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Fearing, Kenneth (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXIII, Number III (December 1923)

Schindler, John
The star lighter,   p. 15

Page 15

The Star Lighter
A Fantasy
By fohn Schindler
There is no special reason for laying our scene in
any definite part of any particular country.
This sort of a thing might happen anywhere-
requiring only such commonplace conven-
tions as stars, sunsets and an unimaginat
people. But for the sake of convenience, be-
cause most of us know so little about them,
let us imagine our scene to be in the Bohem-
ian Alps.
On the left a small house; with (let us say) walls
of rough timber; two gables with latticed
windows; a small porch covered over with
ivy whose leaves have turned a deep red. On
the right, a maple, entirely bare but for a
few yellow leaves. To the rear the edge of
a forest.
The afternoon is unusually warm for an autumn
day, but somehow unusually listless and
dead. MIMI, a pale, thin girl, leans back
among a few white pillows in an armchair
placed for her before the porch. The STAR
LIGHTER sits upon a wooden bench be-
neath the maple, nervously twitching his
hands. He must certainly be upward of a
hundred years old.
MIMI is singing. The song itself might be that
of some happy Pierette, and yet each stanza
trails off into a tired sadness that is picked
up and thrown cynically back by a mountain
(She Sings:)
Oh boy of my heart, let's skip in the meadow,
Baring our throats to the moon;
Let's sing like a lark
Which never can die,
Hurry for morning comes soon.
Now, lollyby, lollyby, lollyby.
(The echo moans, "Lollyby.")
Little girl of my bosom, you're wiser than I am,
Wiser than all my sex put together.
Where did you learn it?
Or perhaps you were born with it,
Lollyby, lollyby, lollyby.
(The echo mocks in a hollow laugh, "Lollyby.")
Ah youth of my soul, its all in your eye there
The things that I see,
I get even my sigh there,
But far o'er the meadow let's trippingly go.
Now, lollyby, lollyby, lollyby.
(Again the echo "Lollyby.")
Now how did this round little,
Blond little,
Quaint little head of yours
Ever quite come to find in my eye,
What I never put there
And never found there
Lollyby, lollyby, lollyby.
(The echo, "Lollyby.")
MIMI-It is hard to sing when the sun no long-
er sings at dawn, and the birds are ever silent,
and the day will not smile as it used to.
STAR LIGHTER-Yes it is hard to sing. But
we shall not have to try to sing long now. The
trees are dying, and the moon has wept herself in-
to a shadow. You and I shall go with the trees
and the moon. Not long now.
MIMI-No, not long. My legs feel cold and
numb tonight. This morning it was only my
feet. To-morrow it will be in my chest.
STAR LIGHTER-Yes, one more night without
the stars and everything will fade away. The
trees, the sun and the moon, and you and I.
MIMI-Grandfather, can you persuade no one
in the village to light the stars? If they only
knew what was wrong with everthing, surely
some one would.
STAR LIGHTER-NO, I have spoken and plead-
ed with everyone in vain. They fight and quar-
rel among themselves, blaming one another for
their troubles. Some preach this and some that.
Some preach love without knowing what love is;
others have something else. When I tell them
that the stars are the cause of all their trouble,
they laugh at me horribly, and say, "What need
have we for stars, since we invented candles?"
If I were young again, the stars would shine
tonight. But one must grow old. Nature is
always wanting new, fresh men to light her stars.
My breath is too short, and my muscles too weak
for the hard climb. Shall we go in now, Mimi?
(a boy has come down a path in the forest, and
as he sees the two he steps behind a nearby tree, list-
ening. He is wild eyed and thin, and his bare legs
protrude from ragged trousers.)
MIMI-Let us stay here until the sun sets.
That is all there is left to us, and even that has
Continued on page 22
December, 1923

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