Thorvaldur Thorsteinsson

The Message Pouch

Translated by Alda Sigmundsdóttir

This translation was made possible with the support of
Fund for the Promotion of Icelandic Literature


  • DRIBBLE, a forest-dwarf
  • MAMMALINE, a seamstress
  • PUCK, her son
  • SNEAKY, a spy dwarf
  • BIG DWARF HATCH, an inventor dwarf
  • SNOW WHITE ANIMALS, big and small

Translators‚ note:
The songs, it should be noted, are translated for content only and are not intended for musical adaptation in the form in which they appear.


On the stage we see the Enchanted Forest. The play begins with an overture. At first only little movement is visible, as the sun backstage is just beginning to rise. As its rays stretch out further over the forest and in between the branches of the trees the audience hears how birds and other animals of the forest awaken and begin the day with a happy song, greeting each other with warmth. Soon the sounds of a flute can be heard from within the forest and the song of Dribble the forest-dwarf drifts out through the trees just before he himself appears, singing happily with a flute between his fingers and a big leather pouch hanging from his belt.


On my short legs in this big forest
Back and forth I run
A tassel cap set on my head
’Till everything is done.
No matter what the weather be
To all business I have to see
And do what I can, though at times I allow
My short-term memory does let me down.

DRIBBLE:  Good morning, tree. I hear you’re branching out into the trunk business?

TREE:  Whaaaat?

DRIBBLE:  Just remember where your roots are!

So much there is to keep in mind
For cunning dwarves like me
To grasp all sorts of messages
Relay them perfectly I take care of most everything
My work is hard, but still I sing
And do all I can though at times I allow
My short-term memory does let me down.

DRIBBLE:  Ah, good morning, Rock. Stone cold sober, I trust?

BOULDER:  yawns Yes, yes.

DRIBBLE:   And slept like a rock, naturally?

Yes everyone depends on me
But me – I don’t complain.
I always see the sun shine through
When others just see rain.
Adventures are my favourite thing
My expertise to them I bring
And do all I can through at time I allow
My short-term memory ...
My short-term memory does let me down.

DRIBBLE:  Good morning, bird! A harmonious beginning to the day ...?

BIRD:  Whistles the first part of Dribble’s song.

DRIBBLE:  Accompanies the bird on his flute, playing the first part of the song, then continuing ...

I do most things that must be done
To and fro, all day I run
And do all I can, though at times I allow
My short-term memory does let me down.

Fairy-tale characters suddenly begin appearing and then disappearing among the trees on their way through the forest – Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White. The riff-raff can also be seen: the Wolf, the Stepmother and the Witch, hovering nearby. Mammaline’s and Puck’s house appears as soon as the fairy-tale characters have slipped into the forest. Trees in various shapes are visible all around; most are tall and stately with a friendly air. Some appear smiling or impish, with a warm, inviting character. Out in front of the house Mammaline has already begun her morning chores. She takes no notice of Dribble as she turns this way and that, picking a lot of small freshly-laundered shorts off a clothes line.

MAMMALINE:  Sees Dribble. Dribble forest-dwarf! Welcome, dear sweet little friend!

DRIBBLE:  manly. Good morning seamstress Mammaline.

MAMMALINE:  Well, aren’t we up early today! The sun is barely over Daybreak mountain and already you’re here with a pillow mark on your cheek.

DRIBBLE:  Yes, those of us who hold the major positions of responsibility here in the forest must begin our day early. You know that as well as I do, Mammaline.

MAMMALINE:  Yes, quite right. I really don’t know how we would manage here in the Enchanted Forest if we didn’t have such an observant and hard-working forest dwarf as you, Dribble, to run all those ... demanding errands and to carry all those important messages from one forest-dweller to another.

DRIBBLE:  Yes, absolutely, those difficult errands are my department, completely. And those important messages. They call upon my special talents. Yes indeed, Mammaline.

MAMMALINE:  And never mind that you are sometimes just a wee bit forgetful.

DRIBBLE:  Forgetful? I don’t recall being particularly forgetful ... though my short-term memory has occasionally let me down. But is that any wonder, considering all the things I have to keep in mind? Like the other day for instance, when Bigdwarf sent me to you with an order for eight table-cloths and forty-four tassel-caps! Just think, Mammaline! Forty-four! That many tassel-caps just don’t fit into one single dwarf-memory, so it is no wonder that the order should get a little mixed-up ....

MAMMALINE:  .... And change to eight serviettes and fourteen pairs of underwear. I know, Dribble darling. With such pressure it is quite natural that something should go wrong. And today, do you remember why you were sent here today?

DRIBBLE:  Do I remember why I was sent here today?


DRIBBLE:  Do I ...? In other words, you are asking me whether I remember the purpose of my errand here today?

MAMMALINE:  Yes. You must have a message for me?

DRIBBLE:  A message? Do you mean ....

MAMMALINE:  Or did you come to visit my little Puck? He was here just a moment ago. Calls. Puck! Puck darling! Your friend Dribble is here! Oh, where has he run off to now? You didn’t happen to see him along the way, did you?

DRIBBLE:  Uncomfortable. No, not that I recall. And ... yes I was sent here with a message from Bigdwarf but ... I just ... er ... it is so strange, it’s as if ....

MAMMALINE:  Kind. Oh, my dearest Dribble. Something tells me you will have to run all the way back to Bigdwarf and ask him. Listen, I’ll hold on to your lunch bag for you while you do that. It is much too big and heavy to be carrying back and forth with you.

DRIBBLE:  Tries long and hard to loosen the pouch from his belt, talking the entire time. Yes, Mammaline, something is not as it should be, which means that I must investigate this matter and that quite seriously, and for that reason I shall go right back to Bigdwarf and set the matter straight with him ... hands her the pouch and I must ask you to hold on to the pouch for me ... stops as he is about to disappear into the forest , muttering to himself ... the pouch ...

MAMMALINE:  Weighing the pouch in her hands. This is a strange lunch bag. It looks like it is chock full but it’s light as a feather ....

DRIBBLE:  Comes running, speaking urgently. That is because that is no ordinary lunch bag! He tears the pouch from Mammaline’s hand and holds it close to his chest, looking around furtively like he is afraid someone will hear. Mammaline. This is a ... message pouch!

MAMMALINE:  Surprised and a little loud. A message ....

DRIBBLE:  Shhhh!

MAMMALINE:  Softly. ... pouch?

DRIBBLE:  Proud. This is Hatch the inventor dwarf’s latest invention, a completely new invention that has never been invented before and was invented only by him. Listen, he told Sneaky the spy dwarf, who told me because we are friends, that this invention was inspired by the forgetfulness of Dribble the forest-dwarf. And that’s me!

MAMMALINE:  But what is so great about this message ....

DRIBBLE:  Shhhh!

MAMMALINE:  Whispers. ...pouch?

DRIBBLE:  Grave. Dearest Mammaline. I have no doubt that in your lengthy life and career as a seamstress here in the Enchanted Forest you have witnessed many strange and wonderful things ... but I do believe I can safely say that you have never, I repeat, never, seen anything remotely like what you are about to hear.

He undoes the knot on the pouch and when he opens it the voice of Bigdwarf sounds from within it. The voice enunciates carefully.

BIGDWARF:  Dear Mammaline. This is Bigdwarf speaking from the Message Pouch, Hatch the inventor dwarf’s latest invention. It is designed in such a way that anyone who needs to send a message long-distance just speaks into it and then closes it with a dwarf-knot. Then the next time it is opened you can hear what was said. Can you hear me now? Hello! The voice of HATCH the inventor dwarf can be heard from inside the pouch: “Yes, I’m sure she can hear you. Just keep talking, Bigdwarf.” Yes. Dribble must be fetching the dwarf shorts from you now and I would like to take the opportunity to order a few hankies for Sneaky the spy dwarf. He has come down with such a terrible cold. And two new tassel-caps to replace the ones that were eaten by the bull ....

Dribble peers into the pouch like he believes Bigdwarf to have stopped speaking, then gets a jolt when the voice booms back out at him.

BIGDWARF:  ... Thank you ever-so much. Bigdwarf, your neighbour in the Enchanted Forest.

DRIBBLE:  And now ... he checks to make sure ... the pouch is empty.

MAMMALINE:  Goodness! That is truly something! I am sure it will come in very handy for you, Dribble dear, in your position of responsibility. Now, you tell Bigdwarf that the two tassel-caps will be ready tomorrow, as will the ten hankies. And ....

DRIBBLE:  Starts counting on his fingers but then stops. Looks at the pouch and his face lights up. Mammaline. Just tell him yourself! He picks up the pouch and opens it for Mammaline.

MAMMALINE:  Yes, of course. I’ll just tell him myself. Speaks loud and clear into the pouch, enunciating. Dear Bigdwarf. This is seamstress Mammaline speaking. I just wanted to let you know that the tassel-caps will be ready tomorrow and the hankies too. Well, that’s about all, then. Bye, bye, waves into the pouch seamstress Mammaline.

DRIBBLE:  Closes the pouch quickly and attaches it to his belt. That went really well. Especially because you have such a clear and beautiful voice, Mammaline ....

MAMMALINE:  Pretends not to hear the compliment; instead fetches the pile of shorts that she was taking off the clothes line earlier, placing them on Dribble’s outstretched arms. He can barely see over them. Too bad you didn’t get to see my little Puck. I’m willing to bet he’s out on an adventure-hunt in the forest. But I’m sure you will see him tomorrow, Dribble dear. She gives him a good-bye peck on the forehead.

DRIBBLE:  Staggers off into the forest, his voice audible from behind the pile of shorts. Yes, if you would remember to say hello to him from me and that I will see him tomorr ... Oh! Ouch ...!

There is the loud snap of a branch breaking above Dribble’s head, Puck crashes down on top of him and the shorts go flying.

MAMMALINE:  Puck! Have you lost your marbles? Do you want to seriously injure your best friend? And mess up the new order of shorts?

PUCK:  Oh Mamma, I was just trying to find a golden apple and some of those magical birds like the princes in the fairy tales always do. And just when I saw one bird, the magic bird, the branch I was on broke, the bird flew away ... and I ... I didn’t mean to fall on top of Dribble ....

DRIBBLE :  Picking up the shorts with Mammaline and some of the forest animals helping. Aw, don’t worry, Prince Charming, it could have been much worse. Secretive. For one awful moment I thought it might be the Night Troll!

The moment he mentions the Night Troll Mammaline sends him a severe look, as though that apparition is under no circumstances to be mentioned in Puck’s presence. The animals all run for shelter, while Puck is clearly intrigued, hearing about this for the first time.

PUCK:  The Night Troll?

DRIBBLE:  But then of course I remembered that it couldn’t possibly be out and about while the sun is shining ...

PUCK:  Is there really a Night Troll? Really and truly?

DRIBBLE:  Yes, but out in the sun it would immediately turn to stone ....

PUCK:  Turn to stone?

DRIBBLE:  Yes, if it were to stick its wretched nose out of its cave on such a sun-shiny day.

PUCK:  Have you seen it?

DRIBBLE:  Philosophical Seen and seen ....

MAMMALINE:  Dribble darling. Don’t you think it’s time for you to be on your way?

PUCK:  But where is it? Where does it live?

DRIBBLE:  Up on Troll Mountain, of course!

PUCK:  Wow! And is it huge?

DRIBBLE:  Oh, it’s huge all right ... massive, actually.

MAMMALINE:  Dribble forest-dwarf! Surely the other dwarfs are waiting for you?

DRIBBLE:  catching on. Yes. Oh ... yes yes yes, most certainly. You are asking, Mammaline, whether it would not be advisable for me to be on my way now with the order of shorts and all that, so in other words ... right, ohhhhn my way .... He rushes off into the forest.

PUCK:  Impatient, wants to run after Dribble but Mammaline stops him and half drags him into the house. No, wait Dribble, you didn’t finish telling me ... like, can the Night Troll come into our house? Is it dangerous?

The door shuts behind them and the lights dim while the stage turns, so as to show the inside of the house when they go up again.

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It is evening in Mammaline’s and Puck’s home. Sneaky the spy dwarf has dropped by for a short visit. On the stage we see the inside of the house; all around it there is dark forest and in the background tall distant mountains and a starry night-time sky.

MAMMALINE:  Another sip of milk before you go out spying again, Sneaky dear?

SNEAKY:  No, thank you, no, dear Mammaline, I wasn’t planning to stay long at all. The spy dwarf is on the night shift in the Enchanted Forest and must ....

PUCK:  .... must find the Night Troll!

SNEAKY:  The Night Troll? Do you mean ... the Night Troll?

MAMMALINE:  Oh, Dribble was going on about something ....

PUCK:  Yes, Dribble told me about it today, it is really massive and lives in an awful cave up on Troll Mountain and ....

MAMMALINE:  Darling Puck, forget about that silly old Night Troll. I don’t understand what Dribble was thinking or why he was mentioning it to you ... he certainly hasn’t seen it.

SNEAKY:  No, Dribble couldn’t have seen it because there is no Night Troll. It doesn’t exist – except maybe in Dribble’s head.

MAMMALINE:  Exactly!

SNEAKY:  Dribble the forest-dwarf is forever making up all sorts of far-out fairy tales and then mixes them all up – the ones he makes up himself and those that actually happen here in the forest.

PUCK:  What fairy tales actually happen in the Enchanted Forest?

MAMMALINE:  The fairy tale about Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, for example!

SNEAKY:  Right, when Little Red Riding Hood is on her way through the forest to visit her grandmother and meets the Wolf who is so hungry that he eats both the grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood!

MAMMALINE:  And the fairy tale about Hansel and Gretel!

SNEAKY:  Oh, dreadful! Hansel and Gretel driven out into the forest because there is not enough food at home, and they wind up in the gingerbread house with the Witch who plans to eat Hansel when he is fat enough!

PUCK:  Everyone must be really hungry in fairy tales, right Mammaline?

MAMMALINE:  Yes, I suppose so. Are you sure you don’t want just a teeny bit more, Sneaky dear?

SNEAKY:  And let’s not forget about Snow White. She was careless and bit into the poisoned apple that the evil Stepmother brought her and then fell down as if she were dead, poor beautiful young thing ...

PUCK:  I don’t like sad stories like that. Has an idea Hey, know what? I’m going to change them!

MAMMALINE:  What are you going to change, little Puck?

PUCK:  The fairy tales. I’m going to change them to make them better.

SNEAKY:  Better?

PUCK:  Yes. I’ll go into the forest, jump in front of Little Red Riding Hood and say to her: “Little Red Riding Hood, don’t go into your grandmother’s house because the Wolf is in there waiting for you."

SNEAKY:  Acts Little Red Riding Hood What wolf? I don’t see a wolf!

PUCK:  Appalled The Wolf! The Wolf in the fairy tale who tricked you away from the road to pick flowers.

SNEAKY:  I see!

PUCK:  He ate your grandmother while you were dawdling and now he’s going to eat you too!

SNEAKY:  Really?

PUCK:  Yes, but then I save you – or Little Red Riding Hood, I mean.

SNEAKY:  Phew, what a relief!

PUCK:  And then I run still further into the forest and tell Hansel and Gretel to watch out for the gingerbread house ... and then ... and then ....

SNEAKY:  And then there’s Snow White!

PUCK:  .... Yes, I know that! She’s just about to take a big bite out of the poisoned apple when I shout at her, “Snow White, don’t bite into the apple! Don’t bite into the apple! It’s poisoned!” And then she changes her mind about biting into the apple and is so glad that she kisses me on the cheek, see – here. And I’ll never wash it off!

MAMMALINE:  And so she doesn’t fall to the ground as if she’s dead?

PUCK:  Happy No, nothing like that ....

SNEAKY:  And then she doesn’t get put into the glass coffin?

PUCK:  Nope!

MAMMALINE:  So when the handsome prince comes riding past he doesn’t see Snow White at all because she is inside with the dwarfs, doing the housework?

PUCK:  Thoughtful You mean the end changes ...?

MAMMALINE:  Not just the end. There is no fairy tale if you or anyone else stop Snow White from eating the poisoned apple.

SNEAKY:  And it would be kind of boring if the Wolf didn’t get to swallow Little Red Riding Hood!

MAMMALINE:  Or if Hansel and Gretel weren’t lured into the Witch’s house.

SNEAKY:  Yes, there simply would not be any fairy tales if everyone was good in the Enchanted Forest and there was no riff-raff in Badcastle!

PUCK:  But what about the Night Tro ....

MAMMALINE:  Hey, what do you know! It’s night-time and there is no-one on security in the Enchanted Forest ...!

SNEAKY:  Right you are! Mammaline! Puck! Duty calls! Time flies! The forest awaits!

PUCK:  But what about the Night Troll? Are you not afraid of the Night Troll?

SNEAKY:  What Night Troll? He gives Mammaline a wink and leaves.

MAMMALINE:  Bye-bye, Sneaky! See you tomorrow night!

PUCK:  I bet the Night Troll really is real since Dribble said so. And one day I’m going to trick it out into the sunshine and turn it to stone. Then I’ll be a real hero, Mammaline, like in a real fairy tale, don’t you think?

MAMMALINE:  Is becoming tired of hearing this Sure, sure you will, my little Puck. Helps him put on his pyjamas and get into bed. But for now please don’t think any more about the Night Troll and all those fairy tales. Just reading them has been good enough for us until now, don’t you think?

PUCK:  Yes, but ....

MAMMALINE:  Remember that it can be very dangerous to wind up in real-life fairy tales – and they don’t always end well.

PUCK:  You know, I don’t think I can sleep ....

MAMMALINE:  Of course you can sleep, my little curly-haired angel. The Sandman will be here before you know it.

PUCK:  Fervently Maybe I’ll dream that I turn the Night Troll to stone!

MAMMALINE:  Yes, or you might dream about ... your birthday party!

PUCK:  Oh, yes, the time we invited all our friends in the forest and it took us days and days to make the decorations and bake the cakes because you wanted the party to be so special ....

MAMMALINE:  ... it was the world’s most important birthday party because you were the birthday boy ...

PUCK:  .... and you had already made my present without even telling me ... what I had always wanted ... he picks up a fetching little cap and puts it on and you told me I could never lose my way while I was wearing this cap ?

MAMMALINE:  Takes the cap from his head and hangs it on a nail I thought it would be best to sew it with magic thread so I wouldn’t lose you right away. You can sometimes be a little bit absent-minded.

PUCK:  Magic thread? I never knew you could make magic happen, Mammaline!

MAMMALINE:  Sure, I can make all sorts of magical things happen ...

She gets him to lie down ,tucks him in, kisses his forehead, blows out the candles and takes a lighted lamp with her into her room. There she undresses, closing the door behind her and humming to herself. Silence. The lights go down even further until only cool-blue moonlight remains. Movement in Puck’s bed. He crawls out from under the covers, listens at Mammaline’s door, satisfies himself that she is sleeping, gets silently dressed, gets a little something to eat from the table and then climbs up to the window next to his bed. He turns around, takes his cap down from where it is hanging, puts it on and then goes out through the window. Immediately the stage or set is turned so that the house can be seen from the outside and Puck may be seen coming out through the window. He strides off into the Enchanted Forest.

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Night in the Enchanted Forest. Puck moves further away from Mammaline’s house, which slowly vanishes with the help of a rotating stage.

PUCK:  OK, listen up you old Night Troll, time to start shaking in your boots because Puck the fairy-tale prince is on his way and is going to punch your nose so hard that you’ll never smell your stinky feet again!

QUIET WHISPER OF VOICES IN THE FOREST:  Fairy-tale ... prince...? Punch ....?

PUCK:  Thinks he has heard something, pauses, then keeps going. Do you hear? Because it’s about time somebody put things right here in the Enchanted Forest ... that somebody ... rustling is somebody ...? Hello? ....

VOICES-ECHO IN THE FOREST:  Hello? ... Hello? ... Hello? ... Hahaha ... Heeheehee ... Hello? ....

PUCK:  More hesitant. Nobody can scare me ... looks all around ... you better believe it ... nervous sure, just wait ... looks over his shoulder ... er ... I’m gonna go home for a little while and come back at a better time. He turns back, stops in a place where he believes himself to be more safe and raises a fist to the forest: And when I do you’re going to get it you stupid old Night Troll ...! He hesitates, turns to go in another direction, hesitates, disappears, comes back and finally he is obviously utterly lost.

VOICES:  While all this back-and-forth is going on Go home...? Home ...? Gonna get it ...! Get it ...! Bad, bad ....!

LAZY ANIMAL  (THE WITCH IN DISGUISE):  Is loosely draped around a tree branch and speaks very slowly. May I ask the young gentleman in all honesty: Is he lost ... or found?

PUCK:  Scared but proud I am not lost! I just can’t find my way back to my Mamma.

LAZY ANIMAL:  Oh, is that so? I’d say you’ve got yourself in a spot of trouble, to say the least, in fact quite a bit of trouble, and the question is whether this does not call for a little witchcraft magic ....

PUCK:  Magic?

LAZY ANIMAL:  Did I say magic? I meant tragic ... your situation, you see, for which a witch might wish for ....

PUCK:  A witch?

LAZY ANIMAL:  Witch? I didn’t say witch, I said which ... which way you might wish to go ....

PUCK:  Do you know which way is which?

LAZY ANIMAL:  An interesting question if I might... say so myself. And an interesting cap, too. In many ways. Or only one?

PUCK:  Takes off his cap but immediately puts it on again I don’t understand you.

LAZY ANIMAL:  Were you asking me if I knew every which way, or only one way, or some way in between ...?

PUCK:  Impatient Can’t you just show me the way to get back home to Mammaline?

LAZY ANIMAL:  Let’s see. You came this way ... which means that you are headed that way ... but not this way ... and definitely not in such a way that ... hm, but your and Mammaline’s house must be where it is ... which means there is no way to know the way ... For in the Enchanted Forest, every which way is no way....

Suddenly the animal vanishes and Puck is alone once more.

PUCK:  Calls into the forest Do you mean I should go here...?

LAZY ANIMAL:  From a distance Yes! And there ...!

PUCK:  Up ...

LAZY ANIMAL:  And away!

Puck ambles on a little, sniffling a bit, then sits down under a big tree and takes out his food. Suddenly a Hazardous Animal appears, clearly coveting the food.

HAZARDOUS ANIMAL  (THE WOLF IN DISGUISE):  You are just someone who is wandering through the forest all alone with just a little bit to eat though nothing substantial ... oh, oh, what a shame ....

PUCK:  Folding his knees against chest and holding tightly onto the food. Who are you?

HAZARDOUS ANIMAL:  Your grandmother! Hehehe, just a little joke! I am just someone keeping watch over everything ... and everyone, out here in the night ... always hungry for more, actually ... actually with a belly that is just about empty about now ... wouldn’t say no to a little ... a little bite of cheese, for instance, and a slice of bread ....

PUCK:  I can share a little bit ....

HAZARDOUS ANIMAL:  No, no, out of the question ... I am just someone who cannot with a clear conscience let you share those sorry little crumbs of bread and sad little bits of cheese with me ... no, I am someone who wants everything ... I want it all ...! Tries to grab Puck’s food.

PUCK:  Dodging Don’t! I’m lost in the forest and don’t know the way home and this is all the food I have ... you can have a little bit but not all of it ... that just wouldn’t be fair ....

HAZARDOUS ANIMAL:  But if I were someone who told you how to get home again ... and I got the food as a reward ... wouldn’t that be deliciously fair?

PUCK:  Do you know how I can get home again?

The hazardous animal snatches away Puck’s food. Puck is very confused and does not realise what has happened until he sees the animal vanishing into the forest.

At just the same moment a friendly animal appears holding a butterfly net. It is chasing a firefly.

FRIENDLY ANIMAL  (THE STEPMOTHER IN DISGUISE):  Yes, take that ... and that ... do you think you can escape that easily?

PUCK::  Believes this to be a saviour who has chased away the hazardous animal. Oh thank you ... you saved me from that strange animal ... how brave you are! Where did you find the courage to chase it away like that?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Animal? Chase? The courage? Well ... yes ... you see ... well it seems that all I need to do is to show up and ... they take flight ... er ... yes ... ... over there, wasn’t it?

PUCK:  Yes, exactly, now I can finally eat my food ... would you like some?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Oh, no no, thank you, no. What have you got?

PUCK:  Discovers that his food is missing and begins to sob. It’s all gone. And I’m so hungry and so lost and so all alone and so far, far away from Mammaline and ... and ...

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  There, there little boy, you’re not all alone because I’m here too ... and a few other ... critters ... none as fair as I, of course ...

PUCK:  Do you know how I can get ....?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Of course I know! How could you believe that you are really and truly lost, little Puck ... your house and that Mammaline of yours are just beyond those trees over there ... don’t you find me exceedingly beautiful?

PUCK:  Yes, sure, but I was just thinking ....

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  And if you insist on knowing my secret I will tell you. I manage to keep my skin looking so young and fresh with line-reducing moisturiser made from firefly wings ... she tries to catch one with her net Oops!

PUCK:  Would you be so kind as to show me the way home? Please?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  OK! Sure thing! You just go ... oh darn, it escaped my mind. Did you happen to see it escape?

PUCK:  Escape?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Pretends to look around. And now it is much too dark to look for it.

PUCK:  Is becoming seriously afraid. Who are you?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Who am I? Must you know that? You know, I do believe that has also escaped my mind! But you ask a question and demand an answer!

PUCK:  No, I just asked because you kind of look like ....

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Like myself, hm? We all look like ourselves, do we not? But you demand an answer, demand and demand, just like all children, overbearing and demanding, every single one of you ...

PUCK:  No, I ...

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  In other words you are forcing me to take action! And although I am dreadfully pressed for time I will do as you wish, rush home to my castle and look into the mirror ....

PUCK:  Castle? You live in a castle?

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Did I say castle? ... actually I meant home to my den underground ... your home is your castle, is it not? In my case my hole is my castle ... my casserole ... which I look into to find out who I am! And when I have found out I shall come back and help you get home to your Mammaline.

PUCK:  But I don’t need to ....

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  .... and you had better wait here, right on this spot, and not move a muscle while I’m gone otherwise when I get back I shall get us mixed up and will tell me who you are, understand? Goes.

PUCK:  Calls. Come back! I don’t need to know anything, except ....

FRIENDLY ANIMAL:  Angry. Puck! Don’t move! Disappears mumbling. Questions, questions, all they do is demand and demand ....

Puck is too afraid to do anything but stand rigid as a pole and wait, as instructed. After a short while a sound may be heard.

PUCK:  Is that you? Are you back?

More sound. A tree branch snaps. The sound of frightened animals, perhaps.

PUCK:  Hoping to drown out the dreaded sounds by speaking. I was only trying to say that all I really want is to go home to Mammaline. Right away, right now!

But instead of his friend the Night Troll appears, and is overjoyed to find Puck there.

NIGHT TROLL:  Ho-ho-ho! Mammaline, you say? You can forget all about your Mammaline because I am going to take you up to my cave and lock you up. And when that cursed sun goes down again behind Sunset Mountain I will turn you into a little troll-doll and then I can play with you for the next thousand years! Ho-ho-ho. And you will never get to see your Mammaline again! Ho-ho-ho!

PUCK:  Screams, twists and shouts so that his cap falls off when the Night Troll picks him up and starts heading up the mountain. No! No! Don’t take me away! Please, don’t take me away!

NIGHT TROLL:  Come on, cut out your twisting, kid, I’m in a hurry! The sun will soon come up and we have to be in the cave by then otherwise I’ll turn to ....

PUCK:  Stone! You’ll turn to stone!!

NIGHT TROLL:  You shut your trap, kid! Tomorrow night you won’t be talking like this no more ’cause by then you will be a little troll-doll and then I can play with you for one thousand years ... ho-ho-ho They disappear as the voice fades.

A short while later SNEAKY the spy dwarf tumbles onto the stage from the wings, clearly suffering from a bad cold. He sees Puck’s cap lying on the ground.

SNEAKY:  Here is Puck’s cap, and still warm! Here, in the middle of the night! What is going on?

Listens for sounds in the forest.

SNEAKY:  I wonder if he was here with somebody. He couldn’t have been here all alone. Calls. Puck! To the animals in the forest. Does anyone know where he is?

ANIMALS IN THE FOREST:  Presumably with help from the audience The Night Troll! The Night Troll took him! Took him!

SNEAKY:  Alarmed. What? What? Do you think the Night Troll took him? Was the Night Troll here? Oh, no, no, no! He turns to hide behind a tree but then realises that it does little good so he gathers up his courage and gets ready for a heroic chase; the spirit is willing, the flesh, however, is weak. I have to go after them! I have to! I am a spy dwarf! No question ... I wonder which way they went?

Trembles with fright but does his best to concentrate.

SNEAKY:  I wonder ... did they go this way?

Shakes his head so as to hear better. Listens again.

SNEAKY:  Or that way?

He appears to make a decision and runs a few steps in the wrong direction, but then figures out the right way, probably with the help of the audience, and takes off after Puck and the Night Troll, staying low to the ground.

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