Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WISHING MOON, by ABBIE FARWELL BROWN



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WISHING MOON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Sunny warm! Shadow cool! Sisters, do you follow?
Last Line: End
Subject(s): Fairies; Elves


CHARACTERS

Nature Sprites:
LISP OF LEAVES
RIPPLE OF RAIN
FLOWER DEW
BIRD SONG
FLUTTER BY
BREEZY BLOW
GRASSY GREEN
SUNNY WARM
SHADOW COOL
BEE BUSY, the Joker with a sting

Children:
KAYE, the boy with a four-leaved clover
BELLE, who works instead of wishing
EENIE, with a luckystone
MEENIE, with a horseshoe
MINEY, with a wishbone
MO, with a lariat, cowboy's costume
WEE, a little one with a butterfly net
WOE, a cross one with a mousetrap
WACK, with a big stick

SCENE: A green glade on the edge of a wood, back a hollow tree.

ARGUMENT: The Children have planned to trap a Fairy on Wishing Moon, and
each get his or her Wish without any effort. The Nature Sprites of course
know this intention and are amused. But Bee Busy the Joker intends to
teach them a lesson. She curls up in the hollow three pretending to
sleep. The Children, led by Kaye, trace her hither, each armed with a fairytrap
. They find and surround the Fairy and try to trap her. All but Belle, who
alone refuses to aid them, for she understands the Fairies through her
love and understanding of Nature. The Fairy charms the Children into
stiff, helpless figures, telling them how foolish they are to expect to get som
ething for nothing. Belle pleads for them with the Sprite, who grants her Wish
because it is an unselfish one and because Belle herself did her best to make
it come true.

PRELUDE of Nature Sounds, typifying the kind of Sprites who are
approaching: Lisp of Leaves, Ripple of Rain, Bird Song, etc.
(Enter, drifting singly and in pairs, lightly, slowly, the Nature
Sprites, who begin to weave a simple, wild Dance, singing as they weave)

FLOWER DEW
Sunny Warm! Shadow Cool! Sisters, do you follow?

RIPPLE OF RAIN
Breezy Blow! Grassy Green! Over hill and hollow!

LISP OF LEAVES
Sh! Softly, softly, Breezy Blow! Softly go.

FLOWER DEW
Flutter By, dear Flutter By!

FLUTTER BY
Here am I!

BIRD SONG
Grassy Green, Flower Dew, where are you?

FLOWER
Here, sweet Bird Song. Here, here!

LISP
Sh! Sh! They are near, very near.

BIRD
Who? Who?

BREEZY
Children, but who are we to fear? Ha, ha, ha!
(All laugh.)

BIRD
Why do you laugh, and why do they come?
It is night. Why are they not safe at home?

BREEZY
Do you not know? They seek us with traps!
Traps for a Fairy!

ALL
Traps! Ha, ha, ha!

LISP
Sh! Sh! We would not be seen, Sisters. Sh!
Breezy Blow, Grassy Green.

BIRD
But why to-night do they seek us out?
Wandering all roundabout?

BREEZY
This is their Wishing Moon, they say.
Wonderful Day!

RIPPLE
(Laughing)
They think they might catch a Fairy asleep,
And gain a wish which we must keep.
Their plans are deep! Ha, ha!

FLOWER
Traps to catch wishes
As if they were fishes.

LISP
Sh!

GRASS
What mortal can catch a Fairy asleep? The idea! How very queer!

FLOWER
They know they could see us, yes, they might,
In this one hour of this one night,
In the pale moonlight.
But catch us with traps! Oho, oho!

ALL
No, no, no!

LISP
Sh! I catch a murmur, what can it be?
(Faint humming sound.)

BREEZY
Where is Bee Busy, where is she?

FLOWER
Our Joker with her naughty sting is somewhere loitering.

GRASS
She is up to mischief, I'll be bound.

FLUTTER BY
Hark! A sound!

BREEZY
She is coming, coming. I can hear her humming, humming.
(Enter, dancing, Bee Busy. HUMMING SONG. Bee and Chorus. All
droning UM!)

BEE
Busy, busy, busy as a Bee!
Fairies are not lazy folks.

FAIRIES
Not we!
Orphan birdies are our care,
Orphan insects everywhere,
Tiny buds and tiny eggs,
Little feet and little legs,
Tangled webs and tattered wings,
A million, million, million things
Keep us whirling busily, busily,
Keep us twirling dizzily, dizzily.
Lazy, dazy a Child may be—

FAIRIES
But not we!

BEE
Busy, busy, busy as a Bee,
Children may have time to Wish—

FAIRIES
But not we!

BEE
We must keep the glow-worm lit.
Paint the blossoms bit by bit,
Twist the tendrils, push the snails,
Brush the little catkin tails,
Set the mushrooms out in rings,
A million, million, million things!
So we're always whirling busily,
Twirling, twirling dizzily, dizzily.
Teary, dreary a child may be—

FAIRIES
But not we!

(DANCE)

FLOWER
Oh, Bee Busy, have you seen the children?

BEE
They follow close behind me. I left a honey trail, a sweet
trail. They will not fail.

BREEZY
I hear them coming, trying to be sly.

GREENY
Their heavy feet tread down the grass, as they pass.

LISP
Sh! Listen!

BEE
Their leader is a smart Aleck named Kaye. He thinks he is
very wise. But I shall give him a surprise to-day.

FAIRIES
A surprise? Oh, what will you do to him, Bee Busy?

FLOWER
Is it one of your naughty tricks, Joker?

FAIRIES
Tell us! Tell us!

BEE
They think they can trap me. They will surround and stop
me. Catch me and watch me. Let them try. I know a secret, I.

BREEZY
Oh, what?

LISP
Sh!

FLOWER
You must not hurt them, Bee Busy.

GRASS
No. A Fairy must never hurt a human child.

BEE
Well, they are selfish, they are silly.
They must be taught a lesson, willy-nilly.
They know we do not like to have them peep
And peer at us, and yet they mean to creep
Quite near, and trap us in our sleep.
I will catch them!

FAIRIES
Catch them! Snatch them! Match them!

BEE
I will make a spell when they think me dozing.
I will snare them well, while reposing,
If they come nosing.
Catch them in their own poor traps, maybe.
We shall see. Watch me!

LISP
Sh! Here they come.

BIRD
Let us hide among the trees and watch the fun.

RIPPLE
Let us sing Bee Busy to sleep, and then be gone. Ha, ha! (All laugh.)

LISP
Sh!
(Bee Busy lies down in the hollow tree at back and pretends to sleep.
The Sprites gather behind on both sides and sing a mock Lullaby, while Bee
seems to sleep.)

LULLABY

FAIRIES
Fold your wings, gauzy wings,
Sleep, sleep!
Cease your busy flutterings,
Sleep, sleep!
No more honey for the store,
No more wax, no more!
Sleep!
Quiet in your little cell,
Sleep soundly, sleep well,
What of mischief? What of stings?
Sleep!

LISP
Sh!

FAIRIES
Sh! Sh!
(Exit Fairies, stealing away with finger on lips, laughing
softly, ha, ha!)
PRELUDE to Children's entrance
(Contrast to first Prelude, noisy, march steps, rough)
(Enter Children, led by Kaye, on tiptoe, trying to be
quiet, but very tired)

CHORUS OF CHILDREN
Creak, creak!
Squeak, squeak!
What a noise our shoes do make!
Till the whole ground seems to shake.
All the little grasses quake,
Everything asleep must wake!
Sh! Sh! Sh!
We are trying to be still,
But our voices are so shrill,
Echoes wake from every hill,
Sh! Sh! Sh!
How can children catch a Fairy,
When we know they are so wary?
She'll escape, we know she will!
Sh!

KAYE
Boys and girls, this is the place, I am sure. The
honey-trail has led us where a Fairy has her bed. Let
us look carefully and maybe we shall spy the Fairy under this big tree.

CHILDREN
Oh, we are so tired!
CHORUS (HUNTING FOR A FAIRY)
Over the meadow and down the hill,
Into the moonlit valley,
Wandering, wandering, wandering still,
Rally, O Children, rally!
Maybe the Fairy is hid close by,
Have your Wish ready and soon we'll try,
When we have sought her and caught her and taught her,
Each with the cute little trap we have brought her,
Under the silver Wishing Moon,
Our Wish she will give, soon, soon!

CHILDREN
(Each waving her trap)
I have my trap all ready!

KAYE
Steady, now, steady!

CHILDREN
Under the silver Wishing Moon,
Our wish she will give, soon, soon!

KAYE
I have a four-leaved clover, green,
That is a charm unfailing,
I'll wish for the finest boat ever seen,
So I can go a-sailing.
If a wee Fairy is hidden about,
I give her a warning she'd better look out!
When I have sought her and caught her and taught her,
Each with the cute little trap we have brought her,
Under the silver Wishing Moon,
Our Wish she must give, soon, soon!

CHILDREN
I have my trap all ready.

KAYE
Steady, now, steady!

CHILDREN
Under the silver Wishing Moon,
Our Wish we shall have, soon, soon!
(Children jump up and down clapping their hands.)
Soon, soon!

KAYE
Are we all here, Kids? Let me see. (Counting
in turn as if 'counting out.' Each child answers
here as her name is called.) Eenie, Meenie,
Miney, Mo, Kaye, Here, Belle —where's Belle?

CHILDREN
She didn't come. She's off somewhere.

KAYE
Oh, well. Wee, Woe, Wack. Are your traps all ready, Eenie?

EENIE
See! Here I have a Luckystone.

MEENIE
Look, I brought a big Wishbone.

MINEY
Here is a Horseshoe that I found.

MO
My lassoo will noose her, I'll be bound.

WEE
I can catch a wee one in my butterfly net.

WOE
Pooh! My stout old rat-trap is better yet.

WACK
Come along and find her, find her quick.
I will get my Wish with a great big stick.
(Enter Belle with a basket of flowers, mosses, etc.)

BELLE
Oh, Kaye, what are you doing?

KAYE
Hello, Belle. You are always hunting
around in the woods. Will you help us catch a Fairy?

BELLE
Catch a Fairy! No, indeed. You
couldn't, I wouldn't. They would
not like it. Neither should I. I wouldn't try.

KAYE
We want to get our Wishes.

BELLE
What are your Wishes?

KAYE
Well, I want a big sailboat.

BELLE
But there isn't any water
around here to sail it on. That is a silly wish!

EENIE
I want yards and yards of candy.

BELLE
It would soon be gone, and you would be sick, stupid!

MEENIE
I want a new doll.

BELLE
You have four already, Greedy!

MINEY
I want a car that will go.

BELLE
But you have no place to keep it, you know.

MO
I want a wild spotted bronco.

BELLE
But you don't know how to ride.

WEE
I want to be a great big girl, Belle.

BELLE
You silly little thing!
You will be big some day,
without wishing, and then you will wish to be small again. Everybody does.

WOE
I want a story-book that will never end.

WACK
And I want a bag of money that I can never wholly spend.

BELLE
Such silly, selfish
wishes! Why don't you
kiddies go about getting something worth while for yourselves?

CHILDREN
How can we get it, Belle?

BELLE
By working for it, not by a spell.

KAYE
(Disgustedly)
Oh! We want to get it without working.

BELLE
You cannot do
it. You have to
work to get the things you want. But see all these lovely things you can find b
y hunting. If you learn about them and find where they grow. (Holding up
mushrooms, berries, etc.) See, good things to eat, pretty things to
wear, sweet smells, dainty shells. These are better than the things
you say you wish for. And I know a story-book that has no end, and
treasure that you can never spend, too.

SONG, TREASURES OF THE WOODS (BELLE)
Come with me, O Children, come!
Into the old green wood,
Into the pleasant field,
Where Nature opens wide her story-book
Full of sweet things for you,
Secrets for you to learn,
Merry things to do.
Treasure to find, wherever you may go,
If you but know.
These you can never wholly spend,
This is a story book that has no end,
Come! Come with me!

CHILDREN
(Turning away)
We want our nice fat Wishes!
(Kaye has been hunting round during this song, not
interested. He now comes forward excitedly, pointing
towards the hollow tree.)

KAYE
I have found the Fairy. Look!
In this little nook,
Sound asleep in the hollow tree.
Just see!
But softly, softly, do not wake her yet,
Till we are ready and our traps are set.

CHILDREN
(Crowding round)
Let me see! Let me see!

BELLE
Shame! Go away. You must not spy upon a Fairy.
They do not like it. They have a right to remain
unseen, since they do such lovely things in
secret. You might hurt her feelings so that she could not work any more. I will
not look, unless she speaks to me first.

SONG, SECRETS OF NATURE (BELLE)
If you want to learn the Secrets that the Fairies know,
To the heart of Nature you must go.
You must love the little creatures that are glad and sad like you,
Bunnies in the sunshine, blossoms in the dew.
But Fairies will be secret, so let them be,
If they want to hide in a hollow tree,
Under quilts of greensward, or beneath the snow,
If a Fairy vanishes — let her go!

KAYE
Nonsense, Belle. You know very well that this Wishing Moon is our great
chance to trap a Fairy. Will you help us or no?

BELLE
No!

KAYE
Then, One, Two, Three. Out goes she!

CHILDREN
Go! Go! Go!
(They push Belle down stage to left, where she lingers, wistfully
watching.)

KAYE
Come on, Kids, and let us make our spell.
With all our traps to snare the Fairy well.
And just at the moment when she opens her eyes,
If we Wish suddenly, take her by surprise,
She will have to grant our Wishes every one.
This is how it's done.

SPELL
Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo,
Cape Nigrum digito,
Sive clamat solveto,
Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo.
Kaye, Belle — broken well —
(Children taking hands go slowly around the tree, while Kaye
sings the Spell. Then at 'broken well,' suddenly interrupting, each
begins to jabber his Wish. 'I Wish — I Wish,' etc. Each holds
her trap out towards the Fairy, threateningly, as if getting ready to catch her
, making a racket. In the midst of this the Fairy rises, waving her pointed
spear above them, which causes the children to stiffen into queer
attitudes, as if unable to move.)

BEE
Buzz! I sting you into quiet!
Give us peace from all this riot.
You who come to our beautiful woods
Wishing for dull things, bads, not goods!
I put on you the Spell of Nature,
Drawn from every Spirit Creature.
Flower Dew and Grassy Green,
Lisp of Leaves and Ripple of Rain,
Sunny Warm and Shadow Cool,
Breezy Blow,
Bird Song, Flutter By,
Bee Busy, Bee Busy, that is me!
Zee!
By all these I charm you still.

BELLE
(Clasping her hands)
Oh, what has happened to the children?
They are all so still!

BEE
They tried to trap a Fairy, silly ones, and they are trapped themselves. Y
ou cannot trap the elves.

BELLE
Oh, the poor children!

BEE
You are merciful and kind, little girl. You would not trap a Fairy if you
could, I am sure.

BELLE
Oh, no! Besides, I have no Wish — or had none until now.

BEE
You are kind and good.
You know the secrets of the wood.
I could not charm you if I would.
You are proof against my sting.

BELLE
Bees do not sting me.

BEE
No, of course they don't.

BELLE
Everything is so kind. Dogs do not bite me.

BEE
No, of course they won't. Nor kittens scratch, and birds are not afraid.
You love the creatures, gentle little maid. You know their secrets
———

BELLE
I do not know all the secrets, but I love to find them out.

BEE
(Temptingly)
Do you Wish to know them all,
Now all at once, the great and small,
Without study or trouble or time,
It is Wishing Moon, you know. Maybe
If you should ask a Fairy — like me —?

BELLE
Oh, no, no, no! I would rather wait and find out for myself.
Things are so much nicer that you get or earn, or learn, or make yourself.

DUET (BELLE and BEE)

BELLE
I don't wish any Wish, please, not I.
I'd rather fish for my fish, please, or at least try.
The nicest things are those you learn,
And all by yourself the things you learn,
Oh, my!
Just wait till I grow,
Such wonderful things I mean to know!

BEE
You don't need any wish, Child, not you!
Just help yourself from the dish, Child, that is quite true.
The nicest things are those you make,
Or go and find, and from Nature take.
So do!
I'll watch while you grow,
And you will be happy and wise, I know.

BEE
I hope the Children are listening. Zee!

BELLE
The poor children! I almost forgot them.
I Wish ———

BEE
Careful, careful, Belle! If you do Wish, oh, Wish well.
Remember the woman who carelessly chose
The pudding to land on the end of her nose.

BELLE
Careful is what I want to be.
I wish for something undone: but not for me.
I Wish you would set the children free.

BEE
Ah, kind little girl! Your Wish is granted,
Because a sweet, unselfish thing you wanted.
Come, dance a little charm with me,
And we will set the silly children free.

DANCE
(As Belle and Bee dance, the children come to life, and
finally join in the dance. Exit Bee, humming.)

KAYE
Am I dreaming, or is it true?
Belle was dancing with a Fairy. Belle, is it you?

BELLE
I think it was a Fairy, but it might have been a Bee,
You cannot trap a Fairy, now you see.

KAYE
If you are the Fairies' friend, I wish ———

BELLE
Be careful of your wishes, Kaye!
Let us all be friends of the Fairies, from this day,
Let us all make friends of Nature,
And of each little living creature.

CHILDREN
You must show us how, Belle.

BELLE
We will all learn together, and though we may not see,
The Fairies may be around us, under bush and tree,
All among the flowers, all amid the grass,
Loving us, protecting us, as we pass.
(Enter Sprites, dancing in a great circle around the
Children, who do not see them.)

CHORUS (CHILDREN)
We will put our traps away,
In the hollow tree,
Nevermore to catch a Fay,
We will leave her free.
We will never even try
On the Fairy's sleep to spy
We will let them be.
But the secrets that they know,
We will try to learn.
Then perhaps they will not go,
Maybe they'll return.
And our Wishes will come true,
When we wish as Fairies do,
And try our Wish to earn.

KAYE
I do not see anything, Belle. But I feel as if
the Fairies were all around us.

BELLE
You may be sure they are all around us.

FAIRIES
(Very softly)
All around! All around!

END






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