they stand at our door guarding us!

FLAT-FOOT (_growling_). What nonsense! You'd better be spinning.

ISABEL (_not heeding_). Mother, see you that old oak! See how proudly it
lifts its head up into the sky! 'T is the king of the forest!

HANGING-LIP (_growling_). I never heard such foolish talk!

ISABEL (_not heeding_). Mother, a song has come to me,--'t is a song to the
beautiful trees. Let me stop to write it down, while my heart is full of

BROAD-THUMB (_to the Dame_). Do not permit it, sister! She should be
working. She can scarcely spin at all.

DAME (_showing much feeling_). Isabel! Isabel! Not a maid in the village
thinks of anything but spinning.

ISABEL. Mother, let me stop! Soon the song will leave me. I may ne'er hear
it again.

FLAT-FOOT (_to the Dame_). Sister, she will bring you to shame.

HANGING-LIP. Already the village folk laugh at her!

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding_). Aye! They call her "the Dreamer." I myself have
heard them.

ISABEL. I care not what they call me!

DAME (_raising her voice_). Nay, but I care. I'll not have you different
from other folk.

HANGING-LIP. _We_ were never seen gazing upon trees!

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding_). Aye! _We_ never heard songs within _us_!

FLAT-FOOT (_nodding_). Aye! _We_ think only of our work!

ISABEL. What's your work may not be mine!

DAME (_decidedly_). There's no other work for a maid than spinning.

ISABEL (_sighing_). I like it not! Though every other maid in all the world
did love to spin, I'd say the same--I like it not!

DAME (_to Flat-foot; showing alarm_). Sister, close the door, that none
without may hear such words.

[_Flat-foot rises, but is too late. The_ QUEEN _enters from the street._]

QUEEN (_showing displeasure_). How now! What's all this noise? I heard it
from the street!

[_All are frightened; Isabel weeps._]

DAME (_bowing_). 'T will not happen again, your Majesty.

QUEEN (_looking at Isabel_). Have they beaten you, my child?

ISABEL (_still sobbing_). N--o--, your Majesty.

QUEEN (_to the Dame_). Tell me why your daughter weeps.

DAME (_more frightened_). She weeps because--because--

[_She stops in confusion._]

QUEEN. Well--well?

DAME. Because--because--I will not let her spin.

QUEEN (_showing surprise_). Because you will not let her spin?

DAME (_nodding_). Yes, your Majesty.

QUEEN. Why, this is most strange.

DAME (_nodding_). Would I but let her, she'd spin from morn till night, and
from then on till morn again.

QUEEN. I see how it can be so. There's nothing I like better than spinning.

DAME. She weeps whenever I make her leave off.

QUEEN. 'T is because she loves it! I am never more pleased than when the
wheels are whirring.

DAME. But stop she must, for to-day at least. There is no more flax.

QUEEN. I have rooms full of flax. Let your daughter come to my castle. She
may spin there as much as she pleases.

DAME (_now, most frightened_). I--I fear she would be a trouble to you.

QUEEN. Why, no! In fact, I am so pleased with your daughter's industry I
will have my son marry her.

DAME (_so frightened she can scarcely breathe_). O your Majesty--

QUEEN (_interrupting_). But first she must spin all my flax. There are
three rooms full of it--from top to bottom.

ISABEL (_showing alarm_). Three rooms full!

QUEEN (_nodding_). Aye, my dear, and when you have spun it all, you shall
become a princess!

(_Turning to the Dame._)

Bring your daughter to my castle to-morrow.

DAME (_bowing_). Yes, your Majesty.

QUEEN (_going_). To-morrow, mind you.

DAME (_bowing_). Yes, your Majesty.

[_All bow to the Queen, who goes._]

ISABEL. Mother, how could you tell the Queen I love to spin?

DAME. Think you I'd let the truth be known? I'd not shame myself so!

ISABEL. I could not spin three rooms of flax in three hundred years.

DAME. Alas! alas! What shall we do?

FLAT-FOOT (_to Hanging-lip and Broad-thumb_). Sisters, let us speak

[_The three Great-Aunts whisper together for a moment._]

HANGING-LIP. Isabel, we will help you--

FLAT-FOOT (_interrupting_). On one condition!

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding_). Aye,--on a certain condition!

ISABEL. What do you mean?

HANGING-LIP. We'll spin the flax for you--

FLAT-FOOT (_interrupting_). On one condition.

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding_). Aye,--on a certain condition!

DAME. You speak in riddles, sisters.

HANGING-LIP. 'T is this--if Isabel will invite us to her wedding, we'll
spin the flax.

FLAT-FOOT. That's the condition.

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding_). Aye,--that's the certain condition.

ISABEL. 'T will be deceiving the Queen and the Prince, both.

DAME. There's no other way to mend things. Go now! Since you are so soon to
be a princess, I'll give you leave to write down your song.

ISABEL (_sadly_). The song is no longer in my heart.

DAME. 'T is well. Now listen--you must never let the Prince know about your
songs. He'd send you from the castle.

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding_). Besides, 't would bring great shame upon us, for
we are a family of spinners.

FLAT-FOOT (_nodding_). Aye, aye!

HANGING-LIP (_nodding_). Aye, aye!


TIME: _one week later_.
PLACE: _the Queen's castle_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ THREE GREAT-AUNTS _are working at the last heap of flax in the third
room._ ISABEL _watches them anxiously._]

ISABEL. Think you to finish before the Queen comes?

FLAT-FOOT (_nodding as she treads the wheel_). Aye, if treading the wheel
will do it!

HANGING-LIP (_nodding, as she moistens the thread over her lip_). Aye, if
moistening the thread will do it!

BROAD-THUMB (_nodding, as she presses the thread with her thumb_). Aye, if
pressing the thread will do it!

ISABEL. 'T is to-day she brings the Prince.

FLAT-FOOT. Another minute and we'll have finished.

ISABEL. Should they come suddenly, you know where to hide--behind those
curtains there.

THREE GREAT-AUNTS (_nodding_). Aye, we know!

[_A noise is heard in the distance._]

ISABEL. Some one comes!

(_She runs to the door, opens it, and looks out._)

The Prince comes down the stairs! Quick, aunts, quick!

FLAT-FOOT (_rising_). Well, 't is finished!

ISABEL (_looking into hall_). Now comes the Queen! To the curtains, quick!

[_The three Great-Aunts hide behind the curtains, just as the_ QUEEN _and
the_ PRINCE _enter._]

QUEEN. Well, have you finished?

ISABEL (_pointing to a pile of thread_). There's the last of it, your

QUEEN (_looking at thread_). Spun in the finest style, too! Prince, but a
week ago these rooms were filled with flax. Now look at them.

PRINCE (_looking about_). Empty, as if flax had never been here. 'T is
wonderful how one maid could do so much!

QUEEN. 'T is most wonderful!

PRINCE. The wedding shall take place to-day. Isabel, come now with us.

ISABEL (_thoughtfully_). No, no! I cannot!

PRINCE. You cannot?

QUEEN. You cannot! What do you mean?

ISABEL (_to the Queen_). Let me go home, your Majesty!

QUEEN. Go home!

ISABEL. I am not worthy--

PRINCE (_interrupting_). Nonsense! That you are poor is nothing to me.

QUEEN (_going_). Come, the wedding bells shall ring at once!

ISABEL. Your Majesty--I--I--did not spin the flax.

QUEEN. What! You did not spin the flax?

PRINCE. What is this?

ISABEL. I deceived you--I can scarcely spin at all.

QUEEN. But this pile of thread here--

ISABEL. 'T was spun by another.

PRINCE. Another?

ISABEL. Yes, Prince.

QUEEN. You shall marry that one then, my son!

(_To Isabel._)

As for you, return to your hovel!

(_Isabel turns to go._)


(_Isabel stops._)

Who is the wonderful spinner? Tell us where to find her.

ISABEL. Here, your Majesty.

QUEEN. Hidden away, I suppose?

ISABEL (_nodding_). Yes, your Highness, behind those curtains.

QUEEN. Go, my son, and draw the curtains. You shall be the first to look
upon your bride.

[_The Prince draws the curtains and sees the three Great-Aunts, who sit in
a row. They smile and smile upon the Prince, who stands looking at them in

FLAT-FOOT. You'd never be sorry to take me for your bride, my lord.

PRINCE (_not heeding_). Why is your foot so flat?

FLAT-FOOT. From treading the wheel! From treading the wheel!

HANGING-LIP. You'd never be sorry to take me for your bride, my lord.

PRINCE (_not heeding_). Why is your lip so long?

HANGING-LIP. From moistening the thread! From moistening the thread!

BROAD-THUMB. You'd never be sorry to take me for your bride, my lord.

PRINCE (_not heeding_). Why is your thumb so broad?

BROAD-THUMB. From pressing the thread! From pressing the thread!

[_The Prince turns to Isabel._]

FLAT-FOOT (_quickly_). Isabel does naught but gaze and gaze, on flowers and
trees and running brooks. Ha, ha, ha!

PRINCE. Is this true, Isabel?

ISABEL (_timidly_). Yes, Prince.

HANGING-LIP. She says these flowers and trees and running brooks do sing
her songs. Ha, ha, ha!

PRINCE. Is this true, Isabel?

ISABEL (_as before_). Yes, Prince.

BROAD-THUMB. And she begs leave to write down these songs. Ha, ha, ha!


PRINCE. Is this true, Isabel?

ISABEL (_hanging head_). Yes, Prince.

PRINCE. Isabel, hang not your head. I'll give you time to write your songs.

QUEEN. My son--

PRINCE (_interrupting_). Nay, nay, mother! The songs please me better than
the flat-foot and the hanging-lip and the broad-thumb of the spinners.
Come, Isabel, you shall be my princess! You shall sing me your songs! You
shall teach me how to gaze upon flowers and trees and running brooks, for
these things have ever been dear to my heart. Come, Isabel, come!



TIME: _one spring; noon_.
PLACE: _an army camp on the banks of a large creek. A village is near by.
To the south is a great forest_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_An ante-room in the Emperor's tent is seen. Great curtains separate this
room from the Emperor's room back. An_ AIDE _waits in the ante-room. Enter
the_ GENERAL _from the Emperor's room._]

GENERAL (_to the Aide_). Have any yet come from the village? The Emperor
would know.

AIDE. Yes, General. They wait without.

GENERAL. Bid them enter.

AIDE (_crossing; speaking to those without_). You will please enter.

[_Enter the_ MAYOR'S WIFE _and_ SON; _the_ RICH MERCHANT'S WIFE _and_ SON.]

GENERAL. You have come to see the Emperor?

THE LADIES. General, we have.

GENERAL. His Majesty wishes you to leave your sons here in camp until

MAYOR'S WIFE. General, could you not tell us the Emperor's plans?

GENERAL. Yes, madam. The Emperor must march southward where the enemy is in
camp. He wishes a guide who can lead him safely through this great forest.

RICH MERCHANT'S WIFE. We were told the Emperor would greatly honor the lad
he chooses.

GENERAL. 'T is true, madam. The lad chosen will be made an aide.

MAYOR'S WIFE. I thought only princes were chosen for the Emperor's aides.

GENERAL. They have always been princes. This is a great opportunity for the
lads of this village.

MAYOR'S WIFE. But how will the Emperor make a choice?

GENERAL. A test will be given every boy who comes. This test will prove his
fitness to be guide.

[_Enter an_ AIDE _from Emperor's room._]

AIDE. General, the Emperor would see you.

[_The General bows to the ladies and leaves._]

AIDE (_turning to the ladies_). The Emperor will receive you presently.

[_Aide goes. Enter the_ POOR WOODCUTTER'S WIFE _and_ SON.]

POOR WOODCUTTER'S WIFE (_timidly_). I heard the Emperor wanted a guide.

MAYOR'S WIFE. The Emperor only wants the boys of the best families, madam.

[_Enter the_ EMPEROR, GENERAL, _and_ CAPTAIN; _they remain back; are not
seen by the ladies._]

POOR WOODCUTTER'S WIFE (_sighing_). I suppose that is true, but Pierre is a
smart boy. If the Emperor could only see him--

RICH MERCHANT'S WIFE (_interrupting_). The Emperor wants a boy with proud
manners such as our boys have.

EMPEROR (_indignantly_). Fiddlesticks!

THE LADIES (_bowing_). Your Highness!

EMPEROR. Fiddlesticks and candles, I say!

POOR WOODCUTTER'S WIFE. I am sorry, your Majesty. I didn't know how it was.
Come, Pierre.

[_She turns to go._]

EMPEROR. Remain. Pierre shall have the test with the others. Ladies, you
shall know whom I have chosen when the test is finished. I bid you

[_The ladies bow and go._]

EMPEROR (_turning to the boys_). My lads, go through the forest southward,
till you come to the river. You may then return. Captain, see that guards
go with them. My lads, you must not speak the one to the other until I have
again seen you. I must have your word on that. Do you promise?

BOYS. Sire, we promise.

EMPEROR. 'T is well. Captain, they are now in your charge. General, a word
with you.

[_The Emperor and General go into Emperor's room. The Captain leads the
boys from the tent._]


TIME: _two hours later_.
PLACE: _the Emperor's tent; the Emperor's room_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ EMPEROR _is seen sitting at a table looking at maps. Enter an_ AIDE.
_He salutes._]


AIDE. The prisoner has returned, sire.

EMPEROR. What prisoner?

AIDE. The one sent out for the test, sire.

EMPEROR. Who was sent?

AIDE. Ludwig, the prisoner who has been ill for so long.

EMPEROR. Ah, yes; bid him enter.

(_Aide goes; he reënters with_ LUDWIG, _who wears an old, torn army cloak
over his uniform. He salutes._)

I notice you are a bit lame, Ludwig.

LUDWIG. Yes, sire; in my left leg. My dog was hit at the same time.

EMPEROR. Does your dog go to battle with you?

LUDWIG. If he can slip into the ranks, sire. He always goes where I go,

EMPEROR. Then he went with you to-day, of course?

LUDWIG. Yes, sire.

EMPEROR. You are sure the boys didn't see you?

LUDWIG. No one saw me. I kept a sharp lookout. When I came to a clear space
I went to one side, hiding behind trees, to look ahead. Then I ran across.

EMPEROR. That must have tired you, Ludwig. You're not quite well yet.

LUDWIG. I found I couldn't leap the streams; I had to climb down the banks
and wade them.

EMPEROR. You rested by the way, didn't you?

LUDWIG. Yes, sire, and once I stopped to pick berries.

EMPEROR. You made the return trip by boat up the creek?

LUDWIG. Yes, sire.

EMPEROR. That is all.

[_The Aide and Ludwig go. The Emperor claps his hands. Enter_ SECOND AIDE.
_He salutes._]

EMPEROR (_to Aide_). Have the lads returned?

AIDE. No, sire.

EMPEROR. Do you know when the Captain expects them?

AIDE. In about half an hour, sire.

EMPEROR. Bid their mothers return at that time. I wish them to be present
at the test.

AIDE. Yes, sire.

[_He salutes and goes._]

EMPEROR (_slowly_). Let me see--a lame man; a lame dog; running footprints
across open spaces; wading streams instead of leaping them; stopping to
pick berries--Why, the story reads itself!

(_He sits at table; takes up maps._)

Well, we shall see what we shall see!


TIME: _a half hour later_.
PLACE: _the Emperor's tent; the ante-room_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ LADIES _wait in the lower end of ante-room. Back is a great

MAYOR'S WIFE. I cannot think why the boys were sent into the forest!

RICH MERCHANT'S WIFE. Nor I! It seems to me the Emperor should have asked
them what they could do. Now, my boy dances so prettily!

MAYOR'S WIFE. I was certain he would ask them to ride. Now, my boy rides so
well--just like a prince!

RICH MERCHANT'S WIFE. Well, he will no doubt ask them all these things upon
their return.

(_She turns to Pierre's mother._)

You see, madam, how little chance your boy has. I am sure he cannot dance?

POOR WOODCUTTER'S WIFE (_sadly_). No, madam.

MAYOR'S WIFE. I am certain he does not ride?

POOR WOODCUTTER'S WIFE (_sighing_). No, madam.

[_Enter an_ AIDE; _crosses to Emperor's room; announces at curtains._]

AIDE. The boys have returned, sire!

[_Enter the_ CAPTAIN _with the_ BOYS. _Enter the_ GENERAL _from Emperor's

GENERAL (_announcing_). The Emperor!

[_Enter the_ EMPEROR; _all bow._]

EMPEROR (_sitting in armchair_). I will now give the test. Captain, bring
up the first boy.

[_The Captain brings up the_ RICH MERCHANT'S SON.]

EMPEROR. Well, my lad, what did you see in the forest?

RICH MERCHANT'S SON. Many, many trees, sire.

EMPEROR. You saw nothing but trees?

RICH MERCHANT'S SON. That was all, sire--just trees.

EMPEROR. I shall not want you; you may go.

RICH MERCHANT'S WIFE. Oh, your Majesty, if you could only see him dance!

EMPEROR. Candles and cheese! Do I want a dancing guide? Captain, bring up
the next one.

[_The Captain brings up the_ MAYOR'S SON.]

EMPEROR. Well, my lad, what did you see in the forest?

MAYOR'S SON. I saw trees and bushes, sire.

EMPEROR. Nothing more?

MAYOR'S SON. No, sire.

EMPEROR. I shall not want you; you may go.

MAYOR'S WIFE. Oh, your Majesty, if you could only see him ride! Just like a
prince, sire!

EMPEROR. Fiddlesticks! Captain, the last boy there.

[_The Captain brings up_ PIERRE].

EMPEROR. Well, my lad, what did you see in the forest?

PIERRE. I saw that a man had passed southward just before us, sire.

EMPEROR. How did you know that? Did you see him?

PIERRE. No, sire, I saw his footprints. He was lame in the left leg.

EMPEROR. How did you learn that?

PIERRE. The footprints were deeper on the right side. His dog was lame

EMPEROR. He had a dog?

PIERRE. Yes, sire; a lame dog I'm sure, because one of his tracks was
always faint or missing.

EMPEROR. Did you trace this man and dog by their footprints?

PIERRE. Yes, sire, to the river. There were traces of them in the grass, in
the mud, in the dust, on rocks, and in still water. I am certain they had
passed but a short time before--not more than a half hour.

EMPEROR. How could you tell that?

PIERRE. The grass had not yet straightened up. The tracks in the mud had
not yet filled with water. The prints in the dust were still clear although
a wind was blowing.

EMPEROR. Good! But how did you know they had but just passed through still
water and over rocks?

PIERRE. The water had not yet settled, and the rocks were still damp.

EMPEROR. Good! Very good!

PIERRE. Sire, I fear this man is one of the enemy!

EMPEROR. Indeed! What proof have you of that?

PIERRE. This, sire.

(_Handing a small piece of cloth to Emperor._)

'T is the color of the enemy's uniform.

EMPEROR. It is, my lad. How came you by it?

PIERRE. I found it on a thorn-bush. It was torn from his cloak, sire.

EMPEROR. And why from his cloak?

PIERRE. The thorn-bush was at least three feet from the man's line of
travel. The wind blew the cloak about.

EMPEROR (_handing the cloth to an aide; whispering to him_). Take this to

(_The Aide goes._)

Well, Pierre, do you think we should be in fear of this enemy?

PIERRE. I do not know, sire. I only know that he has a good disposition.

EMPEROR (_surprised_). A good disposition? How do you know that?

PIERRE. The dog was always near him. When the man stopped to rest, the dog
lay down at his feet.

EMPEROR. But he may have held the dog there, my lad.

PIERRE. Not while he was picking berries, sire.

EMPEROR. So our enemy picked berries, did he?

PIERRE. Yes, sire, the dog lying by the bushes all the while.

EMPEROR. Do you think we could capture this man?

PIERRE. Yes, sire, for he was very tired.

EMPEROR. How do you know that?

PIERRE. He climbed down the banks of every small stream. I should have
leaped them.

EMPEROR. You think it would be an easy matter, then, to follow and capture

PIERRE. Not easy, sire, for he was always on the lookout.

EMPEROR. How do you know that?

PIERRE. Whenever he reached a clear space, he went to one side, hiding
behind trees to look ahead. Then he ran across the open.

EMPEROR. Your proof of this, my lad?

PIERRE. His footprints in every clear space showed only the balls of the

EMPEROR. Good! You followed him only to the river.

PIERRE. Those were the orders, sire. Had I gone on, I could have overtaken
him by evening.

EMPEROR. That you could not, my lad, for the man is now here, in camp. He
returned by boat. Ladies, the test is over.

(_He turns to Pierre's mother._)

Madam, your son shall be my guide. I am proud to have a boy of such keen
sight and quick thought in my kingdom. And 't is much to be the mother of
such a lad. I salute you, madam! With greatest respect I salute you!

[_He bows to the happy woman with great courtesy._]

EMPEROR (_turning to the ladies_). Ladies, I bid you farewell.



TIME: _one morning; 1484_.
PLACE: _a street in front of King John's palace, Lisbon, Portugal. Gates to
courtyard of palace in background_.

       *       *       *       *       *

ROQUE.[Footnote: Pronounced _R[=o]'k[=a]_.]
PANCHO.[Footnote: Pronounced _Pän'ch[=o]_ (_ch_ as in _ch_urch.)]
RIVERRA,[Footnote: Pronounced _R[=e]-ver'rä_.] A SEA-CAPTAIN.

       *       *       *       *       *

[_Enter_ CARLOS, ROQUE _and_ PANCHO. _They carry their school-books. A
noise is heard in courtyard._]

ROQUE (_stopping; listening_). There's stirring in the King's courtyard!

[_He runs to closed gates; peeps through a crack._]

CARLOS. Come, Roque, we shall be late to school.

ROQUE (_throwing down books_). Come, look! They are laying the red carpets
in the court!

PANCHO (_throwing down books; peeping_). 'T is for the King they lay them!

CARLOS. Come, the master will be angry.

ROQUE. But the King will soon be coming!

PANCHO. Let's wait and see him, Carlos!

CARLOS. Not I! I know how the master flogs! Yesterday I came late to

PANCHO. Why were you late?

CARLOS. I stopped to watch the crazy Italian, Columbus.

[_He starts off; the others follow._]

ROQUE. I saw him once!

PANCHO. I wish I might see him!

CARLOS. There he comes now! (_Calling_.) _Loco!_[Footnote: Pronounced
_l[=o]'k[=o]_; Spanish for _crazy_.] _Loco!_

ROQUE. Aye, there he is! (_Calling._) _Loco! Loco!_

PANCHO (_calling_). _Loco! Loco!_

[_Enter_ COLUMBUS, _dignified and gentle. A crowd of_ BOYS _follow._]

ALL BOYS. _Loco! Loco! Loco! Loco!_

[_Enter_ SCHOOLMASTER, _carrying a switch._]

MASTER (_flourishing switch_). To school with you! To school now!

[_Boys run off in alarm._]

MASTER (_turning angrily upon Columbus_). You were teaching them your
foolish notions, sir!

COLUMBUS (_smiling_). I'd like the chance to do so, master.

MASTER. Ah, then you _have_ been at it! I saw them all about you!

COLUMBUS. I taught them nothing, master,--this time.

MASTER. 'T is well for you, sir, that you did not. The world is flat, sir,
flat! Do you not know that, sir?

COLUMBUS. I was so taught--

MASTER. How do you dare, then, to say the world is round?

COLUMBUS. Much study and common sense, dear master, have made me dare.

MASTER. The lessons taught your fathers are good enough for you, sir.

COLUMBUS. That cannot be, dear master. How, then, could the world move on?

MASTER. Move on? Hear him talk! Do you think, sir, that an elephant carries
this flat world on his back and walks about with it? Ha, ha!

[_Gates are opened;_ PORTER _is seen._]

MASTER (_going_). Go tell the King this world is round! Ha, ha! Go tell the

[_Schoolmaster goes._]

PORTER (_seeing Columbus; aside_). Ah, 't is the crazy Italian!

COLUMBUS. Porter, I seek the King!

PORTER. Do you think he'll listen to your silly talk? O, I've heard of you!

COLUMBUS. Come, let me in!

PORTER. Away! Away with you, _loco_!

[_Enter from gates, the_ JESTER _in cap and bells,_ HOSTLERS _and_

JESTER. Who's away? Who's crazy?

PORTER. The Italian there! He who says this world is round!

JESTER. Round? How now? Round, say you?

PORTER (_nodding; laughing_). With people on the other side!

JESTER. A-standing on their heads--so!

[_Jester stands on his head; all laugh. Enter a_ COURTIER.]

COURTIER. The King comes!

[_Enter_ KING JOHN _and many_ COURTIERS.]

JESTER (_capering about Columbus_). Ha, ha, ha, ha!

KING. What's this, Jester?

JESTER. Here's he, sire, who says this world is round!

[_He capers about Columbus; all laugh._]

KING. I've heard of your notions, Columbus. So you think there's land to be
discovered, do you?

COLUMBUS. Yes, your Majesty, I'm sure of it.

JESTER. With people a-standing on their heads--so!

[_He stands on his head; all laugh._]

KING. Silence! Columbus, I've a mind to listen, and give you ships and
money. Have you maps and charts to prove your plans?

COLUMBUS (_taking maps from cloak_). Yes, sire.

KING. Wait, then, till I have spoken with my Courtiers.

[_Columbus bows, retires, and unrolls maps._ CAPTAIN RIVERRA _crosses to
Columbus; talks with him aside._]

KING (_speaking softly to Courtiers_). You know, my Courtiers, that should
there be new lands, great glory will be given the discoverer of them.

FIRST COURTIER. Aye, sire, 't will bring him great honor.


KING. 'T is I, and I alone, who should have the honor and the riches!



THIRD COURTIER. But nothing can be done without the Italian's maps and
charts. No one but he knows the route over the unknown seas.

KING. Well, we must have his maps and charts.

FIRST COURTIER. He'll not sell them, sire. You may depend on that.

KING. And we'll not buy them. Go, bid my fool take them.

(_Courtiers showing surprise._)

Go, I say, and see to it!

[_Courtiers talk aside with Jester._]

RIVERRA (_to Columbus_). I wish you well, sir, for I believe that what you
say is true.

COLUMBUS. I'm glad to hear you say that, Captain.

RIVERRA. My ship is in the harbor now, and I must go. But I wish you well,
Columbus, I wish you well.

[_Columbus, throwing his maps on the stone bench near gates, takes
Riverra's hands in his. The Jester creeps up, takes maps, runs into the
court with them, and disappears._]

COLUMBUS (_with feeling_). I thank you, Captain--so few believe in me--

KING. Come now within, Columbus; I'll look at your maps and charts.

[_Riverra goes._]

COLUMBUS (_turning to take up maps_). Why, how is this! My maps were here
but just a moment ago!

KING. Who saw his maps?


The Courtiers are silent, sir.

COLUMBUS. I laid them there, sire!

KING. Then there they should be.

COLUMBUS. Some one has taken them--'t is a joke--

KING (_interrupting_). My Courtiers do not play jokes in my presence.

COLUMBUS. Those maps and charts are precious to me, sire!

KING. Come, now, I'm not so sure you ever had maps or charts.

COLUMBUS. Your Majesty!

KING. Well, produce them.

COLUMBUS. But, sire,--

KING (_interrupting_). I'll not hear excuses! Your maps, sir,--at once,

COLUMBUS. I'll make other maps and charts--

KING. Away with you!

COLUMBUS. Your Majesty--

KING. Away, I say! And come to us no more with tales of unknown lands.

[_Enter_ JESTER _from gates._]

JESTER. With people a-walking on their heads--so!

[_Jester stands on his head; all laugh. Columbus goes, showing bitter


TIME: _1492_.
PLACE: _Spain. Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[_Many_ COURTIERS _and_ LADIES _are seen in audience-room of palace; a
throne is in the background. Enter the_ FIRST COURTIER.]

FIRST COURTIER. The King and Queen!

LADIES _and the_ WISE MEN. _All bow as the King and Queen cross to throne
and sit. Enter the_ MONK; _he advances to throne and bows._]

KING. Speak, good Father.

MONK. I pray your Majesties to see one Christopher Columbus.

KING (_inquiringly_). Columbus?

MONK. The Italian who thinks he can find a short route to the Indies, sire.

KING (_nodding_). Ah, I remember. You brought his plans to us some time
ago, good Father.

QUEEN (_nodding_). Let us see him to-day, sire.

KING (_to First Courtier_). Admit this Christopher Columbus.

(_Courtier admits_ COLUMBUS. _He kneels before the King._)

Rise, Columbus, and tell us what you seek.

COLUMBUS (_rising_). Ships, sire, to prove the plans which I did send your
Majesties; plans for sailing in the unknown seas.

QUEEN. They seemed to me most wise and sensible.

COLUMBUS (_with joy_). Ah, your Majesty believes with me?

KING (_hastily_). I'd have our Wise Men speak. Unfold your maps before
them, sir.

[_Columbus crosses to Wise Men and unfolds a map before them. They look at
it, shake their heads and laugh._]

COLUMBUS (_with dignity_). I propose to sail by this route to find that
eastern land.

FIRST WISE MAN. Ha, ha! I never heard anything so absurd! He'd sail west to
find the east! Ha, ha!

SECOND WISE MAN (_pointing to map_). The edge of the world is out there in
those strange waters! And you are willing to fall off with your ships into
space, sir?

COLUMBUS. I'm sure the water continues--

THIRD WISE MAN (_interrupting_). How could there be land beyond? 'T would
be under us, and the trees would have to grow their roots in the air.

[_Wise Men nod wisely._]

SECOND WISE MAN. And the rain must needs fall upward there!

ALL WISE MEN (_nodding wisely_). Aye! Aye!

QUEEN. I've heard you did lay your plans before King John of Portugal?

COLUMBUS. I did, your Majesty.

KING. That was bad for you, Columbus. King John sent ships, but they soon

(_Turning to_ CAPTAIN RIVERRA.)

Was not that the way of it, Captain? You sailed with them, I believe?

RIVERRA. Yes, sire. But the failure came because the sailors were afraid
and refused to go on.

(_To Columbus._)

You were thus avenged for the theft of your maps, sir.

QUEEN. Would you sail again with this man as your leader, Captain?

RIVERRA. I would, your Majesty! I believe not in the monsters and the edge.

QUEEN. Nor I! Let's provide the ships, sire.

KING. Our people would not like it--they'd grumble. And so 't would be bad
for us.

[_Enter_ MESSENGER _in great haste; kneels before King and Queen._]

KING. What news do you bring? Speak!

MESSENGER. The Turks have captured the Spanish merchant ships!

KING. Our ships bound for the Indies?

MESSENGER. Yes, your Majesty.

KING. Alas! Alas!

QUEEN. The merchants and the sailors--did the Turks spare them?

MESSENGER. Not one, your Majesty!

QUEEN. Alas, such loss of life! And 't is not the first time! Not a month
that does not bring us the same sad news!

FIRST WISE MAN (_to Monk_). You must give our people consolation, Father.

MONK. 'T is not so much consolation they need, as another passage to the
Indies; one far away from Turkey and the cruel Turks.

QUEEN. You are right, Father. Speak on.

MONK. To find such a passage is the chief purpose of Christopher Columbus.
That is the hope that has given him courage when half the world called him

QUEEN. Sire, we must find ships and money!

KING. We dare not tax the people more--

QUEEN. Then I'll help you, Columbus! I'll pledge my own jewels to raise the

COLUMBUS (_joyfully_). Your Majesty!

QUEEN. 'T is for the safety of our merchants! 'T is for the glory of Spain!

COLUMBUS (_kneeling before Queen; kissing her robe_). My Queen!


TIME: _five months later; evening_.
PLACE: _on board the Santa Maria_.

       *       *       *       *       *

CAPTAIN PINZON.[Footnote: Pronounced _Pin'th[=o]n_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[_The_ SAILORS _are seen sitting on deck in a group. They are gloomy and

FIRST SAILOR. 'T is a sea of darkness!

SECOND SAILOR. Last night I heard the angry sea-gods!

THIRD SAILOR (_nodding_). Aye, I heard them!

FOURTH SAILOR. What were they crying?

SECOND SAILOR. Angry words to us for coming into their own waters.

FIRST SAILOR. 'T is the Italian Columbus the sea-gods should destroy!


SECOND SAILOR. We'll never see Spain again!

THIRD SAILOR. We should compel him to return!


[_Enter_ COLUMBUS _with_ CAPTAIN PINZON. _They cross to bow of ship. The
Captain glances uneasily at the sailors._]

CAPTAIN. Admiral, I must tell you frankly, the sailors are dissatisfied.

COLUMBUS. I am sorry to hear that, Captain.

CAPTAIN. What shall we do, sir?

COLUMBUS. Do? Why, sail on!

CAPTAIN. I'll see to it, sir!

[_Captain goes._]

FIRST SAILOR (_crossing_). Admiral, the men have chosen me to speak for

COLUMBUS. What do they wish?

FIRST SAILOR. To return to Spain, sir!

COLUMBUS. Tell them we may see land any day now.

FIRST SAILOR (_shaking head_). They'll no longer listen to that!

COLUMBUS. Then tell them that I mean to sail on.

FIRST SAILOR (_starting_). Sail on?

COLUMBUS. Yes; to sail on and on. Go tell them that.

[_Sailor goes. Enter_ CAPTAIN.]

CAPTAIN. Admiral, the sailors below show signs of mutiny!

COLUMBUS (_alarmed_). Mutiny?

CAPTAIN (_nodding_). The same as these on deck. Only look at them!

[_The Sailors talk together excitedly and gesticulate wildly._]

COLUMBUS. Ah, if I could only give them my courage!

CAPTAIN. I fear for your life, Admiral, if the order is not given to

COLUMBUS. I cannot give it, Captain.

[_The Sailors on deck are joined by others from below. They rush down upon

FIRST SAILOR (_angrily_). You must take us back to Spain, sir!

SECOND SAILOR. We'll not go farther, sir!


COLUMBUS. I'm sure we will soon find land--

SAILORS (_interrupting; angrily_). Hear him! Hear him!

COLUMBUS. To the one who first sees land, the Queen has promised money--

FIRST SAILOR (_interrupting_). Money! to feed to the sea-monster!

SECOND SAILOR (_threateningly_). Will you turn back?

COLUMBUS (_with determination_). No!

CAPTAIN. Now, men, back to your duties.

THIRD SAILOR. Alas! we'll never see our homes again!

FOURTH SAILOR. Nor our friends!

FIRST SAILOR. We are lost, men!

SECOND SAILOR. What shall we do?

ALL SAILORS. What shall we do? What shall we do?

[_As their anger turns to despair, Columbus is touched._]

COLUMBUS. Listen, men,--I make you this promise: if we do not see land
within three days, we will return to Spain.

CAPTAIN. There, now,--that's a fair promise! Go now to your duties!

COLUMBUS. And let every man watch for land as he has never watched before!

SAILORS (_pleased_). Aye, aye, sir!

[_Sailors cross to a distant part of deck._]

COLUMBUS (_sadly_). Alas for my plans and my hopes, if these three days
bring not land!

[_He talks aside with the Captain._]

FIRST SAILOR. We were too easily won over, men.

SECOND SAILOR (_nodding_). Fearful things may happen to us in these three

THIRD SAILOR. Suppose we reach the edge to-morrow!

FOURTH SAILOR. Suppose the sea-monster should come for us to-night!


FIRST SAILOR (_cautiously_). Come closer, men! There's something I would
say to you!

[_Sailors close about him; Captain goes._]

FIRST SAILOR (_pointing to Columbus, who stands in bow looking at the
stars_). Why should he not fall into the seas to-night?

SECOND SAILOR. What! You mean--

FIRST SAILOR. I mean he _must_ fall into the seas to-night. Are you with
me, men?


FIRST SAILOR (_cautiously_). 'T is my plan to push him over as he stands
there looking at the stars.

FOURTH SAILOR. Why not creep upon him now?

FIRST SAILOR. Are you willing, men, to have the deed done now?


FIRST SAILOR (_to Second and Third Sailors_). Come with me, you two! We'll
creep up on his left.

[_They creep upon Columbus, who is seen to suddenly bend forward, looking
eagerly into the distance._]

COLUMBUS. Land! Land!

[_Sailors stop; enter the_ CAPTAIN.]

CAPTAIN. Did you say land, sir?

COLUMBUS. Land, Captain, land! Come, Sailors, come! Land! Land!

SAILORS (_looking; joyfully_). Land! Land!

COLUMBUS (_lifting his arms_). Now Heaven be praised!

    NOTE TO TEACHER.--This play conforms to the spirit of the
    traditional story of Columbus, but the dramatization has
    made it necessary to condense into one scene the somewhat
    prolonged negotiations with Ferdinand and Isabella.

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