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Adler, Philip A. (ed.) / Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XVII, Number 4 (January 1918)

Briggs, Adelin
Mist-of-the-moon,   pp. 90-91


Page 90

WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
Mist-of-the-Moon
Persons of the play:
Dame Crutch
Sir Hugh, lord of the manor.
Mist-of-the-Moon, a fool
Tle Little Boy
The Old Man
Villagers and Huntsmen
Scene. A room in a humble cottage. Dame
Crutch, a withered, old woman is sitting on a three-
legged stool near the tiny fire in the big brick fire-place,
altho thru the open casement one may see that it is a
warm, spring day. Around the fire-place and from
the blackened beams overhead hang bunches of dried
herbs of all kinds. A band of huntsmen, followed by
several excited villagers, enter, bearing the limp figure
of Sir Hugh clad in a hunting costume of russet brown.
They place him on a little cot at one side of the room.
Dame Crutch (anxiously, but without rising from
her stool) What has befallen Sir Hugh?
Huntsman. My lord met with a strange accident
while hunting in the forest. We brought him here
that you might cure him with your healing herbs.
Dame Crutch. Tell me what happened in the for-
est. I do not recognize his malady.
Huntsman. While my lord was hunting in Charle-
cote Wood, he saw a milk-white doe munching the
green fern tips. He let fly an arrow. It was a true
shot, for the doe fell; but the dogs would not go near
it, and the moment that Sir Hugh touched its white
haunch, he fell into the swoon in which he now is lying.
The doe was left in the forest, for none dared move it.
Dame Crutch. 'Tis the little folk who have laid
a spell upon him, and none of my herbs can work
against their magic. 'Twas a fairy doe, and mortals
are not permitted to eat of the elfin meat. The fairies
are angry, and none but they themselves can remove
the spell.
Villager. If Sir Hugh dies, the whole country-side
will mourn, and the new lord will be cruel and oppres-
sive. The fairy-folk are kind. If they knew, per-
haps they would lift the charm.
Another Villager. But how can we find the fairy-
folk? They never show themselves to us in the for-
est.
Old Man. My father saw one once. He'd been
a-courting of my mother before they were ever married,
and was coming home thru the woods in the moon-
light on a Midsummer Eve. He lost his way and
stumbled into a fairy ring, he was thinking that hard
about how my mother had promised to be his wife
come harvest time. He could see where the grass had
been all trampled down by their wee dancing feet, and
one little lady fairy had lost her shoe and hadn't been
able to disappear with the rest. She was so angry
that she stamped her stocking foot, and my father
walked lame with his right foot ever after.
Little Boy. I've looked for them often in the for-
est, Gaffer, but I've never found a single one.
(A long, white face appears at the window, and two
burning eyes search the room.  There is a momentary
hush.)
Villager. 'Tis only Mist-of-the-Moon. Tle poor
creature is daft.
Dame Crutch. Mist of-the-Moon! Perhaps he
can help us.
Villager. He is only a lazy idiot. He sits in the
sun and chants silly songs to himself or roams about in
the woods all day. He will not work for his bread
like honest men, but pretends to be afraid to touch the
plow or the spade. He will not even walk thru a field
that is furrowed by the plow-share.
Dame Crutch. He has intercourse with the fairies
and fears to touch cold iron. He knows magic. Call
him in.
(Mist-of-the-Moon enters. He is tall and lank and
clad in a suit of green.  Under his pointed cap his
long, dark hair hangs loose and tangled to his shoulders.
JHe sings softly:)
With a pair of big, sharp shears,
I could cut gold crowns from the moon.
Money to buy the years,
I could snip from the sunbeams at noon.
But the shears are cold,
And so is the gold.
So I dance and sing this merry tune.
Dame Crutch. Do not sing now, Mist-of-the-
Moon. They say you know magic. Can you work
a spell for us?
Mist-of-the-Moon, (laughing gleefully) Yes, yes, I
know much magic. I know what the clothes on the line
are saying when they dance and wave their arms in the
wind. I know how to make the mist look like horse-
men marching by. I know-
Villager. Mist-of-the-Moon, see! Sir Hugh is
lying on that cot dying of a mystic spell. If you know
any magic, use it now, and save our lord to us.
Mist-of-the-Moon (fearfully) I know, I know.
January, 1918


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