The Blue Bird: A Fairy Play in Six Acts
Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Tiffany Vergon,
Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE BLUE BIRD
_A Fairy Play in Six Acts_
ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS
THE FAIRY BERYLUNE
GAFFER TYL (Dead)
GRANNY TYL (Dead)
TYLTYL'S BROTHERS AND SISTERS (Dead)
NEIGHBOUR BERLINGOT'S LITTLE DAUGHTER
TYLO, THE DOG
TYLETTE, THE CAT
STARS, SICKNESSES, SHADES, LUXURIES, HAPPINESSES, JOYS, ETC.
A new act appears for the first time in this edition and is inserted as
Act IV--_Palace of Happiness_. It has been specially written for the
Christmas revival of _The Blue Bird_ at the Haymarket Theatre, where
it will take the place of the Forest Scene (Act III., Scene 2). In the
printed version, however, the Forest Scene is retained; and in this and all
later editions the play will consist of six acts instead of five.
ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS.
CHELSEA, 14 _November_, 1910.
TYLTYL wears the dress of Hop o' my Thumb in Perrault's Tales. Scarlet
knickerbockers, pale-blue jacket, white stockings, tan shoes.
MYTYL is dressed like Gretel or Little Red Riding-hood.
LIGHT.--The "moon-coloured" dress in Perrault's _Peau d'ane;_ that is
to say, pale gold shot with silver, shimmering gauzes, forming a sort of
rays, etc. Neo-Grecian or Anglo-Grecian (_a la_ Walter Crane) or even
more or less Empire style: a high waist, bare arms, etc. Head-dress: a sort
of diadem or even a light crown.
THE FAIRY BERYLUNE and NEIGHBOUR BERLINGOT.--The traditional dress of the
poor women in fairy-tales. If desired, the transformation of the Fairy into
a princess in Act I may be omitted.
DADDY TYL, MUMMY TYL, GAFFER TYL and GRANNY TYL.--The traditional costume
of the German wood-cutters and peasants in Grimm's Tales.
TYLTYL'S BROTHERS AND SISTERS.--Different forms of the Hop-o'-my-Thumb
TIME.--Traditional dress of Time: a wide black or dark-blue cloak, a
streaming white beard, scythe and hour-glass.
NIGHT.--Ample black garments, covered with mysterious stars and "shot" with
reddish-brown reflections. Veils, dark poppies, etc.
THE NEIGHBOUR'S LITTLE GIRL.--Bright fair hair; a long white frock.
THE DOG,--Red dress-coat, white breeches, top-boots, a shiny hat. The
costume suggests that of John Bull.
THE CAT.--The costume of Puss In Boots: powdered wig, three-cornered hat,
violet or sky-blue coat, dress-sword, etc.
N.B.--The heads of the DOG and the CAT should be only discreetly
THE LUXURIES.--Before the transformation: wide, heavy mantles in red
and yellow brocade; enormous fat jewels, etc. After the transformation:
chocolate or coffee-coloured tights, giving the impression of unadorned
THE HAPPINESSES OF THE HOME.--Dresses of various colours, or, if preferred,
costumes of peasants, shepherds, wood-cutters and so on, but idealised and
THE GREAT JOYS.--As stated in the text, shimmering dresses in soft and
subtle shades: rose-awakening, water's-smile, amber-dew, blue-of-dawn, etc.
MATERNAL LOVE.--Dress very similar to the dress worn by Light, that is to
say, supple and almost transparent veils, as of a Greek statue, and, in so
far as possible, white. Pearls and other stones as rich and numerous as may
be desired, provided that they do not break the pure and candid harmony of
BREAD.--A rich pasha's dress. An ample crimson silk or velvet gown. A huge
turban. A scimitar. An enormous stomach, red and puffed-out cheeks.
SUGAR.--A silk gown, cut like that of a eunuch in a seraglio, half blue
and half white, to suggest the paper wrapper of a sugar-loaf. Eunuch's
FIRE.--Red tights, a vermilion cloak, with changing reflections, lined with
gold. An aigrette of iridescent flames.
WATER.--A pale-blue or bluish-green dress, with transparent reflections and
effects of rippling or trickling gauze, Neo-Grecian or Anglo-Grecian style.
but fuller and more voluminous than that of LIGHT. Head-dress of aquatic
flowers and seaweed.
THE ANIMALS.--Popular or peasant costumes.
THE TREES.--Dresses of different shades of green or the colour of the
trunks of trees. Distinctive attributes in the shape of leaves or branches
by which they can be recognised.
ACT I.--The Wood-cutter's Cottage.
ACT II., Scene 1--At the Fairy's.
Scene 2--The Land of Memory.
ACT III., Scene 1--The Palace of Night.
Scene 2--The Forest.
ACT IV., Scene 1--Before the Curtain.
Scene 2--The Palace of Happiness.
ACT V., Scene 1--Before the Curtain.
Scene 2--The Graveyard.
Scene 3--The Kingdom of the Future.
ACT VI., Scene 1--The Leave-taking.
Scene 2--The Awakening.
The Blue Bird
_The Wood-cutter's Cottage
The stage represents the interior of a wood-cutter's cottage, simple and
rustic in appearance, but in no way poverty-stricken. A recessed fireplace
containing the dying embers of a wood-fire. Kitchen utensils, a cupboard, a
bread-pan, a grandfather's clock, a spinning-wheel, a water-tap, etc. On a
table, a lighted lamp. At the foot of the cupboard, on either side, a_
DOG _and a_ CAT _lie sleeping, rolled up, each with his nose in his
tail. Between them stands a large blue-and-white sugar-loaf. On the wall
hangs a round cage containing a turtle-dove. At the back, two windows, with
closed inside shutters. Under one of the windows, a stool. On the left
is the front door, with a big latch to it. On the right, another door. A
ladder leads up to a loft. On the right also are two little children's
cots, at the head of which are two chains, with clothes carefully folded
on them. When the curtain rises_, TYLTYL _and_ MYTYL _are sound
asleep in their cots_, MUMMY TYL _tucks them in, leans over them,
watches them for a moment as they sleep and beckons to_ DADDY TYL,
_who thrusts his head through the half-open door_. MUMMY TYL _lays
a finger on her lips, to impose silence upon him, and then goes out to the
right, on tiptoe, after first putting out the lamp. The scene remains in
darkness for a moment. Then a light, gradually increasing in intensity,
filters in through the shutters. The lamp on the table lights again of
itself, but its light is of a different colour than when_ MUMMY TYL
_extinguished it. The two_ CHILDREN _appear to wake and sit up in
Are you asleep?
No; how can I be asleep when I'm talking to you?
Say, is this Christmas Day?...
Not yet; not till to-morrow. But Father Christmas won't bring us anything
I heard mummy say that she couldn't go to town to tell him ... But he will
come next year....
Is next year far off?...
A good long while.... But he will come to the rich children to-night....
Hullo!... Mummy's forgotten to put out the lamp!... I've an idea!...
Let's get up....
But we mustn't....
Why, there's no one about.... Do you see the shutters?...
Oh, how bright they are!...
It's the lights of the party.
The rich children opposite. It's the Christmas-tree. Let's open the
Of course; there's no one to stop us.... Do you hear the music?... Let us
(_The two_ CHILDREN _get up, run to one of the windows, climb on
to the stool and throw back the shutters. A bright light fills the room.
The_ CHILDREN _look out greedily_.)
We can see everything!...
MYTYL (_who can hardly find room on the stool_)
It's snowing!... There's two carriages, with six horses each!...
There are twelve little boys getting out!...
How silly you are!... They're little girls....
They've got knickerbockers....
What do you know?... Don't push so!...
I never touched you.
TYLTYL (_who is taking up the whole stool_)
You're taking up all the room...
Why, I have no room at all!...
Do be quiet! I see the tree!...
Why, the Christmas-tree!... You're looking at the wall!...
I'm looking at the wall because I've got no room....
TYLTYL (_giving her a miserly little place on the stool_)
There!... Will that do?... Now you're better off than I!... I say, what
lots and lots of lights!...
What are those people doing who are making such a noise?...
They're the musicians.
Are they angry?...
No; but it's hard work.
Another carriage with white horses!...
Be quiet!... And look!...
What are those gold things there, hanging from the branches?
Why, toys, to be sure!... Swords, guns, soldiers, cannons....
And dolls; say, are there any dolls?...
Dolls?... That's too silly; there's no fun in dolls....
And what's that all round the table?....
Cakes and fruit and tarts....
I had some once when I was little....
So did I; it's nicer than bread, but they don't give you enough....
They've got plenty over there.... The whole table's full.... Are they going
to eat them?...
Of course; what else would they do with them?...
Why don't they eat them at once?...
Because they're not hungry....
MYTYL (_stupefied with astonishment_)
Not hungry?... Why not?...
Well, they eat whenever they want to....
They say so....
Will they eat them all?... Will they give any away?...
They don't know us....
Suppose we asked them....
Because it's not right.
MYTYL (_clapping her hands_)
Oh, how pretty they are!...
And how they're laughing and laughing!...
And the little ones dancing!...
Yes, yes; let's dance too!... (_They stamp their feet for joy on the
Oh, what fun!...
They're getting the cakes!... They can touch them!... They're eating,
they're eating, they're eating!...
The tiny ones, too!... They've got two, three, four apiece!...
TYLTYL (_drunk with delight_)
Oh, how lovely!... Oh, how lovely, how lovely!...
MYTYL (_counting imaginary cakes_)
I've got twelve!...
And I four times twelve!... But I'll give you some....
(_A knock at the door of the cottage_.)
TYLTYL (_suddenly quieted and frightened_)
(_As they hesitate before opening the door, the big latch is seen to rise
of itself, with a grating noise; the door half opens to admit a little old
woman dressed in green with a red hood on her head. She is humpbacked and
lame and near-sighted; her nose and chin meet; and she walks bent on a
stick. She is obviously a fairy_.)
Have you the grass here that sings or the bird that is blue?...
We have some grass, but it can't sing....
Tyltyl has a bird.
But I can't give it away....
Because it's mine.
That's a reason, no doubt. Where is the bird?...
TYLTYL (_pointing to the cage_)
In the cage....
THE FAIRY (_putting on her glasses to examine the bird_)
I don't want it; it's not blue enough. You will have to go and find me the
one I want.
But I don't know where it is....
No more do I. That's why you must look for it. I can do without the grass
that sings, at a pinch; but I must absolutely have the blue bird. It's for
my little girl, who is very ill.
What's the matter with her?...
We don't quite know; she wants to be happy....
Do you know who I am?...
You're rather like our neighbour, Madame Berlingot....
THE FAIRY (_growing suddenly angry_)
Not a bit!... There's not the least likeness!... This is intolerable!... I
am the Fairy Berylune....
Oh! Very well....
You will have to start at once.
Are you coming with us?
I can't, because I put on the soup this morning and it always boils over
if I leave it for more than an hour.... (_Pointing successively to the
ceiling, the chimney and the window_) Will you go out this way, or that
way, or that way?...
TYLTYL (_pointing timidly to the door_)
I would rather go out that way....
THE FAIRY (_growing suddenly angry again_)
That's quite impossible; and it's a shocking habit!... (_Pointing to the
window_) We'll go out this way.... Well?... What are you waiting for?...
Get dressed at once.... (_The_ CHILDREN _do as they are told and
dress quickly_.) I'll help Mytyl....
We have no shoes....
That doesn't matter. I will give you a little magic hat. Where are your
father and mother?....
TYLTYL (_pointing to the door on the right_)
They're asleep in there....
And your grandpapa and grandmamma?...
And your little brothers and sisters.... Have you any?...
Oh, yes; three little brothers....
And four little sisters....
Where are they?...
They are dead, too....
Would you like to see them again?...
Oh, yes!... At once!... Show them to us!...
I haven't got them in my pocket.... But this is very lucky; you will see
them when you go through the Land of Memory.... It's on the way to the Blue
Bird, just on the left, past the third turning.... What were you doing when
We were playing at eating cakes?...
Have you any cakes?... Where are they?...
In the house of the rich children.... Come and look, it's so lovely. (_He
drags the_ FAIRY _to the window_.)
THE FAIRY (_at the window_)
But it's the others who are eating them!...
Yes; but we can see them eat....
Aren't you cross with them?...
For eating all the cakes.... I think it's very wrong of them not to give
Not at all; they're rich.... I say, isn't it beautiful over there?...
It's no more beautiful there than here.
Ugh!... It's darker here and smaller and there are no cakes....
It's exactly the same, only you can't see....
Yes, I can; and I have very good eyes. I can see the time on the church
clock and daddy can't...
THE FAIRY (_suddenly angry_)
I tell you that you can't see!... How do you see me?... What do I look
like?... (_An awkward silence from_ TYLTYL.) Well, answer me, will
you? I want to know if you can see!... Am I pretty or ugly?... (_The
silence grows more and more uncomfortable_.) Won't you answer?... Am I
young or old?... Are my cheeks pink or yellow?... Perhaps you'll say I have
TYLTYL (_in a conciliatory tone_)
No, no; It's not a big one....
Oh, yes, to look at you, any one would think it enormous.... Have I a hook
nose and have I lost one of my eyes?...
Oh, no, I don't say that.... Who put it out?...
THE FAIRY (_growing more and more irritated_).
But it's not out!... You wretched, impudent boy!... It's much finer than
the other; it's bigger and brighter and blue as the sky.... And my hair,
do you see that?... It's fair as the corn in the fields, it's like virgin
gold!... And I've such heaps and heaps of it that it weighs my head
down.... It escapes on every side.... Do you see it on my hands? (_She
holds out two lean wisps of grey hair_.)
Yes, I see a little....
THE FAIRY (_indignantly_)
A little!... Sheaves! Armfuls! Clusters! Waves of gold!... I know there are
people who say that they don't see any; but you're not one of those wicked,
blind people, I should hope?...
Oh, no; I can see all that isn't hidden....
But you ought to see the rest with as little doubt!... Human beings are
very odd!... Since the death of the fairies, they see nothing at all and
they never suspect it.... Luckily, I always carry with me all that is
wanted to give new light to dimmed eyes.... What am I taking out of my
Oh, what a dear little green hat!... What's that shining in the cockade?...
That's the big diamond that makes people see....
Yes; when you've got the hat on your head, you turn the diamond a little;
from right to left, for instance, like this; do you see?... Then it presses
a bump which nobody knows of and which opens your eyes....
Doesn't it hurt?...
On the contrary, it's enchanted.... You at once see even the inside of
things: the soul of bread, of wine, of pepper, for instance....
Can you see the soul of sugar, too?...
THE FAIRY (_suddenly cross_)
Of course you can!... I hate unnecessary questions.... The soul of sugar
is no more interesting than the soul of pepper.... There, I give you all I
have to help you in your search for the Blue Bird. I know that the flying
carpet or the ring which makes its wearer invisible would be more useful to
you.... But I have lost the key of the cupboard in which I locked them....
Oh, I was almost forgetting!... (_Pointing to the diamond_) When you
hold it like this, do you see?... One little turn more and you behold the
past.... Another little turn and you behold the future.... It's curious and
practical and it's quite noiseless....
Daddy will take it from me....
He won't see it; no one can see it as long as it's on your head....
Will you try it?... (_She puts the little green hat on_ TYLTYL'S
_head_.) Now, turn the diamond.... One turn and then....
(TYLTYL _has no sooner turned the diamond than a sudden and wonderful
change comes over everything. The old_ FAIRY _alters then and there
into a princess of marvellous beauty; the flints of which the cottage walls
are built light up, turn blue as sapphires, become transparent and gleam
and sparkle like the most precious stones. The humble furniture takes life
and becomes resplendent; the deal table assumes as grave and noble an air
as a table made of marble; the face of the clock winks its eye and smiles
genially, while the door that contains the pendulum opens and releases the
Hours, which, holding one another by the hand and laughing merrily, begin
to dance to the sound of delicious music_.)
TYLTYL (_displaying a legitimate bewilderment and pointing to the Hours_)
Who are all those pretty ladies?...
Don't be afraid; they are the hours of your life and they are glad to be
free and visible for a moment....
And why are the walls so bright?... Are they made of sugar or of precious
All stones are alike, all stones are precious; but man sees only a few of
(_While they are speaking, the scene of enchantment continues and is
completed. The souls of the Quartern-loaves, in the form of little men in
crust-coloured tights, flurried and all powdered with flour, scramble out
of the bread-pan and frisk round the table, where they are caught up by_
FIRE, _who, springing from the hearth in yellow and vermilion tights,
writhes with laughter as he chases the loaves_.)
Who are those ugly little men?...
Oh, they're nothing; they are merely the souls of the Quartern-loaves, who
are taking advantage of the reign of truth to leave the pan in which they
were too tightly packed....
And the big red fellow, with the nasty smell?...
Hush!... Don't speak too loud; that's Fire.... He's dangerous. (_This
dialogue does not interrupt the enchantment. The_ DOG _and the_
CAT, _lying rolled up at the foot of the cupboard, utter a loud and
simultaneous cry and disappear down a trap; and in their places rise two
persons, one of whom has the face of a bull-dog, the other that of a
tom-cat. Forthwith, the little man with the bull-dog face, whom we will
henceforward call the_ DOG, _rushes upon_ TYLTYL, _kisses him
violently and overwhelms him with noisy and impetuous caresses; while the
little man with the face of a tom-cat, whom we will simply call the_
CAT, _combs his hair, washes his hands and strokes his whiskers before
going up to_ MYTYL.)
THE DOG (_yelling, jumping about, knocking up against everything,
My little god!... Good-morning, good-morning, my dear little god!... At
last, at last we can talk!... I had so much to tell you!... Bark and wag
my tail as I might, you never understood!... But now!... Good-morning,
good-morning!... I love you!... Shall I do some of my tricks?... Shall
I beg?... Would you like to see me walk on my front paws or dance on my
TYLTYL (_to the_ FAIRY)
Who is this gentleman with the dog's head?....
Don't you see? It's the soul of TYLO whom you have set free....
THE CAT (_going up to_ MYTYL _and putting out his hand to her, with
much ceremony and circumspection_)
Good-morning, Miss.... How well you look this morning!...
Good-morning, sir.... (_To the_ FAIRY) Who is it?...
Why, don't you see? Its the soul of Tylette offering you his hand.... Kiss
THE DOG (_hustling the_ CAT)
Me, too!... I've kissed the little god!... I've kissed the little girl!...
I've kissed everybody!... Oh, grand!... What fun we shall have!... I'm
going to frighten Tylette I Bow, wow, wow!...
Sir, I don't know you....
THE FAIRY (_threatening the_ DOG _with her stick_)
Keep still, will you, or else you'll go back into silence until the end of
(_Meanwhile, the enchantment has pursued its course: the spinning-wheel
has begun to turn madly in its corner and to spin brilliant rays of light;
the tap, in another corner, begins to sing in a very high voice and,
turning into a luminous fountain, floods the sink with sheets of pearls and
emeralds, through which darts the soul of_ WATER, _like a young
girl, streaming, dishevelled and tearful, who immediately begins to fight
And who is that wet lady?...
Don't be afraid. It's Water just come from the tap....
(_The milk-jug upsets, falls from the table and smashes on the floor; and
from the spilt milk there rises a tall, white, bashful figure who seems to
be afraid of everything_.)
And the frightened lady in her nightgown?...
That's Milk; she has broken her jug....
(_The sugar-loaf, at the foot of the cupboard, grows taller and wider and
splits its paper wrapper, whence issues a mawkish and hypocritical being,
dressed in a long coat half blue and half white, who goes up to_ MYTYL
_with a sanctimonious smile_.)
MYTYL (_greatly alarmed_)
What does he want?...
Why, he is the soul of Sugar!...
Has he any barley-sugar?...
His pockets are full of it and each of his fingers is a sugar-stick....
(_The lamp falls from the table and, at the same moment, its flame
springs up again and turns into a luminous maid of incomparable beauty. She
is dressed in long transparent and dazzling veils and stands motionless in
a sort of ecstasy_.)
It's the Queen!...
It's the Blessed Virgin!...
No, my children; it's Light....
(_Meanwhile, the saucepans on the shelves spin round like tops; the
linen-press throws open its folding-doors and unrolls a magnificent display
of moon-coloured and sun-coloured stuffs, with which mingles a no less
splendid array of rags and tatters that come down the ladder from the loft.
But, suddenly, three loud knocks are heard on the door at the right_.)
That's daddy!... He's heard us!...
Turn the diamond!... From left to right!...
(TYLTYL _turns the diamond quickly_.)
Not so quick!... Heavens! It's too late!... You turned it too briskly;
they will not have time to resume their places and we shall have a lot of
(_The FAIRY becomes an old woman again, the walls of the cottage lose
their splendour. The Hours go back into the clock, the spinning-wheel
stops, etc. But, in the general hurry and confusion, while_ FIRE _runs
madly round the room, looking for the chimney, one of the loaves of bread,
who has been unable to squeeze into the pan, bursts into sobs and utters
roars of fright_.)
What's the matter?...
BREAD (_in tears_)
There's no room in the pan!...
THE FAIRY (_stooping over the pan_)
Yes, there is; yes, there is.... (_Pushing the other loaves, which have
resumed their original places_.) Come, quick, make room there....
(_The knocking at the door is renewed_.)
BREAD (_utterly scared, vainly struggling to enter the pan_)
I can't get in!... He'll eat me first!...
THE DOG (_frisking round_ TYLTYL)
My little god!... I am still here!... I can still talk!... I can still kiss
you!... Once more! Once more! Once more!...
What, you too?... Are you there still?...
What luck!... I was too late to return to silence; the trap closed too
So did mine.... What is going to happen?... Is there any danger?...
Well, I'm bound to tell you the truth: all those who accompany the two
children will die at the end of the journey....
THE CAT (_to the_ DOG)
Come, let us get back into the trap....
No, no!... I won't!... I want to go with the little god!... I want to talk
to him all the time!...
(_More knocking at the door_)
BREAD (_shedding bitter tears_)
I don't want to die at the end of the journey!... I want to get back at
once into my pan!...
FIRE (_who has done nothing but run madly round the room, hissing with
I can't find my chimney!...
WATER (_vainly trying to get into the tap_)
I can't get into the tap!...
SUGAR (_hovering round his paper wrapper_)
I've burst my packing-paper!...
MILK (_lymphatically and bashfully_)
Somebody's broken my little jug!...
Goodness me, what fools they are!... Fools and cowards too!... So you
would rather go on living in your ugly boxes, in your traps and taps, than
accompany the children in search of the bird?...
ALL (_excepting the_ DOG _and_ LIGHT)
Yes, yes! Now, at once!... My tap!... My pan!... My chimney!... My trap!...
THE FAIRY (_to_ LIGHT, _who is dreamily gazing at the wreckage of her
And you, Light, what do you say?
I will go with the children....
THE DOG (_yelling with delight_)
I too!... I too!...
That's right.... Besides, it's too late to go back; you have no choice now,
you must all start with us.... But you, Fire, don't come near anybody; you,
Dog, don't tease the Cat; and you, Water, hold yourself up and try not to
run all over the place....
(_A violent knocking is again heard at the door on the right_.)
There's daddy again!... He's getting up this time; I can hear him
Let us go out by the window.... You shall all come to my house, where I
will dress the Animals and the Things properly.... (_To_ BREAD) You,
Bread, take the cage in which to put the Blue Bird.... It will be in your
charge.... Quick, quick, let us waste no time....
(_The window suddenly lengthens downwards, like a door. They all go
out; after which the window resumes its primitive shape and closes quite
innocently. The room has become dark again and the two cots are steeped in
shadow. The door on the right opens ajar and in the aperture appear the
heads of_ DADDY _and_ MUMMY TYL.)
It was nothing.... It's the cricket chirping....
Can you see them?...
I can.... They are sleeping quite quietly....
I can hear their breathing....
(_The door closes again_)
SCENE I.--_At the_ FAIRY'S.
_A magnificent entrance-hall in the palace of the_ FAIRY BERYLUNE.
_Columns of gleaming marble with gold and silver capitals, staircases,
porticoes, balustrades, etc_.
_Enter from the back, on the right, sumptuously clad, the_ CAT, SUGAR
_and_ FIRE. _They come from a room which emits rays of light; it is
the_ FAIRY'S _wardrobe. The_ CAT _has donned the classic
costume of Puss-in-boots_; SUGAR, _a silk dress, half white and half
pale-blue; and_ FIRE _wears a number of many-coloured aigrettes and a
long vermilion mantle lined with gold. They cross the whole length of the
hall to the front of the stage, where the_ CAT _draws them up under a
portico on the right_.
This way, I know every inch of this palace. It was left to the Fairy
Berylune by Bluebeard.... Let us make the most of our last minute of
liberty, while the children and Light pay their visit to the Fairy's little
daughter.... I have brought you here in order to discuss the position in
which we are placed.... Are we all here?...
I see the Dog coming out of the Fairy's wardrobe....
What on earth has he got on?...
He has put on the livery of one of the footmen of Cinderella's coach.... It
was just the thing for him.... He has the soul of a flunkey.... But let us
hide behind the balustrade.... It's strange how I mistrust him.... He had
better not hear what I have to say to you....
It is too late.... He has discovered us.... Look, here is Water also coming
out of the wardrobe.... Goodness me, how fine she is!...
(_The_ DOG _and_ WATER _join the first group_.)
THE DOG (_frisking about_)
There! There!... Aren't we fine I.... Just look at these laces and this
embroidery!... It's real gold and no mistake!...
THE CAT (_to_ WATER)
Is that Catskin's "colour-of-time" dress?... I seem to recognise it....
Yes, it's the one that suited me best....
FIRE (_between his teeth_)
She's not brought her umbrella....
I thought you might be speaking of a great red I saw the other day....
Come, don't let as quarrel; we have more important things to do.... We are
only waiting for Bread; where is he?
He was making an endless fuss about choosing his dress....
Worth while, isn't it, for a fellow who looks a fool and carries an
At last, he decided in favour of a Turkish robe, adorned with gems, a
scimitar and a turban....
There he is!... He has put on Bluebeard's finest dress...
_Enter_ BREAD, _in the costume described above. The silk robe is
crossed tightly over his huge stomach. In one hand he holds the hilt of a
scimitar passed through his sash and in the other the cage intended for the
BREAD (_waddling conceitedly_)
Well?... What do you think of this?
THE DOG (_frisking round the_ LOAF)
How nice he looks! What a fool he looks! How nice he looks! How nice he
THE CAT (_to the_ LOAF)
Are the children dressed?...
Yes, Master Tyltyl has put on Hop-o'-my-Thumb's blue jacket and red
breeches; and Miss Mytyl has Gretel's frock and Cinderella's slippers....
But the great thing was the dressing of Light!...
The Fairy thought her so lovely that she did not want to dress her at
all!... Thereupon I protested in the name of our dignity as essential and
eminently respectable elements; and I ended by declaring that, under those
conditions, I should refuse to be seen with her....
They ought to have bought her a lampshade!...
And what answer did the Fairy make?...
She hit me with her stick on my head and stomach....
I allowed myself to be convinced; but, at the last moment, Light decided on
the moonbeam dress at the bottom of the chest with Catskin's treasures....
Come, stop chattering, time presses.... Our future is at stake.... You have
heard--the Fairy has just said so--that the end of this journey will, at
the same time, mark the end of our lives.... It is our business, therefore,
to prolong it as much as possible and by every possible means.... But there
is another thing: we must think of the fate of our race and the destiny of
Hear, hear!... The Cat is right!...
Listen to me!... All of us here present, Animals, Things and Elements,
possess a soul which man does not yet know. That is why we retain a remnant
of independence; but, if he finds the Blue Bird, he will know all, he will
see all and we shall be completely at his mercy.... This is what I have
just learned from my old friend, Night, who is also the guardian of the
mysteries of Life.... It is to our interest, therefore, at all costs to
prevent the finding of that bird, even if we have to go so far as to
endanger the lives of the children themselves....
THE DOG (_indignantly_)
What's the fellow saying?... Just say that again, will you, to see if I
Order! Order!... It's not your turn to speak!... I'm in the chair at this
Who made you chairman?...
WATER (_to_ FIRE)
Hold your tongue!... What are you interfering with?...
I shall interfere where I choose.... And I want none of your remarks....
Excuse me.... Do not let us quarrel.... This is a serious moment.... We
must, above all things, decide what measures to adopt....
I quite agree with Sugar and the Cat....
This is ridiculous!... There is Man and that's all!... We have to obey him
and do as he tells us!... That is the one and only fact!... I recognise no
one but him!... Hurrah for Man!... Man for ever!... In life or death, all
for Man!... Man is God!...
I quite agree with the Dog.
THE CAT (_to the_ DOG)
But at least give your reasons....
There are no reasons!... I love Man and that's enough!... If you do
anything against him, I will throttle you first and I will go and tell him
SUGAR (_intervening sweetly_)
Excuse me.... Let us not embitter the discussion.... From a certain point
of view, you are both of you right.... There is something to be said on
I quite agree with SUGAR!...
Are we not, all of us, Water, Fire you yourselves, Bread and the Dog, the
victims of a nameless tyranny?... Do you remember the time when, before the
coming of the despot, we wandered at liberty upon the face of the earth?...
Fire and Water were the sole masters of the world; and see what they have
come to!... As for us puny descendants of the great wild animals....
Look out!... Pretend to be doing nothing!... I see the Fairy and Light
coming.... Light has taken sides with Man; she is our worst enemy.... Here
_Enter, on the right, the_ FAIRY, _in the shape of an old woman,
and_ LIGHT, _followed by_ TYLTYL _and_ MYTYL.
Well?... What is it?... What are you doing in that corner?... You look like
conspirators.... It is time to start.... I have decided that Light shall be
your leader.... You will obey her as you would me and I am giving her my
wand.... The children will pay a visit to their late grandparents this
evening.... You will remain behind; that is more discreet.... They will
spend the evening in the bosom of their dead family.... Meanwhile, you will
be getting ready all that is wanted for to-morrow's journey, which will be
a long one.... Come, up, be off and every one to his post!...
THE CAT (_hypocritically_)
That is just what I was saying to them, madam.... I was encouraging them to
do their duty bravely and conscientiously; unfortunately, the Dog, who kept
on interrupting me....
What's that?... Just wait a bit I...
(_He is about to leap upon the_ CAT, _but_ TYLTYL _foreseeing
his intention, stops with a threatening gesture_.)
Down, Tylo!... Take care; and, if ever I catch you again...
My little god, you don't know, it was he who...
TYLTYL (_threatening him_)
Come, that will do.... Let Bread hand the cage for this evening to
Tyltyl.... It is just possible that the Blue Bird may be hidden In the
Past, at the grandparents'.... In any case, it Is a chance which we must
not neglect.... Well, Bread, the cage?
One moment, if you please, Mrs. Fairy....
(_Like an orator making a speech_)
I call upon all of you to bear witness that this silver cage, which was
entrusted to my care by....
THE FAIRY (_interrupting him_)
Enough!... No speeches!... We will go out this way and the children
TYLTYL (_rather anxiously_)
Are we to go all alone?...
I feel hungry!...
THE FAIRY (_to_ BREAD)
Open your Turkish robe and give them a slice of your good stomach....
(BREAD _opens his robe, draws his scimitar and cuts two slices out of his
stomach and hands them to the_ CHILDREN.)
SUGAR (_approaching the_ CHILDREN)
Allow me at the same time to offer you a few sugar-sticks....
(_He breaks off the five fingers of his left hand, one by one, and
presents them to the_ CHILDREN.)
What is he doing?... He is breaking all his fingers!...
Taste them, they are capital... They're made of real barley-sugar....
MYTYL (_tasting one of the fingers_)
Oh, how good they are!... Have you many of them?...
Yes; as many as I want....
Does that hurt you much, when you break them off?...
Not at all.... On the contrary, it's a great advantage; they grow again at
once and so I always have new, clean fingers....
Come, children, don't eat too much sugar.... Don't forget that you are to
have supper presently with your grandpapa and grandmamma....
Are they here?...
You shall see them at once....
How can we see them, when they are dead?...
How can they be dead, when they live in your memory?... Men do not know
this secret, because they know so little; whereas you, thanks to the
diamond, are about to see that the dead who are remembered live as happily
as though they were not dead....
Is Light coming with us?
No, it is more proper that this visit should be confined to the family....
I will wait near here, so as not to appear indiscreet.... They did not
Which way are we to go?...
Over there.... You are on the threshold of the Land of Memory.... As soon
as you have turned the diamond, you will see a big tree with a board on it,
which will show you that you are there.... But don't forget that you are
to be back, both of you, by a quarter to nine.... It is extremely
important.... Now mind and be punctual, for all would be lost if you were
late.... Good-bye for the present!...
(_Calling the_ CAT, _the_ DOG, LIGHT, _etc_.) This way.... And the little
ones that way....
(_She goes out to the right, with_ LIGHT, _the_ ANIMALS, _etc., while the_
CHILDREN _go out to the left_.)
SCENE 2.--_The Land of Memory_.
_A thick fog, from which stands out, on the right, close to the
footlights, the trunk of a large oak, with a board nailed to it. A vague,
milky, impenetrable light prevails_. TYLTYL _and_ MYTYL _are at
the foot of the oak_.
Here Is the tree!...
There's the board!...
I can't read it.... Wait, I will climb up on this root.... That's it.... It
says, "Land of Memory."
Is this where it begins?...
Yes, there's an arrow....
Well, where are grandad and granny?...
Behind the fog.... We shall see....
I can see nothing at all!... I can't see my feet or my hands....
(_Whimpering_) I'm cold!... I don't want to travel any more.... I want
to go home....
Come, don't keep on crying, just like Water.... You ought to be ashamed of
yourself.... A great big little girl like you.... Look, the fog is lifting
already.... We shall see what's behind it....
(_The mist begins to move; It grows thinner and lighter, disperses,
evaporates. Soon, in a more and more transparent light, appears, under a
leafy vault, a cheerful little peasant's cottage, covered with creepers.
The door and windows are open. There are bee-hives under a shed,
flower-pots on the window-sills, a cage with a sleeping blackbird. Beside
the door is a bench, on which an old peasant and his wife_, TYLTYL'S
_grandfather and grandmother, are seated, both sound asleep_.)
TYLTYL (_suddenly recognising them_)
It's grandad and granny!...
MYTYL (_clapping her hands_)
Yes! Yes!... So it is! So it is!...
TYLTYL (_still a little distrustful_)
Take care!... We don't know yet if they can stir.... Let's keep behind the
(GRANNY TYL _opens her eyes, raises her head, stretches herself, gives
a sigh and looks at_ GAFFER TYL, _who also wakes slowly from his
I have a notion that our grandchildren who are still alive are coming to
see us today....
They are certainly thinking of as, for I feel anyhow and I have pins and
needles in my legs....
I think they must be quite near, for I see tears of joy dancing before my
No, no, they are a long way off.... I still feel weak....
I tell you they are here; I am quite strong....
TYLTYL _and_ MYTYL (_rushing up from behind the oak_)
Here we are!... Here we are!... Gaffer! Granny!... It's we!... It's we!...
There!... You see?... What did I tell you?... I was sure they would come
Tyltyl!... Mytyl!... It's you!... It's she!... (_Trying to run to meet
them_) I can't run!... I've still got the rheumatics!...
GAFFER TYL (_hobbling along as fast as he can_)
No more can I.... That's because of my wooden leg, which I still wear
instead of the one I broke when I fell off the big oak....
(_The_ GRANDPARENTS _and the_ CHILDREN _exchange frantic
How tall and strong you've grown, Tyltyl!
GAFFER TYL (_stroking_ MYTYL'S _hair_)
And Mytyl!... Just look at her.... What pretty hair, what pretty eyes!...
Come and kiss me again!... Come on to my lap....
And what about me?...
No, no.... Come to me first.... How are Daddy and Mummy Tyl?...
Quite well, granny.... They were asleep when we went out....
GRANNY TYL (_gazing at them and covering them with caresses_)
Lord, how pretty they are and how nice and clean!... Was it mummy who
washed you?... And there are no holes in your stockings!... I used to darn
them once, you know.... Why don't you come to see us oftener?... It makes
us so happy!... It is months and months now that you've forgotten us and
that we have seen nobody....
We couldn't, granny; and to-day its only because of the Fairy....
We are always here, waiting for a visit from those who are alive.... They
come so seldom!... The last time you were here, let me see, when was it?...
It was on All-hallows, when the church-bells were ringing....
All-hallows?... We didn't go out that day, for we both had very bad
No; but you thought of us....
Well, every time you think of us, we wake up and see you again....
What, is it enough to...
But come, you know that....
No, I didn't know....
GRANNY TYL (_to_ GAFFER TYL)
It's astonishing, up there.... They don't know yet.... Do they never learn
It's as in our own time.... The Living are so stupid when they speak of the
Do you sleep all the time?...
Yes, we get plenty of sleep, while waiting for a thought of the Living to
come and wake us.... Ah, it is good to sleep when life is done.... But it
is pleasant also to wake up from time to time....
So you are not really dead?...
What do you say?... What is he saying?... Now he's using words we don't
understand.... Is it a new word, a new invention?...
The word "dead"?...
Yes, that was the word.... What does it mean?...
Why, it means that one's no longer alive....
How silly they are, up there!...
Is it nice here?...
Oh, yes; not bad, not bad; and, if one could just have a smoke....
Aren't you allowed to smoke?...
Yes, it's allowed; but I've broken my pipe....
Yes, yes, all would be well, if only you would come and see us oftener....
Do you remember, Tyltyl?... The last time I baked you a lovely
apple-tart.... You ate such a lot of it that you made yourself ill....
But I haven't eaten any apple-tart since last year.... There were no apples
Don't talk nonsense.... Here, we have them always....
What? That's different?... Why, nothing's different when we're able to kiss
TYLTYL (_looking first at his_ GRANDMOTHER _and then at his_ GRANDFATHER)
You haven't changed, grandad, not a bit, not a bit.... And granny hasn't
changed a bit either.... But you're better-looking....
Well, we feel all right.... We have stopped growing older.... But you,
how tall you're growing!... Yes, you're shooting up finely.... Look,
over there, on the door, is the mark of the last time.... That was on
All-hallows.... Now then, stand up straight.... (TYLTYL _stands up
against the door_.) Four fingers taller!... That's immense!... (MYTYL
_also stands up against the door_.) And Mytyl, four and a half!...
Aha, ill weeds grow apace!... How they've grown, oh, how they've grown!...
TYLTYL (_looking around him with delight_)
Nothing is changed, everything is in its old place!... Only everything is
prettier!... There is the clock with the big hand which I broke the point
And here is the soup-tureen you chipped a corner off....
And here is the hole which I made in the door, the day I found the
Yes, you've done some damage in your time!... And here is the plum-tree in
which you were so fond of climbing, when I wasn't looking.... It still has
its fine red plums....
But they are finer than ever!...
And here is the old blackbird!... Does he still sing?...
(_The blackbird wakes and begins to sing at the top of his voice_.)
You see.... As soon as one thinks of him....
TYLTYL (_observing with amazement that the blackbird is quite blue_)
But he's blue!... Why, that's the bird, the Blue Bird which I am to take
back to the Fairy.... And you never told us that you had him here!... Oh,
he's blue, blue, blue as a blue glass marble!... (_Entreatingly_)
Grandad, granny, will you give him to me?...
Yes, perhaps, perhaps.... What do you think, granny?...
Certainly, certainly.... What use is he to us?... He does nothing but
sleep.... We never hear him sing....
I will put him in my cage.... I say, where is my cage?... Oh, I know, I
left it behind the big tree.... (_He runs to the tree, fetches the cage
and puts the blackbird into it_.) So, really, you've really given him to
me?... How pleased the Fairy will be!... And Light too!...
Mind you, I won't answer for the bird.... I'm afraid that he will never get
used again to the restless life up there and that he'll come back here by
the first wind that blows this way.... However, we shall see.... Leave him
there, for the present, and come and look at the cow....
TYLTYL (_noticing the hives_)
And how are the bees getting on?
Oh, pretty well.... They are no longer alive, as you call it up there; but
they work hard....
TYLTYL (_going up to the hives_)
Oh, yes!... I can smell the honey!... How heavy the hives must be!... All
the flowers are so beautiful!... And my little dead sisters, are they here
And where are my three little brothers who were buried?...
(_At these words, seven little_ CHILDREN, _of different sizes, like
a set of Pan's pipes, come out of the cottage, one by one_.)
Here they are, here they are!... As soon as you think of them, as soon as
you speak of them, they are there, the darlings!...
(TYLTYL _and_ MYTYL _run to meet the_ CHILDREN. _They hustle
and hug one another and dance and whirl about and utter screams of
Hullo, Pierrot!... (_They clutch each other by the hair_.) Ah, so
we're going to fight again, as in the old days.... And Robert!... I say,
Jean, what's become of your top?... Madeleine and Pierette and Pauline!...
And here's Riquette!...
Oh, Riquette, Riquette!... She's still crawling on all fours!...
Yes, she has stopped growing.
TYLTYL (_noticing the little_ DOG _yelping around them_)
There's Kiki, whose tail I cut off with Pauline's scissors.... He hasn't
GAFFER TYL (_sententiously_)
No, nothing changes here....
And Pauline still has a pimple on her nose....
Yes, it won't go away; there's nothing to be done for it....
Oh, how well they look, how fat and glossy they are!... What jolly cheeks
they have!... They look well fed....
They have been much better since they ceased living.... There's nothing
more to fear, nobody is ever ill, one has no anxiety....
(_The clock inside the cottage strikes eight_.)
GRANNY TYL (_amazed_)
I don't know, I'm sure.... It must be the clock....
It can't be.... It never strikes....
Because we no longer think of the time.... Was any one thinking of the
Yes, I was.... What is the time?...
I'm sure I can't tell.... I've forgotten how.... It struck eight times, so
I suppose it's what they call eight o'clock up there....
Light expects me at a quarter to nine.... It's because of the Fairy....
It's extremely important.... I'm off!...
Don't leave us like that, just as supper's ready!... Quick, quick, let's
lay the table outside.... I've got some capital cabbage-soup and a
(_They get out the table, dishes, plates, etc., and lay for supper
outside the door, all helping_.)
Well, as I've got the Blue Bird.... And then it's so long since I tasted
cabbage-soup.... Ever since I've been, travelling.... They don't have it at
There!... That didn't take long!... Sit down, children.... Don't let us
lose time, if you're in a hurry....
(_They have lit the lamp and served the soup. The_ GRANDPARENTS _and
the_ CHILDREN _sit down round the table, jostling and elbowing one
another and laughing and screaming with pleasure_.)
TYLTYL (_eating like a glutton_)
How good it is!... Oh, how good it is!...I want some more! More!...
(_He brandishes his wooden spoon and noisily hits his plate with it_.)
Come, come, a little more quiet.... You're just as ill-behaved as ever; and
you'll break your plate....
TYLTYL (_half-raising himself on his stool_)
I want more, more!... (_He seizes the tureen, drags it toward him and
upsets it and the soup, which trickles over the table and down over their
knees and scalds them. Yells and screams of pain_.)
There!... I told you so!...
GAFFER TYL (_giving TYLTYL a loud box on the ear_)
That's one for you!...
TYLTYL (_staggered for a moment, next puts his hand to his cheek with an
expression of rapture_)
Oh, that's just like the slaps you used to give me when you were alive?...
Grandad, how nice it was and how good it makes one feel!... I must give you
Very well; there's more where that came from, if you like them....
(_The clock strikes half-past eight_)
TYLTYL (_starting up_)
Half-past eight!... (_He flings down his spoon_.) Mytyl, we've only
just got time!...
Oh, I say!... Just a few minutes more!... Your house isn't on fire!... We
see you so seldom....
No, we can't possibly.... Light is so kind.... And I promised her.... Come,
Goodness gracious, how tiresome the Living are with all their business and
TYLTYL (_taking his cage and hurriedly kissing everybody all round_)
Good-bye, grandad.... Good-bye, granny.... Good-bye, brothers and sisters,
Pierrot, Robert, Pauline, Madeleine, Riquette and you, too, Kiki.... I feel
we mustn't stay.... Don't cry, granny; we will come back often....
Come back every day!...
Yes, yes; we will come back as often as we can....
It's our only pleasure and it's such a treat for us when your thoughts
We have no other amusements....
Quick, quick!... My cage!... My bird!...
GAFFER TYL (_handing him the cage_)
Here they are!... You know, I don't warrant him; and if he's not the right
THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS TYL
Good-bye, Tyltyl! Good-bye, Mytyl!... Remember the barley-sugar!...
Good-bye!... Come again!... Come again!...
(_They all wave their handkerchiefs while_ TYLTYL _and_ MYTYL
_slowly move away. But already, during the last sentences, the fog of the
beginning of the scene has been gradually re-forming, so that, at the end,
all has disappeared in the mist and, at the fall of the curtain_, TYLTYL
_and_ MYTYL _are again alone visible under the big oak_.)
It's this way, Mytyl....
Where is Light?...
I don't know.... (_Looking at the bird in the cage_.) But the bird is
no longer blue!... He has turned black!...
Give me your hand, little brother.... I feel so frightened and so cold....
SCENE 1.--_The Palace of_ NIGHT.
_A large and wonderful hall of an austere, rigid, metallic and sepulchral
magnificence, giving the impression of a Greek temple with columns,
architraves, flagstones and ornaments of black marble, gold and ebony. The
hall is trapezium-shaped. Basalt steps, occupying almost the entire width,
divide it into three successive stages, which rise gradually toward the
back. On the right and left, between the columns, are doors of sombre
bronze. At the back, a monumental door of brass. The palace is lit only
by a vague light that seems to emanate mainly from the brilliancy of the
marble and the ebony. At the rise of the curtain_, NIGHT, _in the form
of a very old woman, clad in long, black garments, is seated on the steps
of the second stage between two children, of whom one, almost naked,
like Cupid, is smiling in a deep sleep, while the other is standing up,
motionless and veiled from head to foot_.
_Enter from the right, in the foreground, the_ CAT
Who goes there?
THE CAT (_sinking heavily upon the marble steps_)
It is I, Mother Night.... I am worn out....
What's the matter, child?... You look pale and thin and you are splashed
with mud to your very whiskers.... Have you been fighting on the tiles
again, in the snow and rain?...
It has nothing to do with the tiles!... It's our secret that's at stake!...
It's the beginning of the end!... I have managed to escape for a moment to
warn you; but I greatly fear that there is nothing to be done....
Why?... What has happened?...
I have told you of little Tyltyl, the woodcutter's son, and of the magic
diamond.... Well, he is coming here to demand the Blue Bird of you....
He hasn't got it yet.....
He will have it soon, unless we perform some miracle.... This is how the
matter stands: Light, who is guiding him and betraying us all, for she has
placed herself entirely on Man's side, Light has learned that the Blue
Bird, the real one, the only one that can live in the light of day, is
hidden here, among the blue birds of the dreams that live on the rays of
the moon and die as soon as they set eyes on the sun.... She knows that she
is forbidden to cross the threshold of your palace, but she is sending the
children; and, as you cannot prevent Man from opening the doors of
your secrets, I do not know how all this will end.... In any case, if,
unfortunately, they should lay their hands on the real Blue Bird, there
would be nothing for us but to disappear....
Oh dear, oh dear!.... What times we live in!... I never have a moment's
peace.... I cannot understand Man, these last few years.... What is he
aiming at?... Must he absolutely know everything?... Already he has
captured a third of my Mysteries, all my Terrors are afraid and dare not
leave the house, my Ghosts have taken flight, the greater part of my
Sicknesses are ill....
I know, Mother Night, I know, the times are hard and we are almost alone in
our struggle against Man.... But I hear them coming.... I see only one way:
as they are children, we must give them such a fright that they will not
dare to persist or to open the great door at the back, behind which they
would find the Birds of the Moon.... The secrets of the other caverns will
be enough to distract their attention and terrify them....
NIGHT (_listening to a sound outside_)
What do I hear?... Are there many of them?...
It is nothing; it is our friends, Bread and Sugar; Water is not very well
and Fire could not come, because he is related to Light.... The Dog is
the only one who is not on our side; but it is never possible to keep him
(_Enter timidly, on the right, in the foreground, TYLTYL, MYTYL, BREAD,
SUGAR and the DOG_.)
THE CAT (_rushing up to TYLTYL_)
This way, little master, this way.... I have told Night, who is delighted
to see you.... You must forgive her, she is a little indisposed; that is
why she was not able to come to meet you....
Good-day, Mrs. Night....
NIGHT (_in an offended voice_)
Good-day?... I am not used to that.... You might say, Good-night, or, at
I beg your pardon, ma'am....I did not know....(_Pointing to the two_
CHILDREN.) Are those your two little boys?... They are very nice....
This is Sleep....
Why is he so fat?...
That is because he sleeps well....
And the other, hiding himself?... Why does he veil his face?...Is he
ill?... What is his name?...
That is Sleep's sister.... It is better not to mention her name....
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