ALLIGATOR (surprised). Eh?
MAN (not heeding the Alligator). That is just what I will do, that I will! Thanks to thee for helping me, Brother Rabbit.
ALLIGATOR. Have pity!
RABBIT (not heeding the Alligator). No thanks are necessary, Brother Man. I haven’t forgotten the good turnips thou didst give me last winter when the ground was covered with snow. Some of us know how to return favor for favor.
THE SONG IN THE HEART
TIME: once upon a time.
PLACE: in the house of the poor Spinner.
* * * * *
ISABEL, her daughter.
HANGING-LIP } the Three Great-Aunts.
* * * * *
[The living-room in the Dame’s cottage is seen. The DAME and the THREE GREAT-AUNTS are spinning. ISABEL sits at her spinning-wheel, but has stopped work and looks out of the open door.]
DAME (sharply). Isabel! You gaze without!
ISABEL (nodding). Upon those great trees,
mother. How beautiful they are!
How like sentinels they stand at our door guarding us!
FLAT-FOOT (growling). What nonsense! You’d better be spinning.
ISABEL (not heeding). Mother, see you that old oak! See how proudly it lifts its head up into the sky! ’T is the king of the forest!
HANGING-LIP (growling). I never heard such foolish talk!
ISABEL (not heeding). Mother, a song has come to me,—’t is a song to the beautiful trees. Let me stop to write it down, while my heart is full of it.
BROAD-THUMB (to the Dame). Do not permit it, sister! She should be working. She can scarcely spin at all.
DAME (showing much feeling). Isabel! Isabel! Not a maid in the village thinks of anything but spinning.
ISABEL. Mother, let me stop! Soon the song will leave me. I may ne’er hear it again.
FLAT-FOOT (to the Dame). Sister, she will bring you to shame.
HANGING-LIP. Already the village folk laugh at her!
BROAD-THUMB (nodding). Aye! They call her “the Dreamer.” I myself have heard them.
ISABEL. I care not what they call me!
DAME (raising her voice). Nay, but I care. I’ll not have you different from other folk.
HANGING-LIP. We were never seen gazing upon trees!
BROAD-THUMB (nodding). Aye! We never heard songs within us!
FLAT-FOOT (nodding). Aye! We think only of our work!
ISABEL. What’s your work may not be mine!
DAME (decidedly). There’s no other work for a maid than spinning.