THE FAIRY PRINCE

A PLAYLET FOR CHILDREN-IN TWO ACTS.

By L. Frank Baum.

LIST OF CHARACTERS.

PRINCESS MARVEL................................................................................................A Fairy in disgrace

BESSIE BODKIN..... ................................................................................ Just Girls, who meet with
RUTH RUTLEDGE ................................................................................  a strange adventure

QUEEN LULEA ................................................................................The Ruler of the Fairy Kingdom

JACK TURPIN...............................................................................................................A Highwayman


SCENE:

A glade in the Forest of Burzee.


ACT ONE:

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 to ward her, rather timidly, come BESSIE and RUTH. The fairy does not notice them, and they stand before her, gazing upon her wonderingly.

(At rise of curtain PRINCESS MARVEL is seen standing by stump at right of stage.  She sobs.  Advancing toward her come BESSIE and RUTH.)

BESSIE--Do not weep, my pretty fay;

              What has grieved you ? Tell US, pray I

(MARVEL does not answer nor look up.)

RUTH-I suppose some fairy frolic

              May have given her a colic.

(MARVEL looks up indignantly, then drops face in handkerchief.)

(No action.)

BESSIE------Wand'ring in the woods to-day,

                 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 to-day.

(No action.)                                                                                                                          (Looking up.)

MARVEL--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.)                                                                                                                                  (Sobbing.)

                I'm condemned--it's really true !--

                  To remain upon this earth

                 'Till I've done a deed of worth.

RUTH---------Then look up and try to smile;  

                  Deeds of worth are well worth while  

MARVEL--But, alas I 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.)                                                                                                               (Sobbing again.)

                  How I wish that I were you!

BESSIE-------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.

MARVEL--Deeds of worth may mortals do

                  Just as well as fairies.

RUTH---                                              True;

                  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.

MARVEL--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!

BESSIE-------But a boy you cannot be.

                  You're a fairy girl. you see.

MARVEL--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.

RUTH--------What! our mortal power, you say,

                  Transforms fairies as we may?

MARVEL--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.

RUTH--------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,

MARVEL--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.

BESSIE--------Tell us, then, what we must do,

                  And we'll try to favor you.

MARVEL--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.)                                                                                                                           (Hesitating.)

BESSIE-------Ruth, you take the magic wand;

                  Here's a stick quite close at hand.

RUTH---------No, indeed! I'd shake with fright.

                  You can do it, Bess, all right.

MARVEL--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.

(No action.)                                                                                                                 (Picking up a stick.)

BESSIE-------Well, to please you I desire;

                  So to magic I'll aspire,

(No action.)                                                                                                                (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 !

    (During this PRINCESS MARVEL is taken off, and PRINCE MARVEL is made to appear by sliding the figure on.)

(Marvel rises.--The fairy robe drops from

her shoulders, showing her now dressed as

a Fairy Prince.)

(No action.)                                                                                                           (Dancing delightedly.)

RUTH---------'Tis done! Good gracious, Bess; just see!

                  A lovely Fairy Prince is he !

(No lines or action from here until indicated, further on.)

(Bowing low before them. )

MARVEL--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?

(Doubtfully. )

BESSIE--------I'd like to; but I know not how.

MARVEL--Just touch your wand upon that bough.

(He points to a small limb on the trunk of a nearby tree.)

(Going to the bough and placing her hand upon it. )

RUTH--------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.)

RUTH-------And here it is!  So take it, Prince,

                 And may it make your foemen wince.

(Lines and action begin again here.)

(No action.)                                                                   (Taking the sword from her, and again bowing.)

MARVEL--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 !

(Move Prince off.)                                  (The Prince waves his sword and makes his exit into the forest.)

BESSIE--------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.

RUTH---------Yes! I'm hungry as a bear;

                  So let us to our castle fare.

BESSIE-------And after dinner we'll return

                 News of our Fairy Prince to learn-

(Begin moving slowly off toward one side.)                                                                        (They turn to go.)

RUTH--------I never knew before, dear Bess,

                 That you could be a Sorceress.

BESSIE-------Yet I'm not So bewitching, Ruth,

                 As you are-that's the solemn truth !

(Take off Bessie and Ruth.)                                                                      (They lock arms and walk away.)

CURTAIN.


(At rise of Curtain, PRINCE MARVEL is pushed on slowly.)

ACT TWO.

    (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.)

MARVEL--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 to fight ;

                  Yet here am I, condemned to halt

                  'Till I've redeemed my grievous fault.

(Move forward and backward slowly.)                                        (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!

(Move figure off.)                                         (He now strolls into the forest again, and passes from view.)

(Enter JACK TURPIN, a desperate highwayman.)

TURPIN----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.

(No action.)                                                                                                       (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!

(No action.)                                                                              (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.  

    (Move TURPIN to back of stump on side scene.  Move BESSIE and RUTH on, slowly.)

    (Enter BESSIE and RUTH, walking slowly and not suspecting the presence of the highwayman.)

 

RUTH--------It must be here the Prince we found:

                 And yet I do not see him .'round,

BESSIE-------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.

RUTH------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.  

    (Move TURPIN from behind stump toward girls.)

    (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,)

TURPIN--Stand and deliver, ladies fair !

                I'm bold Jack Turpin, I declare

                You are my prisoners, and so

                I'll take your jewels ere you go !

RUTH------Help!  Help!  Oh, gracious goodness me !

BESSIE-----Help, some one!  Come and set us free !

TURPIN---Y ell if you want to; yell, my dear ;

                 There's no one near to interfere.

 

(Slide PRINCE MARVEL on quickly.)

(PRINCE MARVEL rushes in, waving his sword.)

 

MARVEL--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 !

    (Move PRINCE and TURPIN toward each other, and BESSIE and RUTH toward back of stage.)

    (MARVEL advances upon TURPIN, who releases the girls and draws his own sword. BESSIE and RUTH shrink back, their arms clasped about each other.)

TURPIN-----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.

    (Push PRINCE and TURPIN together, as if fighting.)

    (They fight, clashing their swords together.  PRINCE MARVEL finally stabs the robber, w.ho falls flat and appears to he dead.)

(Move TURPIN off.)                                 (Placing a foot upon TURPIN and looking down upon him.)

MARVEL--So, robber! now your race is run,

                  And all your wicked deeds are done.

    (Move BESSIE and RUTH toward PRINCE.)

    (The girls run forward delighted.)

BESSIE------Oh, thank you Prince for saving us !

                 How fortunate it was that thus

                 You chanced our way!

MARVEL-Nay, say not so;

                 The fortune's surely mine, you know.

(No action.)                                                                                                                 (He bows to them.)

RUTH--------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!

    (Move LULEA on as if gliding gracefully.)

    (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.)  (Take off PRINCE, and have PRINCESS MARVEL ready to send on.)

QUEEN-----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.

    (No action.)

    (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.)

    (No action.)

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.

(Eagerly.)                                                                                                                                    (Eagerly.)

RUTH------And so you shall be! Prithee, Bess,

               Fetch here the Prince's fairy dress.

(PRINCESS appears. 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 !

(No action.)                                                                    (They drop the gown, which covers MARVEL.)

QUEEN--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 !

(Form a pretty group of all the figures except TURPIN.  The girls again sink upon their knees, while the QUEEN ex-tends her arms over their heads.  All remain motionless, forming a picture, as the Curtain slowly closes in.)

THE END.


Text transcribed and edited by Scott Andrew Hutchins. Text Source: The Best of the Baum Bugle, 1967-1969.
Afterword forthcoming.