Dark Forest John Gentile. 1. THE FROG KING, or Faithful Heinrich

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1 The Frog King, or Faithful Heinrich 1 Dark Forest John Gentile To request permissions to stage, contact: 1. THE FROG KING, or Faithful Heinrich GM N/H P F K Green Man Narrator/Faithful Heinrich Princess Frog King King GM: IN OLDEN TIMES, when wishing still helped, there was a king who lived in a castle hard by a dark forest whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that she amazed the very sun itself! and she would leave the castle to play in the dark forest near by. N: (Begrudgingly) Yes, the Princess was beautiful. And in that dark forest under an old lime-tree was a well, and when the day was very warm, the King's daughter sat down by the side of the cool well. If she became bored, she would take a golden ball, P: throw it up on high into the air! N: and catch it. P: This ball was her favorite plaything. N: Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess's golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but (The Green Man catches the ball.) P: fell straight into the water! N: The King's daughter followed it with her eyes, GM: (Impishly, catching the ball) but it had vanished! Ha! (Vanishes) N: and the well was deep, P: so very deep! N: that the bottom could not be seen.

2 The Frog King, or Faithful Heinrich 2 P: (Crying) On this she began to cry, N: and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she thus lamented until a voice called out to her, F: "What ails thee, Princess?" (Croaking on the word Princess ) N: She looked around, P: and saw a frog! N: stretching forth P its thick, ugly N: head from the water. P: "Ah! It s you, old water-splasher! I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well." F: "Be quiet, and do not weep,i can help thee, but what wilt thou give me if I fetch thy plaything?" P: "Whatever you like, dear frog. My clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even my golden crown!" N: The frog answered, F: "I do not care for your clothes, your pearls, your jewels, or your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your table, and eat off your golden plate, and drink out of your crystal cup, and sleep with you in your bed -- if you will promise me all of this, I will drive into the well and retrieve thy golden ball." P: "Oh yes! I promise you all that you wish -- if you will but bring me back my ball!" N: She thought, however: P: "What nonsense that stupid frog talks! He lives in the water croaking with the other frogs. He can be no friend to me! F: But the frog had received her promise! N: and so he dipped his head into the water and dove down. And in a short while came swimming up again

3 The Frog King, or Faithful Heinrich 3 P: with the golden ball in his mouth! F: and threw it on the grass. P: The Princess was delighted! N: She picked her ball... P: (Running away) and ran away with it! N: (With attitude) Princesses! F: "Wait, wait!" N: said the poor frog. F: "Take me with you. I can't run as you can." N: But what did it avail him? F: Croak, croak!? N: She did not listen to it -- but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, F: who was just climbed back into his well again. (Sad croak) P: The next day the Princess sat at table with the King and all the courtiers, and was eating from her golden plate, when something came creeping F: splish splash, splish splash, N: up the marble staircase. And when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door, F: "Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me!" P: The Princess ran to see who was outside, N: but when she opened the door, P: there sat the frog in front of it! N: Then she slammed the door -- and sat down to dinner again. K: "My child, what are you afraid of? Is there a giant outside who wants to carry you away?" P: "Ah, no. It is no giant but a disgusting frog!" K: "What does a frog want from you?"

4 The Frog King, or Faithful Heinrich 4 P: "Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water! And now he is outside there, and wants to be with me!" F: "Princess! Princess! Fairest of the King s daughters! Open the door for me! Remember what thou saidst to me Yesterday deep in the forest glade by the well s cool waters? Princess, youngest princess! Open the door for me!" K: (Sternly) If you have made a promise, you must keep it. Go and let him in." P: (With petulance) She went and opened the door, N: and the frog hopped in and followed her, F: (Croaking happily) P: to her chair! N: There he sat. F: "Lift me up beside you!" P: (With indignation) She refused! K: (Firmly) Until, at last, the king commanded her to do it. N: Once on the chair he wanted to be on the table and once he climbed on the table, he said... F: "Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together." P: (With slow burning fury) She did this, N: but it was easy to see that she did not like it. F: (Cheerfully) The frog enjoyed what he ate, P: but almost every mouthful she took choked her.

5 The Frog King, or Faithful Heinrich 5 F: "I am satisfied; now I am tired. Carry me to your room and make ready your little silken bed, and we will both lie down and sleep together." N: The king's daughter began to cry! P: She was afraid of the cold frog, which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed! K: "It is not proper to scorn someone who helped you when you were in need!" N: So she took hold of the frog P: (with revulsion) with her two fingers, N: carried him upstairs, P: (with triumph) and put him in a corner! N: But when she was in bed he crept to her and said, F: "I am tired, I want to sleep as well as you, lift me up or I will tell thy father." N: Then she was terribly angry, P: and took him up N: and threw him against the wall with all her might! P: (Yelling) "Now, will you be quiet, you odious, disgusting, nasty frog!" (The Frog smashes against a wall. The Princess screams from recognition of her cruelty. She runs to the frog and, leaning over him, she weeps hysterically.) P: Oh, frog! Frog! I am so sorry! Please frog, please forgive me! I ll be your friend! I ll be your friend! N: But suddenly he was no frog -- but a King's son P: with beautiful kind eyes! F: He had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and no one could have delivered him from the well but a Princess, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom. N: The next morning, a white carriage came driving up with eight white horses and behind them stood the young King s faithful manservant, Heinrich. Faithful Heinrich had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness. And when they

6 The Frog King, or Faithful Heinrich 6 had driven a part of the way the young King heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. F: "Heinrich, the carriage is breaking!" H: "No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the well." Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, F: and each time the King thought the carriage was breaking! N: But it was only the bands, which were springing from the heart of faithful Heinrich because his master was set free and was happy.

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