East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Narrator 1: (Announcing: East of the Sun and West of the Moon.)
Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who had many children and little to give them in the way either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, Adelante, who was so beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.
Narrator 2: So once -- it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn, and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage shook again -- they were all sitting together by the fireside, each of them busy with something or other, when suddenly someone rapped three times against the window pane.
Narrator 3: The man went out to see what could be the matter, and when he got out there stood a great big white bear.
White Bear: “Good evening to you,”
Narrator 4: said the White Bear.
Husbandman: “Good evening,”
Narrator 1: said the man.
White Bear: “Will you give me your youngest daughter, Adelante? If you will, you shall be as rich as you are now poor.”
Narrator 2: Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich, but he thought to himself:
Husbandman: “I must first ask my daughter about this.”
Narrator 3: So he went in and told them that there was a great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to make them all rich if he might but have the youngest daughter.
Narrator 4: Then Adelante said:
Narrator 1: and would not hear of it; so the man went out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer. Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her about the wealth that they would have, and what a good thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her mind to go. She washed and mended all her rags, made herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness to set out with the White Bear. Little enough had she to take away with her.
Narrator 2: Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch her. The youngest daughter seated herself on White Bear’s back with her bundle, and thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of the way, the White Bear said,
White Bear: “Are you afraid?”
Adelante: “No, that I am not.”
Narrator 3: said she.
White Bear: “Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no danger,”
Narrator 3: said he.
Narrator 4: And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a great mountain. White Bear knocked on the mountain and a door opened, and they went into a castle where there were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone with gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would be hard to make anyone understand how splendid it was.
Narrator 1: The White Bear gave her a silver bell, and told her that when she needed anything she had but to ring this bell, and what she wanted would appear. So after she had eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed.
Narrator 2: She rang the bell, and scarcely had she touched it before she found herself in a chamber where a bed stood ready made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish to sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk fringed with gold, and everything that was in the room was of gold or silver, but when she had lain down and put out the light a man came and lay down beside her, and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form of a beast during the night. She never saw him, however, for he always came after she had put out her light, and went away before daylight appeared.
Narrator 3: So all went well and happily for a time, but then she began to be very sad and sorrowful, for all day long she had to go about alone; and she did so wish to go home to her father and mother and brothers and sisters. Then the White Bear asked,
White Bear: “What is it that you want? What would make you happy?”
Adelante: “It is so dull here in the mountain, and I have to go about all alone. In my parents’ house at home there were all my brothers and sisters, and I’m sad because I cannot go to them.”
White Bear: “There might be a cure for that, if you would but promise me never to talk with your mother alone, but only when the others are there too; for she will take hold of your hand and will want to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery on both of us.”
Narrator 4: So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they could now set out to see her father and mother, and they journeyed thither, she sitting on his back, and they went a long, long way, and it took a long, long time; but at last they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers and sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it was so pretty that it was a pleasure to look at it.