KAREN. I cannot dance on forever! I cannot! I cannot!
Well, I know a way to break the spell, and I’ll do it!
(Crossing to hut of the EXECUTIONER; knocking.)
Come out! Come out!
EXECUTIONER (from within the hut). Come in!
KAREN. I cannot come in; I must dance.
EXECUTIONER. Then I will come out.
(The Executioner comes out from hut.)
Well, do you know me?
KAREN. You are the Executioner.
EXECUTIONER. I am the Executioner. I cut off the heads of wicked people with this great ax.
KAREN. Do not strike off my head!
EXECUTIONER. And why not strike off your head, pray?
KAREN. I must have that to repent of my sin. So please to cut off my feet.
EXECUTIONER. It shall be as you say. Thrust out your foot, maid.
[Enter FAIRY QUEEN.]
FAIRY QUEEN. Stay, Executioner, stay! I’ve come to save you, Karen!
KAREN. To save me?
FAIRY QUEEN. Whenever a child repents of a sin, lo, I am there to save.
KAREN. Will you remove this spell from me?
FAIRY QUEEN. Will you give up your red shoes?
KAREN. Gladly! Gladly! I wish I might never see them again!
FAIRY QUEEN. Then dance to me that I may touch you with my wand.
[Fairy Queen touches Karen’s shoes with her wand. The shoes fall off.]
KAREN. Dear Fairy Queen! Dear Fairy Queen! I thank you! I thank you!
FAIRY QUEEN. Look, Karen, your shoes are dancing away! Soon they will be lost to you forever. Shall I not bring them back?
KAREN. No, no! Let them go! Now I am free! Now I can rest!
FAIRY QUEEN. Then come, dear child, I will guide you to your home.
THE STORY OF ALI COGIA
TIME: one evening.
PLACE: the house of a merchant in Bagdad.
* * * * *
THE MERCHANT’S WIFE.
* * * * *
[The MERCHANT and his WIFE are at supper.]
WIFE. Our neighbors bought some fine olives to-day. It has been a long time since we have had olives. I am quite hungry for them.
MERCHANT. Now you speak of olives, you put me
in mind of the jar which Ali
Cogia left with me.
WIFE (pointing to a jar in another part of the room). There is the very jar waiting for him against his return.
MERCHANT. Certainly he must be dead, since he has not returned in all this time. Give me a plate; I will open the jar, and if the olives be good, we will eat them.
WIFE. Pray, husband, do not commit so base an action. You know nothing is more sacred than what is left to one’s care and trust.