Tatterhood (A Norwegian Fairytale) / Original Drama by Debra Moolenaar
Daisy (D)– the beautiful daughter
Bella Dona (BD)– the ugly daughter with her goat and wooden spoon
Queen Jessamine (QJ)– the Queen
Pansy (P) – the maid
Christmas Eve witch (CEW)
ACT ONE / SCENE ONE
QJ: Where is my maid? Why is it so dark in here?
P: (enters) Good morning, your Highness. Here’s your pot of pure white tea with two slices of Sicilian lemon each as thin as a dove’s tail, as per your order last night. Shall I throw open these thick velvet curtains to allow the first rays of the winter solstice sun to warm your royal cheeks?
QJ: Solstice? I’d quite forgotten. Light is returning. This is the finest hour. But despite that, last night I had a horrible dream. I was taking tea and biscuits in the crimson throne room with the King, something I would never do for everyone knows the crimson throne room….
P: ….is for special occasions.
QJ: Just so. I was biting into a marshmallow macaroon, my favourite except for chocolate covered cherries, when I was set upon by a drunken old woman, who stunk like a pickled herring…
QJ: … and who despite her appalling language slipped you a secret cure?
QJ: How amazing we both had the same dream.
P: Your Highness, it was no dream.
QJ: That’s why it seemed so real?
QJ: But next, I had to do something unthinkable.
P: We did it together.
QJ: I remember now. I washed myself in two pails of water scented with fresh daisies, which we were lucky to find this time of the year, and then we tossed the dirty water under the bed where two flowers would grow. Let’s see if they did.
P: First slip into your blue Highland cashmere robe with the silver tassels and don’t forget your soft as silk kidskin slippers. We wouldn’t want your Highness to catch cold.
QJ: They are there. Just like the old woman said. That one is so delicate and fair. But the other one, well, it’s just downright ugly. What are we supposed to do next?
P: Your Highness must eat them.
QJ: I couldn’t possibly eat flowers. It’s out of the question. If our neighbour, Queen Thistle, didn’t have to eat flowers to give birth to her bonny bright babe, then I ought not either.
P: Milady, may I remind you, that your husband, the King, has commanded that if you’re not with child before the New Year, he’ll cut off your head.
QJ: I’d almost forgotten that dreary business.
P: It’s not really so dreary. When your daughter marries Queen Thistle’s son, it will be the wedding of the century and you’re certain to get that new dress you want with the crimson ruffles.
QJ: And a new hat and shoes to match? I have my eye on a pair of death-defying stilettos from Naughty Monkey. I do hope they come in crimson.
P: I’m sure of it. Now take the flowers and bon appetite.
QJ: But to eat flowers? It’s simply not done. They aren’t even served with a sauce. That’s barbaric.
P: Having one’s head chopped off is more so.
QJ: You have a point. But the old woman said I should only eat the pretty flower. She was quite clear about that.
P: But your Highness two is better than one.
QJ: But to eat both flowers would be greedy. Greed is the ultimate sin, Pansy. I can’t take that risk. What’s going on in the hallway?
P: The King is coming, your Highness. You must eat both flowers right away.
QJ: But greed is bad. I want to be good.
P: He’s coming closer.
QJ: Dear me. I’ll start with the pretty one. Yum, that’s tasty even without a sauce. Rather like fresh asparagus steamed with…
P: Your Highness, the King is at the door, which, naturally I took the precaution of locking. But there’s not much time. You must eat both flowers.
QJ: Might we order a light cream sauce with capers and shallots to take the edge off this?
P: The King’s hand is on the door handle.
QJ: Oh, well, down the hatch. Yum. The ugly one is tastier than the pretty one. Rather like blood orange marmalade, thickly cut, complex, and bittersweet. Greed isn’t bad, but good, Pansy. I’d never have imagined it, but it’s true.
P: I can see that, your Highness. Your belly is positively bursting. The King will be pleased.
QJ: What I have to go through for that man. Ouch, eek. Queen Thistle did not tell me baby-making hurt so much and she says she’s my best friend. Yikes… what’s this dribbling down my leg?
P: Your water has broken. Off with your robe and slippers, your Highness, and then jump onto the bed. Legs wide. I can see the head.
QJ: I don’t suppose…. Ouch…. there’s time for my breakfast? YEOW… I was so looking forward to crispy bacon….
P: Here we go. One more push. Well done.
QJ: Let me see.
P: I’m not so sure you want to do that.
QJ: Oh, stop worrying, Pansy. A baby is a baby, that’s what Queen Thistle says.
P: Not this time, I’m afraid.
QJ: Let me see.
P: All right. May I present you with your twin daughters, your Highness?
BD/D: (enter) Mama, our own dearest Mama. Let us shower you with kisses to give thanks for our birth.
QJ: Something went wrong.
P: Magic, milady, sometimes does go awry.
QJ: Big time. Send them off to the royal nursery and keep them from my sight.
P: Off you go girls. When you get to the top of the stairs turn left and Nanny Nonesuch Daffodil will handle it from there.
BD/D: Yes, Ma’am. (exit)
QJ: Is this my fault, Pansy?
P: Perhaps, after all, greed is bad. More tea?
QJ: Yes, please, with double sugar. Regardless if greed is good or bad, we have a problem to solve. We’ll keep the pretty twin with the long golden locks and send the ugly one back. She looks like an undercooked cheddar cheese soufflé and I don’t even like cheddar.
P: I don’t think you can do that.
QJ: Perhaps not but surely she cannot remain here especially with that nasty old goat. Queen Thistle will say I flummoxed her plans for the great new society, which has been prophesised to come about when her son and my daughter drink from the bridal cup.
P: You mean when they have sex?
QJ: I wish you wouldn’t use that word, Pansy.
P: Yes, milady. But surely you’re not flummoxing Queen Thistle by giving birth to twins.
QJ: I am an empty woman, Pansy, an unfilled vessel. Why else would I have eaten two flowers instead of one? Queen Thistle, on the other hand is positively overflowing, in every sense of the word. At some unconscious level, flummoxing her plan was my way of getting even with her and believe, me, I will pay for it until the end of time.
P: We’re responsible for our unconscious milady?
QJ: Oh good heavens yes. I’ve been reading the Works of CG Jung, Pansy, and so should you.
P: Your Highness, I can’t read.
OJ: Lucky you.
P: I don’t quite see it that way.
QJ: Let me think. How many days left until Christmas?
P: Four, milady.
OJ: Excellent. That’s just enough time to put together a Christmas Eve soiree.
P: No. That’s too dangerous. Everyone knows the old nursery rhyme – “On Christmas Eve, heads will roll of those foolish enough to make merry with witches and trolls”.
QJ: That’s exactly what I had in mind. On Christmas Eve, the cheese soufflé will fall.
P: But isn’t that murder, milady?
QJ: Let’s just say that it’s plan A.
P: Is there a plan B?
P: As you will, milady. Shall I order marshmallow macaroons or chocolate covered cherries for the festive occasion?
(to be continued)