University of Aberdeen Takes you to the main page for this section
Elphinstone Kist   Play

    by: Taylor, Dorothy

NARRATOR:

Hamelin! A rare wee placie - nae far fae Hanover toon
The River Weser, dark and stourie
Swalled by monie a rainy shoorie
(Jist like the Don at Inverurie).
Flowed seaward doon.
A bonny spot for fowk tae bide in
As weel as gentry tae reside in -
Gweed will a’ roon.

NARRATOR:(Lines shared among townsfolk)

The fowk, fan their day’s darg wiz deen,
Wad meet tae share their news.
Far they were gaun - or far they’d been -
An’ fad been at the booze!
The price o’ cheese - the sowen o’ corn -
Wha’d gaen an’ deet, or wha’d been born
The visitors they’d hae the morn . .
Their homin’ doos . .
Jist orner fowk, wi orner claik.
An’ workin’ tae mak an honest maik
Canty & croose.

UNTIL - a plague on them descended
Tae cheenge their lives for worse.
Their time o’ peace and plenty ended
A hellish dreadfu’ curse . . . RATS.

(ENTER RATS - EXIT TOWNFOLK)

RATS: (Shared Lines)

Aye! We’ra boys tae mak them rin
Frae noo on we are movin’ in.
We’ll empty every corn bin
Clean oot their presses,
Mak lots o’ trouble - lots o’ din
An lots o’ messes.
We’ll a’ gang oot an fight their dugs
Chaw aff their tails - teer aff their lugs
Let’s fill their nice wee toon wi’ bugs
An’ kill their pussies.
We’ll ficht them wi’ oor ugly mugs
TAK OWER THEIR HOOSIES.
We’ll bite their weans. we’ll scoff their soup,
We’ll fill their Sunday hats wi’ poop.
Nae depths tae which we winnae stoop
They’ll hae deid losses!
We’ll mak their cheerfu’ spirits droop!
Show them we’re bosses.
Come on lads nae mair sittin’ jawin’
Oor teeth are sharp, jist richt for chawin’
Oor nails are keen to dae some clawin’
Sae oot tae play!!
We’ll show they teuchters we’re no blawin’
RATS RULE - O.K.!

NARRATOR:

The verminous horde puir Hamelin toon they overran.
The townsfowk tried - an did their best
Wi mony a plan tae oust the pest
Fae morn til nicht wi little rest
Plan efter plan.
Wiz first devised - pit tae the test -
Rat versus man.

(Music and movement here to show different plans at work)

CITIZENS:

But a’ thing that we did or tried
Wiz eesless as a wall that’s dried.
The rotten lot jist multiplied
Kept up their plunner.

NARRATOR:

Until ae brainy chielie cried

CITIZENS:

We’re nae gaun unner!
We shoulda thocht o’ this afore!
We’ll ging and storm the cooncil’s door!

NARRATOR:

The crood let oot a michty roar

CITIZENS:

Aye, let’s get tough!
This plague oor cooncillors jist ignore
We’ve hid enough!
Get yer pikes! Pick up yer staffs!
Aye we’re nae daein’ things by haufs.
This is deid serious, nae for laughs!
It’s jist a crime!
We’ve let you lot mak loadza gaffes
But nae this time!

(Crowdscene - exit in aggressive mood. Enter council)

PROVOST:

I noo declare this meetin’ open
An’ I ken fine you lads are copin’
But gies yer spielies a’ the same
Jist - keep it brief- we a’ wint hame!

ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER:

In Hamelin here I’m gey weel kent
As Officer o’ Environment
I try tae gie fowk fit they wint
Jist look aroon.
For pleasin’ architectural grace
Ye winna find a bonnier place
Wids and parks in plenty space
They’ve a braw toon (Agreement from Corporation)
Noo - this rat thing’s a tyauve nae doot
Bit nane o’ us will gang withoot.
I’ve biggit stores will keep rats oot
We’ll be a’richt! (Murmurs of approval!)
The fowk - will hae tae ca’ awa
I canna big stores for them a’
My budget’s overspint an a’
An so the nicht
My message is - ‘Let ilka een
Work hard - keep his ane doorstep clean!’ (Hear! Hear!)
Wi’ that in mind then verra seen
The problem’s past!
The fowk should learn tae be like me!
Row up their sleeves and buckle tee!
Stick in! That’s a’ they’ve got tae dee
Tae beat yon rats! (Applause)

PROVOST:

I thank ye for yer observation
Let’s hear fae ‘Chief o’ Sanitation’


OFFICER FOR SANITATION:

My fella cooncillor’s had his say
On your behalf noo - If I may -
I thank his shrewdness and foresicht
Priorities? He’s got his richt. (More approval noises)
My job ofcourse - concerns pollution
I’m working hard on a solution
But naebody in his richt mind
Expects ae man a wye tae find
Tae beat a plague like we’re endurin’ (True! True!)
The fowk I ken need re-assurin’
I’ll post a statement it’ll say
That we’re a’ working nicht and day
In jargon naebody unnerstans
I’ll ootline oor collective plans.
Jist fob them aff- l’ve got nae doot
Somewye we’ll get yon rottans oot, (Murmurs!)
I ken my job is sanitation
Bit I need your co-operation
This situations straight fae Hell
I shouldna cairry the can masel (Rhubarb! Rhubarb!)

(Over the ‘Rhubarb' L & R Officer rises)


LEISURE AND RECREATION OFFICER:

I speak for Leisure & Recreation
Oor colleague’s richt - this situation
Demands that we a’ work as een
Look like we’re tryin’ tae get things deen.
An’ so my freens my contribution
Tae tak fowk’s minds AFF rat pollution
Will be tae organise a fair,
A dance - some concerts and fit’s mair
Admìssion tae these events will be
Nae cheap - BUT ABSOLUTELY FREE (reaction from others)
Ye micht think we’ll lose revenue
But it’ll only be fur noo
Ony expense that we lay oot
We can recoup withoot a doot
Coz aince we’re free o’ rottan trouble
We’ll up the cooncil tax tae double (Great solution!)
I hope my plans hiv your approval
As fur the road tae rat removal
That’s somebody else’s specialisation
Mine is - Leisure and Recreation

PROVOST:

Weel fit ye’s said maks sense tae me
(To P.R. Man) Let’s hear fae you. Fit can you dee?

P.R MAN:

Ye ken P.R. is my commission
I can mak use o’ superstition
I’ve heard fowk think the rats cam in
As punishment for Hamelin’s sin!
Maist o’ which they lay at oor door
So I hiv got tae mak damn sure
That they’re instructed itherwise
And tae this end I’ll organise
A whusper campaign that will name
THE GUVERNMENT as being tae blame!
I’ll tell them that if they a’ stick
Wi’ us, in less than jist a wik
There will be nocht fur them tae fear
Fae rats - Because there’ll be nane here!
(Applause)

PROVOST:

Agreed! Agreed! Yer plans are gran’
I think that’s a’thing weel in han’
Get oot the booze - we’ll hae a sup
Afore we brak this meetin’ up.

(They do just that!)

NARRATOR:

The Provost and Cooncil sat in state,
they didn’a seem tac care.
They had their rat proof stores o’ maet
They werena’ left wi’ nocht tae aet,
They didna’ share the toonsfowks' fate
But noo the mob wiz there.

CROWD:

Come oot - it’s your electorate!
Aye, show yersel - it’s reckonin’ date!
Hide, if ye dare!!

NARRATOR:

The Provost got up and spik tae them
They pelted him wi’ rotten fruit
It clarted a’ his fancy suit
But he stood fast.

PROVOST:

Gweed comrades cease this vile dispute!
The rats are doomed, so hae nae doot
Their time is past!
We’ve been discussin’ fit tae dee.
I widna tell you fowk a lee!
Yer honest Provost! Ye a’ ken me!


COUNCIL TOGETHER:

An us as weel


SOLOS:

We’ll pit things richt, jist wait an see
Aye - we’re nae feel.
So a’ ging hame and stop this fuss
Jist leave the rotten purge tae us.

TOWN FOLK:

Ye’d better get it deen and quick
Or ye’ll be richt oot on yer neck.
Sort things - or OOT -jist tak yer pick!
That’s oor last wird!
If your plan disna dee the trick
Ye get the bird!

NARRATOR:

The toonsfowk left, they a’ sat doon,
The hale caboodle lookit glum.
The Provost passed roon Jamaica rum
Tae help some bricht ideas tae come
But roon and roon
It look’t like they’d been a’ struck dumb.
The Provost’s brain wiz growin’ numb
He clawed his croon.

PROVOST:

If only some wye we could hae
A miracle this ruefu’ day
I’d gie up drink! Well - I’d try tae!
I’d pey ma debts.
And I’d decree the tenth o’ May
Tac be a Hamelin holiday
I’d ban the rates!
Ye poo’rs abeen - gie me a han!
I’ll try tae be a better man
I’ll gie the kirk a skelp o’ lan
For intercession.
I’ll even work as hard’s I can
Tae stop recession!

NARRATOR:

It lookit like the lot were beaten
A sorry sicht this cooncil meetin’.
Grown men - a’ sittin’, bubblin’, greetin’
Fan - ower the din
Cam-Chap! Chap! Chap!
A heid wiz teetin’

PIPER:

May I come in?

PROVOST:

Mercy be here! Well dearie me!
Aye, come on in! Noo fa are ee?

COUNCIL LINES:

Ye’re nae fae here! Oor fowk are taller
Foo are ye weerin’ reed and yalla?

He’s affa thin! His een are bricht

His breeks, I think, are unco ticht!

He’s nae a man - he’s jist a haiflin

His looks, his claes, his tongue are bafflin’.

Naebody here weers sic a coat
Heh! Fit’s that hingin’ roon yer throat?

He’s gotten a strange like smiley mou!
Bit fit’s he daein here the noo?

NARRATOR:

The Provost broke in wi’ his suggestion.

PROVOST:

A’ haud yer weesht! I’ll ask the questions!

NARRATOR:

The Provost stood up, approached the chiel

PROVOST:

Noo fat’s yer business? Name, as weel?
Are ye heaven-sent or fae the deil?
Fae fitna lan’?
Dae ye seek cooncil? wark? or bield?
Spik up ma man!

NARRATOR:

The stranger booit low, and then
He spak in accent soft but plain.

PIPER:

My home is where my head shall rest,
I’ve come today from the far west.
I knew your town was in great need
And hastened here with utmost speed.
Many a purge in many a clime
I’ve made with skill - time after time.
Flies and locusts, bats and fleas,
Famine, pestilence, disease.
Snakes and scorpions, bugs and mice
Beetles, termites, hornets, lice.
Fire-breathing dragon - ravenning beast,
Drought and flood, and no means least,
of rats - a hundred towns I’ve cleared!

NARRATOR:

The cooncil danced about and cheered.

COUNCIL:

Oor prayers are answered! You’re oor man!
Rid us o’ rats! We ken ye can!

PROVOST:

Haud on! Haud on! Jist let’s ca’ canny!
I wint tae hear mair fae this manny.
He blaws aboot his skill and fame!
We dinna even ken his name!
The wye he warks - we wint tae see it!
An’ foo much diz he wint tae dee it?

NARRATOR:

The stranger booit low aince mair.


PIPER:

Your questions, sir, I’ll answer fair.
Within this pipe I wear, there lies
Magic - so strong it can surprise
The greatest sceptic to belief
And give, for hardship, much relief.
My skill in play has brought me fame.
And The Mac Piper is my name.
I’ll rid your town ofrats, you’ll see
And a thousand guilders is my fee.

COUNCIL:

A thoosand guilders! We’d hae geen
Ten thoosand tae get this job deen.
Let’s a’ shak hands wi’ oor new freen
Then aff ye go!
We wint tae get yon rats oot seen!
Jist think o’ it oor wee toon CLEAN!
So start the show!

NARRATOR:

Aince mair the laddie made a boo.

PIPER:

I’ll do the best that I can do,
This is the day those rats will rue
They won’t be staying.

NARRATOR:

He put his pipey tu his moo
an startit playin.
The tune he played gait yer heid rattle
‘Twiz like a rantin cry tae battle.
The rats cam like stampedin cattle
Ye should hae heard yon vermin prattle
Reelin’ and prancin.

RATS:

Hey, whazza boy? I like his style!
Yon music’s great, mak’s me bile!
It’s tellin me tae leave this dump!
Come on, let’s gie it rumpty tump!
This lad kens fit a ratty needs -
Comfy nests and yummy feeds!
We’re gaun tae ratty paradise!
Nae mair barley, peas or rice!
We’ll live like high society!
He’s takin us whaur a’ things free!
Kegs o’ maut and massive cheeses!
We’ll a’ get onything we pleases!

NARRATOR:

The piper led them throw the toon
Birlin’ and whirlin’ roon and roon
He wiz a skeely pipin’ loon
The rats his slaves.
The Weser hill they a’ danced doon
Doon till the waves!
The lift grew dark wi’ angry clood
But aye swept on the rotten crood.
A’ in their optimistic mood
Loud rolled the thunner.
The piper by the Weser stood -
The rats went unner.

Doon they sank tae the Weser’s bottom
A thoosand, thoosand rotten rotten!
Only ane managed tae survive
Swam ower tae the ither bank alive!

SURVIVOR:

Hoo I got here I dinna ken
I wush I could hae bade wi’ them
They’ve a’ gaun tae a magic place
An left me here! It’s a disgrace!
I really liked their company!
Why have they aw deserted me?
Ah never, ever blew the gaff
Nor swicket them - nor telt them aff
Some envied me coz ah wiz swack.
Ane or twa spak ahent ma back.
But maist o’ them were no hauf bad -
An they were aw the pals a’ had.
Wee!, I’ll jist have tae take ma fate.
I ken! A'll get masel a mate.
The last ane o’ ma ratty nation
A'll start a brand new generation!

(He exits energetically)

NARRATOR:

The Hamelin fowk they laughed and cheered
Gone was the plague they a’ hid feared.

CROWD:

Three cheers for oor Provost and corporation.
This is a time for celebration!

NARRATOR:

They shouted, sang and danced wi glee
It wiz a joyous sicht tae see.
The Provost’s smile jist grew and grew
His chest stuck oot like a pouter doo.
The cooncil passed aroon the sack
An’ patted each ither on the back.
A’body fou o’ richt gweed will -
Till up stepped the piper.

PIPER:

SIR - MY BILL!
One thousand guilders - pay now please.
I have to hie me o’er the seas.
For I must go to lend a hand
To the Emir of Hindustan.
So come sir - let me have my fee
And then you’ll see the back of me.

NARRATOR:

The smile fled fae the Provost’s visog.

PROVOST:

A thoosand guilders! Ye’re a rogue
A’ ye did wiz a bit o’ pipin’!
An noo oor coffers ye’d be rypin’
The rottans a’ are drooned and deid!
A thoosand guilders? Bile yer heid!
Take fifty noo, my bonny loon
An’ get the hell oot o’ oor toon!

NARRATOR:

The cooncil laughed wi’ the toonsfolk

CROWD:

A THOOSAND GUILDERS!
FIT A JOKE!

COUNCIL:

He must think we’ve got nae sense!
I widna’ gie him fifty pence!
This billy fairly taks the cake
I widna gie the vratch a maik!

NARRATOR:

The piper turned his gaze a’ roon
His ee gart a’body quaeten doon.

PIPER:

I warn you - pay my proper fee
Or sad and sorry folk you’ll be
A different tune for you I’ll play
Before I go upon my way!

PROVOST:

Weel, jist ye ca’ awa’ ma man
Blaw yer pipe as lood’s ye can!

NARRATOR:

The mob wha’ lately had been cheerin’
Turned on the piper, laughin’, jeerin -

CROWD:

Play up! Play up! Let’s hear yer soun’
Go on! Gie us yer ither tune!!

NARRATOR:

The piper quaetly steppit oot
Pit till his lips the magic flute.
He played a supernat’ral air
The fowk transfixed did naught but stare.
And then fae oot the frozen crood
Cam bairnies rinnin’, lauchen lood.
Bonny happy quines and loons
Enchanted by the piper’s soons.
They followed him doon the Hamelin street
Carried on eager spell-bound feet.
They a’ moved birlin’ wi’ a will
First fest, then slow and slower still.
As near the Weser’s banks they drew,
Each mither’s heart wiz in her moo.
Each faither prayed a silent prayer
A watery grave they widna share -
But past the river rollin’ wide
Flowed fester noo the youthfu tide
The pace increased - the dance grew wild.
The toonsfolk watched as ilka child
Transformed fae fat they’d lately been
Transformed afore their verra een!
And syne the sky grew dark as nicht
Syne filled wi’ strange enchanted licht
There cam an eerie whistlin’ soun.
An’ fae the heavens, it seemed, cam doon
Some weird illusion - that could fill
A space as great as ony hill -
Syne - could it be? A massive door
Slid ope - whaur nane had been afore?
Unearthly wiz the soughin’ win’ . .
That drew the Hamelin bairns within

Silence

The piper's music ceased at last.
The sky glowed reed. The dance wiz past
An whaur the huge device had been
Noo there wis naethin tae be seen.
The fowk cam trance-like tae the place
Dumfoonermint on ilka face.
They couldna speak or cry or scream
As if within some hellish dream
And as if wrocht in steen they stood
Ae littlin hirpled tae the crood.

CHILD:

They’ve gaen! A’ gaen! Whit will I dee?
This withert leg hiz robbit me
O’ a’ ma freens! I’m left ma lane!
Ah, hoo I wish I could hae gaen!
Yon piper’s taen them tae a place
Beyond oor time - beyond oor space.
His music promised that eence there -
Instead o’ ane, I’d hae a pair
o’ sturdy legs - thats’ a’ I need!
If I’d jist hid a bit mair speed
I’d be wi a’ ma freens! They’ll see
The sichts the music promised me.
Amazin’ wunners on each hand -
And peace and plenty in the land -
Nae fechtin’, famine or disease -
A land whaur fowk could tak their ease.
Whaur bairns could grow in sweet content
An nivver feel the pain o’ want.
Oh, hoo I wish I could be there
Nae stuck back here! It’s jist nae fair!

CITIZEN:

Fae oot the crood the Provost spak -

PROVOST:

Stop greetin’, loon! We’ll get them back
I’ll send oot scouts - Offer reward
There’s naethin that we’ll nae afford
Tae get oor young eens back again.
We’ll scour the world fae en’ tae en’

EXIT TOWNSFOLK SADLY AND SLOWLY

CHILD:

They scoured the world fae en’ tae en’
But a’thing that wiz deen wiz vain,
for there wiz niver sicht nor soun’
O the lost bairns o’ Hamelin toon.

Yet on that day - the fowk bereft -
Vowed that the time they a’ hid left
They’d spend in purgin’ greed and strife
Try tae achieve a better life.

Try tae be givers, nae aye takkers
Try tae be guid, decision makkers.
Gie up destruction and be builders
Pit promises ahied o’ guilders . .

They vowed they’d help the earth tae be
Like that land the piper promised me!
Foo lang will bairns warld ower wait
Tae thrive in sic a blissfu’ state?

I’m gaun tac gang for’t - startin noo!
Fit aboot you? an you? an you?”

HE EXITS TO FAINT PIPER STRAINS



© University of Aberdeen   Return to Home page