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Title: Ten Puppet Plays
Author: Musette Morell
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1600701h.html
Language: English
Date first posted:  April 2016
Most recent update: April 2016

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Ten Puppet Plays
(and Production Notes)
Graded for
Lower Junior to Senior Classes


Musette Morell

The Illustrations are by Edwina Bell

First Published 1950


Many of our schools have puppet theatres and a legion of
experienced, or at least potential, puppeteers but until now
we have not had sufficient plays of the vital entertaining type
demanded by inanimate actors.

This, I suppose, is inevitable. It is easy to make a puppet
of clay or papier mâché but not everybody can weave, from
imagination and wit, a plot disclosed by lively dialogue.

Musette Morell is one of Australia's best-known playwrights
for radio and a popular writer for that most critical of
publics—children. In this book she has used her sensitive
instinct and sense of fun to provide teachers with plays that
will add rich variety to their repertoire of puppet shows.

The characters are sharply contrasted. Their speech is easy
to articulate and is immediately understood—for like all good
dialogue it has been fashioned to fit the tongue of the actor
and the ear of the audience. And since movement is life to the
puppet, the meaningful words are linked to plenty of action.

The author's notes on production are practical and
encouraging. The plays are easy to act and designed for simple
but effective presentation. They offer something to each group
from tinies to teen-age—"Bralgah the Beautiful" is the most
difficult, and has been included to test the mettle of the more
ambitious puppeteers and will repay the trouble put into it.
This book is a valuable contribution to the literature of
self-expression which is so vital to the modern teacher, and
will be welcomed.


Inspector of Schools; Organiser of Drama and Puppetry,
Department of Education, N.S.W.


The Three Bears
Xmas Eve
Xmas for Sneezer
Bush Cobbers
Peter and the Medicine Man
Feeding Wins
Doings of a Doowee (Aboriginal)
Orange Blossom and the Tartar
Bralgah, the Beautiful! (Aboriginal)
A Word Before You Begin
Production Notes



FATHER...big voice.
MOTHER...middle voice.
BABY...squeaky voice.


The curtain rises on the living-room.

The three bears stand in a row and bow.

BEARS: We are Father Bear, Mother Bear and Baby Bear.
You know us—were known everywhere.

FATHER: I'm Father.

MOTHER: I'm Mother.

BABY: And I am Teddy Bear.

MOTHER: Let's sit down to the table,
And eat our porridge now.

They sit.

FATHER: Too hot!

MOTHER: Too hot!

BABY: And mine is too hot, WOW!

MOTHER leaves the room.

FATHER: While we're waiting for the porridge
to get cool enough to eat,
let's all go for a walk.

BABY: Oh, that will be a treat.

Enter MOTHER wearing hat, and with a hat on each paw.

MOTHER: I have my hat. Dad, here is yours.
And, Baby, here is yours.
Now put it on, put it on!

BABY: I'll carry it in my paws.

They prance about and then go out left, all the time
singing to the tune: "Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush."

BEARS: Father and Mother and Baby Bear,
We don't waste time a-talking.
Put on our hats, our nice new hats
And all go out a-walking.

Pause. Then Goldylocks looks through the window.

GOLDY: I'm lost—and I'm tired what's more.
But I've found this house. I'll find the door. (Enters.)
A tiny wee house—how sweet!
It's clean and very neat.
And here's a table.
If I'm able
I'll sit upon this seat. (Sits.)
Too high. (Rises.)
This other one I'll try. (Sits.)
Too low. (Rises.)
Why this little chair is made for me. (Sits.)
Oh, oh, it breaks—it cannot be!

Comes to edge of stage and speaks to audience.

All you out there—do you know my name?

. . . . .

Yes, I'm Goldylocks, the very same.
I'm hungry—is there anything to eat?

. . . . .

Ah, porridge on the table—what a treat!
(Tastes.) Too hot!
(Tastes.) Too cold.
(Tastes.) Ah, this is very nice!
(Eats.) Yum-yum! I could have eaten this one twice.

BEARS: (Singing off) Father and Mother and Baby Bear
Are coming home, are coming home—

GOLDY: Is someone coming?

. . . . .

Then I'll have to go!

She starts to run out then comes back to say to audience:

Thanks for warning me, everyone;
it's kind of you. Now I'll have to run!

Runs out Right. Bears enter Left.

FATHER: Sniff! Sniff! Someone's been here.

MOTHER: Sniff! Sniff! Yes, and untidied the place I fear.

FATHER: Who's been tasting my porridge?

MOTHER: Who's been tasting my porridge?

BABY: And who's been tasting my porridge—and eaten it all up.


(Look at BABY'S plate.) So!

FATHER: Who's been sitting on my chair?

MOTHER: Who's been sitting on my chair?

BABY: Who's been sitting on my chair—And broken it all up?


(Look at BABY'S chair.) So!

FATHER: Sniff! Sniff! I smell a human smell.

MOTHER: Sniff! Sniff! I smell it, too, as well.

BABY: Sniff! Sniff! (Points off.) Look, she's there!

FATHER and MOTHER: Where, Baby, where?

BABY: On my bed—and fast asleep!

FATHER: I'll get her! (Rushes.)

MOTHER: WAIT!—let us creep.

They all three creep out in line. Suddenly there is a
scream and GOLDYLOCKS runs in, across stage and out
the other side. The BEARS follow, look under chairs and table.

MOTHER: She's gone—oh, deary me!

BABY: (At window) She's running home—I can see!

They line up, dance and sing to same tune as before.

BEARS: Why should we worry she got away,
she got away, she got away.
We can have porridge another day.
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!

They repeat dance and bow as:








The curtain rises to tinkling music. Girl and boy
puppets, all wearing pyjamas, stand around the
great fire-place.

ALL: We've hung our Xmas stockings—(points)—there!

4TH: Let's make our wishes—one at a time.

ALL: Yes.

They line up at back. Each comes forward in turn
to speak.

1ST: Dear Father Xmas, if you could
Spare me a doll—I'd be so good.

2ND: I don't want very much at all,
Dear Father Xmas—just a ball.

3RD: I want a Gollywog that's black,
And dances loudly clicka-clack!

4TH: Dear Father Xmas, please, I choose
A dainty pair of dancing shoes.

1ST: Blowing bubbles I just adore,
So—a bubble-pipe—and something more.

2ND: There's really nothing that I need,
But, oh! I'd love a book to read.

3RD: I'd like a ball as big as the moon:
And please let Xmas come very soon!

ALL (Jigging up and down): Yes, oh yes!

Sleigh bells off.

4TH: Listen! Sleigh-bells! Sleigh-bells, coming near!
To bed—to bed, or he'll find us here.

Bells louder as they come closer.

FATHER XMAS (Off; deep, jolly voice): Whoa, there, reindeers!

Bells cease. Pause. Then FATHER XMAS enters.

FATHER XMAS: Within this pack
Stacked in this sack,
Are sleeping-dolls and gollywogs,
Ships and trains and jumping frogs,
Rubber ducks and velvet dogs,
And lots of other lovely toys
For all my friends, the girls and boys.

(Turns.) Ho, ho, this is what I like to see—
The stockings hanging up for me.

(Hugs himself.) Ho, Xmas is the best time of the year,
It's the time for presents, good will and good cheer.
But these stockings are too small—too small.
They won't do at all.

(Looks around.) What, no one about?
They can't have gone out.
I'll just take a peep—

He tip-toes out. Loud snores heard. He returns.

They're fast asleep.
At least they have their eyes shut tight.
I've left their presents, so all will be right.
And to all you out there, good-night...good night...good-night...

He waves and goes out the way he came in. Is
heard calling: "Gee up, Reindeers." Sleigh-balls.
Tinkling music. The presents—Ball, Doll, Gollywog,
Dancing-Shoes and Book—enter from house
and caper about to music till a cock is heard
crowing loudly, then they scamper off.

CHILDREN (Running in): Happy Xmas! Happy Xmas!

They line up and sing "Jingle Bells."




SNEEZER...a little dog.

SANTA CLAUS...deep, kindly voice.




SCENE: A roadway. Backdrop of trees and flowers under
bright sunshine. SNEEZER comes in slowly.


SNEEZER: I'm a lonely little pup. (Whines.)
I've got to roam
Till I find my home—
I won't give up. (Whines.)
I'm too sad to even bark—

Lights begin to fade.

It's getting dark. (Blackout. Lightning.)
There's lightning! (Thunder.)
There's thunder! (Rain.)
A—and there's RAIN!...
I—I wish the sun would come out again.

(Storm rages for a while.)

I'm getting wetter...and wetter!

Rain stops. Lights begin to come up.

Ah, THAT'S better) (Bird heard.)
I thought I heard a little bird.

Bells and hoofbeats off.

But what's THAT I hear?
(Peeps off.) Why...THAT'S queer.
A sleigh—with bells—and reindeer.

SANTA (Off): Whoa! (Bells and hoofbeats silent.)

SNEEZER (Excited): A—a gentleman's getting out of the
sleigh and coming HERE.

SANTA (Coming in): Aha, a little dog. Hello, my dear.

SNEEZER (Timidly): Hello.

SANTA: And who are you?

SNEEZER: I'm nobody—I'm lost—Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo!

SANTA: Now, now, little chap, that won't do.

SNEEZER (Whines).

SANTA: You come with me.

SNEEZER: But who are you?

SANTA (Turns to audience): He doesn't know me, girls and boys.

(To dog.) I'm the chap who brings the toys.
I'm Santa Claus.

SNEEZER (Stands on hind legs, back to audience): Shake paws!

SANTA shakes his Paw.

SANTA: And now—into my sleigh!

SNEEZER (Startled): Are you taking me away?

SANTA: Yes. By your leave.
You see, it's Xmas Eve,
So I'm on my rounds to the girls and boys—
But now it's back to the workshop to get more toys.

SANTA walks off left. Dog follows slowly.

SANTA (Off): Gee up!

Tinkle of bells. Sleigh drawn by Reindeer, with SANTA driving
and SNEEZER in the back seat passes across from left to right
and out. Fade bells and hoofbeats.


SCENE II: >SANTA'S workshop. Backdrop of shelves stacked with toys.
Down front at side is the box for JACK. Curtain rises to the sound of
hoofbeats and tinkling bells.

SANTA (Off): Whoa!

Bells and hoofbeats cease. SANTA enters front left followed

SNEEZER (Gazing around): O-o-oh, by my turned-up-tail!
What a lot of a lot!

SANTA: Yes, there's a toy here for every tiny tot,
And every boy and girl.

SNEEZER: It makes my whiskers curl!
Let's see, you've got— (Looks around)
Jumping Frogs,
Bats and Balls and Mice!
Ships and Trains,
EVERYthing that's nice!
Do—they—ALL—fit—in—their stocking?

SANTA: Well, some of them hang up a pillow slip.

SNEEZER (Giggles): Shocking!

SANTA laughs heartily.

SANTA: But make yourself at home.
Find a bone.

SNEEZER: A bone—tee-hee!
That suits me! (Looks around.)

SANTA: I'll just go and pack my swag.

SNEEZER: Do you mean a bag?

SANTA: Yes, I've got to get a lot more toys

(Walking out R.) And then I'll visit MORE girls and boys

SNEEZER (Running around stage, singing):

Oh where, oh where is a little bone?
Oh where, oh where can it be?
Oh where, oh Where is a little bone?

(Bangs into JACK'S box.) Wow! (Flops.)

JACK: Are you re-ferr-ing to me!

He says this in the same rhythm as song, in a loud,
Punch-like voice.

Ha-HA, will I sing you a song?

SNEEZER (Flat on floor): Y-y-yes.

JACK: It won't be too long.

He sings, then claps hands.

Ha-HA, I'm the one to sing!

SNEEZER (Coming slowly upright): You certainly are, brother.

JACK: YOU like my song?—Ha-ha, I'll sing you another!

He sings. SNEEZER dances. Then SANTA enters from right with swag.

SANTA: Ha, Jack, time to get into your box again.

JACK (To audience): That's more than a hint—that's
speaking plain.

SANTA (Kindly): Down you go.

JACK (Down, then up again): No—no—NO!

SANTA: YES, I say.

JACK: Oh, well,! (Pops down into box.)

SANTA: Did you see my ballet?

JACK: You mean people who dance?

SANTA: Say, rather, people who jitterbug, tumble and prance!

In with you, Ballet—come along!
(Waves arm.) Give us a jig and a bit of a song!

Enter ballet. They dance and sing. Then caper off.

SNEEZER: Ha-ha, they certainly prance.
(Up on hind legs.) Wish I could dance!

SANTA: Now I must get on my rounds again. What about you.

SNEEZER: I've nothing to do. (Whines.)

SANTA: Oh, yes—you're lost.

SNEEZER (Whines): I don't WANT to be!

SANTA: Dear, dear, this is sad. You come with me.

SNEEZER: Woof? (Sits up and begs.)

SANTA: Yes. You will see such happiness in the homes where I go,
It will make your tail curl. (Woof?) That is so.

He goes out. SNEEZER follows.

SANTA (Off): Gee-up! (Bells and hoofbeats.)

JACK (Popping up): Has he taken pup away?
Yes, there goes his sleigh.

Fade bells, etc.


SCENE III: PETER'S bedroom. Window at back.
PETER in bed at left. He is very miserable.
MOTHER (Off): Are you in bed, Peter?

PETER (Raising his head): Yes, Mother.

MOTHER: Well, goodnight, Peter. When you wake it will be Xmas Day.

PETER (Sadly): I don't want Xmas, Mum.

MOTHER: Peter!—what a thing to say. Go to sleep, dear.

PETER: I—I—can't sleep.

MOTHER: Why not—are you hungry?

PETER: No. I—I—can't eat.

MOTHER: Have you hung up your stocking?

PETER (Drops head): I—don't want any—toys. I—I just

MOTHER: Now, now, I had hoped you had forgotten about Sneezer.

PETER: I'll never forget Sneezer, Mother. NEVER!

MOTHER: Well, try to go to sleep, dear. I'll put out the light.

Lights out. Moonlight through window.

PETER: Goodnight, Mum. (Cries softly into pillow.)

Pause. Then bells and reindeer heard.

SANTA (Off): Whoa!

Enter SANTA CLAUS stealthily. He looks at bed, shakes head.

SANTA: No stocking?

PETER (Calls): Mum. would you please put on the light.
MOTHER (Off): All right.

SANTA: Oh, you gave me quite a fright.

PETER: I suppose you thought I was asleep. but I wasn't at all.

SANTA: It's good manners to be asleep when I make a call.

PETER: Then it will make it square if you don't leave me a toy.

SANTA: Don't leave you a toy?—
I never met such a boy.

PETER: Yes, I SAID don't.

SANTA: Well, for THAT I just WON'T.

PETER: I'm sorry to offend,
But you see I've lost my friend.
And somehow, (Sighs.)
I don't want anything now.

SANTA: You've lost a friend?...That's bad.

PETER: He was the best friend I ever had.
(Eagerly.) If you'd seen him wag his tail and bark!

SANTA: Tail? Bark?...Ha!

Comes forward to audience and says:

What has a tail and a bark?—
A dog! Do you think the little lost dog could be his?
Well, we'll see. (Whistles to dog.)

SNEEZER (Off): Bow-wow!

PETER. (Springing out of bed): Sneezer! My friend—my
little dog!

SNEEZER (Running in): Bow—wow—wow!

They embrace lovingly.

PETER (Running to hug first one, then the other):
Oh, Santa! Oh, Sneezer!
Oh, Santa! Oh, Sneezer! (Ad lib.)

SANTA (Chuckling): And you're the chaps I thought were sad.
I've a present for you both. NOW who's glad?

PETER (Stage centre): Oh, this—oh,
THIS is the best Xmas I've ever had!

They dance and sing "Jingle Bells." At second chorus
JACK and ballet enter and join in.

SANTA: Happy Xmas, girls and boys. Keep your chimneys clean—
I'll be coming down them soon—YOU know what I mean!

SNEEZER (Dancing): Happy Xmas, girls and boys!

JACK (Throwing kisses): Happy Xmas, girls and boys!

PETER (Stepping forward): Happy Xmas—(throwing arms










SCENE: Australian bush; painted back-drop showing gum-trees,
wild-flowers, pool, large rock. A property tree-branch at one
side. Spiny enters:


SPINY (Singing):
To fortune-O! To fortune-O!
To find my fortune off I go!

(Snuffles) Think I'll ask cousin Platypus to come with
me—that's what! Suppose he's in his pool.

(Snuffles and goes close to pool.) Hi! Platypus! Platypus!

Platypus walks in behind him.

SPINY (Turning): Ha, when I see a boy with a duck's yellow
bill, the furry body of an animal, and the webbed feet of a
water-bird, I know it's my cousin Platypus—that's what!

He and PLATYPUS laugh.

PLAT: And when I see a boy with quills all over his back—so that
he looks like a prickly-pear—a long, thin, rubbery nose, with
two front feet pointing front, and two back feet pointing back,
I know it's my cousin Spiny Ant-eater.

(They laugh.) You wanting me, Spiny?

SPINY: Yes, Plat, I'm going to seek my fortune.
Why don't you look for yours, Plat?

PLAT: I might, too. This pool is a bit small,
and it'll be getting smaller if the weather keeps dry.

SPINY (Runs with nose along ground): Look!—the ants
around here are getting smaller and smaller; that's what decided
me to go—that's what!

PLAT: Well, I'll go with you, Spiny. We'll go together.

SPINY: Hurrah!

PLAT: Come on, then!

They bounce along arm-in-arm, singing.

BOTH (Singing):

To fortune-O! To fortune-O!
To find our fortune off we go.

Gum-leaves rattle as POSSUM appears swinging by her tail from
the branch.

POSSUM: Swish!

PLAT: What's t-that? (Falls back.)

SPINY (Snuffling as he snuffs the ground with his long
I can smell something but I can's see it.

PLAT (Rising): I can smell fur.

POSSUM (Sweet voice): It's my fur you can smell, boys.
I'm having a swing—look up!

PLAT: Why, it's a possum—a ring-tailed possum!

POSSUM: Yes, I've been counting the rings on my tail.
Do you admire them?

SPINY (His quills quivering with admiration): They're tip-top!

PLAT: We haven't time to admire things. We've got to seek our fortune.

POSSUM: Oh, are you going far?

SPINY: Maybe round the world and back.


PLAT: Maybe to the end of the rainbow.


SPINY: Maybe to the top of the highest mountain.


PLAT: Maybe to the deeps of the deepest sea.

POSSUM: Oh!!! (Wistfully.) Some day I will seek my
fortune, too. The leaves I eat here aren't as green as they
used to be: and if the weather keeps dry they will be even
less green.

PLAT and SPINY study her, then run together to whisper:
finally they say shyly:

PLAT and SPINY: Why don't you come with us and seek your

POSSUM (Dropping to the ground): Oh, I'd love to!

PLAT (Warningly): But I warn you, if you come with us
you'll have to be a cobber.

POSSUM: What does a cobber do?

PLAT: A cobber sticks to other cobbers. Hi, Spiny, do you reckon
a girl can be a cobber?

SPINY: A girl that can stick by her tail to a tree could stick
to anything.

POSSUM (Clapping pink paws): Oh, I'll stick—I'll be
a cobber.

They bounce out arm-in-arm singing:


To fortune-O! To fortune-O!
To find our fortune off we go!

Pause. Birds heard whistling, then the COBBERS enter wearily
from opposite side.

PLAT: Oh! We've been seeking our fortune for days and weeks.

SPINY: And weeks and months—Oh!

PLAT: But we must go on.

SPINY: Yes, we must go on.

POSSUM: Wait till I have a sleep. Flip! (Springs up out of
sight and goes to sleep.)

SPINY (Snuffles): Oh, she's snoring!

PLAT: This is what comes of your idea of bringing a girl with
us, Spiny Ant-eater.
Now we'll have to go on and leave her up a tree.

SPINY: We can't leave a cobber, Plat. Cobbers always stick

PLAT: It's hard to stick to a sleeping cobber.

SPINY: Shout very loud in her ears—that'll wake her up,
that's what!

PLAT: Okay.

BOTH (Shouting): Coo-EEE!

Pause, POSSUM snores.

PLAT: Oh, gumnuts! She still snores!

SPINY: Listen Plat, possums are scared of dingoes.

PLAT: Mmmmm!

SPINY: Let's both howl like a savage dingo. That'll wake her up.

PLAT: Okay.

The boys give a tremendous dingo howl. POSSUM gives her sharp
little cry and swings into view. The boys rush to side and look up.

SPINY: Don't be Scarey-flarey, Possum.

PLAT: Don't be upsey-dupsey, Possum.

POSSUM (Only her nose showing): Where's the dingo, boys?

BOYS: We are the dingo, Possum dear.

POSSUM (Very surprised): Are you? Who changed you into
a dingo?
You still look like a spiny ant-eater and a platypus to me.

SPINY: And we are. Please come down out of your tree. Possum.

POSSUM disappears and is heard scrambling down the tree.

Possum (Off): Here I come down—head first.
(Enters.) Here I am boys! (Yawns.) O-oo-ah!

PLAT (Grumbling): She's asleep again. There must be some
way to keep even a possum awake.

POSSUM (Drowsily): A band is a good way to keep one awake.

BOYS (Eagerly): What is a band?

POSSUM (Yawns): A band is a loud noise pleasant to the ear.

PLAT: She must mean the aborigines gum-leaf band.

SPINY: Well, we'll need gum-leaves.

PLAT (Tapping her): Stir yourself, Possum, and get us
some leaves.

POSSUM (Springing up out of sight): Flip!

Gum-leaves rattle and POSSUM is heard scrambling down from
the tree.

POSSUM (Off): Here I come down from the tree—head first.
(Enters.) Here are three of the best gum leaves front the
tip-top of the tree.

SPINY: Let us blow the music out of them.

Music off-stage played on combs covered in tissue paper.
The COBBERS hold the leaves to their mouths and sing as they
march up and down the stage.


Oh, a gum-leaf band
Is simply grand.
Ta-ra, ta-ra! Tra-la!


SNAKE: Hiss-s-s!

SNAKE has suddenly appeared at one side coiled like hose,
his head plunging at them. SPINY and POSSUM back to opposite side,
but PLAT is left midway, petrified with fear.

SPINY: Plat, Plat, came back!

PLAT: I—I can't move while Snake looks at me.

POSSUM: Oh dear, oh dear, Snake will eat our Platypus. Can you
think of something to help him, Spiny?

SPINY: N—no, Possum.

POSSUM: Can't you think of anything, Spiny?

SPINY: Well only a very hard thing, Possum.

POSSUM: Nothing is too hard to do for a cobber.

SPINY: W—ell then, we both march up to Snake so that he forgets
to look at Plat and—and—

POSSUM (Terrified): Looks at us instead!

SPINY: Y—yes...I'll go first, Possum.


SPINY: Because I'm a boy.

POSSUM: Ladies always go first.

SPINY: Only when going first is nice.

SNAKE: Hissss-s-s-s-s-s-s!

SPINY and POSS: Oooh!

SPINY: I have another idea, Possum. You go up to Snake alone.

POSSUM: Alone?

SPINY: Yes, and I'll drop on him from the branch above.

(Runs out and is heard calling from off.) I'm

POSSUM: I—I'm walking up to Snake. (Does so at snail's pace.)

SPINY (Off): I'm running along the branch.

POSSUM: I—I'm nearly running up to Snake. (She is now
in line with PLATYPUS.)

SPINY: I'm dropping on to snake! Wheeeee!

He drops in to sight and plumb on to SNAKE. Wild
hisses and SNAKE scatters. The COBBERS clap paws,
dance and laugh for joy. Pause.

POSSUM (Yawns): Oh, dear, I'd like a little sleep.

BOYS: No—no! We play the band to keep you awake.

POSSUM (giving them): Here are the gum leaves.


Music off as before.


Oh, a gum-leaf band
Is simply grand.
Ta-ta, ta-ra, ta-ra!
We'll fling along
And play our song-
Tra-la, tra-la, tra-la!

POSSUM: It must be a good band—it keeps me awake.

They laugh. Rustle of leaves off.

POSSUM: Can you hear something, boys?

SPINY (Sniffing feverishly): I can hear a little something,

PLAT: So can I.

Rustling of leaves louder.

POSSUM: It is little but it is growing bigger...and

TRIO: Bigger!

Rustling of leaves, off. The three cobbers stand
together in the centre of the stage and look around
fearfully. Bird calls and animal noises as creatures
bob into view from everywhere. EMU comes closest
and standing with his heavy feet apart and flapping
his large wings, says in a deep voice:

EMU: We came here, from there and everywhere to learn the cause
of the noise we heard. Can you, Spiny Anteater; or you, Platypus;
or you, Possum, tell us where the noise came from?

COBBERS (shyly): What sort of noise was it?

EMU: It was a loud noise; pleasant to the ear.

COBBERS (gasping): It—must—have—been—our—band.

(They giggle.)

EMU: It was very pleasant; wasn't it, mates?


The cobbers giggle and wriggle bashfully.

EMU: Possum, Spiny Ant-Eater, and Platypus, could we
please hear your band again?

COBBERS: Certainly. (They sing as before.)

Oh, a gum-leaf band
Is simply grand.
You play it as you go,
Oh, ta-ra, ta-ra,
Tra-la, tra-la.
You blow—and blow—and blow!

Joyous bird calls and animal noises. Song repeated.
Creatures join in and all dance. Happy laughter.

COBBERS (Going): Well, good-bye now.

EMU: Wait! Possum, Spiny Ant-Eater, Platypus. We
want you to stay with us—then we can have a concert
every day.

COBBERS (Coming back): But we have to find our

EMU: What is your fortune?

POSSUM: I am a Possum, so mine is the greener leaves.

SPINY: I am a Spiny Ant-eater, so mine is the bigger ants.

PLAT: I am a Platypus, so mine is the bigger pool.

COBBERS: Goodbye. (They trip out arm-in-arm, singing.)

To fortune-O! To fortune-O!
To find our fortune off we go.
We know good luck is waiting us:
Possum, Spiny and Platypus.
So yippy-ho,
And away we go.
And away.

All the creatures have turned to watch the COBBERS
out of sight. Now they wave a leg or a wing and call.

CREATURES: Good-bye, bush cobbers, good-bye!...Good-bye!...Good-bye!

Bird calls and animal noises as:


This play is a free adaptation of Chapter Four of the author's
book, Bush Cobbers, and appears by permission of the
publishers, Australian Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd.




SCENE: A bush roadway.


Peter enters singing dolefully.

PETER (Sings):

It's Saturday afternoon.
But there's nothing to do, boo-hoo!
There's no footer, no cricket.
Oh what, oh what, can I do?

Paste. Then he comes to edge of the stage and
speaks to audience.

Well, I asked you, what can I do?—
What do you do on a Saturday afternoon!—
Quiet! Quiet! I hear somebody coming.
(Looks off.) He looks like a man, selling something.

SALESMAN (Enters): I am standing on a street corner.
Listen to me, ladies and gentlemen.

PETER: Ladies and gentlemen! There's no one here but
us—he might mean us.

SALESMAN: Listen to me—

PETER: Yes, sir, we're listening.

SALESMAN: Listen to me! Listen to me!

PETER: Certainly, sir.

SALESMAN (Holds up bottle of medicine): You see what I
have in my hand?

PETER: It looks like a bottle of medicine.

SALESMAN: It is a bottle of medicine. This is the most
wonderful, marvellous, wonderfully-marvellous medicine ever made.

PETER: Really?

SALESMAN: Yes, really. It can do anything and everything.
All you've got to do is to take my medicine and—

PETER: Why should I take it if it's yours?

SALESMAN: It's not mine. It's for sale. All you've got to
do is to take this medicine and—

PETER: Where shall I take it?

SALESMAN: Listen, can't you? Take this medicine and
you'll never be sick. Take this medicine and your hair will curl...

He waits for Peter to speak. Silence.

Well, don't you want to buy?

PETER: No, thank you.


PETER: Well, you see, sir, I'm never sick, and I don't care if
my hair curls or is straight.

SALESMAN (Shakes his head): A very difficult customer.
(Loudly.) Take this medicine and you'll make friends
and never lose them. Take this medicine and dogs will
never bite you. Take this...(silence) Well, don't you
want to buy?

PETER: No, thank you.


PETER: Well, I never lose my friends. If they ever get lost
they lose themselves. And dogs never bite me—they bite the cat.

SALESMAN (Shaking his head): H'm, a very, very difficult
customer. Your sales resistance is very high. (Loudly.)
Take this medicine and you can—you can do whatever
you'd like to do!

PETER (Excited): Oooo, can I really?

SALESMAN: Yes, really. Here you are, take this bottle
quickly and give me two shillings.

PETER: Wait! Wait till 1 think what I'd like to do. It's
Saturday afternoon and all the boys I know have gone
for a picnic, so there's no cricket and no football.

(Slowly.) H'm, now what would I like to do?
(Speaking to audience.) What do you say I could do?

Wait, I have an idea! (To SALESMAN.) If I had an aeroplane,
I could fly. That's what I'd like to do—fly!

SALESMAN: Buy this medicine and you can fly without an aeroplane.

PETER: Then I'll buy. Here's your two shillings. (Seems to
take money from pocket, hands to salesman.) And now give me
this wonderful marvellous, wonderfully. marvellous medicine.

SALESMAN: Here you are, and you've got a bargain.

(Gives him the bottle and hurries out.)

PETER: Now let me read what it says on the bottle. (Reads.)
"Magic Medicine." H'm, and how much do I take? (Looks.) It
doesn't say. Oh, well, I'll take a mouthful, anyway. (Puts
bottle to lips.) H'm; I seem to know that taste. (Drinks.)
And now—now to fly.

He places bottle on floor, climbs on to log.

Here I go—jump.

Falls flat.

Bump—oh!—Wait, perhaps I wasn't high enough when I
jumped. I only jumped from a log. This time I'll jump
from the branch of a tree.

He goes off stage and jumps in. Falls flat.


Bird whistles off. Peter looks up.

Perhaps I didn't take enough medicine. That must be
it. (Rises and drinks.) Now I'll try again.

Goes off. Jumps in. Bump! Birds twitter.

OH!! There's that bird again—listen!


Sounds as though he's laughing. But who could he be laughing at?

Twitter-twitter, are you laughing at me?

Bird gives single cheep.


A great chorus of birds.

H'm; that's what is called giving you the bird. I suppose.
Ha, I've just thought why they're laughing at me. It's
because they can fly and I can't. Well, anyway, I can try.

(Starts off, then stops.) Perhaps I should take some more
medicine. (Drinks.) All gone!

He goes out. Is heard speaking off.

I'll jump from the highest branch this time.

Birds twitter merrily.

JENNY (Entering): Why are all the birds laughing—

(To audience) What did you say the birds were laughing at?—

(Looking up) Peter, Peter, don't jump from that tree—it's
too high!

PETER (Off: Don't worry, Jenny. I'm not going to jump.
I'm going to fly! Here goes! (He comes sailing in and falls
flat.) OH!!!

Birds titter-twitter loudly.

JENNY: You surely don't call that flying.

PETER (Sadly): No—but it's trying.
(Rises slowly.) I'll try again.

JENNY: What's the use?

PETER: Don't you believe it's good to try, try, try again?

JENNY: Not when it's trying to fly without wings. Why, even the
birds are laughing at you.

PETER; But I took a magic medicine to make me fly.

JENNY: Where is it?

PETER: Here. (Picks up bottle.) But the bottle's empty.

JENNY: There's still a drop left. It looks like water.
(Drinks.) It is water.

PETER: I thought I knew that taste.

JENNY: Where did you get it?

PETER (Sadly) I bought it from a medicine man for two
shillings. He said if I took it I would be able to do anything
I wanted to do.

JENNY: H'm; beware of talk that is too loud—or too big—or too

PETER: I wish I could find that villain. I'd make him give me
back my two 

JENNY: Well, I hope you find him. (Walking out.) Goodbye,
Peter. (Goes.)

PETER: Good-bye, Jenny, I think I'll go and look for that old
medicine man. (To audience.) If he passes this way while
I'm gone, be sure and call me, will you?


Just call out "Peter" and I'll come running back. Now don't
forget, will you?

He goes out.

SALESMAN enters from opposite side.

SALESMAN: Ha! (Stands back, holding up a new bottle.)

Here I am standing at the street corner. Listen, ladies and

PETER: (Entering, says to audience): Did you call me?—
(Sees salesman.) Ah, here you are, you villain!

A crowd gathers at side of stage near SALESMAN. 

SALESMAN (Loudly): Take this medicine and your hair will
never fall out; your 
teeth will never fall out; and your shoes will never wear out.

PETER: It's a lie! Listen, people, beware of talk that is too
loud—or too big—or too clever.


PETER: Don't boo me—boo (points) him. And I'll tell
you why.


PETER: Because his magic medicine is nothing but coloured water.
I know, because I bought some.

Crowd gives an angry shout. SALESMAN runs out. They chase him
across stage.

PETER (Flopping down sadly): He's gone—and with my money,
too. And after all that flying on the ground, I'm no tired
to run after him. I'm nearly too tired to walk—how will I ever
get home.

Jenny has entered.

JENNY: Cheer up, Peter, I've been watching how the birds fly and
I've made a 
pair of wings.

PETER (Sitting up): Wings? Will they fly?

JENNY: You can try the wings out if you like.

PETER: Whoopee! (Jumps up.) Where are they?

JENNY: I left them under that gum tree. (Points off.)

Peter darts out.

Hm, he doesn't seem very tired now. Now, while he's gone, just
imagine he can fly. All you girls and boys out in front,
think hard of him flying. Will you?—

I will, too. And while we think about it, we may as well
sing about it. These are the words to sing—say them after me:

Oh, he flies through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young boy in the arms of the breeze.—

Good. Let us say it over just to he sure you know it.


Now we'll sing it. One, two, three—Sing!


Oh, he flies through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young boy, in the arms of the breeze.

That's right. Oh, just a minute. (Shouts.) Peter,
can't you fix those wings on?

PETER (Off): Yes, I've got them on. Keep singing.

JENNY: He said to keep singing. Let's sing those two lines again,
and after that just sing "La-la-la!" to the tune. And don't
forget, all the time you're singing, think hard that
Peter can fly. Ready?


Then one, two, three—sing!

While they are singing, PETER flies in wearing handsome
wings. He joins in the song and flies from side to side
and up and down in time to the tune. Birds whistle gaily as:






SCENE 1: PETER'S home. PETER sits reading a book.

NARRATOR: Peter spends his money at the corner shop,
For he will eat nothing but lollipop.


PETER (Shaking his head vigorously): No!

NARRATOR: Spinach?


NARRATOR: Just lollipop, lollipop, lollipop.

DOPE appears at window.

Peter has a horse and his name is Dope.

DOPE staggers in.

Peter feeds him on bones and soap.
The bones make him stiff. The soap makes bubbles.
But that isn't nearly all of his troubles.

PETER: I wish I had some money, Dope.

DOPE (Whinny): To buy soap?

PETER: No, you silly horse,
To buy lollipop, of course.

DOPE: I know a horse who made dozens of pounds.

PETER: Pounds of lolly?

DOPE: No, pounds of money.

PETER: Where did he get it?

DOPE: In a cup—isn't that funny?

PETER: What sort of a cup?

DOPE: He said it was a Melbourne Cup.

PETER: Oh, that's a race, you silly horse.
Men put their horses in the race, you know,
And whichever wins gets paid—(nods)—that's so!

DOPE: Peter, I'll tell you what you ought to do—
Put ME in a race.

PETER (Rushes to him): I think I will, too.

DOPE: I bet I'd win—I can run.

PETER: Oh, jiminy! This is going to be fun! (Rises and

I'll feed you up on bones and soap.

DOPE: I bet I'll win.

PETER: You're a grand horse, Dope!
Come for a feed and then to the race-course.
Make way, make way, for me and my horse!

They exit grandly, PETER'S ARM around DOPE.

* * *

SCENE II: At the Races. Painted backdrop depicting grand-stand,
filled with faces, all looking off left. JENNY'S head and arms
poke through hole in backdrop.

Enter PETER and DOPE right. PETER carries flag.

PETER: Well, here we are.
It wasn't far.

DOPE: What do I do?

PETER: Take a skip and a hop, (Points of) left.)
And run out there and never stop.

DOPE: Where do I run?

PETER: Round and round that ring.

DOPE: Won't I get giddy?

PETER: Not you, old thing.

Now go out there, and run.

DOPE: Cheerio, Peter, here I go!

PETER: Cheerio, Dope, you'll win, I know.

DOPE staggers off left.

Ooh, gosh! I feel a sort of nervous feeling,
My legs feel weak and my head is reeling.

DOPE returns.

What is it, Dope?

DOPE: I've sort of lost hope. (Flops.)

PETER: Why so?

DOPE: Aw, I dunno...
All the other horses look better than me.

PETER: But they can't run like you, you'll see.

DOPE: Mmm, I hope it's so.

PETER: You'll win—I know. (Whistle off.)
Quick, there's the whistle to start—hurry, hurry!

DOPE: Aw, aw—now I'm all in a flurry.

Whistle—a cheer, then noise of hoofbeats off.
DOPE staggers out. PETER looks off.

PETER (Looking off):

They've started the race—Dope's in it, now.
Oh, gosh! I know he'll be a wow!
He's running—But he's at the wrong end...
(Yells.) Run faster, faster, Dope, old friend...
Aw, now he's sitting down—oh, no.
(Yells.) Up, boy, up! Come on, give it a go!
He's still sitting down. (Groans.) He's lying down now.
Gosh, and I said he'd be a wow!

Wild cheers. Race finishes.

PETER: The race is over—and Dope hardly started.
And I...(Sits)
I'm just about broken-hearted.

DOPE staggers in and collapses. Long brooding
silence; at last DOPE raises his head and says:

DOPE: I say Peter...PE—TER, answer me!

PETER (Coldly): Yes...(DOPE sobs.)
(Relents): Yes, Dope-ee!

DOPE: I...I wasn't so hot.

PETER: You started all right, but—(gulps)—But you
shouldn't stop.

DOPE: I ran my fastest-fast
And yet I (gulps) came last.
It'll teach me not to skite.

PETERS (Gallantly): You were all right.

Clown enters from left and jigs about near entrance chanting.

CLOWN: Ha-ha-ha, He-he-he-he!
No one knows my secret but me.
I half-poisoned the best horse so he couldn't win.

PETER rises and crosses sternly to CLOWN.

PETER: So!—you half-poisoned the best horse so he couldn't win.
You must mean you poisoned my Dope.

DOPE: So I'm poisoned? Oh!

Drops out of sight.

PETER (Turns to audience): He half-poisoned my Dope.
Shall I knock his head off?

CLOWN pulls back out of sight. PETER turns and sees
he has gone.

Which way did he go? (Runs down right and asks.)
This way? (Runs up left and asks.) This way?

CLOWN (Down right): Ha-ha-ha. He-he-he!

PETER dashes after him. He disappears and bobs up again at left.

PETER: Ah, there you are!

Turns to audience.

Now shall I knock his head off?

Runs up to CLOWN as though to do so. Pauses and turns down
front to ask:

Shall I thump and kick him?
Shall I half-kill him?
Aw, somehow—somehow, I can't,
For if I half-kill him it will be as bad as half-poisoning Dope.
Anyway, if he goes around half-poisoning horses he must he a bit mad;
I mean he must be mad to want to do it.

CLOWN: Ha-ha-ha-ha. He-he-he-he!

PETER goes close and looks at him carefully, then turns
to say:

PETER: H'm, I thought as much—he's just silly.

CLOWN: He-he-he.
silly, that's me. (Running out.)
He-he-he! Silly, that's me.

DOPE staggers in.

PETER: How do you feel now, Dope?

DOPE: Well, I—I seem to have more hope.

PETER: Yes, I knew when you didn't win there was something wrong.

DOPE (Doubtfully): Still, I never could run very fast
or for very long.

TRAINER enters, dressed in a long-tailed coat and tall hat.

TRAINER: So here's the comic horse.
I nearly split my sides when I saw him on the course.
Why on earth did you enter him for the race?

PETER (Slowly): I don't like your face.

TRAINER: Why a snail could race him any day.

PETER: He would have won but there was foul play.
They half-poisoned the best horse so he couldn't win.

TRAINER: I know. But the best horse isn't him.
The best horse isn't cross-legged and rangy
with a tail that is mangy.

PETER (Amazed): You mean my Dope isn't the best horse?



TRAINER: No, of course.
Why, he's all skin and bone.

PETER: You leave my Dope alone.

TRAINER: That poor old nag...

PETER: Don't you call my horse a nag.

TRAINER: He looks as though he's made of rag.
What do you feed him on?

PETER (Proudly): Bones and soap.

TRAINER: Ha-ha! No wonder he gave up hope—
(Laughs.) Just laid down on the track—
laid down on his back. Anyway,
don't you ever feed him hay?






TRAINER: What a laugh!
Oh, by golly!
Why it's just as though a boy ate nothing but lolly
and ice-cream and pasties and things like that.
(Louder.) Well—he might get fat,
but he'd never grow strong,
and before very long
his teeth would fall out.

PETER: You needn't shout.

TRAIN.: That's what you're doing to this horse,
feeding him the wrong things—so, of course,
he falls down when he's entered in a race.

PETER. (Crying): I told you before. I don't like your face.

TRAINER: Eats bones and soap—
No wonder he lost hope.
Laid down on the track—
Laid right down on his back!

TRAINER goes out laughing. PETER flops down and he and
he and DOPE weep for a while; then DOPE staggers out and JENNY
runs in.

JENNY: Oh, Peter, why don't you get up?

PETER (Tries to and flops): I haven't the strength
of a pup.

JENNY: Let me help you—(does so)—Oooooo!

PETER (Flops): Even when you help me, too.

Pantomime as he struggles up and flops several times.

JENNY: Now lean on me—up—up—up. Now don't flop.

PETER (Staggering): I'm all right. (Flops.)
Oh, no I'm NOT.

JENNY: You're very weak—all you can do is flop.
Where did you lunch to-day?

PETER: At the corner shop.

JENNY: What did you eat?

PETER: Ice-cream and lollipop.

JENNY: I might have known.

Runs out and returns with cup.

Here drink this...

PETER (Drinks): H'm, soft at silk.

JENNY: It's milk!

PETER: MILK!! (Collapses front shock.)

JENNY: Now wait some more.

Runs out and returns with bowl.

PETER (Eating): I've never tasted that lolly before.

JENNY: It's cheese and lettuce and carrot grated.

PETER: And I ate it!

JENNY: You look better already.

PETER (Amazed): And feel it, too!

JENNY: You couldn't expect to grow strong on lollies, could you?

Now, try to stand up!

PETER (Up): Hurray, it's done!

I feel like dancing.

JENNY: Then dance—it's fun!

We'll sing—(name song)— to begin
and all you girls and boys out there join in.

They dance and sing, at end of song DOPE staggers in.

DOPE: Peter!

PETER: Yes, Dope?

DOPE: I'm hungry. Got any soap?

PETER: Yes, but I'm not feeding you any.
You're going to get many, many, many
big feeds of corn and chaff and hay.

DOPE (Amazed): Eh?


DOPE: All he eats is lollipop
from the corner shop.
Do you think that's right?


Hi, Peter, what about YOU?

PETER: Me, too.
I guess I'd better change MY diet.
(Slowly.) You heard of spinach?

DOPE: M'mmm.

PETER (Heroically): I'm—going—to—try—it!

DOPE: Maybe as well—you look a bit white.

PETER: I'll be all right. We'll BOTH be all right.

Music as they march out, PETER leading DOPE by the mane.


SCENE III: Same scene. PETER wearing DOPE'S colours, Green and
Gold, waves a flag. He has healthy red cheeks and is full of vim.
The race is heard off coming to an end.

PETER. Good old Dope! Come on boy—run!
Faster—faster. You'll do it, old son.

(Terrific cheers off.)

He did it, too...He won!!!

DOPE, fat with bonny red cheeks, and bright with streamers,
charges in. They hug.

PETER: Dope—Dope! Do you feel well?

DOPE: I feel swell.

More embraces. TRAINER enters, very important. 

TRAINER: Who is the owner of the winning horse?

PETER: I am.

TRAINER: Well, I want to buy him, of course.

Looks hard at PETER.

Oh, it's YOU—the boy who had the old nag called Dope.
(Laughs.) The bag of bones you fed on soap!

PETER (Points): There he is!

TRAINER: WHAT! That's not Dope.

PETER: It is so.

TRAINER: But Dope had no go!
He couldn't win a race.

PETER: I told you I didn't like your face.

TRAINER raises his stick.

Er—no offence.

I like it NOW—coz I reckon you talk sense.
That stuff you told us about eating. Well,
we tried it and we both feel swell!
Don't we Dope?

DOPE: Yair, now I've got hope.
What's more, I feel stronger.

PETER: And his tail is longer.

DOPE: And Peter has red cheeks and HE's stronger, too.

PETER: That's what good eating does for you.
And Dope's got speed—
he's the winning steed.

DOPE (Giggling): Oh, I feel all goofy.

TRAINER: You're a beauty!
Do you know who I am?

DOPE: You're a man.

TRAINER: I'm a racehorse trainer, too;
and I want to buy and train YOU.

PETER: Money couldn't buy a pal.

TRAINER: But I'll give you hundreds.

PETER: Not for thousands.

TRAINER: I'll give you millions.

PETER: Not for billions or trillions or even stillions.

TRAINER: But look here...

PETER: No, you look there—(points off). See!
They're bringing the money I won to me.

Two PAGE BOYS bring on bags of money.

I backed the best horse in the world—my Dope.

DOPE (Lovingly): Peter!

PETER (Lovingly): Dope!

DOPE: I'm hungry.

PETER: Right! But no more soap.

They both laugh and dance.







Backdrop of bush. YARRIE, a smiling little aborigine,
is on stage.

NARRATOR: Deep in the heart of the Never Never lives a by called
Yarrie. He likes hunting...

YARRIE mimes hunting.

He likes fishing...

YARRIE mimes fishing.

He likes swimming...

YARRIE mimes swimming.

(Slowly.) And after he has done these things he likes to
lie down under a gum-tree.

YARRIE lies down—snores.


Mysterious music off.

Sometimes the spirit within him—his dream spirit—does not
wish to sleep and—rises—up—out—of—his—body—

The DOOWEE rises up from behind and hovers over the sleeping
boy. He has YARRIE'S face, but his wraith-like body tapers away.

The aborigine's word for spirit is Doowee. This Doowee likes
to dance.

Music changes for DOOWEE to dance. It is soon seen that he
is a bit of a clown.

And when Yarrie wishes to wake up—

YARRIE (Tossing about): Er—er—

NARRATOR: He just can't. For a boy cannot walk around without
his spirit. Yarrie tosses—and turns—and turns and tosses—

YARRIE: Er—er—

NARRATOR (Amused):...But has to wait till that old
gad-about Doowee has finished his walk-about.

But what's this?—a mouse!

MOUSE (Enters): Eee! Eee! Eee!

DOOWEE: Ooooooooo! (Trembles and disappears down behind YARRIE.)

YARRIE (Waking): Oh—Ooo—Ah!

MOTHER (Off): Yarrie!

YARRIE: Wa, Mumma.

MOTHER (Enters): You lazy boy. You all the time sleep
till sun sit down.

YARRIE (Stretching): I not lazy, Mumma. I hunt hard;
I fish hard; I swim hard. Then I am tired. I sleep...but
my Doowee go walkabout. So when I wake I am still tired.

MOTHER: You should tell your Doowee to stay put.

YARRIE (Striking his breast): Stay put, Doowee.

MOTHER: Now I cook dinner.

She rubs two pieces of wood together by fire patch.
She blows; fire lights.

YARRIE: What's for dinner, Mumma?

MOTHER: Honey ant.

YARRIE: Yum-yum. (Rubs tummy.)

MOTHER: Witchety grub.

YARRIE: Yum-yum.

MOTHER: Nardoo cake.

YARRIE: Yum-yum.

MOTHER: Maybe your Doowee been making fight—that make you tired.

YARRIE: That Doowee of mine make no fight, Mumma.
My Doowee be scared of mouse.

MOTHER: Maybe you be scared of mouse?

YARRIE: N—n—no.

MOTHER: To be brave, you must tell your Doowee he be brave.
Tell him every time before you sleep. That fix him.

YARRIE: By hokey, I tell him plenty. (Yawns.)

MOTHER: If you be sleepy boy, lie down and sleep while dinner
cooks. I will watch and see if your old Doowee gets up to something.

YARRIE: Doowee is a spirit. No eye can see a spirit.

MOTHER: I be a mother—I have double sight. Sleep.

YARRIE: Wa. (Sits under tree and strikes himself on breast.)

DOOWEE's head pops up.

Be braver than mouse.

DOOWEE: Oooooo! (Trembles and disappears.)

YARRIE (Striking breast): Doowee! (DOOWEE rises.)
Be braver than rabbit.

DOOWEE: Ooooooo! (Bobs down.)

YARRIE: Doowee!—(DOOWEE bobs up.) Be braver than dingo.

DOOWEE: Ooooooooo! (Bobs down.)

YARRIE: Doowee!—(DOOWEE bobs up.) Be braver than crocodile.


DOOWEE collapses out of sight. MOTHER busy with food,
has not seen him. YARRIE sleeps. Pause.

AUNTIE (Calling from Without): Sister, come join us.
We women meet by the Coolabah tree.

MOTHER (Calling): I cannot join you, my sister.
I get this dinner.

AUNTIE (Temptingly): We women have tea-eeee.

MOTHER: Tea? You have tea? Truly tea?

AUNTIE: Wa. We women meet for gossip and tea by the Coolabah tree.

MOTHER: Gossip and tea, by the Coolabah tree? Oh, I come!
(Hurries out.) I come!

Weird music. DOOWEE glides out and begins funny dance.
Enter MOUSE.

MOUSE: Eee! Eee! Eee! (DOOWEE starts.)

YARRIE: My Doowee be brave fella.

DOOWEE rushes MOUSE who runs out squeaking. DOOWEE dances
gaily, well pleased with himself, so that he does not at first
see the fearsome BUNYIP. When he does, he expires, stage centre.

DOOWEE (The breath oozing out of him): Wheeeeeeee!

YARRIE (Tossing in his sleep): Be braver like mouse—be
braver like rabbit—be braver like dingo—be braver like crocodile—

At the word mouse, DOOWEE raises his head. At rabbit he sits
up. At dingo he stands. At crocodile he makes a move towards BUNYIP.

YARRIE: Be braver—and bolder—and fiercer—than Bunyip!

DOOWEE makes three forward springs. Then at the word BUNYIP,
he leaps on to its head and dances merrily.

BUNYIP Oh—Ooo—Ah—Eee—Ugh!

BUNYIP flops on ground and stays there.

MOTHER (Off): Thanks for the tea. Now I get dinner for
my boy.

Doowee darts behind YARRIE as MOTHER comes in and over to
the sleeping boy.

MOTHER: Ah, my little Yarrie sleeps like bird in nest.
He will wake fresh.

YARRIE (Waking slowly): Oh—Ah: I dream that Doowee of
mine go walk-about and fight Bunyip.

MOTHER (Seeing him): Your dream was true. Look!


MOTHER: Come, we will dump the ugly fellow.

They carry him out. The MAGICIAN enters from opposite side.
He wears a long grey beard and feathers in his hair and has
magic signs painted on his body.


Magician Mumbo-Jumbo, that be me.
With spell and potion,
Blister and lotion,
I bluff the bush tribe up a tree.

I spy about
Till a doowee come out,
Then I get his boy alone
And point the bone...

Ha, he'll feel tragic
When he feels my magic!

Hisst!—here they come.

He hides as YARRIE and MOTHER return.

MOTHER: Come, the Nardoo cake be cooked.

They sit by the fire and eat noisily.

The women by the Coolabah tree tell me that debil-debil
magician is around again.

YARRIE: Any more hanky-panky?

MOTHER Wa. He has a new spell—one for a doowee. Some day that
old Doowee of yours is going walkabout away and away and away,
and that old debil-debil magician will collar him and point the
bone at you.

YARRIE: Maybe my Doowee get so strong he point the bone at that
old Magician.

MOTHER: Don't talk such. You never know who hears. (Looks off.)
Ooooo! Talk of the debil-debil, the Magician is coming—

MAGICIAN (Smoothly):

Good-day every one here;
Pleasant time of the year.

MOTHER (Nervously): Truly you speak truly.


I hear gossip without;
They say this boy's Doowee go walkabout.

MOTHER Oh, no. No—oh—NO.

YARRIE (Suddenly to MAGICIAN) Don't you feel well?

MOTHER (Startled): Why, yes.

YARRIE: You look ill.


YARRIE: Very ill.


YARRIE: Very, very ill. You ARE ill Wait, I fetch you
some berries to make you well. (He dashes out.)

MAGICIAN (To himself):

Am I not well?
Who can tell—who can tell?
I'm getting old. Maybe I'm ill.
Better go home and take a pill.

YARRIE (Running in): Here, eat these quickly—the quicker
the better.

MAGICIAN (Eats and splutters):

Oh, Oh, Ooo!
You've given me ballyhoo!

He rushes out.

MOTHER: Is he ill?

YARRIE: No, but I make him think he is.

MOTHER: My son, you have the brain of a magician.

YARRIE: I tell my Doowee to be brave—my Doowee be brave.
Then I tell that old Magician he be ill—he listen and be ill.

MOTHER: Truly you have a mighty brain, truly. But the Magician
will pay you out bad for what you do.

YARRIE: Then paint my face so he does not know me.

MOTHER: Wa! (She paints his cheeks white.) There! I will
go now to the Coolabah tree and tell the women of the doings of
your great brain. (Goes.)

YARRIE (Yawning): By hokey! All that brain work make me
sleepy fellow.

He lies down...snores. MAGICIAN creeps over to him.

MAGICIAN: Hisst! Silly Yarrie. He paints face and gammons him
somebody else. He thinks I not know him. Ha-ha, but I catch his
Doowee. Then I point bone at boy so he never more wake
up—never. Not once ever...First I get the box to put that
Doowee in.

As he goes out, DOOWEE with face painted like YARRIE bobs up.
Then down again as MAGICIAN returns with box.


Into this box he will go.
High-ho! High-ho!

For in a flash DOOWEE has butted him into the box and dived
down behind YARRIE, who, waking up, springs on to the MAGICIAN,
holding him down.


Let me go!

MOTHER (Running in): Careful, Yarrie boy. He will put
debil-debil spell on you. Maybe turn you into black cat or white

YARRIE: I not frightened of old Mumbo-Jumbo. Help me, Mumma;
we'll dump him in the river. Once he is wet all over he loses
his magic.

They carry him out. He yells. Presently there is a great
splash and a wilder yell, followed by loud laughter from the
tribe. YARRIE and MOTHER come in carrying MAGICIAN'S hat and cloak.

MOTHER: We will spread his cloak to dry. (They do so.)

YARRIE: And his hat.

MOTHER: Are you all right, my son?

YARRIE: super-daloopa.

MOTHER: Wa, you are super. The tribe say you more cunning than
the Magician. They want you to make magic for them.

YARRIE: I can't make magic, Mumma. But I'd like to make a big
party. Invite everybody to big corroborree.

MOTHER: Wa, everybody. (Calls off.) Do you hear that,

TRIBE (Off):

We hear! We come!
We beat big drum—
Witchety grub and Nardoo cake.
Fill us full till tummies ache.
Eat up! Eat up! Every crumb.
Soopa-daloopa. Beat the drum!

MOTHER and YARRIE: Wa! Wa! Wa!

They dance. Drum-beats and shouts off. DOOWEE bobs up a moment
behind YARRIE as:







SCENE I: A picturesque Chinese garden. Centre back a
fish-pond. ORANGE-BLOSSOM stands at left, gazing into the water.
Her two SISTERS stand at right. Chinese music is heard off. Then
a gong is struck and the curtain rises.

NARRATOR: Once upon a time there was a Chinese Mandarin (that is
a Chinese nobleman) whose name was Whang-lee. He had three
daughters who were very pretty, but the youngest was the prettiest
of them all: her name was ORANGE-BLOSSOM.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (turning front and bowing): I am the humble

NARRATOR: Every day, in their father's garden, Orange-Blossom
and her sisters used to gaze at their little face, floating in
the waters of the fish-pond.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: My face shivers as the water quivers.

1ST SISTER: The water is as clear as glass.

2ND SISTER: Deep down goldfish are swimming.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: One of the goldfish is more delightful than the
others. Let us speak with him.

SISTERS: Oh, yes, Orange-Blossom, do let us!

They bend close to the water.

MAIDENS: Pray, honourable Goldfish, some up and speak with us.

Fish pops up. Girls fall back, surprised.


FISH (Bubbly voice):

What is your—what is your trouble?

ALL: Honourable Goldfish, we would have you speak.

FISH: Speak?—speak?—speak?
Is it your fortunes you've come to seek?

MAIDENS: Our fortunes? Oh, yes. He-he-he-he!
(Bowing deeply.) That is, if it pleases you, most
honourable Goldfish.

FISH: Bubbly-bubble so!
What is it you would wish to know?

MAIDENS: Please-tell-me-what-sort-of-man-I-am-to-marry.

FISH: To marry,
Two must tarry.
But soon—
Orange-Blossom shall marry a prince—
And that before the next moon.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: He said I would marry a prince. And before
the nett moon.

SISTERS: So soon! He-he-he-he!

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (Shyly): Pray, Honourable Goldfish, what
shall my prince be like?

FISH: Bubble-bubble!
Wait and see! Wait and see!
But be kind to the Tartar,
Or never a prince there'll be!

He bobs down out of sight. The girls run to the pond
and look in.

ALL: Gone!

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: He said, "Be kind to the Tartar."

1ST SISTER: Tartars are ugly men.

2ND SISTER: Tartars have flat faces and sloping eyes.

1ST SISTER: They are fierce as the fearful tiger.

2ND SISTER: They are cruel as the cruel eagle.

1ST SISTER: They wear armour made of dried buffalo hide.

2ND SISTER: They are our enemies.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: And—I—am—to—be—kind—to—one.

1ST SISTER: Oh, dear, what could the goodly Goldfish mean?

2ND SISTER: What could he mean?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Patience, dear sisters. Honourable Goldfish
said to wait and see. Patience is a tree whose root is bitter,
but whose fruit is very sweet.

1ST SISTER: S-s-s-h! Here comes our noble father.

The three maidens stand in a row to one side and bow deeply
as the MANDARIN enters from opposite side.

MANDARIN: Greetings to you. my daughters.

MAIDENS: Greetings, honourable parent.

MANDARIN: I have come to say good-bye. Business takes me from
you on a long journey.

MAIDENS (Sadly): O-oh?

MANDARIN: Be virtuous daughters and I shall bring you each
a present.

MAIDENS (Clapping their hands): A present! He-he-he-he!

MANDARIN: Exactly what you ask for. Tell me your wishes.

1ST SISTER: Honourable father. Please, I ask a pair of golden
slippers for my little feet.

2ND SISTER: Honourable father. Please, I ask a set of golden
combs for my long hair.

MANDARIN: And what is for you, Orange-Blossom?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: For me, dear parent, a piece of the Great Wall
of China.

SISTERS (Frightened): Ooooo, Orange-Blossom!

MANDARIN: Why do you ask for a piece of the Great Wall of China,
my daughter?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: I know not why I ask, honourable father. But I
had to ask.

MANDARIN: So be is When I return I shall bring a pair of golden

1ST SISTER (Clapping): For me!

MANDARIN: A pair of golden combs.

2ND SISTER (Clapping): For me!

MANDARIN: And for you, Orange-Blossom, for you I shall endeavour
to procure a piece of the Great Wall of China. Farewell, my
children, may happiness remain with you.

MAIDENS: Farewell. May peace walk with you, honourable parent.

He withdraws. The maidens are still bowing as the curtain
falls. Music plays off-stage till the curtain rises on:

SCENE II: The Great Wall of China stretches across left and
back of stage. Hoofbeats off, then MANDARIN rides in right.

MANDARIN: My business transactions are fulfilled. Also I have
journeyed to the market place of the Silver Dragon. There I
bought a pair of golden slippers for my eldest daughter and a
set of golden combs for my second daughter. And now I come for
a piece of the Great Wall of China for my youngest daughter...So
this is the Great Wall of China.

HORSE (Whinnies): Yes.

MANDARIN: H'm, I should not relish having to ride right along
it, for it is one thousand five hundred miles long.

HORSE (Whinnies surprise).

MANDARIN: Yes—it is. This wall crosses mountains and valleys.
It stretches along the whole north of China. They began to build
it over twenty-two hundred years ago. And do you know why our
Chinese people built it?

HORSE (Whinnies): No.

MANDARIN: Do you not know why they made it so long?

HORSE (as before).

MANDARIN: And strong?

HORSE (as before).

MANDARIN: And high?

HORSE (as before).

MANDARIN: And broad?

HORSE (as before).

MANDARIN: Because they were afraid of the Tartars.

HORSE (Whinnies fearfully).

MANDARIN: Be not afraid. The Tartars cannot get us here in
China. That wall keeps them out.

He dismounts and crosses to Wall.

H'm, it is very strong.

Walks up and down considering it.

I wonder where would be the best place to break off a piece for
my daughter?...H'm. I could wish she had wished any other wish
than the wish she wished.

Taps wall here and there with mallet.

It sounds thinner here. (Taps.) It would be unwise to be
seen breaking the wall. No one looking?

HORSE (Whinnies): No.

MANDARIN (Banging the wall): Whang!...Bang!...Another
blow!...Whang!...Whang! (A chunk of wall falls out.) Oh!
(Turns to horse.) See, I did it.

HORSE (Whinnies frantically).

MANDARIN: Why do you whinny?

Horse whinnies and points with hoof to wall.

What about the wall? (Turns to see.)

An ugly Tartar in buffalo hide is glaring at him through
the hole in the wall.

Who are you?

TARTAR (Springing in through the hole and grabbing the
MANDARIN by the shoulder): I'm a Tartar. I've been wanting
to get into China for some time. But till to-day the wall kept
me out.

MANDARIN: Son of a turtle. let me go!

TARTAR: After I've cut off your head.

MANDARIN (Quaking): I was merely getting a present for

TARTAR: Who is Orange-Blossom?

MANDARIN: Orange-Blossom is my daughter, and the most beautiful
maiden in all China.

TARTAR: Huh! What is she like?

MANDARIN: Her hair is the wing of the black peacock.

TARTAR: Huh! What else?

MANDARIN: Her eyes are dark opals full of moonbeams.

TARTAR: Huh! What else?

MANDARIN: Her lips are rose-petals and where she walks she
sets the air singing.

TARTAR: If Orange-Blossom will marry me, I'll set you free.

MANDARIN: F-free? I'm not a prisoner.

TARTAR: You soon will be. (Calls.) Hi, there!

Two ruffianly looking Tartars come through hole.

BROTHERS: Did you call?

TARTAR: Yes, take this Chinese Mandarin and lock him up in your
dungeon till I return.

BROTHERS: Come on! (They drag the MANDARIN out.)

MANDARIN (As he goes): Woe! Woe! Woe!

HORSE (Whinnies sad echo).

TARTAR: Ha, at last I am in China! Now for Orange-Blossom! But
how to find her?

HORSE (Whinnies sadly).

TARTAR: Ha, the Mandarin's horse. Of course.
(Mounts horse.) Home!

HORSE (Whinnies sadly).

TARTAR: Yes, I said home. Do you want the whip to teach you speed?

HORSE (Whinnies): No.

TARTAR (Savagely): Then—off—you—go. (Exultant.)
To Orange-Blossom!

Horse whinnies sadly and with bowed head ambles slowly out.
Music till curtain rises on:

SCENE III: Interior of the MANDARIN'S house.
The three maidens are dancing and singing.)

Three little maids are we, He-he!
Three little maids are we.
We spend our days in dancing
And drinking China tea.
Three little maids are we, He-he!
Three little maids are we!

They break off as hoof-beats are heard.

MAIDENS: Hoof-beats!

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Perhaps it is honourable father returning from
wonderful journey.

They rush to exit and look off.

SISTERS: It is! It is! (Clap hands.) He-he-he-he!

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Wait, O my sisters. It is our honourable
father's horse. But it is not our honourable father who rides
honourable horse. 

SISTERS (Fearfully): Ooooo!

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Is is an ugly stranger.

1ST SISTER: With flat face and sloping eyes.

2ND SISTER: He looks fierce.

1ST SISTER: He looks cruel.

2ND SISTER: He wears an armour made of dried buffalo hide.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: He is a Tartar.

They back into corner. Hoofbeats stop.

MAIDENS: H-he is coming. Oh. (They cover their faces with
their hands.)

Tartar appears.

TARTAR: Is this the home of the Mandarin, Whang-lee?

MAIDENS (Trembling): Yes, please.

TARTAR: Are you his three daughters?

MAIDENS: Yes, please.

TARTAR: I have met your father.

MAIDENs: Oh! (They uncover their faces.)

1ST SISTER: Pray, sir, could you give us news of our honourable

TARTAR: My brothers have him locked in a dungeon.


TARTAR (Staring of each in turn): He will be released
when...tell me, which one of you is Orange-Blossom?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (Softly): I am the humble
Orange-Blossom, Sir.

TARTAR (Moved): It is true. She sets the air singing. She
is more beautiful than lotus flowers under the moon. (Loudly.)
I shall set your father free if you win marry me.

SISTERS: No, no.

TARTAR: What do you say, Orange-Blossom?


SISTERS: She says, "No."

TARTAR: Orange-Blossom?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: I say no. Oh, why was I not born with the face
of a turnip?

1ST SISTER (Running to him and bowing): Truly, she has
the face of a turnip. (Steps back.)

2ND SISTER (Ditto): But truly, a most blotchy, notchy
turnip. (Steps back.)

TARTAR (Sternly): Then the father of the turnip can
remain in the dungeon.

MAIDENS (Throwing up their hands): Alas!


SISTERS: Oh, dear Orange-Blossom.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Sisters, remember what the honourable
Goldfish said.

SISTERS: He said you would marry a prince.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: He said, "Be kind to the Tartar or never a
prince there'll be." And here is the Tartar.

TARTAR: Orange-Blossom, you will marry me?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: For the sake of my honourable father, I will
marry you.

TARTAR (Exultant): Then I will take you through the hole
in the Great Wall of China to the country beyond. You shall live
with me in my tent.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: And my father?

TARTAR: Your father will be free to return home to your
sisters. Come!

ORANGE-BLOSSOM walks slowly out, with bowed head.
The TARTAR follows.

MAIDENS (Weeping): Woe!...Woe!...Woe!

Curtain. Music till curtain rises on:

Scene IV: The TARTAR'S tent. Back-drop and sides are of
bright orange material. Tent flap at left. ORANGE-BLOSSOM,
dressed in black reclines on bright cushions at right.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Honourable Goldfish did not speak truly. He
said I would marry a prince. (Sighs.) But I am married
to a Tartar.

(Sings sadly):

My honourable father is set free,
Yet dishonourably sad I be...sad I be.

TARTAR (Entering): Why are you sad, Orange-Blossom?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (Sitting up): Pray forgive my voice.
It did not intend your ears to hear it.

TARTAR: I know you are sad without hearing you sing about it.
(Sighs.) You are sad because you are married to me.
(Sighs.) I look cruel as the tiger, but to you I would
be gentle as the dove.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: You have been to me as the gracious dove—oh, yes.

TARTAR: And yet you are not happy. Well go and be happy.
You may return home.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (Rising joyfully and running to him): My
ears cannot hear truly!

TARTAR: Yes, you are free! I love you too much to hold
you prisoner.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Oh, thank you—thank you. (Turns arid runs
towards R. again.) I will get my humble cloak.

(Runs a little farther and halts.) I—

TARTAR: You were about to say something?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (Slowly): It is most strange, but now that
you have told me I could go—the bird of my heart no longer
wishes to fly away. It has come to roost here in your tent.

TARTAR: With me? Oh, that makes me very happy. 

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: But you are weeping. Silver rain-drops fall
from your eyes.

TARTAR: Is is became I love you so.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Good, kind Tartar, I cannot bear to see you weep.

TARTAR: Could you ever bear to give me a kiss?

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Y—yes, I—I will kiss you, kind Tartar.

She kisses him. A gong strikes loudly and there is an
instant's blackout. When the lights come up the TARTAR has
disappeared and a handsome Prince stands in his place.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: Where is the Tartar?

TARTAR (Changed voice): I was the Tartar. I was under
a spell till the magic of a kiss delivered me.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: A Prince! (Bows deeply.)

TARTAR: Yes, I am a Prince. And you are my bride.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM: The bird of my heart sings sweetly.

TARTAR: Come, kind little Orange-Blossom, give me your hand.

ORANGE-BLOSSOM (She does so): Noble Prince.

TARTAR: Together we will enter my palace.


TARTAR: There will be feasting, rejoicing and laughter.
We will live happily—ever—after!

They bow to each other, then to the audience. Music swells as:



(Aboriginal Play for Marionettes or Glove Puppets)




NARRATOR: Far out on the hot dry plains of the Never Never,
the tribe of Wiradjeerie tells a legend of the brolga bird.

Curtain rises.

Men and women of equal numbers squat at opposite sides.
Spotlight on centre of stage.

NARRATOR: There once lived a slender brown maiden called Bralgah...

Bralgah appears, leaping into the spot-light.

TRIBE: Bralgah!...Bralgah, the beautiful!

NARRATOR: When Bralgah danced women ceased their work. When
Bralgah danced men forgot their need to hunt. The squatting
tribe beat upon rolled-up possum skins, clicked boomerangs,
clapped hands to sprightly rhythm of lightly glancing feet.

Soft tribal music. Bralgah strikes poses.


She is graceful as Kavaroo, the water-lily;
Arms curling like nanga-nanga, the tree fern;
Neck curving like Koorawarri, the swan.
She is Karlov, the water flowing;
She is Wirrmoru, the wind blowing;
She is Komela, the bird in flight,
She is Bralgah! Bralgah, the beautiful!

Bralgah begins to dance: she minces, stalks enemy, runs
smoothly, and spins as described.

WISE MAN (Deep voice):

Now she is small grass walking;
Now she is dingo stalking;
Now she is water flowing;
Now she is wind blowing...blowing...blowing!

Music and dance reach climax.
Bralgah falls prostrate.

TRIBE (Clapping): Wah! Wah! Good! Good!

MAD ONE (Standing): Not good. Bad! Bad!

WISE MAN: What mean you, not good, Mad One?

MAD ONE (Mysteriously): Me...smell...danger.

WISE MAN: What mean you? Where is danger?


WOMEN (Wailing): Eeeeeeee!

MOTHER: Woe! Woe! Our Mad One smells danger for Bralgah!

WOMEN: Eeeeeeeeee!

WISE MAN (Sternly): Cease) (Silence.) Mad One,
speak not in riddles. Tell all you know—or think to know.
Wherein lies danger in Bralgah's dancing?

MAD ONE: It be Well when she be small grass walking. It be
well when she be dingo stalking. It be well when she be water
flowing. But when she throw back her hair and be wind
blowing—(:whispers)—like Wurrawilberoo, that be not good.

WISE MAN: You mean that Wurrawilberoo, the whirlwind, will be

MAD ONE (Darkly): I mean Wurrawilberoo, the whirlwind,
will seize her.

TRIBE (Wailing ors high note): Eeeeeeeeee!

MAD ONE: Wurrawilberoo, the whirlwind, will carry her off.

TRIBE: Eeeeeeeeee!

WISE MAN: Cease! (Silence.) To protect her, she must marry.

TRIBE (Agreeing): Yah!

WISE MAN (Tenderly): Bralgah!

MOTHER: Bralgah, my daughter, the wise man of our tribe speaks
with you.

BRALGAH (Rising): What is your wish of me, Wise One?

WISE MAN: You must cast aside the dance of maidenhood. Your
time is ripe. You will marry with a man of the ordered totem.


BRALGAH: Marry? Me?...I am not for marriage. (Ecstatic.)
I am to dance! dance! dance!...

She dances wildly. Tribe beats time.


SCENE II: Music continues till curtain rises on new
scene. Then it sounds far away. WURRAWILBEROO, in swirling
drapes, whirls in from right in a glow of red light.

WURRAWILBEROO: Whoo! I am Wurrawilberoo, the whirlwind.
(Listens.) Hark! I hear beat of
of boomerangs...clapping of hands. That means her tribe makes
music for Bralgah to dance. To dance my corroboree, the
corroboree of Wurrawilberoo, the whirlwind.

Music out.

But I wait...I wait. This is the time she passes this way. Every
day she passes this way. (Softly.) I hide. Whooo! Whoooooo!

He whirls off in the glow of red light. Pause. Then MOTHER
and BRALGAH enter from opposite side. Half-way across stage
MOTHER pulls back.

MOTHER: We have dug all the yams we need, my daughter.
We must return to the camp.

BRALGAH: We have only just left the camp, my mother.

MOTHER: Yes, because you dance too long. Now we have no time.
(Pointing up.) See, the light in the sky is fading. Come.

BRALGAH: Do not hurry too soon, my mother. Yonder is the place
for the nardoo seeds that taste so sweetly on the tongue.

MOTHER: They will wonder in the camp. We must return.

BRALGAH: Not yet.

MOTHER: Disobedience! Shall I strike you with my yam-stick?

BRALGAH (Gently): No one strikes Bralgah. Return if you
wish, my mother. I will gather the nardoo seeds of much
sweetness, and follow.

MOTHER: Then hasten. (She goes out the way she entered.)

BRALGAH: I will gather the sweet seed. (Stoops.)

Dramatic chord. Red light. WURRAWILBEROO whirls in.

WURRA.: Whoo!


WURRA. (Menacing her with stone knife): Do not scream.

BRALGAH (Recoiling): No!

WURRA.: Carry my knife...while I carry thee.

He gives her his knife, throws her over his shoulder, and
bounds off right in red light.

WURRA. (Disappearing): Whoooo! Whoooooooo!



SCENE III: Music till curtain rises immediately on new scene,
suffused in red light. Cave at right. WURRAWILBEROO leaps in from
left. Sets BRALGAH down.

WURRA.: Whooo!...Here is my cave. Here you will live. Here you
will dance for my brothers and me. But first, I will eat.
Where is my knife?

BRALGAH (Pretending to weep): Alas!

WURRA.: Why do you weep?

BRALGAH: Your knife...I dropped it.

WURRA. (Quickly): Where?

BRALGAH: Not here. (Pointing off L.) Far back there.

WURRA. (Angry): Whoooo! Stupid! I will fetch it. Whoooooo!

He leaps out—red light with him. BRALGAH is revealed in
lonely, desolate pose.

BRALGAH (Slowly): When he is gone away and away,
I shall fly home.

She turns to run off R. and meets her tribesmen coming in.

WISE MAN: Bralgah, you are found! Your mother saw Wurrawilberoo
whirl you away. Come quickly.

Red light and a great shout. BRALGAH dashes out right just
as WURRAWILBEROO leaps in. The men hurl themselves at him and
beat him with their waddies.

WURRA. (Whirling): Whoo! Whoo! Whooooo!

With a tremendous spring he leaps over the heads of the men
and disappears right. BRALGAH screams off.

MEN: He's got leer! Wah!

They race off.


Music till curtain rises on new scene.

SCENE IV: Same as Scene 1. Women squat at right. MAD ONE stands
centre. It is night, before moonrise.

WOMEN (Wailing): No news of Bralgah. No news of our
beautiful one.

MOTHER: Our brave men will rescue her.

MAD ONE: Be not so sure. (Turns and looks off.) Here
come our men...alone.

WOMEN: Eeeeeee!

Enter men. All save WISE MAN squat at left.

MOTHER: What news of my daughter, oh men of my tribe?

WOMEN: What news of Bralgah?

MEN: Alas!

WISE MAN: We found her. We fought Wurrawilberoo while she ran for
home. But Wurrawilberoo he whirled free from us and followed her.

MOTHER: What then?

WISE MAN: Alas, he caught her. We heard the scream. We fear
the worst.

WOMEN: Eeeeeeeeeee!

MOTHER: My daughter who was living is gone from me.

WOMEN: Gone from us.

MOTHER: She has gone from us; never as she was will she return.
Never more will she chop honey;
Never more with her yam-stick will she dig for yams.
Site has gone from us, never as she was will she return.

WOMEN (Growing louder with each word): Never—never—never!

MEN (Ditto): Never—never—never)

TRIBE (Very loud): Eeeeeeeeeee!

WOMEN (Dying away): Never—never—never!

MEN (Ditto): Never—never—never!

TRIBE (Softly): Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Eerie music begins off.

TRIBE: Eeeeeeeee!

MAD ONE (Pointing back): Look! Look you all!

The moon slides into view. Far out on the plains in a flood
of light is a tall graceful bird dancing on slender legs:

TRIBE (Awed): Ooooo!


Now she is small grass walking...
Now she is dingo stalking...
Now she is water flowing...
Now she is—(softly)—wind blowing!...blowing...blowing!

TRIBE (Softly): It is our Bralgah.

WISE MAN (Tenderly): He could not destroy her
dancing spirit.

WOMEN Never more as once we knew her will Bralgah return.

WISE MAN (Exultantly): But her spirit dances. Bralgah
still dances. Bralgah is gone from us. But now there is Brolga,
the beautiful bird!

TRIBE: Brolga, the beautiful bird!

They clap hands, click boomerangs, and beat upon possum
skins, softly and rhythmically.

Music swells as:




SULKS                }her
SOURGRAPES  }sisters
PONGO, a dog


SCENE I: The Kitchen. When the curtain rises CINDERELLA,
dressed in rags, is sweeping the hearth. While she does so the
chorus sings off stage: to air of "Little Polly Flinders."


Little Cinderella sat among the cinders
Warming her toes before the grate.
But soon she fell a-sighing
And very nearly crying,
For thinking on her lonely fate.

CINDERELLA: I cook and sweep and clean all day—
I work, while both my sisters play.

Finishes sweeping and comes to edge of stage.

I've no one to tell my troubles to
So, girls and boys, may I tell them to you?

. . . . .

Now I feel you are my friends. Wait!
I hear my father coming in the gate.

Enter FATHER whistling and calling to dog, then sings to
tune: "Polly Wolly Doodle."

FATHER: Pongo! Pongo!


Oh, I went down south for to see a dog
Singing golly wolly wobble all the day!
I saw a man about this dog
Singing golly wolly wobble all the day!
Come in Dog! Come in Dog! Come in Pongo-rongo-ray.
Oh, I bought him for a penny,
From a man who hadn't any,
So come in Pongo-rongo-ray and play!

CINDERELLA: Oh, father, have you brought a dog home here?

FATHER: I've bought a dog, my pretty dear.
(Whistles.) Come in Pongo!


FATHER: Well, his real name is Pongo-rongo-ray. Or Pongo,
for short, Pong, for shorter. Come in Ping-Pong—I mean

Enter PONGO, runs to CINDERELLA and sits up.

CINDERS: Oh! he sits up and licks my hand.

FATHER: Yes, he's grand.
He's a very special dog, Cinders, I'd have you know.

CINDERS: I'm sure he is. (Patting him.) Yes, Pongo, it is so.

FATHER: He's a good judge of character, too.

CINDERS: Judge of character? Is that why he's growling at you?

FATHER: Eh? Oh, it takes more than a dog to judge a character
like mine. He likes you, Cinders.

CINDERS: And I like him.

And he should like you, he should.
I do—you're good.
But, Cinders, your two sisters
Are just a couple of blisters.
I'd do more for you only for them.
My dear, I fear
I hear them near.

CINDERELLA goes to fireplace. PONGO growls then gets
behind her.

SULKS and SOURGRAPES are heard off singing to the tune of
"Sweet Genevieve."

SISTERS: Now Sulks and Sourgrapes draw near,
Be ready for a wonderful treat.
Yes, Sulks and Sourgrapes draw near—
(Entering) Well, here we are, just aren't we sweet?

FATHER: Ah, here you are Sulks and Sourgrapes—Hi-ho!

SULKS: Cinders, have you done my washing?

SOUR.: Cinders, have you done my ironing?

BOTH: Cinders, where's our afternoon tea?

SULKS Cinders, where's my other stocking?

SOUR.: Cinders, hurry—you're really shocking.

BOTH: Cinders, why don't you answer me?

SULKS: What are you hiding there?

SOUR.: It looks like a great ugly bear.

CINDERS: He's a dear old darling dog.

FATHER: And he's a very special mongo-wog.

SULKS: What's so special about him, eh?

FATHER: He's a judge.

SULKS: A judge?

FATHER: Mind what I say:
He's a certain sure judge of character, see.

SULKS: He can't be—why he's snarling at me.

SOUR.: And now at me. Shoo! Off you go!

CINDERS: Oh, no.

SULKS: He looks as though he'd have fleas.

PONGO: Woof!

CINDERS: Oh, no, Sulks, please!

SOUR.: I'm sure he'd have fleas.

PONGO: Woof!

CINDERS (Patting him): Sourgrapes is just trying to tease.

FATHER: Anyway, I bought him for a copper—
for a copper he's a whopper!
And the man said he'd bring us luck. It's queer,
but just after I bought him I got this here.

SULKS: What is it?

SOUR.: It's nothing at all.

FATHER: Oh, no, only an invitation to the Prince's Ball.

SULKS: Father, you can't mean it.

FATHER: Look! (SULKS looks and faints.) Well, now you've
seen it.

SOUR.: Let me see it...let me, I say.
It's not for you, Cinders, move away.

FATHER: The Prince invites all and sundry—that means you.
To dance at the Royal Ball. Ha, she's fainted, too!


CINDERS: Let us carry them up to their beds.
And I'll put eau-de-cologne on their heads.

PONGO (Following slowly alter them): And I'll put some
dear little fleas in their beds.

He is going out, but comes back to say:

Woof! I'll tell you a secret. Don't tell anyone.
S-sh! They don't know I can speak. Isn't it fun?

He skips out.

Curtain falls to rise again immediately on—

SCENE II: Same as before. CINDERELLA sits by the fire, her arms
around PONGO. Chorus sings to the tune of "Little Polly Flinders."


Little Cinderella sat among the cinders
Warming her toes before the grate.
But soon she fell a-sighing
And very nearly crying,
For thinking on her lonely fate.

CINDERS: To-night's the night of the ball, Pongo.
I hope they enjoy it—that's all, Pongo.
I know I shouldn't care,
but oh! I'd love to be there. (Weeps.)

Enter FATHER dressed for the Ball.

FATHER: I wish we were taking you with us, my dear,
But that pair of blisters, your sisters, would think it so queer.
You see, my salary is so small,
and your sisters are so tall,
to dress them takes all my money.
Oh! here they come. They do look so funny.

Enter SULKS and SOURGRAPES, fussing.

SULKS: Cinders, straighten out this lace.

SOUR.: Cinders, smooth the powder on my face.

SULKS: Cinders, fix this bow, will you.

SOUR.: Hurry, Cinders, hurry—do!

CINDERELLA attends them.

FATHER: Ahem! Er, daughters, how about er—taking little
Cinders out?

SISTERS: What ever are you talking about?

PONGO (Growls).

FATHER: Er—well—it's always been you two girls go here there—
And Cinders doesn't go anywhere.


SOUR.: And pray where should she go?

PONGO (Growls).

FATHER (Weakly): Er—oh, well—I don't know.

Honk of taxi off.

SULKS: I hear the taxi at the gate.

SOUR.: Quickly, or we may be late.

FATHER: Cheerio, Cinders, don't you fret.
I'll bring you home some cake, my pet.

They hurry out. Taxi heard as it drives away.

CINDERS: They've gone! Oh, Pongo, why—why, why
should I want to cry.

PONGO: Woof!

CINDERS: You nuzzle your nose into my hand.
I believe you understand.

She sings slowly to tone of "Oh Dear! what can the Matter Be?"


Soon, soon! Soon now they'll all be there.
But why, why should I really care.
For I never go anywhere.
Oh, but I'd love to be there!

The witch has suddenly appeared.

WITCH: Fiddle-ee-fee. Fiddle-ee-fie.
Dry your eyes and do not cry.

CINDERS (Seeing her): Oh!

PONGO runs to witch and sits up.

WITCH: Hush! there's no cause for alarm,
I come to do you good, not harm.

CINDERS. What you say I know is true,
for PONGO does not growl at you.

WITCH: Hello, good Dog. (He sits up.)
Shake hands—that's nice.
Now go and fetch me three white mice.

PONGO bounds out.

Now Cinderella, stir your feet,
Bring me a pumpkin—a large one, sweet.

CINDERS: Yes, dear witch, I go.

WITCH: Pongo—hi-ho!
White mice, whato!

PONGO runs in and sets down mice.

WITCH: With magic wand I touch each head.
Let two white horses show instead.

Two white mice drop out of sight. White horses appear.

CINDERS: Dear witch, I have the pumpkin here.

WITCH (Tapping it): Pumpkin begone—let coach appear.
The third white mouse I tap, and lo!
it changes to a coachman...So!

Mouse drops out of sight. Horses come further in drawing
coach. Coachman driving.


WITCH: The wish of your heart to-night comes true.
Be off now to the ball with you.

CINDERS: The ball! in these old rags—should I?
I'd love to go—but oh, how could I?

WITCH: Step into your coach—leave the rest to me.

CINDERS (Going behind coach): Step into my coach?

WITCH: There now, see!

CINDERS has appeared at window of coach, beautifully dressed.

CINDERS: How can I thank you for all you have done?

WITCH: Be home before the clock strikes one!
My magic is sound, but it will not last.
Till midnight only it holds fast.

CINDERS: I will remember. Dear Pongo, goodbye.

PONGO (Dancing): Woof!

WITCH: Drive to the Royal Ball, good horses, fly!

Coach drives out. CINDERELLA waves.
WITCH disappears.

Pongo dances as he sings to tune of "The Merry Widow Waltz."

PONGO (sings):

Now, she has gone to the ball.
She'll be the fairest of all.
Bow-wow, oh, bow-wow, oh. bow-wow BOW.
I only wish I could see her now—
Now, she has gone to the ball,
She'll be the fairest of all.
Bow-wow. Oh,, bow-WOW.
Bow-wow-wow! Bow! Bow!


Bells from the palace chime and chorus sings to tune
"Three Blind Mice" while scene is changed for

SCENE III: The Prince's Palace. Fine ladies and gentlemen are
dancing as they repeat song.


Ding Dong Bell! Ding Dong Dell!
Come to the ball! Come to the ball!
We all came running from left and right
To visit the Prince at his palace to-night.
Oh, we've never seen such a beautiful sight
As this Royal Ball!

Dance ends. They retire to the sides.

FATHER: Ho, Sulks and Sourgrapes, why look so glum?

SULKS: The Prince hasn't noticed us.

SOUR.: We needn't have come.

SULKS: The Prince has eyes for only one.

FATHER: Never mind, you can still have fun!

VOICES: The Prince is coming—the Prince is coming—

They all bow low as: PRINCE enters with CINDERELLA on his arm.

CINDERELLA: Dear Prince, there are others here who wish you to dance.

PRINCE: For others I have not a single glance.

CINDERELLA: But—but their disappointment shows.

PRINCE: When one has found the fairest rose
One does not look at other flowers.

CINDERELLA: But you have danced with me for hours.

PRINCE: And I will dance again. (Claps hands.) Music there!
Come, dance with me, my fairest fair.

Everyone dances. The clock begins to chime.

ALI. (Sing):

Ding Dong Dell! Ding Dong Dell!
Come to the ball! Come to the ball!
We all came running from left and right
To visit the Prince at his palace to-night.
Oh, we've never seen such a beautiful sight
As this Royal Ball!

The dance is over, the last stroke chimes. CINDERELLA runs
to edge of stage and says anxiously:

CINDERS: I thought the clock struck midnight,
Boys and girls, am I right?

. . . . .


PRINCE (Hurries to her): Have you had a fright?

CINDERS: I must go.

PRINCE: No, no.

CINDERS: It is late.

PRINCE: Wait, wait!

She runs out, PRINCE and FOOTMAN follow.

SULKS: She has no manners acting so.

SOUR.: Who is she?

SULKS: No one seems to know.

VOICES: Here comes the Prince.

They bow as he enters, sadly.

PRINCE (Slowly): Gone, and taken my heart.
I had meant us never to part...(Sighs.)
Now that I've met her
I can never, never forget her.

FATHER (Approaching, bows): Does it please Your Highness
to dance?


FATHER (Pointing to his daughters): Sire, if you could
spare a glance—

PRINCE: No. (Brokenly.)
I am sorry, friends,
but here the dance ends.

Shocked murmurs. But they finally bow and withdraw.
PRINCE holds his head in his hands. Pause. Then
FOOTMAN enters with glass slipper, bows.

FOOTMAN: The carriage and horses vanished in a trice,
And nothing in their place but a pumpkin and white mice.

PRINCE: My lady can't have vanished—I will find her.

FOOTMAN: Sire, she left this behind her.

PRINCE (Tenderly):

Her slipper; like a moonbeam that has strayed...
This slipper will not fit another maid.
Tomorrow we will go from door to door,
In every single street, be it rich or poor.
Throughout the land we will seek the little feet
To fit this fairy I will find my sweet!


While it is down the chorus sings slowly to tune of
"After the Ball is Over." When the scene is changed the
curtain rises.

Chorus (Singing off stage between scenes):

After the ball is over, after the break of morn,
After the dancers leaving, after the stars are gone—
Many a heart is aching, if you could read them all,
Many the hopes that have vanished—after the ball!

SCENE IV: Same as first scene. CINDERELLA in rags again, is
sweeping the hearth. PONGO watching.

CINDERS: Last night was a dream—it can't be true.

She puts broom away and comes to edge of stage.

Tell me, girls and boys...please do.
Was it a dream?

. . . . .

Then, Pongo, it was so.


So fairy-like—so good—so sweet!
But just when my happiness seemed complete
the clock struck twelve. Away I fled
out of the palace; and as I sped
my beautiful gown faded to air
and I was left in these rags I wear.
(Sighs.) How can I bear the bitter loss—
Here come my sisters—they look so cross.


SULKS: Cinders, the beds aren't made.

SOUR.: Cinders, the table's not laid.

SISTERS: Cinders, don't stand dreaming there!

PONGO (Growl).

SULKS: Cinders, I'll give your hair a tweak.

SOUR.: Did you hear me speak?

SISTERS: Cinders, can't you offer us a chair.

PONGO (Growl).

SULKS: Have you no thought for us after that tiring dance?


FATHER: Now now, Sulky, give the girl a chance.

SULKS: She has no sympathy and we are tired and sick.
Its not a chance she's needing—but the stick.

PONGO growls and chases her.

Oh! Oh! Help! Don't let him near me!

CINDERS: Hi, Pongo! Pongo, hear me.

SOUR.: The brute must leave this house this minute.

SULKS: He should never have been let in it.
He's just about killed me. O-oooo! (Faints.)

SOUR.: Sulks has fainted. I feel faint, too. (Faints.)

FATHER: Hey! This is becoming a habit with you.


Someone's at the door. Now here's a How-dy-do.

Knock repeated.

FOOTMAN (Off): Open in the name of the Prince. Open to me.

SISTERS (Jumping up): The Prince!

FATHER: You've made a quick re-cover-ee!

SISTERS: Father, it's the Prince, can't you hear?

FATHER: I don't get excited just because a prince is near.

SULKS: Quick, quick-quick! How is my hair?

SOUR.: Quick, Cinders, fix me, don't stand staring there!

CINDERELLA and PONGO move to fireplace. Heavy knocks.

FATHER: Oh, stop that din!

FOOTMAN (Off): Open—

FATHER: Open it yourself—and step right in.

Enter FOOTMAN with silver slipper.


Oyez, oyez, I hereby declare,
whoever can this slipper wear
will be the royal Prince's bride
and live at the palace by his side.

He approaches SISTERS.

Put your foot in the slipper and
win the Prince's royal hand.

SISTERS: Oh! (They flop down, each holding up a foot.)

FOOTMAN: Come, come, this is no time for shyness.
Don't you wish to please His Royal Highness?

FATHER: They're not shy, not a bit,
but they're worried as how they can make the slipper fit.
They have corns like Spanish onions,
carbuncles and bunions—

SISTERS: Father! (Sweetly to FOOTMAN.) Give the slipper
to me.

FOOTMAN: No 'twould be waste of time, I see.

SULKS: Give it to me—and quick about it!
I'll make it fit.

FOOTMAN: I doubt it.

He goes to door and calls off:

Blow a fanfare so the Prince may hear.
(To others.) Now the Prince will soon appear.

Fanfare. Enter the FRINGE. They all bow. CINDERELLA is
hidden behind the sisters.

Your Royal Highness, I must admit
our quest has failed. No foot will fit.

PRINCE: Is this the last house.

FOOTMAN: Sire, the last I know.

PRINCE: And she is not found. O woe!—
And yet my lady fair
can't have vanished into air.
Algynon, who is this fella?

FATHER: Sire, I am Mr. Ella.
These are my daughters, Sulky Ella and Sourgrapes Ella.

PONGO: Woof.

FATHER: Yes, Pongo!—and over there is Cinder Ella.

SULKS: She wasn't at the ball.

SOUR.: She doesn't count at all.

PONGO runs to PRINCE and sits up.

PRINCE: This is a charming dog. How do you do.

PONGO: Woof.

SULKS: We love him, too.

PONGO (Like a bark): No!

SOUR.: He is our pet, you know!


PRINCE: He does not seem to think so.

PONGO pulls him along by his cloak, nearer CINDERS.

He wishes to lead me somewhere.

(Stops, spellbound.) Oh! who is that maiden over there?

SULKS (Hastily): No one who matters.

SOUR.: Just a servant girl in tatters.

PRINCE: Her face lights up the room—
Joy enters my heart! Gone is my gloom.
She smiles!—what gentleness and grace—
The beauty of her heart shows in her face!
(To FOOTMAN.) Bring me the slipper, Alygnon.
I myself will try it on! (Kneels.)

FOOTMAN: Yes, sire.

CINDERS: Dear Prince, to save you trouble,
Look! Here from my pocket—the slipper's double.


Sweet lady, I have found you.
Now let joy ring out around you!
Algynon, see that the wedding bells ring;
Tell all my people to dance and sing.
You may retire.

FOOTMAN: Yes, Sire.

FOOTMAN bows and goes out.


If Cinders leaves her fireside
to go to the palace to be your bride.
Sulks and Sourgrapes will have a fit.

SULKS and SOUR.: Not a bit.

SULKS: Dear Cinders, I am sorry I was cross.

SOUR.: Cinders, your going will be our loss.

FATHER: Yes, we'll all be miserable now.

PONGO (Sadly): Wow!


Our happiness will shine out like a light
So all within its circle must be bright.
Dear sisters both, and Father dear.
I will not be gone, for you will all be near.


CINDERS: And you, good dog—don't fuss!
You will live at the palace with us.

PONGO: Woof! (Dances.)

PRINCE: And now! All to the palace to celebrate.

Will there be ice-cream and cakes and hop beer?

PRINCE: Yes, and lots of laughter and good cheer.

Wedding bells begin to ring softly.

Come one, come all;
I hear the wedding bells call!

They go out, singing, in procession.
The PRINCE and CINDERELLA lead the say.

ALL (Sing):

Jingle bells, wedding bells, jingle bright and gay,
Jingle for our Cinderella's happy wedding day.
Jingle bells, wedding bells, jingle bright and gay,
Jingle for our Cinderella's happy wedding day.

PONGO is lust going out. He pauses to say:

PONGO: Well, girls and boys, did you like our play?
If you liked it a little bit, clap, but not too loud.
If you like it a LOT—make it sound like a crowd!

He dances out as



SOME stages are set at a level above the Puppeteer's head and he
must stand below with the puppet dangling from the end of an
upstretched arm. This does not make for sensitive control, and
so we find puppets all nodding their heads and all waving their
arms in and out of character. This is as bad as spots before the
eyes, and wearies an audience.

Puppeteers should be able to see the whole stage. To rehearse,
hang up a mirror in front of the theatre and watch your puppet.
You still then be seeing him front the point of view of the audience.

Your Puppet is an Actor: Don't be content to let him just
nod his head and wave his arms every time he speaks. Make him
realize he can push, pull, carry, embrace, fight, dance, sit down,
cross his legs and smooth his hair. He can do more sensitive things,
too, and by body-modelling suggest what he is thinking. Warm him
up till he comes alive!

Best Puppet: Generally speaking, the lighter and more
flexible the puppet the better. Shoulders wired and padded give
better form. Faces should be large in proportion. Avoid detail
and don't be afraid to exaggerate—always, of course, in line
with the character. Most of the puppets in this book have
face-heads modelled from papier mâché, but the boy Peter was
quickly born of a cream cotton-stocking. stuffed with cotton-wool,
with eyes fashioned from blue, white and black felt, and a strip
of scarlet felt for mouth. His limbs are strips of the same
stocking, stuffed with a seam across the joints, and stitched to
the singlet body. He is very flexible and at times kicks a leg
high, grasps it in both hands and, tossing back his head, makes
his exit hopping on one foot.

Hands: Flat cardboard hands so often seen on puppets are
useless. A live puppet needs a hand than can  do things. Jenny,
in this book, has little glove hands, open at the wrist, through
which the fingers of the manipulator can feel the objects being
handled by the puppet. But this shortens the arms. Peter has felt
hands, lightly stuffed and wired around the edge. The wire can be
bent to give gripping strength so that he can enter swinging a
bucket or carrying a paper in one hand only.

Experiment in combining arms and hands and sleeves. Note the hands
of the witch in Cinderella.

Legs: Some say that glove puppets should not be seen below
the waist, but girls and boys like their puppets to have legs.
These can be made of jointed wood or stuffed material and sewn to
the front of the undergarment. The feet are best weighted. By
slightly rotating the body the puppet walks. Don't let your puppet
just bob up into view and down out of sight. See that he walks on
and off at the sides.

Stock Company: Your school or club might like to make a
puppet stork company of typical national characters, such as a
Sundowner, an Aborigine, a Drover and his horse. Others in the
group might be a Policeman, a Lord Mayor, and a Clown. Star of
the company should be a boy or girl puppet named after your school
or district. This character could make all public announcements
from the stage, conduct quizzes and community singing, and act
under his or her own name the part of Peter in three of these
plays: Christmas for Sneezer, Peter and the Medicine Man, and
Feeding Wins.

Let Your Puppets Make a Play: Have each puppet seek for
and find the voice and movements that most surely fit his
character. Then set the whole company moving about the
stage—perhaps talking. From such by-play, sooner or later a
situation will arise, and you will have the beginnings of a play.
Suggestions will come for the development of the plot. Let the
puppets test these out in action to find the best. The knot—or
plot—of the play will need to be untied before the end. Give
the puppets their heads in both word and action, and you'll be
surprised how well they will do.

Another simple way to make a play would be to have your old
Sundowner squat at the side of the stage and begin a
yarn—perhaps one of Henry Lawson's. It would be natural then,
as the characters enter the story, for the puppets to come on to
the stage and act the most dramatic bits, the Sundowner's
narration linking up the acted scenes and filling any gaps.

Audience Participation: Some of the characters in this
book talk to the audience. So train the puppet-actors to wait
for the audience to reply, also not to speak whilst the audience
is laughing. Remember the audience is the great Eye and Ear which
wishes to see and hear everything. Take pains—that you may give
the audience pleasure: don't let the puppets fumble and mumble:
see that they speak out, and when they move, move for meaning.

Production: You will have lots of ideas of how to present
these plays. The notes which follow tell you about one way. But
whichever way you choose. I hope you have fun!



We thought of these bears as Koalas. Their house should look
rustic. Leafy curtains and furniture with a rough bark surface.
The table and three chairs could be stuck or screwed on to
ply-board or extra thick cardboard, painted to represent a mat.
The mat should be long enough to extend beyond the wings so that
the hand holding it in position would not be seen. If desired,
it could be slid on to the stage from the side, just before
Goldylock's entry and slid off again before the bears discover
her asleep on Baby's bed. This would leave the stage clear for

You might decide stools would be more suitable than chairs, as
Goldylocks has to move from one to the other within a small area.
Baby's chair could be so made that the seat will drop out when a
thread leading from it is pulled off stage. Or you may prefer to
simply leave it to the imagination of the audience and just say
that it breaks. But if it is to break, it had better be the chair
nearest the wings.


Here is a little Xmas play for the tinies.

The backdrop depicts the large mantel-piece from which hang the
stockings. If you wish Santa Claus to enter down the chimney,
just cut out the part of the picture where the fireplace would
be, and hang a narrower back drop painted to look like bricks,
behind the first one. Allow several inches between the two so
that Santa can slide between them, to look as though he has come
down the chimney. Be sure to have the ends of both backdrops
held very firmly from underneath to prevent them swinging about
as he passes through. If all this is too difficult, Santa will
just have to walk in from the side.

The toys need not be small in proportion to the puppets, for they
are phantasy. They could be cut from cardboard, painted and each
mounted on a stick, the end of which is held out of sight below
the stage level.

At the end, when the children run in to sing "Jingle-bells", they
could carry small replicas of the toys, to show that Santa did
really leave them the presents they asked for.

What a jolly, rosy old face Santa has, and what a big, deep,
hearty voice.


This is another Xmas play for a slightly older audience.

Storm effects: These are not difficult. Thunder can be merely a
rumble on the bass notes of a piano. Or a piece of tin or
galvanised iron 3ft. to 4ft. long. The side is suspended. Shake
it for rolling thunder or strike it in the centre with a tennis
shoe or rubber-heeled shoe for single crashes.

Lightning: Flick white light on and off. Or if you want an extra
special effect you can cut appropriate openings in a backdrop,
cover with gauze. and paint the whole drop. A light flashed back
of the cuts will do the trick.

Rain: A handful of dried peas in a large round cake-tin. Sway
and rotate tin slowly.

Hoofbeats: Drum with finger-tips on wood. Practise the fade-in
and fade-out.

Jack's box is set down front at the extreme corner. Our box was
seven inches square and had only three sides, the fourth
out-of-sight side being removed to allow the hand of the puppeteer
free entry. The lid was hinged and a fairly long string strung
from the inside to the top of Jack's head so that when he bobbed
up the lid fell back out of sight on to the puppeteer's arm; when
he bobbed down the lid was pulled shut. The puppeteer stool at
the side of the stage.

Ballet: For this we had three rag dolls—a black, red, and a gold
head respectively. Rouged, powdered and bejewelled, they were
dressed in long evening gowns of silver lame which showed to
advantage the coloured lights played upon them by a
thirteen-year-old electrician. They were really dolls, not
gloves, and to manipulate they were sewn to a wooden control in
the shape of a "T". The cross-piece supported their shoulders,
the tail of the "T" descended below stage level where it could
be held out of sight. When the control was jerked up and down or
side to side, they danced. Hand in hand with weighted feet, they
high-kicked, did lots of original steps and bowed.

Sleigh and Reindeer: We made a painting of this, gummed it on
plyboard and cut it out leaving some inches of board below the
painting, so that the hand controlling it would be out of sight
under the stage-level. Reins were attached to the reindeer and
held by Santa. He and Sneezer were held in position—Santa in
front, the pup on the back seat, as the sleigh moved across
between backdrop and stage. Of course you need not have a sleigh
at all—sound of bells and hoofbeats alone giving the effect of
Santa driving away.

Bedroom scene: Two lights are on—one amber, one blue. The blue
could be a torch covered by blue material and focussed on to bed.
When Peter calls to his mother to switch off the light, the amber
goes out leaving moonlight. You may wish to make a mother puppet
and have her seen as well as heard.


Our painted backdrop of the bush showed a pool, a large rock and
the gray-white bodies of gums. Then we painted a larger tree-bole
on stout cardboard, cut it out and fixed it only part showing, to
one side of the proscenium arch. This was the tree Possum climbed.

Platypus was made of sponge rubber with a beak of yellow
cardboard. Spiny had a covering of steel wool. Possum emerged
from a fur coat-cuff after it had been clipped. Plat's voice had
a quack in it to match his duck's bill. Spiny snuffled and
gruffled a lot. Possum's tones were sweet as the honey from the
gum blossoms she loved so well.

Snake was a piece of hose with felt head and green sequins for
eyes. Emu was big and impressive, made of wire, felt and feathers
from the fowl-yard. Some of the background birds and animals were
simply cut out of cardboard in set groups—the purpose being to
give the effect of a crowd.

The cobbers were droll, giggled delightfully and seemed really to
enjoy their band—that's why the audience enjoyed it.


One way to let Peter fly is this: Place a rod or wire from side
to side above the stage, high up out of view of the audience.
When Peter exits to get Jenny's wings, two long threads are
attached to him by means of two small safety pins, pinned to his
head and heels—his heels clipped together by the one pin. Before
the play begins these threads have been passed over the rod or
wire. Both the safety-pin ends are off stage on the side where
Peter exits, but the second end of one of the threads is off
stage on the opposite side. Once the threads are pinned to
Peter's head and feet, he will fly backwards and forwards, simply
by pulling on first one thread and then the other. It takes two
people, one standing on each side of the theatre to do this. Try
it—it's easy.


This play was written at the request of a headmaster whose pupils
had the had habit of the ice-cream-and-lolly lunch. I had the joy
of seeing a splendid presentation of it given by boys of 11 and
12. Peter and Dope acted with much warmth—indeed they seemed to
be always in each other's embrace, emitting grunts and gurgles of
admiration. When Dope collapsed on to his chest, his feet shooting
north, south, east and west like a swastika, Peter would be at
his side in a flash, squatting on the ground, his arms around his
Dopee's neck. This show of affection was very effective and
affecting—so much so that one little maid in the audience wept.

Of cosine there are two Dopes. One bony, pale and hobble-de-hoy
with a wisp of grizzled hair; the other, rosy, robust with thick,
glossy mane and tail. Both are made of white felt and Dope the
second is shod. Walnuts make good hooves but don't try to shoe
the feet with half-shells or they'll fall off. Shells need to be
three-quarter size to grip. So you'll need four.

For the first scene our backdrop was made of strong cardboard,
painted cream, with a cut-out window and soft side curtains sewn
to the painted rod.

For Scenes II and III the painted backdrop revealed a section of
a grandstand—see illustration. The painted spectators stared
fixedly off at the race-course, only Jenny, showing head and arms
through a hole in the backdrop, was interested in Peter and Dope.

The final race should be the dramatic highlight of the production.
The pounding of hooves and shouts of barrackers steadily
increasing and working up to a great pitch of excitement at the
finish. These effects should be featured for a minute or so before
Peter speaks, fade to background for his speech, then swell
fortissimo as Dope wins the race.

Two half coconut shells clapped on wallboard will give the sound
of hoofbeats on a turf track.


Be sure to keep this play funny. Otherwise it will not be true
to the spirit of the Aborigines who have a marked sense of humour
and a lively flair for caricature. Let the miming be clear and
unhurried—every picture telling the story to the great Eye of
the audience. Don't try to be realistic—key all to the fantasy
of farce.

Doowee's face should be a repeat of Yarrie's and wear the same
bland beautiful smile. Yarrie has glossy supple limbs. Doowee is
a head only—without arms or body. Filmy grey-green drapes mask
the puppeteer's hand and taper away. His miming to be funny must
be well-timed. The magician should look and sound like a Villain,
but remember he's a comic one. He eats the berries in slow motion
and slowly reacts—clutching his middle, voice turning green, etc.

Music could be made with combs covered with tissue-paper. It must
fit the mood; tremble when Doowee is scared and swell with
pomposity when he is brave.

Fire: A set piece of miniature logs is placed at side of stage
and the end of a torch with glass painted red is set beneath it,
the fire can then be made to light up when Mumma blows on it.

Bunyip being a fabulous creature, will exercise your
imagination—but remember to keep his fearsomeness funny. If
puppets are plentiful Auntie could be seen as well as heard and
the whole tribe could dance in at the end of the play for a grand

8. ORANGE-BLOSSOM AND THE TARTAR You might like to study
the illustrations before making these puppet faces. Orange-Blossom
should be very pretty and dainty. Books in the school library will
help you with costumes and the interiors for your backdrops. Fish
could be covered in spangle scales and controlled from below on a

Pond: This is a low round cardboard box. Only half of it,
weighted, rests upon the stage. The other half has the bottom
removed and extends beyond the stage to allow Fish to bob up from
below. Strips of cellophane paper pasted to the inside of pond
and overlapping at centre will give the impression of water and
allow Fish to slide through without tearing the paper.

The Great Wall is mostly painted on the backdrop. Only the left
wing—cut from ply or cardboard—is set across corner of stage
and secured by a bolt through the floor of stage. A section of
this wall is made separate to that it will fall in when hit with
the mallet, leaving a gap for the Tartar to enter. This gap
should be at the edge to allow puppeteers arm free movement
between wall and backdrop.

Gong: 4f ft. to 5ft. length of water pipe suspended by rope will
give the effect when struck by a rubber-heeled shoe.

Horse is an understanding, somewhat droll steed and might be the
same puppet that plays Dope the 2nd in "Feeding Wins". For
hoofbeats see notes for that play.

The transformation from Tartar to Prince is best managed in a
momentary black-out. In any case the Prince must rise up on to
the stage in front of the Tartar at the very instant the Tartar 
sinks out of sight.

Special effect: The Tartar's Tent can change to the Prince's
Palace. Drape the scene in theatrical gauze; as long as light
doesn't shine directly on it, it will be opaque; if you wish,
paint a scene depicting the interior of the tent on the front of
it. Some inches behind, hang a backdrop of the palace surrounded
by garden. When light is switched from the front and thrown on to
the scene back of the drop, the tent will disappear and the palace
spring into view. If the transformation takes place at the end of
the play, Orange-Blossom and the Prince might bow, exit and be
seen behind the gauze, walking through the garden to the palace
as the curtain falls. Torches can be used.


This play is best suited to marionettes. The difficulty for glove
puppets is the graceful and exultant dancing of Bralgah as lubra
and bird.

Still here is one way for gloves: The body is stuffed and
stiffened. Attached to this are the legs, extra long and thin,
and with sockets at thigh to take first and second fingers of
puppeteer—which are hidden from the audience beneath a frill of
grass-skirt on the girl, or white feathers on bird. This position
of the hand gives control over the legs and allows the puppet to

Each voice should be different and fit the character. The rhythmic
chants of the tribe, the dedicated poetic voice of Bralgah, the
deep prophetic tones of the Wise Man, the high sing-song of the
Mad One, the moaning rushing whoo of Wurrawilberoo the Whirlwind,
together with the strange weird music all help to create

For the final scene, an extra stage should be set a foot or so
back of and a few inches higher than the first. In font of it hang
a curtain of gauze: paint a backdrop and side wings to represent
sky. Have the stage proper and the squatting tribe in shadow. Then
at the climax of the the play and to signal the coming of the moon,
direct all light on the scene behind the gauze, when the soul of
Bralgah will be seen dancing in the form of a white beautiful bird.


This play comes last because it is the longest.

The Coach, Coachman and his white steeds can be all one piece. A
painting is made of them, pasted on to thin plyboard or stout
cardboard and then cut out. Cut out the window, have plyboard
extend below painting to allow for handling.

Witch: The one in the illustration was dressed in a dishcloth, her
claw-like hand was made from pipe cleaners. Her face with its
heavy features was carved from a potato, a hole scooped in the
neck for the puppeteers forefinger. By the time for the second
performance, the potato had grown many wrinkles which added years
to her appearance.

Mice and Pumpkin can be modelled from clay.

Transformations: Witch stands at Left side of stage and all her
magic—such as changing mice into horses and pumpkin into
coach—happens at Right. Threads attached to Mice jerk them down
out of sight at the same moment as the Horses move into view. Next
the Pumpkin is pulled from below and as it disappears the horses
move further in, drawing the coach, and there high up on his seat
is perched the dignified old Coachie.

Two Cinderellas, with identical faces and curls, make possible
the instant change from rags to riches. The ragged Cinders walks
off Right as though to step around the back of her coach and the
next moment her glamourous double, dressed for the ball is seen at
the coach window. Of course she has been hidden by the coach
awaiting the moment to appear.


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