By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Secret of the Lost Fortune, The Visitors from Oz, etc.
First published in this form in L. Frank Baum's Juvenile Speaker, 1910. Originally published, with slight differences, as "The Fairy Prince" in Entertaining, December, 1909.
List of Characters:
PRINCESS MARVEL, a Fairy in disgrace; afterward Prince Marvel.
BESSIE BODKIN, RUTH RUTLEDGE, Just Girls, who meet with a strange adventure.
QUEEN LULEA, the Ruler of the Fairy Kingdom.
JACK TURNER [sic], a Highwayman.
Scene: A Glade in the Forest of Burzee.
(The curtain being drawn discloses Princess Marvel, a fairy, seated upon a stump near center of stage. - Her head is bowed and she is sobbing as if in distress. - Advancing toward her, rather timidly, come Bessie and Ruth. - The fairy does not notice them and they stand before her, gazing upon her wonderingly.)
Do not weep, my pretty fay;
What has grieved you? Tell us, pray!
(Marvel does not answer nor look up.)
I suppose some fairy frolic
May have given her a colic.
(Marvel looks up indignantly; then drops face in handkerchief.)
Wand'ring in the woods today,
Where we often come to play,
Here we find, to our surprise,
A really Fairy, from whose eyes
Diamond tears are dropping, so
All your sorrow we would know.
We are mortals, yet you'll find
Even mortal hearts are kind;
Tell us, then, sweet Fairy: say
What has caused you woe today?
(Looking up:) I'm disgraced! The Fairy Queen
Thinks that I have saucy been
To her royal Majesty -
So she seeks to punish me,
And I'm exiled, by command,
From our lovely Fairyland!
I'm condemned - oh, boo, hoo, hoo! (sobbing)
I'm condemned - it's really true! -
To remain upon this earth
'Till I've done a deed of worth.
Then look up and try to smile;
Deeds of worth are well worth while.
But alas! My fairy power
Is restricted to this bower.
Mortals seldom wander here,
So no worthy deed, I fear,
I'll accomplish while I stay
In this woodland day by day.
I'm so miserable - boo, hoo! (sobbing again)
How I wish that I were you!
Why, if you could change with me,
Then a fairy I would be
And you'd then become a maid
Very helpless, I'm afraid.
Deeds of worth may mortals do
Just as well as fairies.
But you ought to be a boy
Deeds of valor to enjoy.
Girls are timid, girls are weak -
Only forceful when they speak -
Boys are strong and love to fight,
Doing deeds both wrong and right.
Then, if I could be a boy,
All my powers I'd employ
Doing deeds so fine and grand
Soon I'd win to Fairyland
All forgiven by the Queen
For my naughty acts, I ween!
But a boy you cannot be.
You're a fairy girl, you see.
Ah, but you can change all that
By your powers - quick as scat -
For, as fairy transformation
Changes mortal form and station,
So may mortals, by decree,
Change a fairy's own degree.
What! our mortal power, you say,
Transforms fairies as we may?
That is true; and so, my dear,
Fairies seldom dare appear
To your vision, lest a word
Change them to a beast or bird.
So, beneath the moon's pale light
We are dancing every night,
But lie hidden all the day
Lest on mortal folk we stray.
Well, I've often wondered why
Fairies were so dreadful shy;
But of us pray have no fear,
We'll not change your form, my dear.
But I want you to! 'Tis true
I some valiant deed must do
E'er I get to Fairyland.
So I wish you to command.
I a boy shall be until
This adventure I fulfill.
Tell us, then, what we must do
And we'll try to favor you.
Seize a stick, and as a wand
Wave it thrice, and then command:
"As a mortal, I decree
Marvel now a boy shall be."
That is all, for you will see
Me transformed immediately.
(Hesitating:) Ruth, you take the magic wand;
Here's a stick quite close at hand.
No, indeed! I'd shake with fright.
You can do it, Bess, all right.
Mortal girls are shy, I see.
Do not fear; it won't hurt me:
Neither will it bother you
Such a simple thing to do.
(Picking up a stick:)
Well, to please you I desire;
So to magic I'll aspire. (Waves stick thrice.)
Little fairy, I decree
You a boy shall henceforth be
Till some noble deed you do
That will prove you good and true.
Only then - the fact is plain -
Will you be a girl again!
(Marvel rises. - The fairy robe drops from her shoulder, showing her now dressed as a Fairy Prince.)
'Tis done! Good gracious, Bess; just see!
A lovely Fairy Prince is he!
(Bowing low before them:)
I thank you, kindly maid; one more
Request I fear I must implore.
I need a sword - a stalwart blade--
Will you procure it, gentle maid?
I'd like to; but I know not how.
Just touch your wand upon that bough.
(He points to a small limb on the trunk of a near by tree.)
(Going to the bough and placing her hand upon it:)
Don't be afraid, Bess; wave the wand,
The sword will then be in my hand.
(Bess waves the stick. - At the same time Ruth bends back the bough and quickly grasps a sword that has stood concealed behind the tree, making it appear that the bough has changed into a sword in her hand.)
And here it is! So take it, Prince,
And may it make your foemen wince.
(Taking the sword from her, and again bowing:)
I thank you, gentle maids. And now
Some noble deed I'll do, I vow
To win in Fairyland my place
And wipe away my dire disgrace!
(The Prince waves his sword and makes his exit into the forest.)
Well, Ruth, this strange adventure o'er,
We're simple mortals, as before.
So let us both go home again
And hope our magic be not vain.
Yes! I'm as hungry as a bear;
So let us to our castle fare.
And after dinner we'll return
News of our Fairy Prince to learn.
(They turn to go.)
I never knew before, dear Bess,
That you could be a Sorceress.
Yet I'm not so bewitching, Ruth,
As you are - that's the solemn truth!
(They lock arms and walk away.)
(When the curtain is drawn the same scene is discovered as that in Act I. When curtain is well up, Prince Marvel enters slowly and with a dejected air.)
How cold and dismal Earth appears!
It hath no single charm that cheers
A fairy heart, when day's dull gleam
Replaces moonlight's dainty beam.
And I, a wanderer, have tried
To find adventure far and wide
Throughout the wood, yet much I fear
No deed of valor 'waits me here.
The forest is deserted quite;
There's not a single foe in sight;
Yet here am I, condemned to halt
'Til I've redeemed my grievous fault.
(He paces up and down as if discouraged.)
What tho' my sword gleams fair and bright?
What tho' I long some wrong to right?
Unless a chance occurs, 'tis clear
I may forever wander here!
(He now strolls into the forest again, and passes from view.)
(Enter Jack Turpin, a desperate highwayman.)
Aha--! Oho! a chance to steal
Will soon be mine, I truly feel!
For coming toward this wood I spied
Two maidens, walking side by side.
When they're alone beneath these trees
I'll pounce upon the girls and seize
Their purses, jewels, brooches, rings,
And all their other pretty things.
(Looks stealthily around.)
There's no one near to stop my game;
So let them scream - it's all the same
To bold Jack Turpin! I can rob
Two helpless girls, and like the job!
(He pauses and again looks around him.)
So now I'll hide behind this stump
Until the girls are here, then jump
And rob them while they're wild with fright -
Then quickly I will take to flight.
(Jack Turpin now hides himself behind the stump.)
(Enter Bessie and Ruth, walking slowly and not suspecting the presence of the highwayman.)
It must be here the Prince we found;
And yet I do not see him 'round.
Perhaps he's wand'ring in the wood
In bold and knightly attitude
To do some noble deed he's fain
That will his Queen's forgiveness gain;
And so he rambles here and there
To seek a chance to do and dare.
Then let us here a while remain
And see if he returns again.
I'm very anxious, Bess, to know
If he has found a worthy foe.
(Here the highwayman springs from behind the stump and seizes both the girls, a wrist of each in either hand. They struggle, but he drags them to center of the stage.)
DICK [sic] TURPIN:
Stand and deliver, ladies fair!
I'm bold Jack Turpin; I declare
You are my prisoners, and so
I'll take your jewels e'er you go!
Help! Help! Oh, gracious goodness me!
Help, someone! Come and set us free!
Yell if you want to, yell, my dear;
There's no one near to interfere.
(Prince Marvel rushes in, waving hs sword.)
Hold, wicked man! Unhand these maids!
Such villainy your race degrades,
And if you'd save your worthless life
Defend it in a manly strife!
(Marvel advances upon Turpin, who releases the girls and draws his own sword. Bessie and Ruth shrink back, their arms clasped about each other.)
Aha--! Oho--! I'd have you know
That bold Jack Turpin is your foe!
I've slain full many a man before,
And now I'll shed your princely gore.
(They fight, clashing their swords together. Prince Marvel finally stabs the robber, who falls flat and appears to be dead.)
(Placing a foot upon Turpin and looking down upon him.)
So, robber! now your race is run,
And all your wicked deeds are done.
(The girls run forward, delighted.)
Oh, thank you, Prince, for saving us!
How fortunate it was that thus
You chanced our way!
Nay, say not so;
The fortune's surely mine, you know.
(He bows to them.)
Still, though we owe a half to luck
The other half we owe to pluck.
The way you killed him was delightful -
The man was really very frightful!
(Enter the Fairy Queen, Lulea. - She slowly approaches the group, gliding in a graceful manner. - The two girls kneel before her and Prince Marvel kneels likewise.)
Good Marvel, for this noble deed
From further punishment you're freed.
You've won forgiveness, for your arm
Has saved these fair young maids from harm.
Return with me to Fairyland
And join again my happy band.
(The Queen extends her hand. - Marvel kisses it, then rises and stands beside Lulea. - The girls now rise and stand in attitudes of awe and respect.)
MARVEL (To Bessie and Ruth):
First, gentle friends, will you restore
To me my girlish form once more?
I'm now a boy, and yet I fain
Would be a fairy girl again.
And so you shall be! Prithee, Bess,
Fetch here the Prince's fairy dress.
(Bessie runs to a tree, from behind which she takes the fairy robe and runs to rejoin Ruth. - Together they hold the gown suspended over the head of Marvel while they say, in unison:)
BESSIE AND RUTH:
We, by our mortal powers, declare
This Prince shall be a Princess fair;
For unto her we now restore
The very form she had before!
(They drop the gown, which covers Marvel.)
We thank you, maidens, and decree
Your lives shall long and happy be.
For those who help the helpless learn
They also will be helped in turn.
A gracious act is sure to find
A sweet reward with it entwined!
(The girls again sink upon their knees, while the Queen extends her arms over their heads. - All remain motionless, forming a picture, as the curtain slowly closes in.)
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 17, 1918.
Some Spring Riddles
The insectivorous answers to the Forgetful Poet's verses were cricket, spider, beetle, roach and locust. This week Mr. History and Mr. G. Ography have sent us some riddles. The Forgetful Poet says he thinks we have enough history and geography in the war news, but I think he is a bit jealous. Anyway, we shall have his verses next week to cheer us up again.
By prefixing a letter to one European country you will have another.
Name the neutral European countries in this war.
Can you tell the following States by their nicknames, Bay State, Panhandle, Pine Tree, Keystone, Lone Star, Hoosier, Empire and Old Dominion?
And can you tell the people of the States by their nicknames: Fly-Up-the-Creeks, Knickerbockers, Green Mountain Boys and Wolverines?
Mr. History says that a moisture found in the early-morning meadows will give you an American naval man, and a material used in building, an American general in the present war.
[Answers next time.]
Copyright © 2006 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.
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