THE MIRACLE OF THE CANDLE An SCA Miracle Play Taken from "The Once And Future King" by T.H.White Arranged and adapted by: Ioseph of Locksley Dramatis Personae: King Arthur of Britain Tom of Newbold Revell, a Page (This should be performed in a darkened revel hall. All tables at the hall should have at least one candle, unlit, in a holder on the table. One for each person would be preferred.) (Arthur is seated in the middle of the hall on a small faldstool. There is a candle burning on a small table beside him, and a second stool. Arthur is weary. He is wearing partial armour, and suddenly turns, and calls:) ARTHUR: Page! (enter TOM) TOM: Yes, My Lord? ARTHUR: My poor child! You ought to be in bed! (hands TOM a folded piece of paper) Would you take this note to the Bishop? Don't wake him if he is asleep. TOM: Yes, my Lord! (bows and begins to leave) ARTHUR: Page! TOM: My Lord? ARTHUR: What is your name? TOM: Tom, my Lord, an it please you. ARTHUR: Where do you live? TOM: Near Warwick, my Lord. At a place called Newbold Revell. It is a pretty place. ARTHUR: And how old are you, Tom of Newbold Revell? TOM: I shall be thirteen in November, my Lord. ARTHUR: And I have kept you up all night.... TOM: No, my Lord. I slept a lot on one of the saddles. ARTHUR: Well.....Tom, we seem to have involved a lot of people. Tell me, what do you intend to do tomorrow? TOM: I shall fight, Sir. I have a good bow. ARTHUR: And you shall kill people with this bow? TOM: Yes, my Lord. A great many, I hope. ARTHUR: And suppose they should kill you? TOM: Then I should be dead, my Lord. ARTHUR: I see....(lowers his head as if in thought) TOM: Shall I take the letter now, my Lord? ARTHUR: No. Wait a minute. I want to talk to somebody, only my head is muddled. Sit down and try to listen... (TOM sits) ARTHUR: Would you understand if I asked you not to fight tomorrow? TOM: I should -want- to fight, my Lord! ARTHUR: Everybody wants to fight, Tom, but few know why. Suppose I were to ask you not to fight, as a special favour for your King? Would you do that? TOM: I should do as I was told. ARTHUR: Listen, then. Sit for a minute, and I will tell you a story. I am an old man, Tom, and you are young. When you are old, you will be able to tell what I have told tonight, and I want you to do that. Do you understand this? TOM: Yes, sir. I think so.... ARTHUR: Put it like this: There was a King once, called King Arthur. That is me. When he came to the throne of England, he found that all the Kings and Barons were fighting against each other like madmen, and, as they were able to afford to fight in expensive suits of armour, there was practically nothing which could stop them from doing as they pleased. They did a lot of bad things, because they lived by force. Now this King had an idea, and the idea was that force ought to be used, if it were used at all, on behalf of justice and not on its own account. Follow this, Tom! He thought that if he could get his Barons fighting for truth, and to help weak people, and to redress wrongs, then their fighting might not be such a bad thing as once it used to be. So he gathered together all the true and kindly people that he knew, and he dressed them in armour, and he made them knights, and taught them his idea, and set them down at a Round Table. There were a hundred and fifty of them in the happy days, and Arthur loved his Table with all his heart. He was prouder of it than his own dear wife, and for many years his new knights went about killing ogres, and rescuing damsels and saving poor prisoners, and trying to set the world to rights. That was the King's idea. TOM: I think it was a good idea, my Lord. ARTHUR: It was....and it was not. God knows. TOM: And what happened to the King in the end? ARTHUR: For some reason, things went wrong...the Table split into factions, a bitter war began, and all were killed. TOM: No! Not all! The King won! We shall win! ARTHUR: (shaking his head) Everybody was killed.....except a certain page. TOM: My Lord? ARTHUR: This page was called Tom of Newbold Revell near Warwick, and the old King sent him off before the battle, on pain of dire disgrace. You see, the King wanted there to be somebody left, who would remember their idea. He wanted Tom to tell everybody who would listen about this idea, which both of them had once thought good. Do you think that you could do that, to please the King? Now, don't get these people muddled up! It is I who tell you about my idea. It is I who command you to take horse to Warwick at once, and not to fight tomorrow at all. Do you understand all this? TOM: Yes, my Lord. ARTHUR: You see, Tom, my idea was a sort of candle, like this one here. I have carried it for many years with a hand to shield it from the wind. It has flickered often. I am giving you the candle now. (hands TOM the candle) Don't let it burn out! TOM: It will burn. ARTHUR: Good....you are thirteen...sixty more years then...half a century. TOM: I will give it to other people, my Lord. ARTHUR: (rising, and turning to leave) You will say to them: "Ah, but he was a wonderfully fine candle?" (ARTHUR leaves the hall. TOM holds the candle until ARTHUR leaves, watching him, and then walks to the Royalty present, and lights their candles.) TOM: My Lord and Lady of (insert name of Barony, Principality, Kingdom): The candle is in your keeping. Watch it well...it's such a fragile little candle. (exits with lit candle to rear of hall) (the candles on the rest of the tables are lit from the Royal table, preferably by the Peers) * end *
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