Once upon a time there was a brave young soldier who went out to seek his fortune in the wide, wide world.
But there came a day when he lost his way in a deep dark forest.
The young soldier wandered about until he came to a small clearing.
In the middle of the clearing stood a ruined temple.
The huge trees waved above its walls, and the leaves in the thicket whispered around them.
No sun ever shone in this place, and no human being lived there.
A storm was coming up, and the soldier took refuge among the ruins.
Here is all I want. Here I shall have shelter from the storm-god’s wrath, and a comfortable place to sleep in.
He was soon fast asleep. But his slumbers did not last long.
CATS (Shrieking and screaming)
The SOLDIER jumps to his feet and looks out the door.
What’s that? Who is out there?
A troop of monstrous cats march in front of the temple. They break into a wild dance, uttering shrieks, howls, and wicked laughs.
Whisper not to Shippeitaro, that the Phantom Cats are near.
Whisper not to Shippeitaro, Lest he soon appear!
The young soldier crouched low behind the door.
Brave as he was he did not wish the fearful cat creatures to see him.
They exit and all is quiet again.
The soldier lay down and went to sleep again, and did not wake until the next morning when the sun peered into the temple.
I must find my way out of this forest.
He walked until he came to a cottage.
Sound of a MAIDEN crying
Hello? Is anyone home?
The MAIDEN wipes her eyes as she answers the door.
Yes, may I help you?
I’m very hungry. May I please have some food?
Of course. My parents and I are having breakfast. You may join us, for no one passes our door hungry.
He enters the cottage and her parents stand to greet him. They are friendly but sad.
Welcome to our humble home.
You are most welcome to share our breakfast young man.
The soldier ate heartily, and, when he was finished, rose to go.
Thank you so much for this good meal, kind friends. May happiness always be yours.
The MAIDEN and MUM begin to cry.
Happiness can never be ours again!
What’s this? You are in trouble? Tell me about it and perhaps I can help you in some way.
End of Excerpt
(c) Fiona Harris 2016← Back to Children’s Theatre