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PLAYS for CHILDREN An Anthology of Non-Royalty One-Act Plays

Edited by A. S. BURACK Editor, PLAYS, the Drama Magazine for Young People

Boston PLAYS, INC. Publishers

Copyright 1949 by PLAYS, INC All Rights Reserved Reprinted 1953


The plays in this volume are fully protected by copyright law. All rights, including motion picture, recitation, television, public reading, radio broadcasting, and rights of translation into foreign languages are strictly reserved.

NOTICE FOR AMATEUR PRODUCTION These plays may be produced by schools, clubs, and similar amateur groups without payment of a royalty fee.

NOTICE FOR PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION For any form of non-amateur presentation (professional stage, radio or television), permission must be obtained in writing from the publisher. Inquiries should be addressed to PLAYS, INC., 8 Arlington Street, Boston 16, Massachusetts.

Manufactured in the United States of America

CONTENTS GENERAL PLAYS Make Him Smile E. W. Arnold 1 A comedy in a toyshop China Comes to You Karin Asbrand 10 A play of modern China 'What's A Penny? Karin Asbrand 19 A thrift play The Dulce Man Catherine Blanton 23 A Mexican comedy The Talent Tree . Thelma Lucille Brown 31 A primary career play A Chinese Rip Van Winkle Anna Curtis Chandler 37 A Chinese fantasy ' Grey Ghosts x Dorothy Deming 45 A play on forest fire prevention Old Man River Dorothy Deming 53 Rescue by the Red Cross One-Ring Circus Aileen Fisher 61 A comedy for intermediates Special Edition Aileen Fisher 69 A newspaper comedy The Way to Norwich Aileen Fisher 80 A modern fable Louisa Alcott's Wish Sophie L, Goldsmith 87 An incident in Louisa May Alcotfs childhood The Unusual Flower Manta S. Graham 95 A play of character building The Language Shop Mazie Hall 106 A play on good speech The Trial of Billy Scott Mazie Hall 113

A language play Children of the Calendar Carol Hartley 122 A play about the months of the year Much Ado About Ants Anna Lenington Heath 127 A modern comedy Midnight Burial Kay Hill 135A mystery comedy

The Little Circus Donkey Helen Littler Howard 140 A play about animals How We Got Our Numbers Eleanora Bowling Kane 144 An historical arithmetic play Piffle! It's Only a Sniffle! Ted Kaufman 151 A health comedy Tommy's Adventure Eleanore Leuser 159 A play of character building The Clock's Secret, Esther MacLdlan and Catherine Schroll 164 A mystery The Shady Shadows Helen Louise Miller 172 A comedy of character building If Wishes Were Horses Bertha Nathan 182 A play about unselfishness Not on the Menu Mary Thurman Pyle 192 A comedy Children of the Sun Charles Rittenhouse 204 An astronomy play All in Favor Morton K. Schwartz 218 A play of democracy in everyday life Twin Cousins Morton K. Schwartz 228 A comedy The King's Creampuffs Martha Swintz 237 A satirical comedy The Day is Bright Norman Myrick 253 A comedy on art HOLIDAY PLAYS LincoMs Birthday A Letter to Lincoln Lindsey Barbee 268

The Lincoln Coat Thelma W. Sealock 277 Valentines Day The Queen with the Broken Heart Catherine Urban 288 What Happened to the Cakes Alice Very 292 Washington's Birthday A Guide for George Washington Lindsey Barbee 297 David and the Second Lafayette Lavinia R. Davis 312 Easter The Magic Egg Mildred Hark and Noel McQueen 324 vi

Mother's Day A Present for Mother June Barr 336 Mother's Gift Helen Littler Howard 341 A Golden Bell for Mother Alice Very 345 Memorial Day See the Parade Mildred Hark and Noel McQueen 353 Pink Parasol Helen Louise Miller 361 Columbus Day Columbus Sails the Sea Lindsey Barbee 375 Halloween The Magic Spell Esther Cooper 382 The Witch's Pumpkin Esther Cooper 386 Goblin Parade Beulah Folmsbee 390 The Magic Jack-O-Lantern Helen Littler Howard 399 The Magic Pumpkin Lee Kingman 403 Book Week Wonders of Storybook Land Alice D'Arcy 412 Off the Shelf Mildred Hark and Noel McQueen 423 Mr. Longfellow Observes Book Week Edna G. Moore 433 Hubbub on the Bookshelf Alice Woster 439 Armistice Day

Bob's Armistice Parade Lucille Streacker 455 Thanksgiving I'll Share My Fare Helen Littler Howard 460 Thanks to Sammy Scarecrow Helen Littler Howard 463 Mr. Thanks Has His Day Lee Kingman 467 Jonathan's Thanksgiving Alice Very 475 Christmas The Holly Hangs High Lindsey Barbee 482 Merry, Merry, Merry Gladys Hasty Carroll 492 The First New England Christmas Tree, Ella Stratton Colbo 507 The Little Cake E. Clayton McCarty 518 Christmas Comes to Hamelin Grace Evelyn Mills 528 Happy Christmas to All Jeannette Covert Nolan 540 No Room at the Inn Emma L. Patterson 551 Christmas House Helen E. Waite and Elbert M. Hoppenstedt 560 LEGENDS, FABLES, AND FAIRY TALES The Crystal Flask Karin Asbrand 570 Little Hero of Holland Karin Asbrand 577 vii

Rumpelstiltsken Helen Cotts Bennett 587 Sleeping Beauty Helen Cotts Bennett 596 The Lion and the Mouse Rowena Bennett 605 The Three Wishes Cora Burlingame 609 The Salt in the Sea Mildred Colbert 618 Cinderella Alice D'Arcy 633 The Floating Stone C. W. Foulk and Doris P. Buck 643 Jack and Jill Helen L. Freudenberger 649 Broom Market Day Lida Lisle Molloy 656 Jenny-by-the-Day Lida Lisle Molloy 666 The Wise Men of Gotham Ruth Vickery Holmes 675

The Pied Piper of Hamelin Lucy Kennedy 686 The Mixing Stick Eleanore Leuser 701 The Magic Cookie Jar Helen Louise Miller 706 The Town Mouse and His Country Cousin Violet Muse 718 Hans, Who Made the Princess Laugh Elsi Rowland 726 A Precedent in Pastries Elsi Rowland 734 The Three Aunts Elsi Rowland 741 Hansel and Grethel Natalie Simonds 751 Peter Rabbit Natalie Simonds 757 The Pot of Gold Claribel N. Spamer 762 The Test Loretta Capell Tobey 766 Puss-in-Boots Alice Very 777 The Three Sillies Alice Very 784 A Kettle of Brains Gweneira M. Williams 790 HISTORICAL PLAYS The Flag of the United States Lindsey Barbee 796 No Braver Soldier J. C. Eleanor Bierling 803 The Heroine of Wren Ella Stratton Colbo 813 Hearts of Oak May Emery Hall 821 A Son of Liberty Esther Lipnick 828 Dolly Saves the Day Helen Louise Miller 838 Not Only the Strong Helen E. Waite and Elbert M. Hoppenstedt 848 Production Notes 862


PREFACE The plays included in this volume represent a cross-section of the most popular and successful dramas which have appeared in PLAYS, the Drama Magazine for Young People. As editor of this magazine, I have had an opportunity to observe closely the comparative success of the more than 1,000 plays we have pub-

lished. This collection has been chosen to offer teachers and dramatics directors a convenient source of suitable one-act, royalty-free, original plays that are flexible to cast and easy to produce. The plays are divided into four groups, providing a varied collection for both classroom and special assembly programs. There are plays for celebrating holidays and special occasions ; historical and costume plays; modern comedies; fantasies, legends, and fables in dramatic form. Most of these plays may be produced with simple equipment using a plain backdrop or a classroom wall for scenery, with a mere suggestion of furnishings and costumes and no special lighting effects. Or productions may be elaborate, with authentic costuming, special lighting and professional make-up. The Production Notes at the end of the volume offer suggestions for staging, lighting, properties, and other details. In selecting the plays for this book, I have considered not only the practical aspects of production but also that vital intangible quality which is the real measure of a play's success the enjoyment of both audience and actors. A. S. Burack

MAKE HIM SMILE by E. W. Arnold Characters OLD MRS. BIMILIE, owner of the Doll Shop MR. SOLOMON CROSSBY, her landlord THE VERY BEST DOLL THE SOLDIER DOLL, -> THE DUTCH DOLL THE FLOWER DOLL, THE JUMPING JACK THE WITCH DOLL THE ROOSTER DOLL SETTING : Inside the Doll Shop. TIME: About 8 o'clock at night. AT RISE : Seated at a table, MRS. BIMILIE. She is writing to wipe her eyes and to blow folds it, and puts it into a address. down right, and facing the audience is a letter, but stops every so often her nose. She finishes the letter, large envelope which she starts to

MRS. BIMILIE {Speaking aloud as she writes) : "M-i-s-t-e-rS-o-l-o-m-o-n- C-r-o-s-s-b-y." And Cross Boy is right ! It's a good name for him, the miserable creature ! Now, what's his address ? (Consults book beside her.) "Frowning Manor, Misery Lane." Hump ! Two other horrid names, and they just suit him for of all cross, mean, noisy, making-other-people-miserable men that I ever saw he's the worst. And to think that I have to write him that I haven't the rent money! (Begins to cry.) Oh dear! Oh deary gracious me! (A loud knock is heard on door, left. She jumps up, her hand across her mouth, and stands in terror as the knock is repeated.) Who who's there? (The door opens and MR. SOLOMON CROSSBY himself enters noisily, slamming the door

2 MAKE HIM SMILE shut behind him. He removes his hat and tosses it on top of the JACK'S box.) MR. CROSSBY : Oh ! Didn't expect to see me this time of night, did you? MRS. BIMILIE: N-no, Sir, I-I didn't. In fact, I was just writing to you MR. CROSSBY {Advancing towards her threateningly as she retreats toward the JACK'S box) : Writing to me, eh? Does that mean that you can't pay your rent? (She nods) I thought so! And you wonder why I have come around this time of night ! I've been expecting something like this ! Well, let me tell you something if you'd just pay up promptly, you wouldn't see me any more than you see (Looks around) than you see the Jack-In-the-Box ! (Throws himself down in comfortable chair.) MRS. BIMILIE (Timidly, coming near him as he sits) : It's because of the Jack-In-The-Box that I haven't the rent money. MR. CROSSBY (Laughing raucously) : Ho ! What do you mean by that, hey? Did he run off with your cash? That's a good one! Ha! ha! MRS. BIMILIE : Someone came in to buy him yesterday a little girl who said she wanted him to make her cross old grandpa smile. But when she opened the box the Jack wouldn't come out so she went away without buying anything ! (Wipes her eyes) MR. CROSSBY (Leaning forward) : So ! Just because a silly JackIn-The-Box was sulky, you haven't my rent money ! What's the matter with you that you can't bring up your dolls better than that? Why was the Jack so stubborn, eh? Why wouldn't he come out? MRS. BIMILIE (Slowly) : I think it was because he didn't want to make the little girl's cross old Grandpa smile. MR. CROSSBY: And why not? MRS. BIMILIE: He he's afraid of him. MR. CROSSBY: Afraid of him! Has he seen him? Does he know

him? MRS. BIMILIE: Y yes, he does. MR. CROSSBY: Stuffy nonsense! It's his business to make people smile, no matter how frightening they are. MRS. BIMILIE (Eagerly) : Yes, sir, but you see, you always talk so loud qh ! (She claps her hands over her mouth.) I didn't mean to tell you!

MAKE HIM SMILE 3 MR. CROSSBY (Sitting up straight) : I talk so loud ! You mean I'm the man he was to make smile? (She nods) Ridiculous stuffy nonsense ! (Springs up and begins to pace the floor, MRS. BIMILIE following him, wringing her hands.) MRS. BIMILIE: Oh, please, please, Mr. Crossby, don't be offended! MR. CROSSBY (Fairly yelling) : Who says I'm offended? Offended, indeed ! I'm amused, that's what I am ! (Laughs a very forced "ha ha" then turns in a jury to poor little MRS. BIMILIE.) But I'm not too amused to forget my rent and I want it now this very minute f MRS. BIMILIE (Desperately) : Very well, Mr. Crossby. I shall have to go out and try to borrow it from my brother who lives up the street. Will you please sit down and wait until I return ? (Takes her bonnet and shawl from hat-tree and tremblingly starts to put them on.) MR. CROSSBY (Subsiding into chair) : That's better that's something like! And your brother had better come across with the money, too, or I'll have you both in jail! (MRS. BIMILIE fumbles wretchedly with her things which so enrages him that he shouts.) Well! What are you standing around here for? Go get that money ! (She hurries out, and he pretends to chase her out the door. MR. CROSSBY settles himself in chair, gets up, walks over to box and looks at it, rubbing his hands over his chin.) Hum. Afraid of me, eh? I like people to have some spirit. (Slaps side of box contemptuously, wanders around room, noticing each doll in an abstracted way. Sits down again in chair and begins to rock very fast. He gradually rocks slower and slower, his eyes close. The lights grow dimmer. The DOLLS move in their places, slowly turning towards him. There is a low chorus of "Shame! Shame!" repeated over and over again as they turn. The DOLLS descend from their places and, moving in irregular groups, adf vance towards MR. CROSSBY still repeating "Shame!" They stand watching him.) FLOWER DOLL: How can he treat our dear Mistress so? BEST DOLL : How cross he looks, even in his sleep ! /DUTCH DOLL: Vy iss his face all wrinkles? SOLDIER DOLL (Standing straight and tall) : See how he slouches ! ALL: Shame! Shame!

FLOWER DOLL: Well, we can't have him coming; here, yelling at our dear little Mistress. We mu^t stop him.

4 MAKE HIM SMILE ALL: How? BEST DOLL: Witch Doll, can't you do something? WITCH DOLL : I can stop him from moving or speaking, but only for an hour. ALL: Good! JACK (Knocking on inside box) : Wait ! I want to see this ! Let me out! BEST DOLL (Hurrying across room and undoing box lid) : Oh yes, Jack, you must see him his yelling always frightened you so. (JACK pops up.) JACK: Hurrah for the Witch! Hurry up and enchant the old crank! ALL: Sh, you'll wake him up! (MR. CROSSBY stirs, opens his eyes, and tries to spring to his feet. The WITCH DOLL raises her hand.) WITCH DOLL: Abracadabra! Fall, oh spell! Enchant his form his mouth as well ! (MR. CROSSBY sinks back in chair tries vainly to speak attempts to rise but cannot sits in helpless fury.) ALL: Ahha. Now we have him! (They advance towards him threateningly.) BEST DOLL: Stop! Stop! That's not the way to act. We mustn't hurt him. ALL: Why not? (They still advance.) DUTCH DOLL: He iss a* nasty man! FLOWER DOLL: Let's pull his hair. JACK : I want to pull his nose ! SOLDIER DOLL : Wait ! The Best Doll is right. If we want to stop him from being so mean, we mustn't be mean. We must show him how much better it is to be kind. BEST DOLL: Oh yes, don't you see, dolls? Two wrongs never make one right. Let's show him how nice and funny we are, and then perhaps he'll change. FLOWER DOLL: Yes, let's. Let's try to make the corners of his

mouth turn up and his frown wrinkles turn to smile ones JACK (Enthusiastically) : Yes ! And Flower Doll's the one to show him how nice a quiet voice can be ALL: That's right, Jack! BEST DOLL (Bending over MR. CROSSBY) : Do you hear, old man? (His eyes rott towards her. To the others.) Come, stand over

MAKE HIM SMILE 5 here and we'll show him one by one all the nice pleasant things we know. (Flutters to stage right, followed by others.) Flower Doll, you go first. Show him your little dance and poem. FLOWER DOLL (Swaying over to him, she says in a clear sweet voice) : Swinging my petals, I sway and I sing, Watching the birds going by on the wing. Lifting my face to the shining sun, And folding my petals when day is done. (All smile and clap gently. She returns to her place.) BEST DOLL: Did you like that, old man? Wasn't it better than your loud yelling voice? (MR. CROSSBY looks ashamed.) SOLDIER DOLL: Sure it was! (All nod.) Now, let's make the old man laugh. DuprcH DOLL: Who iss der funniest? (All talk at once*, saying, "Jack is!" "The Dutch Doll is too!" etc.) BEST DOLL : You all are cute and funny except the Witch Doll and me ; so suppose we give the Rooster Doll his chance ? ROOSTER DOLL (Flapping forward, clearing his throat once or twice as if in practice) : Cook a oook ! (Hops over to MR. CROSSBY, draws himself up very tall.) Cock-a-doodle-doooo ! I'm a barnyard friend so true ! My wings I beat (Flaps his wings) And worms I eat ! (Pretends to gobble a worm.) That's something you can't do ! (Suddenly pokes his head at MR. CROSSBY who tries to draw

back. All laugh but MR. CROSSBY.)' BEST DOLL : Oh dear, you startled him, Rooster. That's not the way to make a person laugh. Dutch Dolly, suppose you try. (DUTCH DOLL comes clumping forward and bows jerkily.) DUTCH DOLL: Donner ! Diss iss sooch a much ! I am leedle Dolly Dutch! (Drops a curtsey.) Full of funs dot's me Dot's me ! Joost you watch and you shall see. (Dances a few steps to the tune of "Ach, du lieber Augustine". All laugh and clap. MR. CROSSBY has unconsciously been keeping time with his head to the music, and half-smiling* Stops at the sound of clapping and looks angry again.)

6 MAKE HIM SMILE BEST DOLL (Peeping into his face) : Ah ! We almost had him then ! Quick, Jack, see if you can catch that smile ! JACK (Jumping up and down) : Likes people to have some spirit, eh? 'I'll show him some spirit! (Leaps about crasily.) Wheel Wheel Just look at me ! I jump in the air And children I scare, But they donXcare! There's fun to spare ! Wheel Wheel Wheel SOLDIER DOLL: Very good, my boy but you were scared of the old man yourself, don't forget. ALL: Yes, you were, Jack! JACK : Well, I'm not now. And do you know why ? 'Cause the old man's smiling, that's why! Look at him! (All look. MR. CROSSBY is almost grinning.) ALL : Three cheers ! He's smiling ! We've done it ! BEST DOLL: And isn't he handsome when he does smile? (All agree.) Now there are only three of us left to complete the job.

Witch Doll, wouldn't you like to have a turn? WITCH DOLL (Hobbling over to MR. CROSSBY and bending down close to his face) : I'm a terrible, terrible, terrible Witch! I tickle your nose to make it itch ! (She does so all laugh.) I ride a broom when night draws near, I haunt your house to make you fear! You'd better be good! You'd better smile! Or life for you won't be worthwhile ! Yahhhh ! (MR. CROSSBY shivers and shakes. All point fingers at him.) BEST DOLL : I think that's quite enough of scaring the poor man. And now FLOWER DOLL: And now, Best Doll, it's your turn! ALL: Yes! Yes! BEST DOLL: Well, the Soldier Doll and I are the last. Will you give me your arm, Soldier? (He offers her his arm with a very gallant gesture, and they both walk over to MR. CROSSBY with very stately steps. Th& BEST DOLL drops a curtsey and the SOLDIER salutes her. They begin to do a dignified little dance, such

MAKE HIM SMILE 7 as a step or two of the Minuet while all the dolls recite.} ALL: When a Soldier Doll all unafraid Meets a dainty little dolly maid, And he takes her hand and they dance together. Forward and back, light as a feather. Then the sun comes out, and our hearts grow light, And our faces smile, and our eyes are bright, For a dolly maid, and a soldier boy, And a dance, and a smile, can bring you joy ! (All clap as he bows and the BEST DOLL curtseys again. MR. CROSSBY'S face is one big smile, and he tries to- speak.) BEST DOLL : Oh Witch, he is trying to say something nice to us ! Unenchant him, please! ( WITCH hesitates.) ALL: Yes, do! JACK (Magnanimously) : Sure ! Go ahead the old boy's all right! ROOSTER DOLL : Come on, Witch, let him talk awk awk !

WITCH (Approaching MR. CROSSBY and waving her hands before him) : Abracadabra! Spell, away! (All watch while a cheerfullooking MR. CROSSBY moves in his chair, stretches, moves first one leg and then the other, flexes his arms, rubs his jaws, etc. He is smiling as he leans forward in his chair.) FLOWER DOLL : Look, he isn't angry any longer ! MR: CROSSBY : I should say I'm not angry any longer ! How could I be, when you dolls have shown me what fun it is to smile and be happy? (All shout "Hurrah!") Why, I feel so good that I want to jump and sing and dance ! JACK: All right, let's see you! (He and the SOLDIER DOLL help MR. CROSSBY from his chair, one on each side. The other dolls arrange themselves in a semicirde behind them, JACK jumps on his box, and SOLDIER DOLL steps right leaving MR. CROSSBY alone in center. With JACK leading and all the others clapping in time, they sing, while MR. CROSSBY does an awkward lively dance.) ALL: Pack up your troubles in the Jumping Jack's box And smile ! Smile ! Smile ! Dance from your head down to your socks, Smile, dolls, that's the style! What's the use of frowning?

g MAKE HIM SMILE It never was worthwhile ! So Pack all your troubles in the Jumping Jack's Box And smile ! Smile ! Smile ! (All are laughing, and MR. CROSSBY is breathless when suddenly the door opens, and MRS. BIMILIE enters. She stops in incredulous amazement. The dolls scatter to their places and stand motionless. MR. CROSSBY halts, embarrassed, fumbling with his necktie and clearing his throat noisily.) MRS. BIMILHS : Mercy gracious me ! (She falls against JACK'S box. MR. CROSSBY springs to her aid and supports her to a chair, talking as he does so.) MR. CROSSBY : Do not be alarmed, dear lady MRS. BIMILIE: Dear lady! Ohhhh! MR. CROSSBY (Blushing) : I er realize that those words are perhaps rather a shock to you, Mrs. Bimilie, and that my position when you came in is a bit difficult to explain MRS. BIMILIE (Fanning herself) : Oh gracious mercy me, yes ! MR. CROSSBY : But I assure you that since you have been gone I have had a wonderful revelation. MRS. BIMILIE : ^Revelation?

MR. CROSSBY : Yes. I have seen how much better and happier people can be when they dance and sing and smile ! MRS. BIMILIE : Well, praises be ! But who changed you and made you realize that? MR. CROSSBY : Your dolls ! Your jolly happy dolls, God bless them ! MRS. BIMILIE : Can I believe my ears? Are you really saying "God bless them"? (He nods.) And you aren't angry any more? You won't put me in jail for my brother was away and I haven't the rent money. MR. CROSSBY: Jail? Rent money? What's rent money? And who's going to put you in jail? Stuffy nonsense! MRS. BIMILIE: Oh thank mercy goodness! (She begins to cry.) MR. CROSSBY : Here now, none of that ! (Pulls out a huge handkerchief and wipes her eyes.) Why, you haven't anything to cry about, you know. You won't have to go to jail, and you won't have to pay the rent either. MRS. BIMILIE: Not pay the rent! How is that! MR. CROSSBY: Well, you see, it's this way. I had such a good time with your dolls that, instead of rent money, I want to take a couple of them home with me to remember this evening by.

MAKE HIM SMILE 9 MRS. BIMILIE : Oh, sir, that's wonderful of you ! Which ones will you choose? MR. CROSSBY (Judiciously) : Well now, let's see. You said, didn't you, that my little granddaughter wanted the Jack-In-The-Box to make me smile? MRS. BIMILIE : Well, yes, she did but MR. CROSSBY: But he was afraid of me wasn't that it? (She 'nods.) Well he isn't afraid any longer! So I choose him. And for my little granddaughter I'll take the Best Doll. So we'll have something tojaugh at and something to love! How's that? MRS. BIMILIE (Emotionally): That's, that's just beautiful, sir! (He turns to go. She jumps up and crosses to desk.) But wait, sir! Will you take them with you, or shall I send them? And to what address? MR. CROSSBY : Send them, please. (She gets cil.) And I can't have two such nice merry my old address. I shall change my name and now Mr. Solomon Not-So Crossby, and I live on Happiness Lane! THE END charge book and pencreatures going to my home. I am at Smiling Manor,

CHINA COMES TO YOU by Karin Asbrand Characters DOROTHY, daughter of an American missionary MAY LING, the mother SING LING WANG LING


Chinese boys

Chinese girls

LITTLE GOLDEN DAUGHTER LOTUS BLOSSOM CHERRY BLOSSOM RED FLOWER BLUE BLOSSOM WEE ONE SERVANT FLO FLO, a dragon SooLA 1 ,. Loo CHEE } hons THE KITCHEN GOD THE SUN GOD SCENE 1 SETTING: A room in the Ling home in China. AT RISE: MAY LING and the SERVANT are busy preparing the meal. They set a low table at right. All the children are on the stage except SING LING and DOROTHY. The KITCHEN GOD sits behind frame on dais and the dragon is beside him. MAY LING: Sing is very late this evening. Does he not remember that he has guests to share his evening rice ? WANG LING : Sing does not remember any further than the end of his nose, which is very short, honorable Mother. He was going to the American Mission, and there is a new little girl

CHINA COMES TO YOU 11 there. She is the daughter of the honorable missionary. CHING SEE (With interest) : Is she nice? WANG LING : As far as girls go she will pass. SERVANT (Looking out the door) : Here he comes now, Mistress, and the bowls of rice are steaming. We can begin. Hi Lo (Rises and looks over her shoulder) : He has a strange girl with him, an American girl, I think. WANG LING (Also looking out) : It is she. (Enter SING LING right with DOROTHY.) SING LING (With his hands in his sleeves, bows low to his mother) : I greet you good evening, honorable Mother. (Bows to the others.) And you, honorable good' friends. It is not of my choosing that I am late this time. DOROTHY : No, it is my fault. He did an errand for my father. (Turns, to MAY LING.) You are May Ling? MAY LING (Bows to her) : I am May Ling. DOROTHY : My father and mother speak often of you. SING LING: And this is my brother Wang Ling, and my sisters Little Golden Daughter and Wee One, and some of our friends who have graciously consented to share our evening rice. DOROTHY (Holds out her hand to WANG) : How do you do, Wang Ling? WANG LING (Looks at the proffered hand) : What is that for ? DOROTHY: Why, to shake, of course. SING LING: Why should I shake it? I am not angry with you. DOROTHY (Laughs merrily) : In America we shake hands to greet each other. SING LING: Ho! In China we shake hands with ourselves to greet each other. So. (He does so, and bows to her.) DOROTHY: My goodness! Like this? (Shakes hands with herself , and bows to him.) That is like the prize fighters in America. It is certainly a very sanitary custom. WANG LING : It is a very ancient and honorable custom. SING LING : I have invited Dorothy to share our evening rice. MAY LING (Graciously) : It is good. WEE ONE (Pats her stomach) : I am hungry. BLUE BLOSSOM: That is nothing new. You are always hungry,

Wee One. WEE ONE : That is no crime. Confucius says, "It is a wise stomach that keeps step with the body/' (They sit cross-legged

12 CHINA COMES TO YOU around the table. MAY LING and the SERVANT pass the dishes of rice around.) DOROTHY (Looks up at the KITCHEN GOD) : Who is that man? LITTLE GOLDEN DAUGHTER: That isn't a man. That is the Kitchen God. Our worthy ancestors had many gods, DOROTHY: He is funny-looking. WANG LING : It is a good thing he cannot hear you. WEE ONE: He looks as though he can hear you. I think he looks as though he were alive. CHING SEE: You should not do too much thinking. You are only a girl. Lo SEE: You do not need to worry. She does not think enough to hurt her. DOROTHY: Why should not girls think? Hi Lo: Because they should sit around and look pretty. RED FLOWER (Sighs) : Sometimes that is hard even for a girl to do. Hi Lo: What? Look pretty? RED FLOWER : No, stupid one ! Sit around when there are so many things to do that are fun. CHERRY BLOSSOM' (Thoughtfully) : It would be fun to sit around in a frame all day and be a picture. (They set aside their empty plates and the SERVANT brings out bowls of tea. MAY LING also eats and drinks.) WANG LING: Well, it might have been fun in the days of our worthy ancestors. Then the gods were well taken care of, you may be sure. Then nobody could eat before a bowl of rice had been placed before the Kitchen God for him to eat, also. DOROTHY (Politely) : And did he eat it? WANG LING : He looks very sleek and fat and so does the dragon. SING LING: But it is many decades since this household has had to feed him. It is a good thing, for China does not have too much rice now. DOROTHY (Puts her hand up against her dress, and starts up in

dismay): Oh! Oh! Oh! WANG LING: What is the matter, little daughter of our honorable friend, the Missionary? MAY LING: You have lost something? DOROTHY: Oh, yes! I have lost a pin that is very dear to me. It was my grandmother's.

CHINA COMES TO YOU 13 WANG LING: I will walk down the road with you, and see if we can find it (DOROTHY and WANG LING start out door. The other children all rise and bow low.) RED FLOWED: Thank you, honorable Mother of Wang Ling, Sing Ling, Little Golden Daughter, and Wee One, for your hospitality of evening rice. MAY LING (Bows) : It is good. As long as there is rice and tea in China we will always extend our humble and gracious hospitality to each other. CHERRY BLOSSOM: And now we must wend our way homeward. MAY LING: May sweet dreams hover about your beds all night long. (Enter DOROTHY and WANG LING.) LOTUS BLOSSOM : Did you find your pin? DOROTHY (Sadly) : No. Somebody must have picked it up. And I forgot to thank you, May Ling. MAY LING : It is good. And be not so sad, little daughter of our honorable friend, the Missionary. LITTLE GOLDEN DAUGHTER : Confucius says, "In time of trouble holding the head high will help lift the heart." WEE ONE: We will all look for your pin, and if we find it we will run with it to the Mission. Lo SEE : We are so many of us that I am sure one of us ought to find it before morning. DOROTHY: You are so good. Good night then, and thank you. (She curtsies to MAY LING and goes out, followed by all the Chinese children who walk with little mincing steps, their hands in their sleeves. WANG LING, SING LING, LITTLE GOLDEN DAUGHTER and WEE ONE remain. LITTLE GOLDEN DAUGHTER and WEE ONE exeunt, while MAY LING and the SERVANT are clearing away the dishes. They bring out a pallet.) MAY LING : It is your turn to sleep here tonight, Sing, and guard the house. Good night, my sons. (The boys bow very low to her. Exeunt MAY LING, SERVANT, LITTLE GOLDEN DAUGHTER and WEE ONE. A pin falls from the folds of SING'S clothes.)

WANG LING (Starts to pick it up, but SING makes a grab for it) : What's the matter? Did you steal it? SING LING (Indignantly) : No. I found it. WANG LING: Then it must be Dorothy's pin. Well, if you keep it, that is stealing. SING LING: Finders is keepers. I read it in a book. It was an English book.

14 CHINA COMES TO YOU WANG LING : Then that is not a good book for a well brought up Chinese boy to read. I will tell that you have found it. SING LING: All right for you, dishonorable brother. And anyway, perhaps it is not Dorothy's pin. WANG LING: It is not so they teach you at the Mission. May your conscience keep you awake all night, dishonorable brother. (WANG LING exits.) SING LING (Lies down on the pallet) : What a big fuss over a little thing like a pin. (Holds it in his hand, and admires it.) It is a very pretty thing, and valuable, I am sure. (Tucks it into his coat.) Finders, keepers. (Lies back on pallet and goes to sleep. Soft music may he jlayed as lights dim a little, and spotlight plays on the picture. KITCHEN GOD steps out of frame with the dragon. Goes to SING LING and prods him with his foot.) KITCHEN GOD: Get up, unworthiest of the unworthy. SING LING (With a little gasp, sits up, and rubs his eyes) : Oh, oh! Honorable and most gracious Excellency, but I thought you were only a picture. KITCHEN GOD: You thought I was only a picture! Ho, you do a great deal of wrong thinking! Just as you thought that pin should be yours. SING LING: But I found it. KITCHEN GOD (Severely) : But somebody else lost it. SING LING: But I read in a book KITCHEN GOD: In a book! Excuses. Always excuses. Empty as your head. You shall go with me to the Sun God's castle. He will know how best to punish you and bring you to your senses. SING LING : But I do not wish to go to the Sun God's castle. I am supposed to guard this house tonight. KITCHEN GOD: Ho, guard! I will see that the house is guarded. We will not be long. It is just a matter of seconds, even though it may seem like hours to you. (He claps his hands, and the Two LIONS come in.)

SING LING (Gets up quickly and cowers against the wall) : Lions ! I do not like lions ! (The lions back away.) KITCHEN GOD: The lions don't seem to like you either. They always know when somebody has done wrong. Soo La and Loo Chee, we must escort two boys to the Sun God's castle tonight. Ah, and here comes the other one. (Enter WANG LING.)

CHINA COMES TO YOU 15 SING LING: Why is Wang going? He has done no wrong. KITCHEN GOD: No, he is just going for the trip. WANG LING (In an aside to SING) : I jtold you, dishonorable brother, that you would be sorry. SING LING: But I am not sorry yet. KITCHEN GOD: Come, mount the lions. SING LING: But I do not like lions. I am afraid of them. I do not wish to mount. (The LIONS roar and he backs away from them towards the wall, covering his face.) I do not even dare look at them. WANG LING (Mounts one) : Ho, what's a lion in my young life? Nothing but a lion, that's what it is. Who cares about a mere lion? Wang Ling is brave. Don't be a baby, Sing. See, what cunning little lions they are. SING LING (Gingerly conies closer) : Y-y-yes, ve ry cunning, I don't think. (Gingerly gets astride, but with a roar and a shake the LION throws him off.) See, that is why I do not like lions. (Picks himself up and tries to mount again, but the LION roars.) KITCHEN GOD (Severely) : He does not seem to like you either. Maybe if you tried to like him a little he would like you better. That is the way with animals, yes, and with people, too. Just show that you like them a little, and they will like you. SING LING (Grudgingly) : All right. So I like him. What do I do next? Kiss him? KITCHEN GOD: You do not have to go to that extreme. Just pat him. SING LING (Pats lion) : O.K., so I pat him. Now what does that net me? (The LION playfully cavorts around, then lies down so that SING LING can mount.) Well, well, old fellow, that is better, I'll admit. (He mounts.) KITCHEN GOD (Mounts the dragon) : After a little while maybe you will have some sense. And now we are off. Flo Flo, lead the way to the Sun God's castle. We must get there and back before dawn. (With a wave of his hand) Follow on. (They

start to canter out as the curtain goes down.) * * *

16 CHINA COMES TO YOU SCENE 2 SETTING : The Sun God's Castle, a few minutes later. The frame has now been removed. The Sun Gofs throne is in the Center. AT RISE: The SUN GOD sits on his throne. Two of the little Chinese girls sit on either side and fan him. Chinese children enter with little Chinese lanterns and group around throne. Enter FLO FLO, the KITCHEN GOD, the LIONS, and SING and WANG LING. CHINESE CHILDREN (All singing to the tune of "Chop Sticks") : You've taken something that doesn't belong to you. You've taken something that doesn't belong to you. You've taken something that doesn't belong to you. You've taken something that isn't yours. Now you must learn that that is wrong, Sing Ling, That is why you've been sent for here. Yes, you must learn that that is wrong, Sing Ling, And you'll have to return the pin. KITCHEN GOD (Gets off the dragon) : Greetings, Honorable Brother. (Bows low.) I have brought a bad one to you for punishment. SUN GOD : So ? And what then has he done that he should require punishment? KITCHEN GOD: He is about to keep for himself a pin that is not his. SUN GOD-. So? Such a pin shall bring him no pleasure for it shall prick him in many places, beginning first with his conscience. SING LING (Gets off the LION and prostrates himself before the throne) : Honorable God of the Sun of my ancient and honorable ancestors, I found the pin, and when I found it I did not know to whom it belonged. I will return it to its rightful owner. SUN GOD: So? You know now who is the rightful owner? SING LING: Well, I almost know. I will ask her if it belongs ,fcrher. SrJjrGoD: Aye, and if it does not, leave then not a stone unturned to find the rightful owner. WANG LING: I will help you to find the rightful owner, Sing Ling. SUN GOD: You are the eldest of the household, Wang Ling. It is

CHINA COMES TO YOU 17 good that you walk always in the straight and narrow path that your worthy ancestors may always be proud of you; aye, and your honorable parents, also. And now, Brother God of the Kitchen, I am sure that Sing Ling will always remember to show respect to the teachings of Confucius and his worthy ancestors. KITCHEN GOD : I hope so. Come then, we must hie us back ere the break of dawn, or else you might wake up before the dream is over, even before we leave the Sun God's castle. (They mount their steeds and start to canter away as the curtain goes down.)

SCENE 3 SETTING: The same as Scene 1. Early in the morning. AT RISE: SING LING is asleep on the pallet. The KITCHEN GOD sits in his frame with the dragon. SING LING (Sits up very straight as the temple bells ring, rubs his eyes, and then prostrates himself before the KITCHEN GOD) : I must have been dreaming, but what a dream! I must take care never to displease him again. (Enter WANG LING.) WANG LING: What in the world are you doing? SING LING (Gets up quickly) : Nothing. Just saying prayers, that's all. WANG LING: To him? Ho, ho! But you are awake early. What's the matter? Did your conscience prick you? SING LING : No. I haven't even been asleep. Neither have you. WANG LING: I haven't? Well, I've been in a state of blissful unconsciousness then. SING LING: How did you like the trip to the Sun God's castle? WANG LING (Goes over to him and feels of his forehead) : You must be feverish. Whatever are you talking about? I took no trip.



SING LING: But Wang, we went to the Sun God's castle riding on lions. Remember? WANG LING (Laughs heartily) : Are you sure the lions didn't

eat us up, too? I guess I didn't have the same dream as you. SING LING: Well, perhaps it was a dream. Ah, well, it is best always to do what is right and not bring disgrace upon the name of our honorable parents. I am going to return the pin to Dorothy. I suppose it is hers. WANG LING: That is a most excellent conclusion, honorable brother. And see (As he looks out the door), here comes Dorothy now. (DOROTHY enters.) DOROTHY : Good morning, Sing and Wang Ling. Have you found my pin? My father told me I might come over and find out. SING LING (Takes pin from the folds of his clothing) : Is this your pin, Dorothy ? DOROTHY: Oh, yes! I am so glad that you have found it. You shall be my friends forever and ever. (She takes two little American flag pins from her pocket and pins them on the boys.) See, I shall give you these as a token of my friendship and as token of the friendship of all the American children everywhere for you. SING LING: Thank you, honorable little daughter of the American missionary. I am very happy. (They bow low to her, and she curtsies, to them as the curtain falls.) THE END

WHAT'S A PENNY? by Karin Asbrand Characters

SEVEN CHILDREN THRIFT MR. PIGGY AT RISE: FIVE CHILDREN skip in on stage from right and go to center. Each carries a penny. FIRST CHILD: I have got a penny. I wonder what to buy, A lollypop, a pickle, Or a piece of apple pie. SECOND CHILD: I have got a penny, too, My Grandma gave to me.

I am going to spend it On the first nice thing I see. THIRD CHILD (Shows penny) : I found me a penny Right there on the street. (Points.) I am going to spend it On a very special treat. FOURTH CH^LD (Shows penny) : See my shiny penny. It looks so bright and new. I am going to spend it On something special, too. FIFTH CHILD: I, too, have got a penny, So shiny bright and new. (Shows it.) And when you go and spend yours 19

20 WHAT'S A PENNY? I'll go and spend mine, too. (Enter THRIFT right and goes to center of stage.) THRIFT (To the CHILDREN) : Why do you spend your pennies ? Just think what they would do If you would put them in the bank, They'd pile right up for you. FIRST CHILD (With a shrug) : Aw, what's a penny? SECOND CHILD (Scornfully) : It's just a cent! THIRD CHILD (Looks at penny) : It's so very small FOURTH CHILD: It might as well be spent. FIFTH CHILD: Nobody can stop me From spending my penny (Thoughtfully) : But when I have spent it I won't have any.

(Enter right, two CHILDREN with piggy banks.) SIXTH CHILD: Five pennies make a nickel And if you give them time And let them add each other up, Ten pennies make a dime. SEVENTH CHILD: And so we save our pennies In our piggy banks each day. Mine is very full and fat. I like him best that way. (They both jingle their banks to the tune of "Yankee Doodle/' one shake to the first beat in each measure, and sing.) SIXTH AND SEVENTH CHILDREN : A piggy bank is your best friend. If you just save each penny In no time you can add them up. And find that you have many. (While they are singing MR. PIGGY enters left, jauntily, and goes to center.)

WHAT'S A PENNY? 21 MR. PIGGY (Bows) : Yes, I am Mr. Piggy. Some call me Piggy Bank, And as a penny saver In the first class I rank. I have a monstrous appetite. I don't like to be thin. I'm waiting every day for you To drop your pennies in. I do not sneeze at nickels. Oinki Oink! I like dimes, too. So any money that you get I'll gladly keep for you. And when I'm full to bursting How rich you all will be If you have put your money Each day inside of me.

(Bows low again, says "Oink! Oink!" and goes to left.) FIRST CHILD : I haven't any piggy bank. SIXTH CHILD: Then here is mine for you. (Hands over hers.) SECOND CHILD: I haven't got one either. SEVENTH CHILD (Handing hers over) : Here's mine then. Will it do? FIRST CHILD: Oh, thank you. I will save and save. It really sounds like fun To put coins in a piggy bank When all is said and done. SECOND CHILD : I'll start to feed the piggy bank With my nice shiny penny. It makes a lovely jingling noise (Shakes bank.) Especially when there are many. THIRD CHILD: I will add my penny, too. (Drops hers in.)

22 WHAT'S A PENNY? I'm sure it will be fun To save a lot of pennies, And then count them, every one. FOURTH CHILD (Drops her penny in bank) : We'll feed you, Mr. Piggy Bank, You may be sure of that Because you look much better When you are full and fat. FIFTH CHILD (Drops her penny in bank) : If I can't spend my penny I will not even holler For a hundred little pennies Will make a paper dollar. THRIFT: That is what I like to hear And what I like to see, For I am Thrift, your loyal friend, So stick right close to me. MR. PIGGY (Pats his. chest) : It makes me very happy

To know you'll feed me well. We hope you've all enjoyed The things we've had to tell. (They all sing to the tune of "Yankee Doodle," jingling the banks in time to the music.) ALL: It makes a very lovely noise; Jingle, jangle, jingle; Pennies dropped by girls and boys ; Jingle, jangle, jingle. What's a penny? Don't you know? It's a good beginning To a big fat bank account That you will soon be winning. THRIFT : And so this little story ends As little stories do. We hope you'll all get piggy banks And fill them, all of you. THE END

THE DULCE MAN by Catherine Blanton Characters JULIO, a young boy JUANA, his sister CARMELITA, their beautiful older sister PEDRITO, the dulce man, in love with Carmelita JOSE, the bullfighter, also in love with Carmelita VILLAGERS, VENDERS and SINGER SCENE 1 SETTING: The placita of a small pueblo in Mexico. TIME: Early morning. AT RISE : JULIO and JUANA are sitting on the floor upstage. JULIO (Counting change from one pile to the other) : Uno, dos, tres JUANA : Cinco, seis, siete JULIO : Ocho

JUANA (Louder) : And quince. JULIO (Triumphantly) : And vienticinco. JUANA (Jumping to her feet) : Vienticinco ! So much money, Julio! JULIO (Rattles money in hand) : Almost a pocketful. JUANA : But what are you going to do with so much money, Julio? JULIO (Leans close and whispers loudly) : I'm going to spend every single bit for dulces. JUANA : Dulces ! But, Julio, that is so much money. What would the grandmama think? JULIO: She won't care. Didn't she give it to me for my saint's day to spend as I wish? (Pauses and looks at the money in his hand.) Never have I had all the dulces I wanted. And now, 23

24 THE DULCE MAN little sister, you and I are going to have the best that Pedrito has on his table. JUANA (Excitedly) : Ooooh ! I hope he has some with chocolate today. JULIO (Looking about) : I wish he'd hurry and come. JUANA : He's late. JULIO : Sure on the day I have money to spend. (Gets up and looking again at the money in his hands, drops the coins into his pocket.) Come on, let's see if we can find him. (They run about as if looking through the trees.) PEDRITO (Offstage): Dulces! Dukes! Fresh dulces! Who'll buy my dulces? Straight from the kitchen of Pedrito. JULIO : Here he comes. JUANA : I can hardly wait. PEDRITO (Comes on stage carrying table on head) : Buenos dias, Julio. And Juana. You are like the birds out so early. Juuo: It is you who are late, Pedrito. PEDRITO: Is it so? (Smiling) But today I make the very special candy. (Sets table on floor. Children anxiously peep under the white caver of table, but PEDRITO makes no effort to lift it.) JUANA: Really! JULIO: Fine! For today we have the money to buy.

PEDRITO (Dreamily) : Yes, today I make the very special candy. All night my heart keeps saying "Pedrito, tomorrow you make the good dulce and perhaps the lovely Carmelita will smile at you and then (Draws a deep breath) then maybe your heart will be brave to give it to her." JULIO (Disgusted) : Caramba! Carmelita does not need the candy. It is I who want to buy. PEDRITO: Buy? Oh, si, you have a few centavos to spend? That is nice. (Takes cloth from table. Children lean over excitedly and pick up various pieces, showing them to one another. PEDRITO picks up a large piece in shape of heart and holds it up ' admiringly.) Here is the piece I made for Carmelita. Will she not like it? ( JULIO holds up candy to JUANA.) JUANA (Shakes head) : No, I don't like that. PEDRITO (Surprised) : But does the lovely Carmelita not like good dulce? JULIO (Disgustedly) : No. No. PEDRITO (Going off into rapture) : Sometimes it seems I must die

THE DULCE MAN 25 if she doesn't smile at me. She is like the angel in the church. And I, and I cannot even speak to her. (JULIO and JUANA look at one another, then PEDRITO. JULIO points to his head then at PEDRITO. JUANA shakes her head and points to her heart.) JULIO (Nods his head) : Then if you love Carmelita, why don't you say so, Pedrito? Tell her. PEDRITO: Oh, it is not so easy. The words, they do not come. (Swallows nervously) In fact, they do not come at all. And my hands. I do not know what to do with them. JUANA: Why don't you serenade her like Jose, the bullfighter? JULIO : Sure ! You could do that. Then you wouldn't have to talk. PEDRITO (Throws out hands helplessly) : But, alas, the Pedrito does not play the guitar and his voice sounds like the singing of the little burro. JULIO: Well, that is too bad. But Juana and I want to buy our dulces. PEDRITO (Unheeding) : Such a coward I am. I shall never be able to tell my love to Carmelita. JULIO: Can we buy all these dulces for twenty-five centavos?

(Points to the various pieces.) PEDRITO: Dulces? Eh? Oh, why, sure, for the little brother and sister of Carmelita I would sell much for the centavos. (JuLio excitedly takes up the candy, handing some to JUANA. They taste it hungrily.) JUANA: Well, pay him, Julio. JULIO (Smiling) : I most forgot. (Reaches into his pocket. Slowly the smile fades from his face. He begins more frantically to search through his pockets.) JUANA: Can't you find the money, Julio? (JUANA starts looking in his pockets. Then PEDRITO. They pull strings, top, balls, spoon, colored handkerchiefs, boxes, etc., from pockets. JULIO reaches his hand in and pulls out a mouse.) PEDRITO (Laughs) : What? Another mouse? Do they grow in your pockets, Julio? JULIO: No, but this one is the best I've had yet, Pedrito. He's really good. He can sing. PEDRITO: Ho! A singing mouse. Que cosa! JUANA (Seriously) : It's a good thing you didn't put the dulces in the pocket or he would have eaten them up. (A startled ex-

26 THE DULCE MAN pression comes to her face) Do - do you suppose the little rat6n might have eaten the money? JULIO (Holds mouse by tail and shakes vigorously. Suddenly the mouse slips from his fingers and is gone) : He's gone ! ( JULIO and JUANA run about as if chasing the mouse. PEDRITO looks on and sometimes helps.) JUANA : He's gone, Julio. There's no use looking any more. It's better to try to find the money and pay for the dulces. JULIO (Almost in tears) : But I know el ratdn ate the money and now we'll have to give back the dulces. And they did taste so good. PEDRITO (Covers the table) : Ah, that is all right. I think you have only dropped the money on the grass. You will find it sometime. Give it to me then. (Puts table on head) Adios.

(Slowly goes off stage after making effort to sell to women at fountain, etc. JULIO and JUANA again sit down in first position and eat the candy.) JUANA : Mmmmmm, isn't it delicioso, mi Julio ? JULIO : I wish I could have this every day and every day. JUANA : Do you really think you're going to get filled? JULIO: Hmmm, that's hard to tell. Seems I'm empty for candy right down to my toes. (Holds up bare feet.) And that's a long ways. JUANA : I bet nobody can make such good candy as our Ped (Stops, startled. Leans toward JULIO) Julio! If Pedrito, the dulce man, should marry Carmelita, he he would really be ours then. JULIO (Sits up straight) : And all his dulces would be ours. JUANA : That would be much better than having that Jose for a brother. JULIO : Of course it would. JUANA: But Pedrito is such a funny man. He is afraid of our Carmelita. JULIO: Huh! I am too sometimes. (Jumps to his feet) Come, let's look again for that mouse. (While they are looking, CARMELITA enters right, carries large stone jar.) CARMELITA: And what are the muchachos hunting? (JUANA starts to speak, but JULIO stops her with fingers on lips.) JULIO: Es nada! Nada! ( JULIO and JUANA follow CARMELITA toward fountain.)

THE DULCE MAN 27 JULIO (Hands CARMELITA a piece of candy) : Do you like Pedrito's dulce? CARMELITA: Of course, I like it JUANA: Wouldn't you like to have some every day? CARMELITA: Que cosa! Such children. JUANA: Don't you think the dulce man is nice? CARMELITA (Looks at her closely) : What are you talking about, Juana? JULIO (Hesitatingly) : He loves you.

JUANA (Hurriedly) : He told us. JULIO : He is afraid to tell you. CARMELITA (Tosses her head proudly and laughs) : He is a silly old clown. All he can do is go around saying, "Dukes, dulces, who'll buy my dulces?" Who would want such a husband? What a sweetheart ! Afraid to tell you he loves you. Now me, I prefer the brave Jose. He is not afraid of anything. Does he not send me the love letters? But your Pedrito what does he do ? Stands about looking like the barnyard calf. No, give me a brave matador like my Jose. (JuLio and JUANA reluctantly again start hunting for the mouse and CARMELITA goes to the fountain.) CARMELITA (Starts back with filled jar) : Julio, what are you looking for? JUANA: He's looking for the money the grandmama gave him. (The messenger, out of breath, comes on stage.) MESSENGER: Senorita, Senorita Carmelita! Here is a letter that only now came on the bus. (Slowly reads over the address) Senorita Carmelita Reyes, San Miguel, Mexico. It is for you (Excitedly) and from the bullfighter. CARMELITA (Grabs envelope) : Here, give it to me. (Everyone waits expectantly while she opens and scans the page.) MESSENGER: What does it say, Senorita? CARMELITA (Proudly) : He's coming. VILLAGERS: The bullfighter is coming here? CARMELITA: Certainly. He's coming to see me. IST VILLAGER: It is not often the great Jose visits our pueblo.

28 THE DULCE MAN 2ND VILLAGER : We should have a fiesta for him. VILLAGERS (In chorus) : Bravo, a fiesta for the brave Jose ! (All start off stage as curtain lowers.) CURTAIN * * *

SCENE 2 SETTING: The same. AT RISE : VILLAGERS and VENDERS are decorating the placita with flags, bunting and flowers. CARMELITA primps, keeping an eye out for JOSE. JULIO and JUANA are hunting for the mouse and getting in everyone's way. PEDRITO stands to the left, upstage,

with table before him. JULIO (Loud whisper to PEDRITO) : We have not found the money, Pedrito. JUANA : And the candy is all gone. PEDRITO (Shrugs shoulders) : It does not matter, mi muchachos. Ah, nothing matters now. The handsome Jose comes and Carmelita will never smile at me. Why do I have to be such a coward? Why would my tongue not speak what my heart was saying? JULIO: You have lost Carmelita and I have lost my mouse. He was such a clever one, too. PEDRITO (Mooning) : And so beautiful. There will never be another like her. JULIO : It could have learned many tricks and I might have made much money with such a mouse. JUANA: Stop being so foolish, Julio. You know there are many mice in the kitchen. And one is as good as another. And as for you, Pedrito, you are very stupid. Carmelita is sometimes cross and angry and then you forget how pretty she is. ( JULIO and PEDRITO look unbelieving, but help with the decorations.)

THE DULCE MAN 29 MESSENGER (Runs on stage) : He's coming. Jose, the bullfighter, is coming. (Everyone acts excited. CARMELITA hurriedly primps, but is indifferent to JOSE when he appears.) VILLAGERS: Buenas tardes! Viva! Jose! JOSE (Makes grand entrance. Bows from waist with hat in hand) : Senoras senors (Turns to CARMELITA) Senorita! You do the Jose much honor. IST VILLAGER: We are proud to have the great matador visit our pueblo. VILLAGERS : Bravo, for the brave matador. ( JOSE bows again.) JULIO (Runs to JOSE) : Please, Senor Jose, tell us of your fights. JUANA: Yes! Please, senor. Were you ever afraid? JOSE: What? The great Jose afraid? (Throws back head proudly) That is a joke. The great Jose is afraid of nothing. CARMELITA (Comes forward) : Please Jose. We are waiting. JOSE (Bows to CARMELITA) : Of course, for you, senorita. VILLAGERS: Bravo! Bravo! Tell us of your fights. (They sit or stand in semi-circle. All listen attentively.)

JOSE : Ah, it is the narrow escapes I have had. But no bull is going to frighten the great Jose. (Tweaks C-.RMELITA on chin) No, Senorita. Nothing frightens me. Why, the last time I was in the ring I faced the meanest bull in all of Mexico. VILLAGERS : In all of Mexico ! JOSE : Already that torote had killed three men on the rancho. VILLAGERS: Three men on the rancho! JOSE : Yes, he was a match for me. Around and around the ring we went. (Wjaves cape or serape in demonstration.) The crowd was screaming with excitement. El Torote came closer and closer. His breath was on my face. JULIO (Sitting right upstage with JUANA, suddenly points finger towards JOSE'S feet. Screams.) : The mouse ! ( JOSE freezes. Then starts running among frightened villagers. Finally makes exit. VILLAGERS run about excitedly. Women grab skirts and climb up on benches, etc. JULIO and JUANA are in and out among them.) JULIO : Catch him, Juana. There he goes. CARMELITA (Runs screaming, finally jumps to top of fountain. Wavers as if about to fall in) : Jose ! Help me ! My Jose ! The mouse it is coming toward me. Save me ! PEDRITO (Runs to CARMELITA) : Cannelita ! (Jumps up by her

30 THE DULCE MAN side and takes her in his arms.) Carmelita, my darling. CARMELITA: Oh, mi Pedrito! 4TH VILLAGER: Where is Jose? (VILLAGERS look for JOSE.) IST VILLAGER: He is gone. 2ND VILLAGER: The great and brave matador has run away. (Gradually the VILLAGERS leave the stage.) PEDRITO: Ah, Carmelita, my little dove. For the many months my arms have cried to hold you. (Holds out his arms.) See how strong they are. Always will they protect and keep you safe. CARMELITA (Looks at him admiringly) : Ah, Pedrito. PEDRITO (Gives her an awkward kiss) : There, how do you like that? CARMELITA: Ah, Pedrito, you are wonderful. Your kisses are like your dulce. PEDRITO: Then, senorita, have another. (Kisses her again. JULIO and JUANA come running up to them with the mouse hanging by its tail in JULIO'S hand.)

JULIO : I've found him, Pedrito. (Fondles the mouse) Do you want to hear him sing? CARMELITA : No ! No ! Take him away. Pedrito PEDRITO: There, there, my love, I will protect you. JUANA: We found the mouse, Pedrito, but we did not find the money. What about the dulces? PEDRITO (Waves hand generously) : Es nada, nada. Forget. There is my table. Take all you want. JULIO: Honest? JUANA: Really! PEDRITO: Si, si! (As an afterthought) And give el rat6n some. But leave Carmelita and me alone. We have much (Embarrassed pause), well, much business to talk about. (Helps CARMELITA down and they go off stage, arm in arm, with her head on his shoulder. JULIO and JUANA look after them in amazement.) JUANA: Why, the dulce man is going to be ours after all. JULIO : And and all because of the little mouse. JUANA (Pulls JULIO toward table) : Hurry, I'm hungry. JULIO (Picks up candy heart intended for CARMELITA) : Here, let's give this to el ratdn. He deserves it. THE END

THE TALENT TREE by Thelma Lucille Brown Characters SUNDOWN, the peddler BOBBINS, a boy of ten ART WHISTLER


TIME : Any time ago. SETTING: A woods. AT RISE: SUNDOWN is sleeping under a pile of leaves left. BOBBINS stands right looking up at the sky. He is tired and frightened.

BOBBINS (Calling entreatingly to Skylark who has flown away and left him) : Come back! Come back! (SUNDOWN stirs under the leaves.) Come back! SUNDOWN (Throws off leaves and sits up, blinking at BOBBINS) : Well, bless my brother in the moon. BOBBINS (Startled) : Oh! I thought I was alone. SUNDOWN (Gets up grumbling) : Done in the time it takes to turn round twice. (Moves to go.) BOBBINS: Please don't go that is, not yet. I believe I'm lost. SUNDOWN (Brushing leaves from his clothes) : Lost ! A big fellow like you ! Now that's a fine a fine trick of the wind. BOBBINS (Puzzled) : Trick of the wind? SUNDOWN: A fine kettle of kettle of katydids. A fine how are you. 31

32 THE TALENT TREE BOBBINS (Chuckling) : You're a funny fellow. (Looks at him closely.) Haven't I seen you somewhere before? (Moves closer, peering at him.) I know. You're Sundown, the peddler. SUNDOWN: Quite right. A little left of right but quite right. And I know you. Master Bobbins. Penury Lane. Village of Meekville. Father mends shoes. BOBBINS: Exactly right. You pass through our village every night. SUNDOWN : Round about sundown. That's how I got my name. BOBBINS: I don't know what you're doing here, Mr. er Sundown, but I'm looking for buried talents. Do you know where they're found? SUNDOWN: Tie a knot in the rainbow! And what makes you think I would know where the talents are buried? BOBBINS: I don't know. I guess because you're such a quaint fellow. It's like you belong to another world. SUNDOWN (Pretending anger) : Now then, young sir, now then ! What do you see that's quaint about me? BOBBINS: I'm sorry if I've hurt your feelings. It's the way you talk, the funny things you say. And the things you sell.

SUNDOWN: The things I sell? Perhaps it's the singing whirligig you admired or the package of Darning Needle Darts. The ladies like my special jar of Summer Night and the masque of Wild Rose Blush. BOBBINS : And then the way you come and go through the village. First you're nowhere around then, very suddenly, there you are. It's like magic. SUNDOWN : If a toadstool's an umbrella. Who brought you here ? BOBBINS : Lark brought me. I was searching his field. I thought the talents might be buried there. SUNDOWN : I thought so. That tattler, Lark ! Boil his song and roast his feathers, he never could keep a secret. So he told you where to find me. BOBBINS : Not exactly. He sang me a song and I followed him. SUNDOWN : Did his song go like this : Round about Sundown every night Far from lazy people's sight Talents play in the deepening light? BOBBINS : Not exactly. It was more like this : Master Bobbins follow me

THE TALENT TREE 33 I'll guide you to the talent tree Two leagues left and three to the right Round about Sundown every night Talents play in darkening light. SUNDOWN : That rascal, Lark. He changes his words, but never his tune. BOBBINS : It is you he meant ! The talents dance around you ! SUNDOWN: Tie his beak and hang him to a sunflower! So he brought you here and flew off home. BOBBINS (Eagerly) : Is it true, Mr. Sundown? Do you know where the talents are? SUNDOWN: They are buried talents. Buried deep. But I can bring them out that is with the help of the Talent Tree. BOBBINS : Lark mentioned the Talent Tree. SUNDOWN : And there it is.

BOBBINS (Looking up at it) : It's a queer looking tree. SUNDOWN : That is because it's mostly roots and heart. BOBBINS (Touching the tree with his hand) : Why do you call it the Talent Tree? SUNDOWN: It seeks out lonely talents with its roots, gives them nourishment and keeps them safe in its heart. BOBBINS : And you can bring them out. Will you show me how, Mr. Sundown? SUNDOWN : It all depends. Just like the weather it all depends. BOBBINS: Please, Mr. Sundown, depends on what? I'd do anything to find a talent. SUNDOWN (Sits down on rock left and takes a flute from his pocket) : Depends on what you want it for. Now what would you do with a talent? BOBBINS : Oh, if I had a talent I'd do anything for it. I'd work for it. Pd work hard for it. SUNDOWN : As the stars come out and the moon is bright, I believe you would. Well, then, Master Bobbins, what kind of a talent would you like? BOBBINS : Oh, just a little one. Any one. SUNDOWN: Buried talents are talents other people don't want, you know. BOBBINS: That's just it. If I could have just one the littlest one. SUNDOWN : Talents expect to grow. You have to feed them. BOBBINS: Feed them?

34 THE TALENT TREE SUNDOWN : Take care of them. I can bring them out because I have something to give them. BOBBINS : I'd do anything. I'd work for one, but I haven't much to give. SUNDOWN : If you give all you have, no talent could ask more. Now what I've got is a kind of charm. I use it to call the talents. See this? BOBBINS: It's a flute, isn't it? SUNDOWN (Caressing it) : An instrument. Do you know what music is? BOBBINS: I've heard the lark. (SUNDOWN imitates the song of the lark on his flute.) That's it! That's his song! SUNDOWN : This instrument knows all songs.

BOBBINS (Looking up at the sky) : It's around sundown. SUNDOWN : So it is and we can't keep talents waiting. Sit down, Master Bobbins, sit down. (Plays a few introductory notes.) I'll call the talents, one at a time. There's a song for each. BOBBINS : I'm beginning to feel nervous. Suppose none of them likes me? SUNDOWN : Spin a star and touch the moon, there's nothing to be nervous about. Talents are mighty particular, but these are lonely, too. When you see one you like just try it on. (Begins to play. ART steps out from behind the Talent Tree, stretches and looks about her.) SUNDOWN (Stops playing) : Here's a talent, Master Bobbins, everyone admires. ART: Yes, I am a talent admired by all, But the lad I belonged to preferred football, A sissy gift was his decree, So deep in the earth he buried me. (Moves to back of stage.) SUNDOWN: There's a fine big talent gone to waste. (Takes up his flute.) This one you'll like. (Plays. WHISTLER, a little fellow, comes from behind the tree f sidles up to SUNDOWN and stands bashfully digging the earth with his toe.) Hi, there, young fellow. Whistle us a tune. (To BOBBINS) Whistler doesn't talk much. Bashful is the trouble. (WHISTLER imitates bird calls. SUNDOWN tries some on his flute and they forget

THE TALENT TREE 35 BOBBINS in their enthusiasm. BOBBINS jumps up and moves toward them.) BOBBINS (To WHISTLER) : I like you. May I try you, please? (WHISTLER nods and grins happily. BOBBINS braces himself, puckers out his lips and tries unsuccessfully to copy one of WHISTLER'S imitations. SUNDOWN laughs. BOBBINS sits down, crestfallen, and WHISTLER, disappointed, sits on the ground with his back against SUNDOWN'S rock.) SUNDOWN (Giving WHISTLER an encouraging pat) : Funny thing about this young fellow. Belonged to a country lad that liked him well enough until he moved to the city. Found too much else to do and buried him. Ashamed of his talent, I always maintained. Thought it gave him a countrified air and carry me off on a humming-bird's trill if there's a finer talent anywhere. Well, cheer up. We'll try another. (Plays. POET with a notebook and pencil skips out, reaches out her arms, breathes in the fresh air hungrily and recites.) POET:

I'm a very unfortunate subject of the muse, I was given to a girl I couldn't use, She buried me in a musty book, I preferred a shady nook, Sunlight and starlight, a wide, wide sky, A singing brook, a lazy wind's sigh, Hills that echo a morning bird's tune, And love in the light of a summer moon And love in the candlelight of the moon. (She sits down under the tree. SUNDOWN plays a rollicking tune and ACROBAT comes tumbling out.) SUNDOWN : Try this one, Master Bobbins. Here's a lively talent to be buried. (ACROBAT tries to teach BOBBINS some of his tricks, but he flops miserably each time. ACROBAT tumbles to the back of the stage and sprawls on his back stretching arms and legs joyfully. SUNDOWN plays and CULINARY ART appears. SUNDOWN smacks his lips. Talents watch him eagerly.) CULINARY ART: Can you imagine! A talent like me Neglected for party and social tea! With me my mistress might have been The very finest cook in the land,

36 THE TALENT TREE Cakes and puddings, parfaits and russe, Savory curries and sauce for the goose, Sweetmeats number them if you can Every delectable known to man Perfection in every touch of her hand. (Sorrowfully) But she buried me. All I got was abuse. For so humble a talent, she had little use. (CULINARY ART and BOBBINS exchange wistful glances. CULINARY ART shakes his head and takes a place at the back of the stage.) SUNDOWN : Ginger pie and marigold jell. That's a talent I'd like right well. (Takes up his flute and plays. GARDENER, a small boy in overalls with garden tools slung across his back hops OUT from behind the tree on one foot, rubs the muscles of one leg, exercises it and stretches his arms as though lame from inactivity. He blinks at the light, nods unhappily to SUNDOWN, sees BOBBINS and runs to him.) Well, carve me a window in the sky, young Master Bobbins, if Gardener hasn't found a home.

Takes to you like a cricket to a kettle. GARDENER: So you've come for me, Bobbins. I thought you never would. SUNDOWN: Quarter past blue and ten tonight. It's your own talent, young sir, and buried deepest of any of them. BOBBINS (Excitedly): Are you sure, Mr. Sundown? I don't believe I had a talent. GARDENER : I'm yours all right if you'll put me to work. We're supposed to be the makings of a great naturalist, Bobbins. While you've been idling under the trees we might have been making gardens grow. BOBBINS: May I take him home, Mr. Sundown? May I take him home? SUNDOWN: Ho, you like him, do you? BOBBINS : Oh, yes. Yes, indeed. He's just the one. Why, he's the best talent of all. SUNDOWN: Well, build me a house of honey and rice. It's a farmer you're going to be now. Then here's a tune to carry you home. (Plays a few bars.) Just blink your eyes and you'll be there. (Plays while curtain closes.) THE END

A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE by Anna Curtis Chandler Characters


MUSICIANS SETTING : Village in China. Open space surrounded by houses and rice fields. AT RISE: MUSICIANS, seated on platform, holding cymbals. Throughout play, cymbals are struck three times whenever name of Emperor, "Son of Heaven" Honorable Ancestors, and Celestial China are mentioned. Enter CHORUS. He walks to center, downstage, bows right, left and center, with dignity. CHORUS (Ceremoniously) : Most Honorable Friends, I am about to tell you a story of the Celestial Land of China, dealing with family life, with strange old men of the mountains, with a terrible Dragon, and a kindly Being who dwells in the moon and reaches out his hand to aid the sufferers on the earth. Listen well with your ears, pretend well with the eyes of your imagination, and you will find yourselves in the Celestial Land of China in the time of our Honorable Ancestors. My Property Man, invisible to your eyes, will assist you. Chow Wan, the gentle wife of our hero, Wang Chih, now appears before you. (Bows three times, sits center.) 37

38 A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE CHOW WAN (Enters shyly, from right, followed closely by HoSEEN-KO and HAN CHUNG) : Gentle listeners, here in this humble one-roomed thatched cottage, I live in happiness as the honorable wife of Wang Chih, a poor laborer but good, with love in his heart for his wife and children. All day long he works in the fields, but although he labors with his hands there is music in his heart for at night he returns to me, Chow Wan, to his beautiful little daughter. Ho-Seen-Ko, and to his beloved son, Han Chung. Even tonight the lanterns will rival the very stars in brightness for it is the Festival of the Lanterns. I fly within to arrange bamboo shoots and rice-cakes as a special treat for my honorable master. (PROPERTY MAN enters right, raises arms to indicate door of house. CHOW WAN pantomimes stepping over sill.) CHORUS (Rising) : Our hero, Wang Chih, appears. (Sits) Ho-SfiEN-Ko (Bowing low to her father) : Our Honored Father hastens to the rice fields. Come back early tonight, oh my Honored Father, to light my lantern of crimson, bright as the flowers that sway beneath our humble windows. (PROPERTY MAN hands her a lantern, and gives one to HAN CHUNG, then saunters across stage, indolently "smoking") HAN CHUNG: My lantern awaits you too, Honored Father, a bright one of many colors. WANG CHIH: My little Golden Flower, Ho-Seen-Ko, and my pretty boy, Han Chung, I shall fly from the rice fields at the close of day to make your lanterns shine. I hasten now that I may return the earlier. (PROPERTY MAN gives him a basket and

axe) My little flowers, as I can, so that, when and the stars gleam, we of the Lanterns like so

my treasures, I will return just as early the moonbeams send their yellow light, shall be able to join in the Procession many fire-flies. (Exits left.)

CHORUS (Rising) : Wang Chih now goes to the fields to work, while other laborers come in with baskets handed them by our Property Man. They work in the rice fields. (Sits.) WANG CHIH (Enters, walks back and forth, basket on arm, and axe over his shoulder) : Weary I am with my work in the fields and faint from lack of food, so I will take a little rest on the mountain side, playing hide and seek with the rays of the Sun. On my way, I will seek a tree to cut down with my axe, to make warmth and cheer tonight at the Feast of the Lanterns for my

A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE 39 little Cherry Blossom. (PROPERTY MAN, moving indolently, puts chair against table to represent mountain.) CHORUS (Rises, speaking in most dignified manner, wielding Chinese fan) : The honorable Wang Chih now goes up the mountain side and peers into a deep cave in the mountains, where sit the old men of the mountains with their long white hair and beards. (PROPERTY MAN arranges cave under table, and OLD MEN OF THE MOUNTAINS enter. PROPERTY MAN hands OLD MEN sweetmeats, and slowly and indifferently unravels beards.) WANG CHIH (Surprised; as he bends down and peers into "cave") : Who can these venerable strangers be and what can they be eating? It makes my hunger more terrible to bear. OLD MAN (Winks at his companion, chuckles and speaks in quavering voice) : Help yourself, young man ! These are delicious sweetmeats. WANG CHIH (Hesitating) : Just one of those sweetmeats which the venerable men are eating, surely cannot hurt me. (Takes one from PROPERTY MAN. PROPERTY MAN then puts hump on WANG CHIH'S back, powders his hair, and WANG CHIH stoops over. He rubs his stomach.) Oh ! How delicious it is ! Like nothing which has passed my lips before, and it has taken my thirst away ! (Ou> MEN laugh and wink at one another as they continue eating sweetmeats. PROPERTY MAN unravels their white beards and sticks or ties one on WANG CHIH.) CHORUS (Rising) : Wang Chih has eaten of the magic sweetmeats and has become old burdened by many years. (Sits.) WANG CHIH (Peering at OLD MEN and noticing how long their beards have grown) : Those long white beards, the signs of old age, must be very troublesome when they grow so quickly. Their years fall from them like the swiftly falling petals of a cherry tree when the branch is shaken! OLD MAN (Winking at companions and laughing) : Your wits are dulled by hard toil, stranger ! Our beards have not grown quickly. How long do you think you have been here on the mountain side? WANG CHIH (Sadly) : Long enough to make me late in getting home to my little Cherry Blossoms in order to light their lan-

terns, I daresay. OLD MEN (Laughing and pointing to sweetmeats, speak together in old quavering voices) : An hour, a day, a week, a month, a

40 A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE year aye, a century of years are the same these magic sweetmeats. Go down into your well with your eyes ! (WANG CHIH picks up bles; hobbles down chair. OLD MEN stay in eat sweetmeats.) to him who tastes of village and look axe, which crumplace; play game and

CHORUS (Standing in center) : Wang Chih, now grown old, goes down into his village calling sadly to his wife and children. WANG CHIH (Sadly, holding out his arms as he walks back and forth) : My glorious Chow Wan, and my little Treasures, HoSeen-Ko and Han Chung! CHORUS (Solemnly) : Wang Chih now reaches his village and finds that all is changed. Tis the time when day meets night with a flash of colors across the sky. The fireflies will soon be gleaming like rare starflowers. The august Wang Chih sees no familiar face for all is changed, and many new thatched cottages are builded. (He sits. People enter from right and move to and fro, looking at WANG CHIH without recognition. PROPERTY MAN makes his beard grow longer, as he grows more bent, and trembles. He approaches bent old woman. MUSICIANS strike gongs three times.) WANG CHIH: Most Honorable Mother, may the Celestial Gods rain blessings upon your path. Will you, perchance, unfold the mystery which clouds my mind and tell me of the family of Wang Chih, the laborer in the rice fields? OLD WOMAN (Holds up hands in astonishment, speaks in trembling voice) : Wang Chih? Venerable Father, Wang Chih and his humble family have been gone for many years ; they are but shadows of the past. They are among our Ancestors. Tonight, when the moonbeams send forth their yellow rays, the Festival of the Lanterns will be held. Watch well the figures who come last in the procession, for you will find a woman dressed to represent Chow Wan, wife of Wang Chih, carrying a rice bowl; and two children dressed to represent his little ones whom he left so long ago on the morning of the Feast of the Lanterns. He was spirited away by the Old Men of the Mountains. As ' each year passes we do this to teach our children to be kind to the poor and the fatherless. (WANG CHIH stands there sadly, OLD WOMAN and rest of procession exit left.) CHORUS (Rising) : The sky darkens, the stars peer through, and the fireflies, star flowers all, flit here and there hunting for the

A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE 41 Emperor. For each firefly is the tear of a beautiful moon-princess, shed when she was drawn back to the moon and compelled

to leave the Emperor and his love. Tis the flowery and sparkling way of a perfect evening. The perfume of fragrant flowers fills the air ! The Festival of the Lanterns begins ! (Enter procession, with figures of CHOW WAN, HAN CHUNG awf HO-SEENKo at end. WANG CHIH looks at them sadly, and they look at him with curiosity.) Wang Chih with sorrow-heavy feet goes back to the mountain. A storm breaks, the wind shakes the branches of the swaying trees, and the rain bathes the earth. (PROPERTY MAN whistles for wind, sprinkles water from bottle.) But just as the Celestial Sun changes the mountain top into gold, Wang Chih once more reaches the cave of the Old Men of the Mountains. (He sits. PROPERTY MAN holds up gold paper ball, representing sun, over table. OLD MEN enter and sit in cave, eating sweetmeats, and PROPERTY MAN unravels their beards again. When they see WANG CHIH, they laugh in high cackles.) WANG CHIH (Stretching out his arms pleadingly) : Oh, give me back my lost years, my beautiful wife, and my precious children, August Spirits of the mountains! (OLD MEN laugh again.) ONE OLD MAN (Chuckling) : You must journey on the White Crane's back to the Sky Dragon! Get some water from his cavernous mouth and take it to the White Hare of the Moon, who will mix it with the Elixir of Life. Then you will lose the burden of your years and may return to your humble family. Here is a bottle to catch the water from the Sky Dragon's mouth. Now be gone and interrupt our game no more! (PROPERTY MAN hands bottle to WANG CHIH.) WANG CHIH : Oh, Venerable and August Fathers, where shall I find the Sky Dragon and the White Hare of the Moon? OLD MAN (Impatiently) : The White Hare dwells in the Moon and the Sky Dragon in the Sky, of course, stupid fellow ! Now leave us in peace to our sweetmeats and our game. (PROPERTY MAN hands WANG CHIH a stick and feather for the WHITE CRANE. WANG CHIH mounts it and pantomimes galloping or jumping out.) CHORUS (Rising) : Wang Chih now flies to the Sky Dragon, the honorable monster who keeps the sky from caving in. He approaches the Sky Dragon's cave made of sky rock and surrounded by dried grass. (PROPERTY MAN removes WHITE CRANE.

42 A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE WANG CHIH stands in listening attitude.) The Sky Dragon bellows, and also sends forth flames of fire instead of water. (He sits. Red and white tissue paper is "blown" from SKY DRAGON'S mouth; bellowing is heard. MUSICIANS strike gongs. WANG CHIH draws back, then bends down and fans grass. MUSICIANS strike gongs three times.) WANG CHIH : Oh, my Honorable Ancestors ! How terrible is the August Dragon ! How long are his horns ! His eyes gleam like fire, claws he has, and glittering scales, while from his mouth, wide as a yawning chasm, long teeth protrude. I will fan into flame some of these sparks of fire to see whether he will not quench them with water.

SKY DRAGON (Bellows) : O-ho Wang Chih I can soon put a stop to that! (SKY DRAGON breathes "water." PROPERTY MAN sprinkles water and WANG CHIH catches it in bottle. PROPERTY MAN hands WANG CHIH the WHITE CRANE.) WANG CHIH : Swift as the flight of the soaring gull I must go, else the waters surround me. The Earth People are enjoying a gentle rainfall, causing the thirsty flowers and bamboos to grow. CHORUS (Rising) : Wang Chih now flies to the moon. (PROPERTY MAN holds up gilt moon, and WHITE HARE stands on stepladder in front of it. PROPERTY MAN gives him a dish and a stick.) There dwells the White Hare, a kind and generous and most honorable being. Look well and see his white, soft fur. and brown, kind eyes. He lives thousands of years, and is ever busy mixing the Elixir of Life which will make all who drink it live forever in happiness. Wang Chih arrives in the moon! (PROPERTY MAN removes WHITE CRANE, which WANG CHIH has been holding between his legs. CHORUS sits.) WANG CHIH (Looking up at WHITE HARE) : Oh Gentle and Celestial Hare of the Moon, here in this glistening bottle is some water from the yawning mouth of the Celestial Sky Dragon. I pray you to mix it with the Elixir of Life, that I may have back my treasures my cherished wife and children. Swiftly have the years fallen from me since I ate one of the sweetmeats of the Venerable Men of the Mountain, and I would get back my lost years, oh White Hare of the Moon! (PROPERTY MAN holds arms to make a window.) WHITE HARE (Leading WANG CHIH to window) : Look through this window, Wang Chih, Honorable Mortal from the Earth,

A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE 43 and tell me what your eyes behold. WANG CHIH (Looks through window and sees people moving to and fro with lanterns) : Oh White Hare of the Moon ! I see thatched houses, many in number, men, women and children ! It is the time of shadows, and gay lanterns flit this way and that ! Oh White Hare of the Moon, it is the very village which has taken the place of the old one where I dwelt many years ago in happiness with my wife and children ! What does it all mean to be up here in the golden moon, and yet be able to look down upon the earth? WHITE HARE : That is my secret, Wang Chih, Honorable Mortal from the Earth. Many are the secrets known to me, but hidden from mortals. (PROPERTY MAN makes another window with his arms.) Now look through this window and tell me what you see ! It is the window of the past. WANG CHIH (Gazing through window cries joyfully) : I see my own little house and there is my beautiful wife getting ready rice cakes and bamboo shoots as a special treat. My little flower, Ho-Seen-Ko, comes with her lantern, and my treasure, Han Chung, with his ! Oh King Hare of the Moon, pray let me

go to them ! Will you not help me? (PROPERTY MAN hands bottle to WHITE HARE who mixes contents with Elixir of Life, and gives it back to PROPERTY MAN, who hands it to WANG CHIH.) WHITE HARE : Drink each one of these crystal drops, Wang Chih, and think of your wife and children. So will you have the power to live in the past. (WANG CHIH drinks. PROPERTY MAN makes window larger and larger.) CHORUS (Rising) : The window grows larger, and steps lead to the street below. WANG CHIH (Bowing before HARE) : White Hare of the Moon, may your August Presence ever cause the moon to shine, and the hearts of mortals to rejoice! I thank you for my lost years. (PROPERTY MAN takes away his hump, and WANG CHIH straightens up. He steps through window made by PROPERTY MAN'S arms, runs to meet CHOW WAN, Ho-SEEN-Ko and HAN CHUNG, who enter right. He clasps Ho-SEEN-Ko to him.) CHORUS : Wang Chih, our hero, once more young, returns to his wife and his children, wiser in many things, and little Ho-SeenKo wonders why he clasps her to him. (He sits.) Ho-SEEN-Ko (Holding up lantern which PROPERTY MAN gives

44 A CHINESE RIP VAN WINKLE her) : You are late, oh Honorable Father ! Do hurry to light our lanterns for us! HAN CHUNG : The Feast of the Lanterns soon begins, oh Father ! (PROPERTY MAN hands WANG CHIH a match to light candles. People with lanterns enter right. Then procession moves WANG CHIH, CHOW WAN, HAN CHUNG, Ho-SEEN-Ko, and others, with lanterns of many colors. They march about stage in line.) CHORUS (Rising) : Wang Chih, with his garden of flowers, his beautiful wife and his little plum blossoms, now joins the procession of the Feast of the Lanterns, and they dance to and fro in the little village like so many fireflies. (MUSICIANS play.) Most August and Honorable Friends, you may applaud my actors as I call them before you. In turn they will thank you. Take care that you do not applaud them too much for it will embarrass them. I am accustomed to praise and it will not disturb me. (Each actor bows, Chinese fashion, as his name is called.) Chow Wan the honorable wife and devoted mother. My hero, Wang Chih. The little Plum Blossoms, Ho-Seen-Ko and Hang Chung. The Spirits of the Mountains, the Venerable Men. The Venerable Mother. The White Hare of the Moon, who helps all mortals. (PROPERTY MAN holds moon over HARE'S head.) iThe Celestial Sky Dragon. (DRAGON roars.) Laborers of the fields. And now, quite visible to your eyes, our Property Man. (PROPERTY MAN, smoking, shakes hands with CHORUS, bows to audience and goes out. All bow again. MUSICIANS strike cymbals three times.) THE END

GREY GHOSTS by Dorothy Denting Characters

LEWIS GREENE, 17 ALICE GREENE, 15 JOHN GREENE, 12 DAVID FISK, young Fire Warden MR. and MRS. GREENE (Offstage voices) SCENE 1 SETTING: A camp in the Maine woods. A glowing camp fire in center stage. It is evening. AT RISE: LEWIS, ALICE and JOHN are sitting on the ground around the campfire f toasting marshmallows. LEWIS: I like to get my marshmallow almost black, then slip off the toasted coat and cook the inside again makes it last longer. JOHN : No, that's not the way I like them. I toast them just a teeny bit, then eat all at once. (He suits the action to the word, putting a whole marshmallow in his mouth at once.) ALICE: I like marshmallows all ways, even raw! (Takes one directly from box and eats it.) JOHN: Gee! I wish this wasn't our last night camping! It's been wonderful. The best vacation ever! ALICE : But we've got all tomorrow, John, and tomorrow's Mount Franklin, the highest mountain we have climbed. LEWIS : Guess we will be plenty stiff when we climb back into the old car tomorrow night ! ALICE: Oh, I don't know. We are in pretty good condition after three weeks in the woods. Let me have that marshmallow, John, it's just the way I like it. (She reaches for the marshmallow JOHN is toasting.) 45

46 GREY GHOSTS JOHN (Letting her have it grudgingly) : Thought you liked them any way ! Thought you

MR. GREENE (From offstage): Children, children! Time for bed. Put away the marshmallows where the ants can't get them and cover the campfire well. We will want the hot coals for cooking breakfast LEWIS (Calling) : Can I go swimming once more before turning in? The lake's not cold. MRS. GREENE (Offstage) : No, dear. We will all go for a dip before breakfast tomorrow morning. Better get to bed now. Father says you've got a hard climb ahead of you, that is, if you want to go all the way to the top of Mount Franklin. JOHN : You bet we do 1 ALICE : Of course ; there's a wonderful view they say ! LEWIS : All the way to the fire lookout ! ALICE: Are you and Dad going to the top? MR. GREENE (Offstage) : Mother is going to the halfway house, but I'll go to the summit with you. LEWIS: Swell! JOHN: Oh, gee, wonderful! (ALICE closes the marshmallow bo* and tucks it into a duffle bag. JOHN goes over to his bathing suit and takes it off the line. LEWIS covers the campfire , pretending to pull grass over it, at the same time the light under the fire goes out, leaving the stage quite dim.) JOHN : Got the fire fixed O.K., Lew? LEWIS : Yes, it will be all right now. ALICE: Better pull that fresh wood out of the way so it won't catch. (LEWIS putts wood to one side.) JOHN: Well, good night 6T campin' ground! Wish I could stay here at Beaver Lake all summer. LEWIS: So do I! Gosh, how still it is! Look, the sky is full of stars 1 (They all stcmd very still, looking up at the sky.) ALICE (Softly) : The trees make a lovely pattern of lace against the stars and how sweet the pine needles smell! JOHN : I love pine trees ! I wish I had some in my little ol' hot bedroom in the city ! LEWIS : Tall trees make the air lots cooler, Dad says, besides being useful for making things. JOHN: What things, for instance? LEWIS: Millions of things, stupid. Houses, barns, boats, furniture, telephone poles and

GREY GHOSTS 4/ ALICE (Interrupting) : Charley McCarthy! Let's go to bed. I'm sleepy. LEWIS : So'm I. Come on, John. JOHN (Taking another long look at the sky and sniffing the breeze) : Coming. (The two boys exit left, ALICE right.) ALICE: Good night! LEWIS and JOHN : Good night, Sis. CURTAIN * * *

SCENE 2 SETTING: A fire warden's lookout station. TIME: Early afternoon. AT RISE: DAVID FISK is sitting at the table, charting. A pair of binoculars is beside him. He uses the glasses, glances at the clock, writes something on his chart, then sits back lazily, looking out of the window* singing or humming: "Don't Fence Me In? There is a sound of thumping as though someone were climbing stairs. DAVE stops singing vnd looks toward the only door in the room. ALICE'S voice is heard offstage^ panting.) ALICE: Wait for me, boys! I'm getting all out of breath. JOHN (Offstage) : Forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty! Fifty steps up! Gee! Tell Dad not to come. He said he was getting tired. ALICE (Still offstage, but nearer, calling) : Dad, stay down. It's a long flight of stairs fifty of them. MR. GREENE (Off) : Right! I'll stay here. The view is fine enough for me. (There is more clattering on stairs*. DAVE closes his chart and straightens the other papers on his table.) JOHN (Bursting in on DAVE, panting) : Hello 1 Geel (He gases breathless out of the window as though at a far-distant 'view.) LEWIS (Entering not quite so out of breath, but breathing heau-

48 GREY GHOSTS ily): Whew! Some climb. (He stops short, barely noticing DAVE, his eyes sweeping the horizon.) Gosh all hemlock ! What a view! ALICE (Entering wiping her face and very much out of breath. Falls into first chair she comes to, fans her face with her handkerchief) : Whee I'm no mountain goat. (She, too, gazes

speechless at the view, then after a pause, less breathlessly) You wouldn't have any water to drink up here, would you? (Smiling at DAVE.) DAVE (Takes canteen from shelf / and pours out a cup of water for ALICE. Hands it to her smiting) : Best spring water in the State o' Maine! (To the boys) Help yourselves. ALICE (Drinking slowly and smiling up at DAVE) : Thanks ! How I needed that! What an utterly super view you have here! (Stares again out of the window.) LEWIS (Still gasing out) : Gosh all hemlock, I never saw so much forest! DAVE : Some hemlock, sure, but a lot of spruce, pine, balsam and juniper! Not to mention oak, maple, birch, beech and hazel nut. By the way, won't you sign my guest book? (He looks at ALICE as he says this and hands her the guest book and pencil. ALICE takes them. Moves up to table.) ALICE: I'll sign for all of us. JOHN: May I use your binoculars? DAVE: Sure. Know how to adjust them? JOHN (With the glasses at his eyes, looking off over audience) : Yep. LEWIS: This is my sister, Alice Greene, that's John and I'm Lewis. What's your name? DAVE: David Fisk. Call me Dave. LEWIS : Glad to meet you, Dave. ALICE (Finishing signing the guest book, turns and smiles at DAVE) : There! We are all recorded in your book. Are you the fire warden for this county? DAVE: That's me! Fire Warden number 242, sector B56. I look after about thirty square miles of one county and an even larger area of a second county, including some dozen towns, a hundred farms and some suipmer camps over in the lake region. (He points off in the distance. The others follow his gesture, as though seeking lakes in that direction.)

GREY GHOSTS 49 JOHN: What do you do all day? Read? DAVE: No, only when the weather gets so thick I can't see but a few yards around me! I live in the log cabin you passed on the way up here, but I'm on duty up here during the daylight hours. I spot fires and telephone their location to the town nearest the smoke. LEWIS: Do you go to the fires yourself?

DAVE: No, my job is to get the fire fighters there as fast as possible and keep on the lookout for more fires ! JOHN : Spot a fire for us now ! ALICE (Sarcastically) : Yes, Dave, please produce a fire on order ! (She and DAVE smile of each other.) DAVE (Takes the binoculars and sweeps the horizon in a full circle.) Nope, no luck. That's luck, because the long stretch of dry weather and the summer campers and hikers are a bad combination. (He looks again in the lake region. Concentrates on one spot and adjusts the glasses) Wait wait a moment I guess I've found a fire for you, John! (He hands the glasses to ALICE) See if you see smoke at the end of the ravine see? Follow the ridge of this mountain down till you see a little white farm house, then look left over the brown field, in that patch of woods near the lake. See a ALICE (Breaking in excitedly) : Yes ! Yes, I see a thin smudge of bluish white smoke ! Look, Lewis. (Hands the glasses to LEWIS.) LEWIS : Yes, I see it, too ! JOHN: Let me look! (Looks. Very excited) So do I! Oh boy! What do we do now? DAVE: That's right in the heart of the woods on Beaver Lake, a favorite camping place for motorists. (He takes the glasses from JOHN and looks again, talking as he focuses) Of course, it might be a campfire being used to get lunch, but it's a little late for that and the smoke is too scattered. We can soon tell. (He puts down the glasses and goes to the wall map, the children crowd around him.) See this map? It shows that section in detail. That smoke is about here. (Indicates a spot on the map.) It's easy to locate this fire, because it's bounded by those woods and we are getting a clear view ; it's when it is back of the hills that it's hard. Now let's see (He takes the glasses again.) Yes, that's fire, all right. I'll have to call Carpenter. (He steps to the back of the stage to telephone.)

50 GREY GHOSTS ALICE (Moving to front of stage and motioning to LEWIS. In a low voice) : Lew, isn't that just about the place where we were camped last night on the edge of Beaver Lake? LEWIS (Looking uncomfortable, nods) : I was thinking the same thing. JOHN (Taking the glasses) : Yep, that's fire all right. Smoke's growing thicker. (DAVE comes back to the table.) LEWIS: Dave, we camped at Beaver Lake last night and had a campfire. We used it again this morning at breakfast, but we DAVE (Interrupting, sternly) : Did you soak it down well with

water this morning before you broke camp? ALICE (Miserably) : I'm afraid we didn't. We stamped out the flames and threw on dirt and JOHN (Breaking in) : I kicked the logs off and stepped on every little 6T spark. They were out all right. LEWIS: Honestly, I think the fire was out, Dave. DAVE: Thinking isn't enough. You've got to be sure. (Turning to ALICE) Where did you build your fire? ALICE: In a clearing in the pine woods at the end of the lake. There were no trees very near it. DAVE (Sighing) : There ought to be a law ! Now look, you three, I suppose you weren't taught anything in school about caring for campfires? ALICE: No, never. JOHN (Earnestly) I know how to build a good fire; you take little dry sticks and dry leaves first, then bigger sticks and DAVE (Cutting in and motioning toward the direction of the fire) : Yes, John, you build good fires, but just look ! (All turn to look.) ALICE: Oh, mercy! Look at that smoke! It's spreading fast! LEWIS : It's heading toward that little farmhouse ! DAVE (Very soberly) : Yes, the wind is in that direction. JOHN (With glasses, cries out) : I can see cows in that field near the farm. Will they be burned? DAVE: Maybe, but I don't think so. My map shows a good-size brook, which may still have a little water in it, on the edge of the farmland, and the fire fighters ought to get there before the flames make much more headway. I'd telephone the farm but they have no phone. LEWIS: How do you know?

GREY GHOSTS 51 DAVE (Smiling) : It's part of my business to know. I also know the nearest telephone to that farmhouse is in the valley, fellow by the name of Morse. But look, you campers, never build a fire on dry pine needles, dry leaves or grass. The fire will eat down into and around the dry material and after smoldering for hours burst into flame. Try to build on wet cleared ground, good old dirt, sand or best of all, rock. In dry weather build near a brook or lake where you can get the ground well soaked with water and never leave a fire without drenching it with pails of water until you are sure every spark is out and the ground

around the fire soaking. JOHN : Kicking it apart was not enough? DAVE : Not by a long shot ! You may have kicked logs with live sparks in them right into the tinder-dry pine needles. Gang, I'm afraid that fire is your fault (The three gaze ruefully at the ftre. DAVE is using the glasses.) ALICE: I think the smoke is a little thinner. DAVE : So do I, and besides, there comes the truck ! Can you see that cloud of dust with a little black speck in it? That's the Carpenter truck with the fire fighters in it. (Focuses the glasses) Yes, there they go. Quite a load of them. They will have the fire out in no time. LEWIS (Giving a long sign of relief) : Gee, I'm glad! JOHN: I'll never leave another fire without drowning it! LEWIS : That goes for us all, Dave. DAVE (Seriously) : It might have been a costly lesson the forest, the camps, the farm and its stock, possibly loss of human life. Forest fires destroy millions of feet of lumber, and take homes and lives every year just through the carelessness of people enjoying the woods. ALICE: To say nothing of the birds and wild flowers and the scent of the pines ! DAVE: Right! Do you know that verse about forest fires? I always think of it when I see the poor naked trees and bamen fields left by forest fires all too often the result of pure thoughtlessness. (He repeats slowly) "The careless smoker on an idle trail, A smouldering campfire and a vagrant breeze, Make all your ancient pride of what avail, You tall grey ghosts which once were stately trees 1"*

52 GREY GHOSTS LEWIS: "Stately trees!" Remember them last night, Alice? With the stars shining through their branches. JOHN : Don't! I can't stand it It was my fault. (He looks as if he wants to cry.) ALICE (Softly to DAVE) : I guess you can see we three will not be "careless campers" ever again ! MR. GREENE (From a distance) : Alice, John, Lewis ! Time to go down the mountain. We must start home. LEWIS (Glances at the clock.) Golly, look at the time! (Calling) We're coming, Dad! Good-bye, Dave, thanks. If you ever come

to New York, look us up. ALICE : I put our address in your book. DAVE (Laughing) : I'd have to be met at the station. I couldn't find my way around that city even with a compass. JOHN (Scornfully) : Ho! That's nothing. You wouldn't need a compass. I'll show you. DAVE: Thanks, maybe I'll come some day. ALICE: I really wish you would, Dave. Good-bye and good luck. (Puts out her hand.) DAVE (Taking her hand) : Good-bye, Alice. JOHN: So long! (Exits, clattering down the steps. ALICE follows, waving. LEWIS starts out, then sticks his head back in the door.) LEWIS: Dave, if you ever need anyone to help you up here, I'd well, I'd like the chance. It would be one way to make up for setting the woods on fire. DAVE: Great stuff! Maybe 111 need you next summer. I'll remember, Lew! LEWIS (Beaming) : You will? Gosh all hemlock, wait till I tell Dad I'm working next summer! (He disappears, clattering on the steps.) 'Bye. DAVE (Smiling) : 'Bye. (He sits down at his table, makes a note and takes up the binoculars, starting the slow sweep of the horizon.) THE END

Sift " *" *"* ******

OLD MAN RIVER by Dorothy Deming Characters AMY MARSHALL, 17 years old BETTY MARSHALL, her younger sister ROSE FIELD, 16 years old, the Marshall's neighbor SARA FIELD, 9 years old, Rose's sister JIM HALL, 17 years old, another neighbor

MR. PETERS, member of Red Cross Disaster Committee PENNY MARSH, Red Cross nurse SCENE 1 TIME: Late afternoon in March. SETTING: Living room of the Marshall home. AT RISE : AMY, BETTY and ROSE are sitting around the living room table. AMY and ROSE are knitting, BETTY is looking at pictures in a magazine. The stage is not very light. ROSE : Goodness, it gets dark early on these rainy days. Mind if I raise the shade a bit, Amy? AMY: No, do, but I guess we need the light on, too. (She goes over and puts on the electric light.) ROSE (Going to the window) : How it rains! In sheets, and look! Your backyard is a small lake. AMY (Joining ROSE at the window) : Gracious ! I've never seen it rain so hard and this is the third day of it. BETTY (Puts down magazine and runs to window) : Whee ee ! It's more than a lake, it's a sea! The radio said the river was above flood stage this morning whatever that means. AMY : It means that the water is above that white line on the bank at Thompson Bridge. It must have covered the south meadows and the highway there. 53

54 OLD MAN RIVER ROSE : It isn't only the rain. It's the snow melting in the hills in the northern part of the state. (The girls return to the table) Oh, I hope we don't have a flood here! (There is a noise of stamping feet and someone breathing hard. The girls all look to the right, the direction of the sounds.) JIM HALL (Entering from right, in shining wet rain coat and rain helmet, which he drags off as he enters. He is panting) : Gosh, girls, it's a cloudburst! (He kicks off his rubbers.) I've run every step of the way from school to get here. The river is rising fast. The Burnett Dam gave 'way an hour ago they say and it looks bad! Where is your mother, Amy? AMY : She took Dick to the dentist's and was going to stop at Mrs. Brant's for a recipe on her way home. She ought to be here soon. JIM : And your father? AMY : In Chicago on business, but why all the questions, Jim? JIM : Well, er you see (He is interrupted by the ring of the

telephone. AMY exits left to answer it. Her voice can be heard clearly.) AMY : Hello. Yes, yes, Mother I know, isn't it awful? How will you get home? Yes, Mother, I'm listening carefully. (AMY'S voice grows very serious) Yes yes yes, I will. No, Mother, no, I won't. Jim Hall is here and Rose Field. Yes, all right, I'll tell them. Goodbye. (AMY returns to the room. She is looking very scared.) Mother can't get home from Mrs. Brant's. The bridges between here and town are under water. Rose, Mother says you are to telephone your mother right away and tell her you will spend the night here. ROSE: I will. That will be fun! (Hurries from room.) AMY: Betty, you and I are to fill all the bowls, tubs, pails and pitchers with fresh water in case the town supply is cut off or made unsafe to drink. Mother says she hopes you will stay and help us, Jim. We girls will need a man's hand, now. JIM : That's just why I came, Amy. I think I'll look up a lantern and BETTY (Interrupting) : I've got a flashlight. I'll get it and some candles. ROSE (From outside, still at the telephone, with irritation) : Central! Central! I'm trying to get Main 3022 I can't (There is a pause and ROSE comes to the door, her face frightened.)

OLD MAN RIVER 55 The telephone is dead ! I can't get Central. There isn't even a buzzing on the line ! JIM: Means the lines are down between here and town! Well, girls, let's get organized! Betty, look up your flashlight and candles, lamps, lanterns or anything you've got. Rose, fill the tubs and pails and Amy and I will check on food, blankets and coats. Better get out the first-aid kit. Everyone make it snappy ! (RosE and BETTY exit left. JIM turns to AMY) This is serious, Amy. I don't want to scare you, but your house is in the direct line of the river. If the dam has given 'way (He goes to the window) Well, if it has, you can see for yourself it means we can't get out by the main road and we are already cut off from the south side. Look ! (He points out of the window. AMY joins him. She gasps.)

AMY: Jim! The water is up around the garage! I thought it was just a pool in the garden, but it's it's JIM (Soberly) : The river. Yes, Amy, that's ol' man river himself "creepin' up to yo' door." ( JIM and AMY watch it a moment. AMY shudders.) AMY : Oh, Jim, I'm scared ! JIM (Placing a hand on her shoulder) : Steady, old pal ! We've been through bad things before and come out safely. Remember the school fire? First thing, we must not let the others see how scared we are. Next, get all the things you can together here : water, food, blankets, coats, lights. I'm glad I served on the Junior Red Cross emergency squad during the war ! It's too bad you live in a bungalow instead of a two-story house, but we can always climb into the attic and onto the roof. AMY (Still staring out the window) : How fast is the river rising, do you think, Jim? JIM : I don't know and it might stop before it reaches us. If only the rain would let up! We will signal for help from the roof. They will send a boat or something. ROSE (Entering left) : I've got enough fresh water to last us a week ! Who will send a boat for us, Jim, and from where? (She goes to the window, screams) Horrors ! Look at the river ! AMY: Hush, Rose. Don't tell the others. Jim says we will be all right. Let's see what food we have on hand. BETTY (Entering left) : Here are lights. Did you say food? Hark,

56 OLD MAN RIVER what's that? (All four stand perfectly still, listening. From far off a child's voice is heard.) SARA: RO ose! It's me! Sara! ROSE: Sara! Where is she? (All run to the window.) AMY: There she is! On the playhouse porch. How did she get there? ROSE : Followed me here, probably ; she loves that playhouse, the little monkey! JIM (Goes out right, calling) : Stay where you are, Sara, I'll get you. AMY : It's lucky the playhouse is on high ground. ROSE (Still at window) : But it isn't. Look, it's nearly afloat ! (The girls gather at the window.) There goes Jim ! Look, the water is above his knees.

AMY : He will need dry clothes. See if you can find some of Dad's things for Jim, Betty. Sara can have Dick's. ROSE : There ! He's got her ! AMY: I'll make some hot cocoa for everyone. (There is a thumping and voices at the right and JIM enters carrying SARA pickaback. SARA is beaming.) SARA : Hello, everybody ! That was fun ! Ride some more, please. Jim! JIM : No, young lady, that's enough. You're heavy. She is dry as a bone, Rose. I'm not! AMY : You can have some of Dad's things. I'm going to get us some supper (As she says this, the lights go out. They all gasp and BETTY screams.) JIM (Trying to sound casual) : Power house must be out of commission. Light your candles, Betty. (BETTY puts on flashlight. Lights three candles.) AMY: I'm glad we have an oil stove for cooking. ROSE (Taking a candle) : Forward inarch to the kitchen ! (BETTY takes a candle and follows, with SARA trailing, all exit right, humming tf Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching'') JIM (In a low voice to AMY) : The river was up another foot, Amy. Another hour and that playhouse would have been floating out in the current. At this rate the floor here will be under water by morning. AMY: What will we do then, Jim? Neither Sara nor Betty are strong swimmers.

OLD MAN RIVER 57 JIM : I'm going to climb out on the roof and start waving the flashlight. Someone will see it and come for us. AMY: But who? No one is on the main road and there are no houses within sight of us. That will be just a pinpoint of light. Aren't you scared? JIM : You bet ! Are you ? AMY: Terrified. But I'm glad you're here. JIM : We'll see it through, if we just keep our heads. CURTAIN * * *


TIME : An hour or so later. SETTING: The same. AT RISE : Same group is in the living room with the exception of JIM. SARA is asleep, covered with a blanket, in a big chair. AMY, ROSE and BETTY have three candles on the table. BETTY is trying to read.) BETTY (Putting down her book with a thud) : I can't read by this light. How do you suppose our grandmothers ever did? ROSE : I don't believe they tried to read. I guess they went to bed when it grew dark. AMY: Maybe we ought to go to bed. It's nearly eleven, but I couldn't sleep a wink. BETTY: Nor I. ROSE: Nor I. Listen, what's that noise ?.(All three listen. ROSE, running to window and peering out) I can't see a thing. It's pitch dark. It sounded like something bumping against the house. AMY (Taking one of the candles, goes right toward kitchen) : Maybe on the back porch? BETTY (Nervously) : Oh, come back! Let's stick here together!

58 OLD MAN RIVER JIM (Entering left, in rain coat, carrying flashlight) : Battery's dead. I waved her almost a hundred times, though. Maybe somebody saw it. BETTY (Scornfully) : Maybe. JIM : It has stopped raining anyway. AMY (Entering right) : I can't see anything out there, but we may as well face it. The water is over the back porch and lapping the kitchen Soon JIM : Start moving everything to the attic. Bring the food and water first, then the blankets. I'll do the carrying up the ladder to the roof. AMY (Half-crying) : Oh, Jim, Mother's rugs, the new drapes and Father's books ! BETTY: My new spring coat! I'm going to save that! (She rushes out left, taking candle with her.) ROSE (Going over to her sister, shaking her gently) : Sara! Sara, wake up, dear. We are going to sleep in the attic. SARA (Sleepily) : Strawberry ice cream soda and cracker jack ! ROSE (Laughing hysterically) : Hear her! Wake up, Sis! (SARA

stirs.) SARA : Oh, where am I ? ROSE : Come on ! (She helps SARA to her feet and quickly wraps a blanket around her) To the attic ! (Exits left, leading SARA, and taking one of the candles with her.) AMY: We ought to get Father's most valuable books and Mother's jewel case, and JIM : Amy, we will need water and food more than books and jewels. You don't seem to realize (He is interrupted by a cry from outside, right) MR. PETERS: Hello there! Hello in the house! Mr. Marshall! Mr. Marshall! AMY: They have come for us! Here we are! (She runs to the window.) JIM (Picking up the third candle from the table, running to the window and waving it back and forth) : Here we are ! In here ! BETTY (Entering on the run from the left, carrying a dress box) : Are we rescued? Who is there? MR. PETERS (Still outside) : Mr. Marshall, are you all right? This is Tom Peters and Miss Marsh, the Red Cross nurse. We're here in a boat.

OLD MAN RIVER 59 JIM: Row around to the back porch! You can get in there. (There is a bumping of a boat against wood. Voices: "Steady now there I'm got hold of the rail. Tie her up." JIM and AMY exit right toward the voices. More voices greeting, and then MR. PETERS enters living room with a lighted lantern, followed by Miss MARSH, AMY and JIM.) BETTY: We're rescued, we're rescued! Come, Rose! Come, Sara! MR. PETERS: Why, are you children all alone? AMY: Yes, we (There is a terrific crash, followed by a wail of pain and a scream.) ROSE Come out! bag, (Offstage left) : Oh, Sara! She's fallen off the step ladder! quick, somebody! I've dropped my candle and it's gone (MR. PETERS, Miss MARSH, who is carrying a small black and AMY rush off stage, left.)

BETTY : Oh, I hope she hasn't broken her neck ! JIM : Get the first-aid box. It's in that pile of coats. I'll fix a place for her to lie down. (He arranges chairs so SARA can be put down full length.)

MR. PETERS (Carrying SARA, enters lejt) : Steady now, you are all right. More frightened than hurt, I think. (He places SARAon the chairs.) AMY (Placing lantern near SARA) : I'm glad Miss Marsh is here! (Miss MARSH is examining SARA. SARA is sobbing softly, saying every so often: "It hurts." ROSE kneels beside SARA'S chair, holding her hand. JIM stands in the background with BETTY.) SARA : It's my leg that hurts ! Miss MARSH : Yes, you have hurt it badly, Sara, but we can fix it up and we will all get into the boat and take you home. You are going to be all right. (She motions to MR. PETERS, JIM and AMY to move to one side of the stage. ROSE stays with SARA) She has broken her right leg just below the knee. We can splint it up with pillows and umbrella and lift her safely into the boat. I think we ought to take her to the emergency Red Cross hospital in the Armory. MR. PETERS : We can take Rose and Betty along too, but Jim, you and Amy will have to stay until we can get back for you or send some other boat. (Miss MARSH returns to SARA and with the help of BETTY and ROSE begins to surround SARA'S right leg with pillows, using an umbrella and cane along the outside to keep the leg stiff.)

60 OLD MAN RIVER JIM : That's all right, sir. We will be perfectly safe up on the roof. MR. PETERS : We can leave you an extra lantern and a jar of coffee. Need anything else? AMY : Only some of your calmness ! We will be all right, thanks. MR. PETERS : Don't thank me, thank the Red Cross. (He goes over to SARA and helps lift her into a blanket rolled to form a stretcher. Miss MARSH picks up her bag. JIM and MR. PETERS lift and carry SARA toward the right) We can swing her down into the boat very easily. It won't hurt a mite, Sara, Get your things, Rose and Betty, you are going with us. (ROSE and BETTY grab their coats. BETTY takes her dress box.) SARA (Drowsily) : Miss Marsh gave me something to stop the hurt and it has almost gone ! AMY (At the door, dropping a kiss on SARA'S forehead as they carry her out) : That's fine, dear! Have a nice boat ride! (She waves as the stretcher goes out, followed by ROSE and BETTY) Try to get word to Mother that we are all right, Betty, and Jim's family, too ! BETTY : I'll try. I hope you'll be rescued soon. 'By ! ROSE : Good-by, Amy, good luck ! AMY: Good-by! (There is more thumping, only less loud than before, and voices giving directions. AMY fusses with the lantern,

trying to get it lighted.) MR. PETERS (Offstage) : You will be all right, Jim? JIM (Still offstage) : Yes, don't worry about us. Good-by ! (Voices in distance, sound of oars. JIM enters right, wiping forehead. AMY gets lantern lighted and blows out candles) Water's dropping ! There are a good two inches of wet board showing on the kitchen step. That was a narrow squeak ! (He pours two cups of coffee from the jar MR. PETERS left. Hands one to AMY. Raises his cup as though in a toast) Here's to Red Cross coffee, Red Cross lantern and Red Cross rescue ! I'm glad we have a wideawake, well-equipped Red Cross Disaster Committee in this town! AMY : And a Red Cross nurse for emergencies ! Thank God for the Red Cross ! (Both lift their coffee cups and drink, still standing) THE END * Baaed in part on chapters XI-XIII of "Penny Marsh: Public Health Nurse/ 1 Dodd, Mead & Go., New York, 1988

ONE-RING CIRCUS by Aileen Fisher Characters KEP, a budding engineer PINKIE, his admiring pal SPINDLE, who owns a pet mouse LARRY, a friend Larry's sisters MIL, a friend HORACE, a bookish boy Miss "PINCH-FACE" COBB, Horace's aunt SETTING: A vacant lot. AT RISE: KEP and PINKIE are near the center of the stage, PINKIE sits on a box whittling. KEP has a dishpan of sawdust and is outlining a circus ring. KEP (As he sprinkles) : It's sure hard to make a circle look round. But you can't have a circus without a sawdust ring. (Tramps on imaginary grass.) Some of this grass is too high that's the trouble with a vacant lot. PINKIE : What'd we do without it, though? I think vacant lots are a swell invention. KEP (Still sprinkling his ring) : Does it look pretty round to you, Pinkie?

PINKIE (Squinting) : O.K., Kep. We just going to have one ring? KEP: Yup. Three's too hard. Anyway, nobody can look three places at the same time . . . except my mother. She can even see out of the back of her head. Specially when I'm experimenting, or inventing. PINKIE (With an envious sigh) : Must be pretty nice to know you're going to be an engineer when you grow up. Wish / knew what to be. 61

62 ONE-RING CIRCUS KEP : Wait till you get through acting in this show, Pinkie. Then maybe you'll decide to be a monkey or something. PINKIE: Thanks for the tip. Say, who's coming to the meeting, anyway? KEP: Oh, Larry and his two sisters. They've got a stunt all worked out Besides, Janet can turn six cartwheels in a row, and Cathy can jump rope like nobody's business. Ever see her? PINKIE: Nope. I don't have much time for girls. KEP pet the fly : Then Spindle's going to play the mouth-organ and make his mouse perform. That ought to bring down the house. By way, I'm depending on your bantam rooster and your buttercollection for the menagerie,

PINKIE: O.K. What about my collection of keys? KEP (Ignoring question) : And Mil's going to make pink lemonade and wear her clown suit and walk on stilts. PINKIE: All at the same time? KEP : And don't forget you're down for a trapeze act. I'll take charge of the rodeo. I'm going to engineer a synthetic bucking bronco I dare anyone to stick on more'n 30 seconds, myself included. PINKIE (Tentatively) : What about Horace? KEP: Well, what about Horace? PINKIE: Why don't we let Horace in on things for once? He's got more stuff than the rest of us put together. Why, his aunt's so rich she could buy out any store in town. KEP : That old Pinch-Face. PINKIE: And Horace could sell a lot of tickets, I bet considering who his aunt is. KEP: Nothing doing. He's a sissy. Besides, he gets too-good

marks. Besides, it's a matter of principles. I don't believe in making buddies of people just to get something out of 'em. PINKIE : He's got a Magic Set, though, and can do lots of tricks. KEP : How do you know ? You're not taking up with that pantywaist, are you? Why, I bet he'd faint if he saw a mouse. This circus is a he-man's outfit, see? (Suddenly waves at wings left, and calls out.) Hi, Spindle! (SPINDLE comes in with a small wooden or metal box which contains an imaginary or toy mouse. SPINDLE also has a mouth-organ which he plays snatches on.) SPINDLE: Hi. I brought Felix so you could get a preview of his act (SPINDLE carefully puts, box on upturned crate.) But, look,

ONE-RING CIRCUS 63 don't anyone close down that cover tight, because it locks, and I haven't got a key ! Besides, it has to be left open a crack or Felix will suffocate. (SPINDLE lifts cover and the boys bend over to watch.) Here, Felix. Sit up, boy. Sit up! Naw, not down. Well, O.K. then, roll over. Atta boy! KEP : Some mouse. SPINDLE : He's got stage fright. Usually he minds right off. Come on, wiggle your nose, Felix. Wiggle your nose. PINKIE: He's a circus, that's what! KEP: Anyway, he's cute. Ought to make a big hit with the audience. (LARRY, JANET, CATHY and MIL come in noisily from right. JANET turns a -few cartwheels. CATHY does tricks with a jump rope. There are various greetings back and forth. The children then sit around on ground or boxes, except for KEP, who still stands and hangs on to the sawdust pan.) KEP (In a speech-making voice) : Well, now we're all here, the meeting is called to order. (He keeps nervously sprinkling sawdust as he talks, as if feeding birds.) As you know, we are about to embark on a very worthwhile, money-making project. Not only will we entertain the neighborhood with an amazing onering circus, but we will accumulate a fund. SPINDLE: We hope! KEP: ... a fund, so I can go ahead with the most important experiment of my scientific career. LARRY : Got any ideas yet about how to do it, Kep ? KEP: Well, no. Not exactly. CATHY: Everybody I know says it can't be done. KEP : A scientist never says "can't" see ? LARRY: Well, you'll be pretty good if you can figure something out, Kep. That's all I can say. My dad told me nobody can in-

vent a defense against atomic bombs not even Einstein. Let alone you! MIL : Not that it wouldn't be good to have one, though ! KEP: There must be some kind of defense. As an engineer, I won't be satisfied till I try. JANET: Sure, it's worth a try. A circus is worth the price of admission anyway, even if you never figure out a defense. SPINDLE (Playing with mouse) : Felix says to tell you he's ready to do his stuff for the cause any time. KEP (Speechrmaking voice again) : If we charge 5 cents admis-

64 ONE-RING CIRCUS sion for children and 7 cents for adults, we'd get a big enough fund so I could probably start several different experiments at once. Something ought to work . . . law of averages. (Children give various assents.) Anyway, it's a worthwhile idea. And there's no time to lose ! Do you think we can be ready to put on the circus this coming Saturday? (More assents.) PINKIE: Look! There comes Horace with his aunt, old PinchFace, down the street. KEP (Warningly) : Don't let Horace in on anything, remember. He knows too much already . . . out of books. Besides, he's an auntie's boy! PINKIE : I bet he'd give his eye teeth to be in our circus, though. SPINDLE: Let's all get in a huddle over Felix, and then we just won't see them. (The children gather over Felix's box. Miss COBB and HORACE come in. Miss COBB is quite old-maidish and prim. HORACE wears glasses and carries a stack of books.) Miss COBB : Now there are some children, Horace. I am confident they will be more than delighted to play with you while I attend the Elite Ladies' Club. Let me ask them. HORACE (Holding back) : No, auntie. Please don't. I believe they don't like my company very much. Miss COBB: Nonsense, Horace. You're my nephew, aren't you? HORACE: Just the same, auntie . . . experience tells me ... Miss COBB (Coyly, to the children) : Children. (There is no reply. The children bend studiously over Felix.) Children. (Still no indication the children have heard.) HORACE: They seem to be rather hard of hearing. Come on, auntie, I have an abundance of reading matter for this afternoon. I can get along by myself. Miss COBB (Angrily) : CHILDREN ! (Still the children do not

budge. Miss COBB goes closer, notices sawdust on ground, picks up some. Then she is quite exasperated.) What do you children mean . . . throwing sawdust on my lot? I could have you arrested ... for trespassing. Do you realize it? (This brings the children to frightened attention.) KEP (Gulping) : On your lot? We didn't know it was your lot, Miss Cobb. Honest. PINKIE: We thought a vacant lot was . . . well, vacant. (Gestures) You know, vacant I Miss COBB: You did, did you? I want you to know this lot has

ONE-RING CIRCUS 65 been in the Cobb family for 37 years. What do you mean defiling it with sawdust? Speak up! I am positive there is a law against it. KEP : You see, Miss Cobb, we were planning to give a circus . . . HORACE: How interesting. Miss COBB : Let them explain, Horace. So ! You were planning to give a common, low-brow entertainment on Cobb property without permission. Unpardonable. JANET: It's for a good cause. Really. CATHY : It's to earn some money so Kep can go ahead with important, world-famous experiments. LARRY : You see, Kep's trying to figure out a defense against the atom bomb. And, of course, that takes a little money. That's why we're putting on the circus. Miss COBB: What nonsense. (To KEP) I find it hard to believe that a boy of your age and appearance bothers his head about things like that. HORACE : I think it perfectly natural, auntie. I have read considerable on the subject myself. (Wistfully) Besides, I believe a circus might do a great deal for this neighborhood. Miss COBB (Looking at HORACE) : You'd like to be in it, wouldn't you, Horace dear? Well, perhaps we might be able to arrive at a compromise. As a matter of principle I object to sawdust and circuses on Cobb property, but ... (To children) if you will allow Horace to contribute his many talents to the success of the performance, I shall permit you the use of my lot. KEP : As a matter of principle, Miss Cobb, we don't . . . (Suddenly he looks at Felix's box and calls out.) Hey, Spindle, watch Felix ! He almost escaped. We couldn't put on the circus without Felix. Miss COBB (Curiously) : Felix? Are you children hiding something from me? On my property? (She goes over to the

box, lifts lid, and then shrieks. In horror she bangs down the Hd, holds her skirts, and jumps up on a crate.) A mouse! A live mouse ! Ooohhh. I shall never be the same again. PINKIE: The lid! She banged down the lid and it locked. And Spindle hasn't got a key. SPINDLE: Felix! He's locked in the box. He'll suffocate. Can't somebody do something?

66 ONE-RING CIRCUS KEP : Race home and get your collection of keys, Pinkie. Maybe one of 'em will fit. PINKIE: I doubt it. They're mostly pretty big ... and rusty. ( PINKIE runs out left. At almost the same moment HORACE impulsively rushes out right.) Miss COBB (Who has not seen HORACE go): A mouse! On Cobb property ! Horace. Horace dear, run home this minute and get auntie her smelling salts. That little green bottle on top of my dresser. And hurry, Horace. I feel very faint . . . (She gets down from the crate and sits on it.) KEP : Horace isn't here, Miss Cobb. He's gone. JANET: He just ran home. And, honest, I never thought Horace could run so fast. Miss COBB : He ran home? Ah, the dear boy thought of my smelling salts before I did. Such a thoughtful child ! So considerate of his auntie. CATHY (Who has been trying to fry up lid of box) : Miss Cobb, do you realize what you have done? You banged the lid on poor

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