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Jean -out-of-the Pod
Vladimir Zacharov
French folk-tale

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:


JEAN
OGRE
RODENT
SPIDER
SOMEONE
FLY
BUTTERFLY

   SCENE 1. Meadow. Geese cackling.

WOMAN'S VOICE: Jean, Je-an! Why are you sprawling? Keep your
eyes on geese! Don't let them scatter!
JEAN: Jean, Jean, what on earth do you get noisy for? Just how
can these geese scatter? See, how (what) fat they are.
They are lazy even to waddle! Besides, the grass here is
lush. I wish I could eat it.

Jean is kneeling. Tries the grass. Does not like it. Spits. The
Spider crawls out of the grass. Jean frightened hides himself
behind the bush.

SPIDER: Why are you spitting here, you, small fry?
JEAN: Ugh! None of your business!
SPIDER: Just watch under your feet!
JEAN: So I do.
SPIDER: No, you do not, well, well. Who are you then?
JEAN: I am Jean from the pod. Son of Jeak- the baker. I was
been poured upon with tomato juice.
SPIDER: Why? Wanted to flush the dirt off you?
JEAN: But no! They put me into a pot. And to get it like this
poured juice upon. And so they have got it like this.
SPIDER: Got what? Did they boil you, or what?
JEAN: Well no! They put a pea into a pot. Poured tomato juice
upon. A pod grew up. So I hatched out of this pod.
SPIDER: What on earth for?
JEAN: What do you mean, what for? Jeak the baker never in his
life had children, so he grew me up.
SPIDER: And for nothing!
JEAN: For nothing?
SPIDER: What is the good of you? No help from you about the
house. You are too small. Just nothing more but trouble.
JEAN: I am watching geese over!
SPIDER: They will not get lost themselves anyway. They were
grazing here for all their life and none lost them. And
with you it is troublesome. You are too small and can
get lost yourself.
JEAN: How is that?
SPIDER: How? How? The wind will catch you up. Then look for you.

Spider draws the web. Takes out the fly. Eats it.

JEAN: Ugh! How can you eat such a filth!
SPIDER: Let me eat you then.
JEAN: Hey, watch your tongue!
SPIDER: Keep your mouth shut then. Do not like it - do not
watch. Stop spoiling my appetite.

Jean turns away. Spider crawls away with the fly.

JEAN: It is time to eat. Why not to call me for lunch? As for
geese concern-here you are Jean, as for lunch, not a
shout.

A butterfly flies over. Jean plays with her.

JEAN: What a beautiful she is! Can it be possible the spider
will eat her as well? Certainly will. Butterfly, please
flyway! Be careful the spider spinned a web here.
Damned glutton! Shaggy flyeater! Stinking hooked paw!
SPIDER: / coming down / Just whom do you scold?
JEAN: Me? No, no, none. Ah, the bugs. Just hanging about all
through the night, can not sleep because of them.
SPIDER: Well, well, go on.
JEAN: And you? Gorged yourself?
SPIDER: Do not tell me you do not get envious. You are hungry,
aren't you? They do not pet you much, do they?
JEAN: Got it wrong! I am pretty well fed.
SPIDER: What do they feed you with?
JEAN: Well, porridge, soup, thin jelly. Most of all I like
sunflower seeds with honey. It is so tasty to dip it in
a drop of honey and eat it bite by bite. Also I like
raisins, and... jam.
SPIDER: And bugs with sugar.
JEAN: Yes, bugs... Pooh, how one dares to think of it!
SPIDER: Hey, small fry, catch this, regale yourself.
JEAN: You want to scoff at me, don't you? Every body is good
at offending small ones. Listen, spider, the winds, do
they blow often?
SPIDER: Sometimes. See that cloud? The wind is likely to blow
soon.

The wind blows.

JEAN: Oh, it is good!
SPIDER: Ah, we shall see later how good it is.
JEAN: I am not afraid of it. Oh, oh, where do I get pulled?

Jean grips at a bush.

SPIDER: You seem do not like it, do you?

Jean looses touch with a bush and grips at spider's web.

SPIDER: What are you doing? You will break my web.
JEAN: How can I let it go? I shall be blown away. Can't you
help me, you damned flyeater.
SPIDER: I shall show you now what a flyeater I am, you, bloody
pea small fry!

Spider breaks the web. Jean goes with the wind.



SCENE 2. Ogre is sleeping. Tosses and turns. Jean falls on him.

OGRE: I wish you was eaten! You nearly broke my neck.
JEAN: I almost got smashed! It was a great wind blow.
OGRE: Which wind has brought you?
JEAN: Is it necessary to know which wind brought you?
OGRE: Don't you think so?
JEAN: What for?
OGRE: What a surprise you are! Just to find a way back.
JEAN: Oh, how shall I get back? Poor me. The geese will scatter.
They will ask me for lunch soon and I am not there. Gone
with the wind. Listen, do you by any chance know which
wind brought me.
OGRE: I've got nothing to do but to look after the wind. I had
my lunch and was about to sleep. And here you are, out of
the blue.
JEAN: And who are you?
OGRE: Me? Ogre. Do not be afraid. I told you I had lunch. I am a
kind ogre. Never get angry when I have someone eaten. What
the reason to get angry. Have eaten, let it be so. Bon
appetit! And many get angry. Take Pierr pot-bellied-eats
someone and spits. It always either bitter, or not salty,
or sour. Nasty to listen! Do not like - do not eat. I am
always satisfied as far as there is someone to eat. And in
our forest there is always someone to eat.
JEAN: Just a moment. I can't make it out. Ogre is one who eats
people.
OGRE: Well, at last. Of course!
JEAN: How do you eat them. You are small.
OGRE: Piece by piece.
JEAN: You are lying.
OGRE: Not in the least. It is as true as that cloud in the sky.
I was grown up as Ogre. They put a bean into barrel with
soil and poured upon with blood, to make me blood-thirsty.
What a blood-thirsty I am, just for you to know. I can eat
ten, no, twenty mice at once. I tried.
JEAN: So you are not Ogre but mouse eater.
OGRE: And they called me so. Is this my fault I am blood-
thirsty? And small? What a use of me? So I left them. Live
here. It is warm, dry here. I try to eat berries,
Mushrooms. It is all right. And why are you so small?
JEAN: I was grown up too. From a pea.
OGRE: And what did they pour you with?
JEAN: Tomato juice.
OGRE: So what?
JEAN: What, what... I am always tomato thirsty.
OGRE: Good, I wish I could like this. Eat me raw.
JEAN: Yes... Where one will get it now?
OGRE: Eaten if you know! And so many like us are rushing about
around the world. They do not care. They just plant and
pour upon as if you are a cactus. It is very interesting
and as simple as that. One just plants you and
cultivates?! Then small people appear. Well, wait a
moment. I am an Ogre, a small one and you are a small man.
So if I'll eat you I'll eat you as if I'm a real Ogre.
What am I waiting for... Why am I not eating you? Hey,
where are you? Run away. Anyway I shall catch you and eat
you. I shall make it clear for them. I'm gonna make many
pots, steel beans and grow small people just like cactus-
ses...


SCENE 3. Jean makes his way in the forest. Stops.

JEAN: Oh, god, how shall I get back home? Bloody wind! But
someone must know where it blew from.

A soil is being thrown from the near by (nearest) burrow.

JEAN: Hey there, careful.
RODENT: Who on the hell is there?
JEAN: It is me.
RODENT: Who is you? Why on earth are you hiding there. Come on,
answer!
JEAN: Sure, sure. I shall answer. But tell me first what do
you eat normally?
RODENT: What a strange one you are! Just look at me and you'll
understand.
JEAN: Oh, no! Such big teeth! Oh, poor me! I am lost! He'll
bite me to death.
RODENT: Why on earth should I bite you to death? You stupid. I
eat grains.
JEAN: What grains?
RODENT: Wheat, oats, peas.
JEAN: Oh!
RODENT: What, oh?
JEAN: Oh, no, nothing, I just recalled my childhood.
RODENT: You are a bore. (Goes away into the burrow)
JEAN: Where do you go? Wait! I need to ask you something!
RODENT: (from the burrow) Boo-boo-boo...
JEAN: What did you say? Louder please. I can not hear you.
What?... What?...

A throw of soil, rodent comes out.

RODENT: What do you want?
JEAN: What do you do here?
RODENT: Burrow myself a store.
JEAN: What will you put in there?
RODENT: Peas.
JEAN: Oh.
RODENT: You are a bore. ( goes into the burrow )
JEAN: I will not be any more. Please tell me only which wind
has blew now?
RODENT: Why do you badger with me?
JEAN: Whom else shall I badger with? Whom can I find here in
the grass who looks after the wind? No one takes care of
me here, everyone has abandoned me.
RODENT: What a bore you are! ( goes into the burrow )
JEAN: Oh, please don't leave me! Tell me what am I to do? You
are so clever, you eat peas. I also came from pea, and
was poured upon with tomato juice. But the wind caught
me and carried away. I want back home but do not know
where to go.
RODENT: Why are you badgering with your rubbish? Just think of
it, got lost! Dig in and live. Everyone is making stock
for the winter. Burrow a hole, bring as much food as you
can. So you can survive a winter.
JEAN: I do not want to live under the ground. I need to go
back home.
RODENT: Go if you need to.
JEAN: Where to go? I do not know which wind was blowing.
RODENT: You make me sick. (goes into the burrow)
JEAN: What a bad luck. It was so nice at home. There was
nothing to grieve for. And now... I can be lost.
Everybody digs in and here just lie down and die. Oh, a
butterfly! It's a pity the other one. If I met that one
she would show me the way home. How one can live in such
a society? Have every minute to look about or someone
eats you. One has to be on his guard.
RODENT: Still sitting?
JEAN: Sitting.
RODENT: What are you waiting for?
JEAN: For someone who tells me about the wind. Why don't you
dig?
RODENT: Need a break. I am not like some travellers. I burrow
from sun rise. The sun was so beautiful this morning.
Round and red. And the wind from the side of the
sunrise, the village I mean. When the wind's from the
village it always smells cheese. I even thought the sun
smells cheese. Is there a cheese dairy or what?
JEAN: Lui - cheese-maker has one.
RODENT: He is probably fat from cheese.
JEAN: Yes, he is.
RODENT: I would be fat as well. But what one can make with these
peas...
JEAN: Wait! Where do you say the wind was from?
RODENT: From the village.
JEAN: And where is the village?
RODENT: On the sunrise.
JEAN: It means the wind was from the east?
RODENT: How do I know?
JEAN: What's the hell you are taking me in?!
RODENT: Why do you need all this? I tell you dig in. Somewhere
close by. We'll have a good time together.
JEAN: I want back home.
RODENT: Go if you want.
JEAN: How shall I get there.
RODENT: If you want you'll get there.
JEAN: What if someone will eat me on the way?
RODENT: If you want no one will eat you. You'll get out of it.
Well, go now. I have no time to talk to you. (goes away)
JEAN: Well I'll go, I'll go. If necessary I'll get out of
scrape. Just think! I'll make something up. What a day!
Why don't I have some rest before I go. Besides I shall
get out of scrape and dangers are waiting for me. O.K.
Just a short break.

Makes himself comfortable for a rest. Ogre is sneaking with a
net. Jean jumps up, but late. Short struggle and Jean is
captured by an Ogre.


SCENE 4. An Ogre ties Jean to a pole.


OGRE: Well. It is better like this. It is not tight, is it? I
don't want to spoil your skin.
JEAN: What have you got to do with my skin?
OGRE: Well, I shall make a stuffed man. As a memento. You are my
first one and so to say open a new page in my life.
JEAN: Why don't you let me go, Ogre? Why do you want eat me?
OGRE: Do you need a reason? You nearly broke my neck. You are
gonna pay for it!
JEAN: I did not mean that! I could not control a flight.
OGRE: Uncontrollable?! I shall quickly put you under control.
So... Jean with mayonnaise! Mayonnaise...
JEAN: Do not eat me, well, Ogre.
OGRE: I have to. It is my occupation - an Ogre. So... Oh! Jean
with tomato sauce!
JEAN: May be you let me go, Ogre?
OGRE: I can not. You are not any trash. You are a proof of my
destination. I eat you - I am an Ogre, I do not eat you -
I am a mouseeater for the rest of my life.
JEAN: Why me? Why not someone else?
OGRE: There will be more. Look I planted three beds. But I can
not wait them to grow up. And you are here. Jean with
burdock, baked Jean. As you please. Bon appetit!
JEAN: What a skunk you are! A knacker! A plunderer!
OGRE: Talk, talk.

Jean tries to kick an Ogre passing by.

OGRE: I would hit you but don't want to spoil a product.
JEAN: To hell with you. eat me. I would last for another couple
of weeks anyway.
OGRE: Why is that?
JEAN: Just got an illment. It seems not a harmful one but
sometimes it is so painful I think I am dying and there is
no escape.
OGRE: Is it contagious?
JEAN: Only with food... I have eaten one worm. Wanted regale
myself. Now I suffer.
OGRE: What is the disease?
JEAN: Cabbage illness.
OGRE: Never heard of this one. What is aching?
JEAN: Nothing is aching.
OGRE: How is that?
JEAN: Just like that. But all of a sudden I am dying for
cabbage. I give up everything and run for it. And it is
such a torture to eat it. When you are fed up with it your
paunch nearly blows up. And what is the use of it. None.
Only poor vitamins. I am so tired of it.
OGRE: Did you try to cure it?
JEAN: It is incurable, Ogre. It is chronic.
OGRE: Why did not you tell earlier?
JEAN: I did not?!
OGRE: You wanted to envenom me? So if I eat you I shall run like
a rabbit around kitchen-gardens. Eat me raw! Why did not
you warn me?
JEAN: I told you do not eat me. But you kept harping on the same
thing. A new page, a proof...
OGRE: You know, get out of here. You make me sick. I shall
better grow up my own ones. It will be safe. Does not
matter. I shall wait. To hell with mice. Time comes and I
shall prove it.

Jean leaves.


SCENE 5.


JEAN: Well done, Jean! Well done lad! Outwitted an Ogre! And I
am in one piece. Well done Jean! They poured me upon with
juice not for nothing.

Spider comes down.

SPIDER: Why do you make such a noise? You have frightened all
the flies away.
JEAN: Oh, an old friend! How did you get there?
SPIDER: The same way you did.
JEAN: Got lost?
SPIDER: Nothing of the kind! The flies here are fresher and
smell better. There were all manure ones. And here
forest ones, natural.

Spider pulls a web with the fly and eats it.

JEAN: You got settled here quickly. Spin your web. Is it
strong enough?
SPIDER: Sure. Life is life. You will never run away from it.
JEAN: And I got lost. Spider, help me get on the tree.
SPIDER: What for?
JEAN: I want to return home. I shall wait for a passing wind
and shall fly back.
SPIDER: How do you like that?! You made use of your trip. Became
quick in the uptake.
JEAN: One can not live but like this. Everyone wants to eat
me. Good for you, you adapt yourself quickly. But I am
uncomfortable here. I want back home. Guess who told me
about the wind?
SPIDER: Who?
JEAN: An Ogre!
SPIDER: And he did not eat you?
JEAN: I outwitted him.
SPIDER: Well, so you learned to lie!
JEAN: But I was saving my life!
SPIDER: Lie is lie. There is no forgiving for you!
JEAN: It is not a lie. It is ruse.
SPIDER: Well, sly one, which tree will you climb on?
JEAN: That one.
SPIDER: Come on then.

Walking together.

JEAN: You know, Spider, I also met an rodent. He kept saying
to me dig in, make a stock for the winter.
SPIDER: And right he was. You live where you drop. All strength
is in it.
JEAN: So you say, you live where you drop. Well I dropped. How
shall I live?
SPIDER: In no way. You should go back home. You have decided
well. Give me your paw. Sit here.
JEAN: Ugh! It is not easy to climb when you as hungry as I am.
Oh what a height! What if I fall down?
SPIDER: It is nothing for you, you are a light one. You will
plop down into the grass and that is it. And this web
will be a weather-vane for you.
JEAN: What weather-vane?
SPIDER: It will show you the way wind blows.
JEAN: How do you like this? You are also quick in the uptake!
SPIDER: Oh, small fry. You grew bolder. Well have a good trip.
JEAN: Thank you, Spider. I wish you a good hunting.

Spider comes down the tree.

JEAN: They lost me back at home. Sit by the window and grieve
for me Sure they had dinner by now. If they had there is
no reason to grieve. I am the one who should grieve I
am hungry... The sun goes down. I need miracle. The
sooner it will happen, the better.

An ugly mug of an unknown creature appears from the hollow of a
tree trunk.

SOMEONE: Good evening!

Jean frightened falls down.

JEAN: Ah-ah-ah! Help, help, I fall down!
SOMEONE: Shut up! You do not fall down. I have a firm hold of
you.
JEAN: All the way I get killed. And who are you?
SOMEONE: This none knows. I was not specified. I live here
quietly, do not offend anyone. Never come down. I eat
and sleep... Admire nature. Look what a beautiful sight
I have here.
JEAN: Yes, it is nice.
SOMEONE: Do you like it?
JEAN: Sorry, what do you eat?
SOMEONE: Anything I can get. I do not need much. I hardly move.
I prefer to contemplate, to think, to comprehend
nature's beauty, to write verses. Do you want me to
recite my poems?
JEAN: Poems? Are you a poet?
SOMEONE: You may say so.
JEAN: The one is written in books about?
SOMEONE: Sure.
JEAN: Then you'd better not to.
SOMEONE: Why?
JEAN: It turns out you write rubbish. I disappoint. And not
listening to your poems I may tell everyone I met a
poet.
SOMEONE: As you say.
JEAN: What are you here for?
SOMEONE: To contemplate, to comprehend. The beauty of the
universe is for us. And not for those ones (motions
down). They crawl about, run, gorge each other, do not
take a notice of a beauty. Oh, wind blows. Look how
crowns of trees billow, leaves tremble, how quickly the
web stretches out towards the sun, how...
JEAN: It is my web, and the wind is mine. It will take me
home. Watch how swiftly and beautifully I shall fly!
Hey-hey! Stronger blow wind! Hey-hey-hey!

Jean flies away.


SCENE 6. Jean falls into the book.

JEAN: Is this the end?
DOLL MASTER: Yes, this is the end.
JEAN: Am I late?
DOLL MASTER: Yes, The tale is over.
JEAN: Do you know what happened afterwards?
DOLL MASTER: No.
JEAN: How can I find out?
DOLL MASTER: Perhaps some other time.
JEAN: But what shall I do now?
DOLL MASTER: Well, just bow!
JEAN: Bow? How is that?
DOLL MASTER: How? Along with the music. Come on jump up!


THE END.

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