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RAPHAEL AND TOBIAS




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L'ombre était nuptiale, auguste et solennelle;

Les anges y volaient sans doute obscurément,

Car on voyait passer dans la nuit, par moment,

Quelque chose de bleu qui paraissait une aile.'

                                        - Victor Hugo          

 

 

 

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

RAPHAEL, An Angel

TOBIT, a pious man living in exile at Nineveh, father to Tobias

ANNA, wife to Tobit, mother to Tobias

TOBIAS, their son

ASMOSDEUS, a demon

SARAH, a young girl living at Ecbatana

RAGUEL, Sarah's father

EDNA, Sarah's mother

 

CHORUS OF HANDMAIDENS

CHORUS OF BIRD-PUPPETS, large, evil-looking, and black

ARI, A DOG, belonging to Tobias

A MAID

TWO MAN SERVANTS

 

REMARKS: 

 

RAPHAEL at times appears wearing an angel mask, at other times unmasked, when he is passing as the man, 'Azarias'.

 

ASMODEUS wears a demon mask, at once comical and frightening.

 

ARI ('LION') is a smallish white dog, hopefully well-behaved.  Can also be played by an actor of suitably convincing demeanour.


 

PROLOGUE

 

[Raphael appears alone, standing centre stage, his arms outstretched.  He wears the Angel mask.  Behind him, the starry heavens.]

 

 RAPHAEL:    Always alone with Him!

                    Day and night, throughout all Eternity

                    We are always alone with Him

                    We cannot escape His Voice

                    His hand upon the shoulder

                    His loving look

                    No matter where I wander

                    Across starry skies

                    Or down into the burning vaults of hell

                    Or over the dark face of suffering earth

                    Where those fallen creatures - men

                    Cry out for mercy and curse his very Name

                    Still that Voice like water runs on

                    Whispering forever in my ears.

                    If I fly on the white wings of morning

                    Or descend to the depths of the sea

                    Even there He is still with me.

                    Always alone with Him!

                    Though I dream of other voices, other names

                    Something small and fine to call my own

                    Someone littler than I to call my name

                    I wake from my dreams and find myself still

                    In the palm of his great, starry hand.

                    That hand that turns the heavens holds me fast.

                    I cannot escape that Voice

                    It is everywhere

                    In water, in wind, in song

                    In springing grass, in fire

                    The Voice that whispers forever in my ears...

                    Always alone with Him.

                   


1

 

[Tobit's house at Nineveh.  Tobit, Anna, and Tobias stand around a table that is set with the evening meal.  It is the hour of sundown, and the feast of  Shevuot, the Pentecost, in late spring.]

 

TOBIT:          A feast in honour of the Lord our God

                    Who gives us light.

                    A table laden, heavy with good things to eat.

 

                    [prays]

 

                    Blessed are you, Lord our God

                    Ruler of the Universe

                    Who brings forth bread from the earth

                    And wine to make glad the hearts of men.

 

                    [Anna lights the candles.]

 

ANNA: Blessed are you, Lord our God

                    Who shows us the light of his commandments

                    And bids us light the festival lights.

 

TOBIT:          He gives us light

                    And eyes to see the wonders of his work

                    And you, Tobias, light of my eyes.

                    [Embraces his son.]

 

                    An only child, but it is enough.

                    The man without a child is like a blind man

                    He has no light for his eyes

                    Wherever he looks he sees only night

                    Another man's son, another's child.

                    The man without a child is a tree without branches

                    A tree that gives no shelter to any bird

                    A tree that bears no fruit.

                    Blessed be the Lord who has blessed me with a son.

                    [Again he embraces Tobias.]

 

                    Now let us eat!

                   

                    [They sit down at table.]

 

ANNA: Others have not so much!

                    Think of the poor man

                    Beside the city wall

                    Or in some dark, lowly place concealed.

                    How will he keep the feast?

                    How will he worship?

                    What will he eat?

                    Think of the poor boy

                    Lost to his father's sight

                    Alone in the world

                    Adrift on the town

                    Hungry, ragged, and cold.

                    How will he keep the feast?

                    What will he worship?

                    What will he love?

 

 TOBIT:         The Lord has been good to us.

                    Let a poor man come in

                    to share this feast of ours

                    and make our happiness complete.

                    Go, Tobias, search the streets

                    Find out a man who is poor and alone on this day

                    And bring him here to eat with us.

 

TOBIAS:        As you wish, Father.

                    It shouldn't be hard

                    to find someone like that!

 

                    [Exit Tobias.]

 

ANNA: Think of the poor man

                    Who goes to sleep without bread.

                    Think of the child whose mother cries for bread.

 

TOBIT:          Harder than a stone is the man who will not share.

                    Some day he may go hungry

                    Some day he may stand outside the door begging for bread.

                    The birds will mock him

                    The crows will tear his eyes

                    While he waits in  tears outside the door.

 

ANNA: Think of the poor man

                    Who has not asked to suffer so.

                    Think of the woman

                    Helpless, alone with her child.

 

 TOBIT:         Harder than stones are hearts that will not share

                    They lie down in darkness and think that no one sees

                    Like a child that hides his face behind his hands.

                    But some day they will lie under the stars

                    Some day they will lie under the open sky

                    The birds will mock them

                    The crows will tear their eyes

                    Under the open sky.

 

                    [Tobias rushes in.]

 

TOBIAS:        Father!  Father!

                    There!  Outside!  Beside the city wall!

                    A man!  Oh, Father!  His face! 

                    I'm sure he's dead!

 

[He rushes into his father's arms.  Tobit comforts him.]

 

TOBIT:          Softly, Tobias -

                    Tell us what you saw.

 

TOBIAS:        There, beside the wall

                    A man, his face was purple

                    His tongue black, way out of his mouth

                    and a cord tight around his neck!

                    He's one of our people

                    I don't know his name

                    But I've seen him before I'm sure.

 

TOBIT:          One of our people...

                    Murdered and left by the wall

                    Food for flies and carrion crows.

                    No!  He must receive a decent burial

                    According to the laws of God.

 

[Anna covers the dishes, brings Tobit his cloak and wraps him in it lovingly.]

ANNA: And what of our feast?

 

TOBIT:          Our feast shall be turned into mourning

                    And all our songs into lamentations.

 

[Exit Tobit.  Anna puts her arms around Tobias, and he hides his head on her breast.]

 

 

 

 

2

 

[By the walls of Nineveh.  Twilight.  A dead man lies beside the wall, stage left, upon which several birds are perching.  They rustle their large, black wings ominously.  Enter Tobit.  He kneels and observes the dead man.]

 

TOBIT:          Poor fellow! 

                    You won't sleep tonight under the open sky.

                    I shall take your place here

                    Defiled by the touch of that harmless thing -

                    A dead man's hand!

                    Come along, then...

 

[Tobit hoists the dead man onto his back and carries him offstage to bury him.  Darkness falls, but a bright moon now lights the scene.  Interlude during which the birds' chatter rises to a threatening crescendo.  They subside when Tobit re-enters.  He lies down beside the wall, wrapped in his cloak, and goes to sleep.  Gradual dawning of the day with noisy chorus of birds.   The birds descend on Tobit and attack his face.]

 

TOBIT:          Ah!  Ah!  Help!  Help!

                    The birds!  The birds!  Someone help me!

 

[Enter Anna with a basket containing his breakfast.  She hears his cries and comes rushing to his aid.  She beats off the birds.]

 

 TOBIT:         Anna, is that you?

 

 ANNA:          Yes.  Are you hurt?

 

TOBIT:          Anna... Is there no moon tonight?

 

ANNA: There was a moon

                    But already the day is dawning.

 

TOBIT:          Anna, do you see me?

 

ANNA: Yes, I see you very well, my dear

                    Are you badly hurt?

                    Why do you cover your face?

 

TOBIT:          Anna... Oh God!

                    It is better for me to die than to live

                    Let now my spirit be taken up

                    Let me be like the dust of the streets

                    Let me be like the bending grass

                    Like the stones under men's feet

                    Let the sorrow within me die

                    For I no longer wish to live

                    A man without light for his eyes

                    Oh Anna, I am blind!

 

[Anna kneels upon the ground and takes him in her arms.  As the full light of dawn gradually comes up, we see that Tobit is now blind.  Now blackout this part of the stage.  Light comes up stage right, on Raguel's house in Ecbatana.]

 

 

 

 


3

 

[Ecbatana.  Raguel's house is on two levels, with a well downstage in the courtyard.  The time is  very early that same morning.  Sarah lies asleep in her upstairs chamber, beside the corpse of her new husband.  Asmodeus comes stealing downstairs and out of the house.]

                   

ASMODEUS: [Rubbing his hands with satisfaction]

 

                    So!  That takes care of another one!

                    Seven bridegrooms, count them!

                    Line them up in a row if you please -

                    Seven lusty bridegrooms

                    For only a single little bride

                    A pretty little lily-white bride.

                    Every night I'm there at her side

                    Her sheets smell of paradise

                    Her cheeks are ripe as roses

                    And oh, the curve of her little round white... chin!

                    I've knocked off seven bridegrooms

                    And I'd happily take on seventy more!

                    Her innocence protects her

                    I know I can't possess her

                    But if I can't have her then nobody shall!

                    If I can't have her nobody shall!

                    Yes, I've killed off seven already -

                    Would anybody care to make it eight?

 

[He hears the handmaidens approaching and runs off.  They have come to awaken the bridal couple.  Sarah wakes to find them pulling hopelessly at the corpse.]

 

CHORUS OF HANDMAIDENS:

 

                    Murder!  Murder!

                    She's done it again

                    Murder!  Murder!

                    The bloody-handed witch!

 

[Sarah tries to embrace the corpse but they push her away.]

 

                    Get back!  Away!

                    Murder!  Murder!

                    She's done it again!

                                                           

SARAH:         No!  It wasn't me!

                    I never harmed a hair of his head.

 

1st MAID:      Liar!  You've killed seven men!

                   

2nd MAID:     Liar!  You've killed seven men!

 

3rd MAID:      She strangles them in their sleep

                    The poor young men.

 

CHORUS:       Witch!  Witch!

                    She ought to be burned!

 

SARAH:         No!  I never harmed anyone in all my life...

 

CHORUS:       Witch!  Witch!  She ought to be burned!

 

[They lay hands on her and she struggles with them.]

 

SARAH:         No!  Let me go!  Let me go!

                   

1st MAID:      Why do you beat us so?

                    We didn't kill them!

                    Now they're dead   

                    Why don't you run after them

                    straight to hell?

                    May we never see a child of yours!

 

CHORUS:       May we never see a child

                    Not a son, not a daughter

                    No!  Never a child of yours.

 

                    [Exit handmaidens.]

 

 

 

 

4

 

[Sarah sits down at the window, looks out meditatively.]

 

SARAH:         My God, have you forgotten me completely?

                    Will you not now take me utterly out of the earth?                                                      I am the only child of my father

                    The only light of his eyes

                    If I die, how shall he live?

                    His old age in sorrow shall be brought to the grave.

 

                    Oh, it is better for me to die than to live!

                    Let now my spirit be taken up

                    I turn my eyes to heaven

                    I turn my face, I turn my eyes...

                    I am innocent of any sin with man.

                    Seven husbands of mine are already dead

                    No kinsman remains to take me for his wife

                    Why then should I live?

                    To listen every day to a false reproach.

                    Let me be like the dust of the earth

                    Let me be like the waves of grass

                    Like stones under the sea

                    Let the sorrow within me die

                    Let me die!  Or help me...

                    Let me die! Or save me

                    That I may hear reproach no more.

 

[Light comes up on Tobit, still in Anna's arms, stage left.]

 

TOBIT:          Let now my spirit be taken up

                    Let the sorrow within me die

                    Let me die!  Or help me

                    Let me die!  Or save me

 

TOBIT & SARAH:

 

                    [Speaking together but unaware of one another]

                   

                    O Lord, make haste to help me!

                    That I may hear reproach no more.

 

[Raphael appears in a softly shimmering azure blue light, standing centre stage between the two praying figures of Tobit and Sarah.  He is invisible to both of them.]

 

RAPHAEL:     In the beginning was blue

                    the colour of heaven

                    of water and wood smoke

                    of spring mist and the eyes of certain children.

                    Hovering there I saw below me  

                    the whole of the blue-green planet in its glory.

                    Blue shadows of leaf and mountain

                    The wriggling tails of fish under the sea

                    Blades of grass bent by the wind

                    And among her millions of men

                    Two faces, tear-stained

                    Looking up to heaven

                    A pious old man, and a gentle girl -

                    I folded my wings and fell to earth.

 

                    Someone littler than I has called my name

                    Something small and fine has need of me

                    Your sorrow is the music of my dreams

                    It plays so sweet and low

                    It drowns my ears in honey and my heart in woe.

                    Now I cannot hear His Voice

                    Calling me among the stars.

                    I wake from my dreams

                    I spring from my sleep

                    Someone littler than I has called my name.

                    Sarah, I promise

                    Your prayer shall not be in vain

                    I promise, old man

                    You will see your son again.

                   

[Tobit and Sarah both look towards Raphael; they seem almost to have heard him, for they are now comforted.  Then Tobit goes out, leaning on Anna; at the same time Sarah comes down from her room.  She opens the door of the house and gazes down the road, as if expecting someone.]

 

 

 

 

5

 

[Nineveh.  Tobit and Tobias outside the house, also Ari, the dog.  During Tobit's speech Tobias' attention appears to wander.  He seems more interested in Ari's antics than in his father's speech.]

 

 TOBIT:         My son, there is a man called Gabael

                    He lives at Rages in Media, a long way off

                    And he has ten talents of silver belonging to me.

                    I want you to go there and ask him for the money.

                    I am blind, I can no longer work

                    Perhaps soon I shall die

                    I don't want you and your mother to go hungry.

                    Therefore go and see whether he be an honest man

                    Ask him straight out for the money

                    I think he will keep his word.

 

                    Now, before you go, listen carefully to what I say:                                                      When I die, don't forget your mother

                    But love and honour her.

                    For your sake she faced many dangers

                    Before you ever were born.

                    Share what you have with the poor

                    For charity delivers us from death

                    It keeps us from the darkness...

                    Tobias, are you listening?

 

TOBIAS:        Yes, Father.

 

TOBIT:          Keep away from sin, from drunkenness

                    Bad company, harlots, and fancy clothes.

                    But most of all - take a wife from among your own people

                    No foreign woman, but a daughter of the Prophets.

                    Then the Lord will bless you with children

                    And your sons too will inherit his blessing.

                    My son, remember my words

                    Don't let them be blotted out right away -

                    Tobias, are you listening?

 

TOBIAS:        Yes, Father, I'm listening.

 

TOBIT:          Very good

                    Then you must go to Rages in Media

                    Find this man Gabael

                    And ask him for the silver.

 

TOBIAS:        Father, I will gladly do all that you say

                    But how can I ask for the money

                    When I don't even know the man?

                    How can I go to Media

                    When I don't know the way?

 

TOBIT:          Here's the receipt for the money.

                    Find a man to go with you

                    Someone who knows the way.

                    Find a man and I will pay him well

                    But go and get the money.

                    [Exit Tobit.] 

 

 

 

 

6

 

[Nineveh, as above.  Tobias sits down by the wayside, plays with his dog.]

                   

TOBIAS:        Find a man?

                    But where am I to find a man?

                    A man isn't found by the wayside

                    Like a beetle or a bird

                    Nor bought in the market

                    Like a dish of figs

                    Nor caught like a fish in the river.

                    To find a man what should I do?

                    Just ask the first fellow who comes along?

                    Hey , Ari, what shall I do?

                    How on earth am I to find a man?

 

[Raphael now appears disguised as a man, without his Angel mask, walking briskly towards the house.  Ari rushes up to him and greets him with friendly enthusiasm. Tobias rises, approaches him shyly.]

 

TOBIAS:        Good morning, Brother

                    I don't suppose...

                    You wouldn't happen to know the way

                    to Rages in Media, by any chance?

 

RAPHAEL:     I know it very well, little Brother.

                    Do you seek someone there?

 

TOBIAS:        I seek the man Gabael

                    For he owes my father ten talents of silver.

                    But I need someone to go with me

                    and point out the way.

 

RAPHAEL:     [Puts his hand on Tobias' shoulder]

                    I'm ready to go with you

                    I know the way, and I know our brother, Gabael

                    I have even stayed at his house.

 

TOBIAS:        Wait right here while I tell my father!

                    Father!  Father! 

 

[He rushes into the house.  Re-emerges with Tobit.] 

 

TOBIT:          Peace to you, my Brother.

                    I'm sure you won't mind telling me -

                    To what tribe and family do you belong?

 

RAPHAEL:     Is it a tribe you seek?

                    Is it a family you are looking for?

                    Or for a man to go with your son?

 

TOBIT:          I should like to know, my Brother,

                    Your people and your name?

                   

RAPHAEL:     Very well - I am Azarias

                    Son to that Ananias who was your cousin -

                    Does that satisfy you?

 

TOBIT:          Don't be angry, Brother!

                    I had to ask, after all

                    For this boy is the light of my life.

                    And now what wages shall I pay you?

                    Shall we say a drachma a day

                    Plus expenses for the journey?

                    And I'll even add to it

                    If you both return in safety.

 

RAPHAEL:     Agreed.  Let it be so.

                    [They clasp hands on the bargain.]

 

TOBIT:          And now you must prepare for your journey!

 

[Enter Anna with two serving maids.  They prepare bundles for the journey and give them to Raphael and Tobias.  Ari runs back and forth, getting in everyone's way.]

 

TOBIT:          Tobias, go with this good man.

                    God in heaven grant you

                    a safe and prosperous journey.

                    May one of his angels go with you

                    And keep you company along the way.

 

[He embraces Tobias.  Then Anna takes her son in her arms.]

 

ANNA: A safe journey, my son!

                    God keep you, and return you to your mother.

                    Perhaps one of his angels

                    His pure and holy angels                                          

                    Perhaps one of his angels

                    Will keep you company along the way.

 

[Now they are ready to go.  Tobias calls to his dog, who runs up to join them.]

 

TOBIAS:        Here, Ari!  Here, boy!

                    Good-bye, Father!  Good-bye, Mother!

                    Farewell!  Good-bye!

 

[All wave good-bye.  Anna is weeping and cannot speak, she hides her face on Tobit's breast.  Exit Tobias, Raphael, and the dog.]

 

 

 

 

7

 

[As above.]

 

ANNA: [Angry, turning on Tobit.]

                    Why have you sent away our son?

                    Is he not the light of our eyes

                    As he goes in and out of the house?

                    Is it not greedy to seek to add

                    money to money?

                    Is it not worthless dung compared to my child!

                    Why not be satisfied with what the Lord has given us?

                    Is it not sufficient to live?

 

TOBIT:          Don't be afraid, my Sister!

                    Your eyes will see him again.

                    I know the boy will return to us

                    For surely a good angel goes with him.

                   

[Anna has ceased her weeping.  Slowly she leads Tobit back into the house.]

 

 

 

 

8

 

[By the banks of the Tigris River.  Raphael and Tobias have made a camp.]

 

RAPHAEL:     [Putting the last touches to their arrangements]

                    That should do for the night.

                    Go down to the river and wash, Tobias

                    While I make us something to eat

.

[He lights a fire and sets a cauldron to boil.  Tobias leans over to wash himself in the river and a huge fish leaps out of the water and attempts to drag him in.  Ari barks ferociously at the fish, then takes fright, runs away and hides.]

 

TOBIAS:        Help!  Help!  Let me go!

                    Oh, let me go!

 

RAPHAEL:     [runs to his side]

                    Catch him, Tobias! 

                    Hold him!  Hold him fast!

 

TOBIAS:        Help me, Azarias!  Help me!       

                    He's much too strong for me!

 

RAPHAEL:     Catch him!  Hold him!

                    You mustn't let him go!

         

TOBIAS:        But he's much too big!

                    He'll eat me in a minute!

                   

RAPHAEL:     Harder!  Pull harder!

                    Don't be afraid, Tobias!

                    You mustn't let him go.

 

[Tobias struggles with the fish, showing renewed courage.  At the last Raphael leans over his shoulder and places his hand on the fish.  At this the fish glides easily onto the bank where it thrashes a moment and then is still.]

 

TOBIAS:        Just look at him!

                    What a monster!

                    He might have eaten me alive.

                    What on earth were you waiting for?

 

RAPHAEL:     Cut him open now

                    Take out the heart, the liver and the gall

                    Put them away in a safe place

                    The rest we shall eat.

 

TOBIAS:        [Cutting open the fish and removing the parts as told.]

                    What nonsense!

                    What use can there be for the heart of a fish?

                    What use for his liver and gall?

                    Still, I'll do as you say, Brother Azarias,

                    But my goodness, what nonsense!

 

[Raphael takes the rest of the fish and puts it into the pot to cook.  Tobias packs away the innards in a sack.  They sit down together by the campfire.]

 

RAPHAEL:     What use, you ask me

                    for the parts of a fish?

                    Much use, little brother!

                    Think of a smoke against spirits

                    of a healing ointment for the eyes.

                    If anyone be troubled by a demon

                    Be it a man or a woman

                    Only burn this liver and this heart

                    And the demon won't trouble him again.

                    If anyone lose the sight of his eyes

                    Be it a woman or a man

                    Only anoint his eyes with this gall

                    And he will see again.

 

[They eat the fish.  Ari now comes out of hiding and receives his share of the meal.  Raphael only pretends to eat because, being an angel, he cannot.  Night is falling fast.]

 

TOBIAS:        Did you say - a demon?

                    I'm afraid of demons!

                    I think my father was blinded by one.

                    And what about that fish!

                    Perhaps he was a demon too...

                    Weren't you afraid of him, Azarias?

 

RAPHAEL:     Afraid?  No...

                    How does it feel, to be afraid?

 

TOBIAS:        Then you really don't know?

                    You must be the bravest man alive!

 

RAPHAEL:     [laughs] 

                    No, hardly that.  But tell me, how does it feel?

 

TOBIAS:        I don't know...

                    Like water in your belly

                    Like ice under your tongue

                    It feels... something like this!

 

[He gets up and walks unsteadily around the campfire, as if on a tightrope, then drops his arms suddenly, looks at Raphael and smiles.]

 

                    It's hard to explain.

 

RAPHAEL:     [Gets ups and imitates Tobias' walk.]

 

                    Like this?

 

TOBIAS:        No, more wobbly, and faster.

 

[Raphael runs swiftly about the fire, inadvertently begins to rise into the air.  Ari barks hysterically and tries to catch him.]

 

RAPHAEL:     Like this?

 

TOBIAS:        [laughing]

                    Hey, where are going?

                    Azarias, come back!

 

[He catches Raphael by the foot as he goes by and brings him back to earth with a bump.  The two of them sit on the ground, laughing as they regard one another.]

                   

                    No, that wasn't it at all!

                    Way off.

 

RAPHAEL:     Way off...?

 

TOBIAS:        Now, if I were to strike you...

 

                    [Raises his fist.]

 

RAPHAEL:     Such a blow couldn't hurt me, little Brother.

                    What is it like - to hurt?

 

TOBIAS:        Only put your hand in the fire

                    If you want to find out!

 

RAPHAEL:     Such a little fire...

                    Would it hurt me very much?

 

TOBIAS:        Don't they teach you anything

                    Where you come from?

 

RAPHAEL:     And love?  How does that feel?

                    Does it hurt, like that fire?

                    Does it make you afraid?

 

TOBIAS:        They say it does

                    I'd like to find out

                    I'm waiting for the right girl to come along.

 

                    If I had someone

                    A girl of my own

                    Someone who needed me

                    Someone to love

                    I could move mountains

                    Pull down the moon

                    Slay a demon and bring her the head!

 

RAPHAEL:     I thought you were afraid of demons?

 

TOBIAS:        I am!

                    But oh, Azarias!

                    If I had someone....

                    A girl of my own

                    Why - don't you see?

                    I'd be a man.

 

RAPHAEL:     Is that what it takes to make a man?

                    I've often wondered.

                    You had better sleep now, Brother Tobias

                    Tomorrow we've a long journey ahead.

 

TOBIAS:        All right, Brother

                    I'll do as you say and try to sleep.

 

[He curls up in his cloak by the fire and looks up at the sky.  Ari curls up beside him.  Raphael stows away the pot etc., then stands erect a little to one side, looking down on the peaceful scene.]

 

TOBIAS:        My, but the stars are bright!

                    Why are they so bright, Azarias?

 

RAPHAEL:     The stars are the eyes of heaven

                    They are full of tears

                    And so they shine just as do yours

                    When you wish to weep.

 

TOBIAS:        And why are they full of tears, Azarias?

 

RAPHAEL:     Night after night

                    They look down on the earth

                    They see the sufferings of men here below

                    What should they do but weep?

                    Now go to sleep, little Brother

                    I tell you, we've a long journey ahead.

 

TOBIAS:        Good night, Brother Azarias!

 

RAPHAEL:     Good night. 

 

 

 

 

9

 

[Raphael crosses downstage.  He stands on a low outcropping of rock, looking down on the moonlit river and Tobias asleep.]

 

RAPHAEL:     Sweet youth!

                    Holy innocence of love

                    How very like he is to her!

                    Sarah, the daughter of Raguel.

                    Like flowers that bloom and quickly die

                    Like ripples in a running stream

                    Before I can even blink my eyes

                    They are gone.

                    Before I can even draw a breath

                    They are gone.

                    Children of time, born but to die!

                    Before she first opened her eyes

                    I saw the birth of mountains.

                    Before he spoke his first word

                    I knew the names of animals and stars.

                    Before she took her first steps

                    I'd crossed the heavens

                    And watched the world grow old before its time

                    Sickening on lust and sin.

                    What would it be?

                    To enter that stream

                    To be caught in the current

                    Turning to the music of time.

                    To taste but once that earthly food

                    Hunger, pain, desire...

                    To see my children quicken and grow and die away

                    Like flowers crushed beneath the wheel of time

                    Like sweet flowers...

                   

                    Oh, you men!  You fickle creatures!

                    You best-beloved children of the Lord

                    Your earthly sorrows taste so wondrous sweet

                    That all the splendours of Jerusalem

                    Her ivory towers, her streets of gold

                    Her sea of glass, her crystal walls

                    Seem to me small beside this human love.

 

[He stands in silence, silhouetted against the starry sky.  Slowly the dawn light comes up.]

 

 

 

 

10

 

[Morning, by the river.  Raphael and Tobias are breaking camp.]

 

RAPHAEL:     Brother, today we shall be at the house of Raguel

                    Your father's cousin.

                    He has a daughter named Sarah

                    She is beautiful and good

                    And she has a fine inheritance

                    But she also has a big problem -

                    She needs a husband.

                    How would you like to marry her yourself?

 

TOBIAS:        Brother Azarias, what are you saying?

                    I am the only son of my father

                    Shall his old age be brought in sorrow to the grave?

                    I have heard that the girl has had seven husbands

                    And that each one died in the bridal bed!

                    A demon is in love with her

                    He's already killed seven men

                    He's sure to get me too!

 

RAPHAEL:     Don't be afraid, little Brother!

                    Remember the words of your father,

                    'Take a wife from among your own people'.

                    A demon isn't as bad as you think.

                    But it takes a steadfast heart

                    As well as a mighty arm

                    To overcome the power of evil.

                    We ought to help the girl

                    And together we can do it.

                   

TOBIAS:        Then would she be mine?

 

RAPHAEL:     That's up to her

                    But I think your chances would be good.

 

TOBIAS:        What about the seven other fellows?

 

RAPHAEL:     They had to fight alone

                    You'll have me on your side.

                    Only touch my arm -

 

                    [Tobias touches him - there is a flash of bluish light.]

 

TOBIAS:        [Starting back]

                    How strong you are!

 

RAPHAEL:     Yes, I'm strong

                    And you, my Brother, have a steadfast heart.

                    Therefore, don't be afraid

                    to take her for your wife this very night.

                    And when you enter the bridal chamber

                    Lay upon the ashes the heart and liver of the fish

                    It will make a great smoke

                    But don't be afraid!

                    If you once give way to fear

                    The demon will destroy you.

                    Kneel down with your bride

                    And call on the merciful God.

                    The demon will smell the smoke

                    And rush out of the house -

                    I'll be waiting there to catch him.

 

TOBIAS:        It's a good plan...

 

RAPHAEL:     Then I can count on you?

 

TOBIAS:        You'll be there to catch him?

 

RAPHAEL:     Right there!

 

TOBIAS:        Let's do it.

 

          [They shake hands solemnly.]

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

[Ecbatana, the house of Raguel.  The time is early evening.  Sarah is sitting alone at her window and is the first to see Raphael and Tobias approaching.]

 

SARAH:         Who can that be on the road?

                    They seem to be coming this way.

                    Who is that man?

                    He seems to shine as brightly as the sun

                    A boy goes with him, and a little dog.

 

[She comes downstairs and goes out of the house to welcome them.  Arrival of Raphael and Tobias.  Ari rushes up to Sarah, barking joyfully.]

 

SARAH:         Good-day, my Brothers

                    Won't you come into the house and rest?

                    It's a warm day

                    Perhaps you'd like a drink of water?

 

RAPHAEL:     Thank you.  We will come in.

 

SARAH:         [leads them inside]:

 

                    Father!  Mother!  We have visitors!

 

[Enter Raguel and Edna.  Sarah fetches water from the well and proceeds to serve the guests.]

                   

RAGUEL:       Welcome to my house.

                    I am Raguel

                    This is my wife, Edna

                    And that is my daughter, Sarah.

                    Where are you from, my Brothers?

 

                    [Aside, to Edna]

                    How much that boy resembles my cousin Tobit!

                    He's the very image of my cousin Tobit

                    Isn't he, Edna?

 

EDNA: I don't remember Tobit all that well.

 

RAGUEL:       But I tell you he is.

 

RAPHAEL:     We come from Nineveh.

                   

RAGUEL:       From Nineveh!                 

                    And do you know our cousin Tobit?

 

RAPHAEL:     Yes, we do.

 

RAGUEL:       And is he well?

 

RAPHAEL:     He is alive and well.

 

                    [He gently nudges Tobias.]

 

TOBIAS:        He is my father!

 

RAGUEL:       My eyes have not deceived me -

                    You must be Tobias!

                    Son of that good and noble man!

                    [He embraces Tobias.]

 

                    Edna, prepare a feast for the son of my cousin Tobit.

 

[Exit Edna, Sarah.]

 

 

 

 

12

 

[As above]

 

TOBIAS:        Yes, he is my father

                    And he has lost the sight of his eyes.

                    He sent me here to Media to ask for some money

                    That is owed him by the merchant Gabael.

                    But first, Azarias,

                    Speak of that matter

                    That little thing we talked about on the way...

                    You know what I mean

 

                    [Aside to Raphael]

                    Let's get it over with!

 

RAPHAEL:     Tobias asks for your daughter to be his wife.

 

RAGUEL:       [startled]

                    What's that you said?  My daughter!

                   

RAPHAEL:     It is his right as your kinsman.

         

RAGUEL:       [to Tobias]

                    Yes, it is your right to take my child

                    But first let me tell you how things stand with us.

                    I have given my daughter to seven husbands

                    And when each one came in to her

                    He died in the night.

                    So, let us forget what you have said!

                    Please sit down and have something to eat.

 

TOBIAS:        I will eat nothing here

                    Until you have promised me your daughter for my wife.

 

RAGUEL:       Did you not understand my words?

                    Will you eat, drink and make merry at the wedding feast

                    Only to awake in the next world?

 

TOBIAS:        Promise me your daughter.

 

RAPHAEL:     Don't be afraid, old man!

                    I do not think it will be with him

                    As with the others.

                   

TOBIAS:        [kneels before Raguel]

                    Please, Brother Raguel,

                    Promise me your daughter.

 

RAGUEL:       Can I not persuade you to forget my daughter?

 

                    [Looks from Tobias to Raphael, and back again.  Shakes his head.]

 

                    Very well!  I see I have no choice.

 

                    [Stoops down and raises Tobias to his feet, embraces and kisses him.]

 

                    May the merciful God protect you!

 

                    [He goes to the door behind that leads to the kitchen and calls.]

 

                    Sarah, come here my child!

 

[Sarah has been listening at the door.  She enters shyly, and stands before her father.  Raguel takes her hand and Tobias' hand and joins them.]

 

RAGUEL:       Here she is!  Take her then!

                    She is yours

                    And may the merciful God

                    Protect you both in the night.

 

[Tobias and Sarah stand quietly, hands joined.  Raphael comes behind them and places his hands on them, one hand on each one's shoulder.  They look towards him, smiling.]

 

RAGUEL:       Edna, come here!

 

                    [Enter Edna from the kitchen.]

 

                    Directly we have eaten

                    Make up the bridal chamber

                    For Tobias is to marry our daughter.

 

EDNA: What did I hear you say?

 

                    [She looks from one face to another, in astonished silence.]

                   

                    And your cousin Tobit?

                    What will you say to him

                    When the boy lies dead under our roof?

                    Have you not heard of his sorrow?

                    He has already lost the sight of his eyes -

                    Will you rob him of his son as well?

                    What will you say to him?

                    What to the boy's mother?

                    Is he not their only child?

 

RAGUEL:       Don't be afraid, sister!

                    The merciful God will protect them.

 

EDNA: The merciful God, the merciful God!

                    Seven young men have died

                    Here, in this house -

                    Where was God's mercy then?

 

RAPHAEL:     Sister, have faith.

 

                    [Holds out his hand to Edna.  She regards him for a long moment, then places             her hand in his.]

 

EDNA: That voice -

                    Have I heard it somewhere before?

                    Were you ever before a visitor here in our house?

                    Or was it, perhaps, only in a dream?

 

RAPHAEL:     There is wisdom, too, in dreams, my Sister.

 

RAGUEL:       And now, to the table -

                    Let us be quick, for the night is coming.

 

[Sarah falls weeping into her mother's arms.  Tobias looks around nervously for a way out, but Raphael takes his arm and steadies him.]

 

 

 

 

13

 

[That same evening.  It is now growing dark, and the moon and the stars appear in the sky.  Sarah comes out of the house.  She sits down by the well, dips a drink for herself.]

 

SARAH:         (sighs)

                    My cousin Tobias...

                    I suppose he will die

                    Just like the others.

                    But who is that man that goes with him?

                    It's very strange

                    But I'd swear I'd seen him somewhere before.

                    I wonder...

                    Who can he be?

                    He has a kind face

                    And a gentle voice

                    I'd swear I'd heard it somewhere before...

                    Perhaps it was only in a dream.

 

[Enter Raphael.  He looks at her for a moment, then sits down beside her at the well.]

 

SARAH:         Would you like a drink of water, Brother Azarias?

 

RAPHAEL:     No... Yes.

                    [She gives it to him and he pretends to drink.]

 

SARAH:         I suppose you've come a long way?

                    You're not from Nineveh, are you?

 

RAPHAEL:     No.

 

SARAH:         From where then?

 

RAPHAEL:     [He looks up at the night sky.]

                    Do you see there, where the moon

                    is just now showing her face?

                    Do you see how the light of the moon

                    shines softly on the dying day?

                    How the sun's last rays

                    soften the black mantle of the night?

                    The sun and the moon

                    The day and the night

                    They meet only to part

                    They can never embrace

                    There, where they meet

                    I come from that place.

 

SARAH:         Why have you come so far?

                    Are you looking for something? 

                    Or someone?

 

RAPHAEL:     [looking at her]

                    I heard a voice in my dreams

                    Someone littler than I was calling my name

                    Someone in trouble

                    Perhaps I can help...

 

 

SARAH:         Only to help?

                    You left your home for that?

 

RAPHAEL:     Yes... No!

                    My home...

                    My home is built of sapphires

                    of emeralds and precious stones.

                    The towers are all of ivory

                    And the walls and the battlements of pure gold

                    Even the streets are paved with gold.

 

SARAH:         It must be a beautiful place!

 

RAPHAEL:     It is.

 

SARAH:         I'd like to see it.

 

RAPHAEL:     Some day you shall.

 

SARAH:         Why did you ever leave such a place?

                    Why come here? It's nothing special

                    No emeralds here

                    Just bricks and dust -

                    You say you heard a voice?

 

RAPHAEL:     Yes!  Such a little voice, and so sad!

                    No one heard it but me -

                    It was lost among all those glittering stars.

 

                     [Takes hold of her hand.]

 

                    My, but your hand is cold.

 

                    [He carries her hand to his lips, blows on it; as he does so a soft azure light              shines           upon her.]

 

SARAH:         How good that feels!  So warm...

 

                    [The light fades as he lets go of her hand.]

                    You say you come from the sun and the moon -

                    What sort of work do you do?

 

RAPHAEL:     What sort of work?

                    You might say... I'm a sort of ambassador.

 

SARAH:         Do you work for the government?

 

RAPHAEL:     [laughs]

                    You might say...

                    I work for a King

                    A mighty King, a King of Kings.

 

SARAH:         Who is this King?

                    Have I heard of him?

 

RAPHAEL:     Are all women so curious?

 

SARAH:         I believe so.

 

RAPHAEL:     He is King over the city that I told you about

                    But his kingdom is immense...

                    I travel a lot in my line of work!

 

SARAH:         Then you must have seen

                    a great many people

                    a great many things

                    You must have seen the wide world.

 

RAPHAEL:     Yes, I've seen the world.

 

SARAH:         And what is it like?

                    Is it full of brave men and beautiful ladies?

                    Of ships and castles, a thousand lovely things?

 

RAPHAEL:     It is full of suffering

                    It is beautiful as well.

 

SARAH:         More beautiful than the city you told me about?

 

RAPHAEL:     It is...  different!

 

                    [A pause.]

 

SARAH:         I don't want to marry Tobias.

 

RAPHAEL:     Oh, but you must!

                    Don't be afraid

                    I do not think he will die like the others.

 

SARAH:         I'm certain that he will...

 

RAPHAEL:     What's more, it is the will of the great King.

 

SARAH:         I can't believe your King

                    Concerns himself with my affairs.

 

RAPHAEL:     Oh, but he does!

                    His eye is also on the sparrow

                    On everything that moves under the sun

                    His breath moves the deep waters

                    His word is enough to raise up mountains

                    And his eye is on the tiny sparrow in the grass.

 

SARAH:         He is a great King! 

                    Still, I don't want to marry Tobias.

 

                    [She puts her arms around his neck.]

 

                    Please tell me, Brother Azarias

                    Why have you come?

                    What is it you are looking for?

 

RAPHAEL:     [Embraces her lightly.] 

 

                    Someone littler than I to call my name

                    Someone small and fine who has need of me

                    Think of me, there!

 

[He rises and gestures towards the sky.  She falls back, looking up at him, half fearful, half entranced.]

 

                    Alone among the stars

                    Alone with the sun and the moon

                    No wind ever blows there

                    No soft breath ever warms my face

                    No little hand ever touches mine

                    No heart beats

                    No tear drops

                    No heart ever breaks there.

                    The sun and the moon

                    They gaze at each other

                    Across the dark sea of heaven

                    Never to meet, never to touch...

                   

EDNA: [From inside the house.]

                    Sarah!  Come inside, child -

                    It's time for bed!

 

SARAH:         I still don't want to marry Tobias.

 

RAPHAEL:     He will be a good husband...

 

SARAH:         He'll be a dead husband by morning.

                    Oh Azarias - help me!

                    I'm so frightened!

 

 

RAPHAEL:     Don't be afraid

                    I'll be watching over you.

                   

SARAH:         But why not take me away from here?

                    Clean away from that demon -

                    [She begins to weep.]

 

                    Oh, Brother Azarias!

                    I can't bear it any longer -

                    Not another one!

                    Please, take me away

                    to that beautiful city of yours!

 

RAPHAEL:     I can't!

 

SARAH:         Please, oh please -

                    Take me away from here!

                    I'm frightened!

 

EDNA  :         Sarah!  Come inside now!

 

SARAH:         [She pulls at his hand.]

                    Please, Azarias!

 

RAPHAEL:     You don't know what you're asking...

 

SARAH:         I don't care!  I want to get away!

 

RAPHAEL:     I want...

 

EDNA: Sarah!

 

[Edna appears in the doorway, beckons to Sarah, who runs, sobbing, into the house.]

 

RAPHAEL:     [Reaching out towards her.]

                    Sarah!

 

 

 

 

14

 

[Sarah's upstairs chamber.  The room has been specially decorated for the occasion.  Edna has been helping Sarah to undress for bed.  Edna sits on the bed, a few items of the toilette beside her. Sarah is standing, weeping, half undressed.]

 

SARAH:         No, Mother, no!

                    I don't want to marry!

                    Another young man lying dead at my side

                    Another young man stiff and stark in my bed.

                    Mother, I'm frightened

                    I don't want to marry

                    I know he will die

                    Just like the others -

                    I don't want to marry again!

                    Stiff and stark

                    There!  Right there, where you're sitting!

                    His face purple, his tongue all black

                    and hanging out of his mouth!

                    Oh! oh!  Poor Cousin Tobias!

                    No, Mother, no!

                    I don't want to marry again!

 

EDNA: [Goes to her, takes her in her arms.]

                    Hush, my child!

                    Be brave, my gentle daughter.

                    The Lord of heaven and earth

                    May grant you joy in place of sorrow

                    The Lord of heaven and earth

                    May wish him to live.

                    Hush, my sweet child!

                    Be comforted, my little dove!

                    Surely the Lord has sent

                    Tobias          to be your husband.

                    Perhaps one of his angels

                    His pure and mighty angels

                    Perhaps one of his angels

                    Will see you safely through the night.

 

SARAH:         One of his angels?

 

EDNA: His pure and mighty angels.

 

SARAH:         Perhaps one of his angels

                    Will see us through this awful night.

 

[Edna prepares Sarah for bed, helps her to lie down.]

 

 

SARAH:         Mother, who is that man?

                    The one that came here with my Cousin Tobias?

                    I don't know why

                    But it seems to me I've seen him

                    somewhere before.

                    It seems to me I've heard his voice

                    somewhere before.

                    It sounds so familiar...

                    Who can he be really?

                    He's very tall, isn't he?

                    He's beautiful too...

                    But who is he?

 

EDNA: Never mind him now.

                    It's time to lie down quietly.

                    Close your pretty eyes.

                    [She tucks Sarah up in the bed, then dims the light.]

 

                    Good night, my child!

                    Be brave, my only daughter!

                    May one of his angels

                    see you safely through the night.

 

 

 

 

15

 

[As above.  Sarah lies alone in the darkened room.  Beside the bed a small brazier burns dimly.  Moonlight only illuminates the scene.  Raphael, now wearing his Angel mask, takes up a position beneath Sarah's window.  Unnoticed by Raphael, Asmodeus flies across the stage, coming silently to rest on the window ledge.  He easily forces open the shutters and enters the room by way of the window.   Stealthily he approaches the bed, bends over the sleeping girl, and inhales deeply.  Now he raises his head and shakes it with an excess of delight.]

 

ASMODEUS:   Aaaaah!  Sarah, my sweet flower!

                    How I long to pluck you

                    from your little white bed!

                    If you could but feel the touch

                    of these hungry hands

                    If you could once taste

                    these burning lips -

                    What delight, what delight!

                    But there you lie safe in innocent slumber

                    The fires that consume me

                    That roast my heart

                    And fry my brain

                    They have no power to hurt you.

                    Not so much as a hair

                    Not even a single silky golden hair!

                    Grrr!

 

                    Well, well! - you know how it is by now!

                    If I can't have you, nobody shall!

                    Let another boy come creeping

                    Softly to your bed tonight

                    Hoping to make you his bride.

                    I'll be waiting - Yes! I'll be waiting

                    Right here at your side!

                    He will never kiss you

                    Never embrace you

                    He will embrace the Angel of Death

                    His kisses will stick forever in his throat

                    He will choke on black bitter Death!

 

[He hides himself behind the bed and lies in wait for Tobias.  Tobias enters, observes Sarah at rest.  He stirs up the fire in the brazier and places the fish's entrails upon it.  There is much smoke.  Then he goes to Sarah and takes her hand.]

 

TOBIAS:        Sister, get up, and let us pray

                    That the Lord may take pity on us

                    And bring us safely through the night.

                    [They kneel down side by side.]

 

TOBIAS:        Lord, you made Adam

                    And gave him Eve for a wife

                    You saw that he was alone

                    And you gave him a helper and a friend.

 

TOBIAS & SARAH:

 

                    Blessed are you, Lord our God

                    Who made the heavens and the earth

                    Who made all creatures to his glory.

 

TOBIAS:        And now, Lord

                    I do not take this sister of mine for lust

                    But for a helper and a friend.

                    Show us now your mercy

                    That we may grow old together in peace.

 

TOBIAS & SARAH:

 

                    Amen.

 

[Tobias takes Sarah by the hand and leads her to the bed.  They lie down in one another's arms.  Now the smoke from the brazier billows and thickens until the room is filled with it.  The demon chokes on it and jumps out the window, straight into the arms of Raphael.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

[Raphael transports Asmodeus to a desert waste; there they must do battle.]

 

ASMODEUS:   Raphael!  What do want with me?

                    Why do you meddle in my affairs?

                    You had better get out of my way!

 

RAPHAEL:     Asmodeus!  You will never set eyes

                    on that innocent girl again.

 

ASMODEUS:   What business is it of yours?

                    Get out of my way!

                    [He grapples with Raphael.]

 

                    Out of my way, I say!

 

RAPHAEL:     Never!

 

ASMODEUS:   [letting go, thoughtfully]

                    Oh, I see how it is -

                    You're in love with the girl yourself!

                    [laughs]

 

                    Yes, that's how it is

                    You're certainly in love with her yourself.

                    Is it not a delicious feeling

                    This thing called love?      

                    They're on to something, these children of Eve

                    Is it not a delightful feeling?

 

RAPHAEL:     Silence, you devil!

 

ASMODEUS:   Oh dear, how utterly terrifying...

                    But one little thing still troubles me -

                    How will you ever possess her?

                    Will you disobey the orders

                    of that great King of yours?

                    He's terribly touchy about things like that!

                    I suppose you could always come over to our side...

                    Listen, Raphael - I've lain beside her

                    Every night for a year.

                    Her sheets smell of paradise

                    Or really - to tell the truth - much better!

 

RAPHAEL:     I forbid you to speak of her!

 

ASMODEUS:   Oh dear, oh dear -

                    Just one word more!

                    Something very much to your advantage!

                    I could help you, Raphael

                    I could make you one of us

                    I would even get out of your way

                    Let you have Sarah

                    All to yourself for a night.

 

RAPHAEL:     Silence!

 

ASMODEUS:   These hands have touched her...

 

RAPHAEL:     Silence, you liar!

                    You were always a liar

                    from the very beginning.

 

ASMODEUS:   I've lain beside her...

 

RAPHAEL:     Silence!  No more!

 

ASMODEUS:   All to yourself for a night!

 

RAPHAEL:     All to myself for a night?

                    One night...

                    Dear Sarah!  What would it be?

                    Would you lay your little head

                    here upon my breast?

                    Would you lay your little hand

                    here upon my cheek?

                    Would you sigh like the wind upon my face?

                    Would you whisper my name to the stars?

                    Poor little flower!

                    Born but to die...

                    May you bloom without fear of the darkness

                    and bring forth sweet blossoms like yourself

                    To live in peace under a cloudless heaven -

                    This is the Lord God's reward to Raphael.

 

                    And now, stand up, devil!

                    Are you ready to fight?

 

ASMODEUS:   It would give me the greatest pleasure

                    But I'm afraid I've a previous engagement.

                    [He tries to run away, Raphael blocks his path.]

 

RAPHAEL:     Stand and fight, I say!

 

ASMODEUS:   Now Raphael, be reasonable...

 

RAPHAEL:     Stand!

 

[They are locked in elaborate and highly stylised combat, more of a dance than an ordinary struggle.  During the fight the Chorus of Bird-Puppets emerges from the Underworld and surrounds them, looking on at the fight.]

 

CHORUS OF BIRDS:

 

                    Fire freeze and water burn

                    Every dog shall have his turn

                    Give way, Raphael, give way!

 

                    Earth tremble, heavens sway

                    Every dog shall have his day

                    Give way!  Give way!  Give way!

 

[At last Raphael overcomes Asmodeus and binds him fast.  The Bird-Puppets sink back into the Underworld.]

 

 

 

 

17

 

[Early morning, outside Raguel's house.  Raguel is digging a grave for Tobias.  Gentle birdsong, gradually rising light.  Raguel turns aside, sadly.]

 

RAGUEL:       Who knows?  Who can tell?

                    Perhaps he too is dead

                    And the wedding feast, so hastily prepared

                    Will serve once more for a young man's funeral.

 

                    [Enter Edna]

 

EDNA: What are you doing up so early?

 

RAGUEL:       A place to lay Tobias if he be dead.

                    So may we bury him before our daughter wakes

                    And spare her poor broken spirit.

 

          [Edna looks into the grave and shudders.]

 

RAGUEL:       [Touches her to comfort her.]:

                    Never mind -

                    Don't look at me like that!

                    But send one of the maids

                    to see whether he be still alive.

 

 

 

[Edna returns to the house.  Now a maid in seen, carrying a lantern; she enters the bridal chamber, opens the shutters, the light comes up strongly in the chamber and we see Sarah and Tobias alive in one another's arms, and Raphael (still in angel mask) standing guard at the head of the bed with his arms outstretched in a cross.  Together the young couple rise and emerge into the courtyard, holding hands, walking as if in a dream.  Only gradually do they come fully to their senses.  Raphael advances only as far as the doorway, where he remains throughout the following scene, looking on.  Now Edna too comes slowly out of the house, also in a daze.  She exchanges looks with Raguel, who stands transfixed, gazing at the two young people.]

 

EDNA: The children...

 

RAGUEL:       The children have been spared.

 

[Raguel and Edna rush to embrace the young pair, who are at first bewildered, then glad.  Now Raguel stands apart to pray, and the other three bow their heads as he speaks.  Edna stands between Sarah and Tobias, with an arm round each of them.]

 

RAGUEL:       Blessed be God

                    With every pure and holy blessing

                    Let all creatures praise him

                    Let men and angels praise him.

                    It has not happened to me as I expected

                    But according to his great mercy.

                    He has given us joy in place of sadness

                    And turned all our mourning into dancing.

                    The Lord had pity on two only children!

                    I shall not go down in sorrow to the grave

                    But I shall live to see my children's children

                    Living in peace in their father's house.

                    [Looking up]

 

                    Men, come quickly -

                    Fill up the grave!

                    Now let the wedding feast begin!

 

[Enter two man servants and begin to fill in the grave.  The parents embrace the two young people, weeping tears of joy.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18

 

[Nineveh, outside Tobit's house.  Tobit is sitting patiently in the sun on the doorstep, while Anna is sweeping the courtyard.]

 

TOBIT:          Seventeen days...

                    Seventeen days they've been gone.

                    What could have happened?

                    Perhaps some small affair...

                    Perhaps Gabael is dead

                    And there is no one to give him the money...

 

ANNA: [Leaves off sweeping and looks mournfully down the road.]

                    My son is dead.

                    This long delay is proof.

                    My son is no more!

                    Oh, why did I ever let you go?

                    You, who were the light of my eyes.

                    When you went in and out of the house

                    The sun went with you.

                    When you lay down to sleep

                    The moon came out to watch over you.

                    When you were small

                    You lay at my breast and slept

                    Nothing could harm you

                    Nothing could touch you

                    Your legs too little then to wander

                    far from your mother's side.

                    Now you are gone

                    I care for nothing.

                    I live for nothing.

                    Oh, Tobias, light of my eyes!

                    I will never see you again.

 

TOBIT:          Hold your peace, Sister!

                    And stop your worrying -

                    I am sure the boy is safe.

 

ANNA: Hold your peace, old man!

                    And deceive me not -

                    for my son is dead.

                   

 

[Tobit sinks his head into his hands.  Anna again gazes down the road, looking for a sign of Tobias.]

 

ANNA: My son, my son!

                    Now I care for nothing.

 

19

 

[Two weeks have passed since the marriage.  In the courtyard outside Raguel's house, it is early morning.  Raphael, Tobias, and Sarah are preparing to return to Nineveh.  Raguel and Edna have come out to bid them good-bye. Ari, the dog, is running from one person to another, getting in everyone's way.]

 

TOBIAS:        Now the wedding feast is over

                    I must return home to my father and mother.

                    I know they have given up hope

                    Of ever seeing me again.

 

RAGUEL:       Why not stay a little longer?

                    I can send word to your father...

 

TOBIAS:        No, I mustn't delay any longer

                    I know my father is counting the days

                    And my mother will be thinking

                    I'm already dead!

                    I must return home.

                    Brother Azarias, do you have the money?

 

RAPHAEL:     Right here.

                    I've been to the house of Gabael

                    As you told me.

                    He brought out the money without any trouble

                    And has even added a wedding gift.

                   

TOBIAS:        Then this is farewell -

                    Father, Mother!

                    [Embraces Edna and Raguel.]

 

SARAH:         Farewell, my Father and my Mother!

                    [Embraces her parents.]

 

RAGUEL:       [to Tobias]

                    My son, I have given you

                    Half of all my possessions

                    Half of my goods and my servants

                    Half of the cattle and the money.

                    I have given you this child of mine

                    For a wife -  Look after her well!

                   

                    [to Sarah]

                    My daughter, take care

                    Do nothing to shame us

                    Do nothing to grieve us

                    My daughter, honour your husband

                    Honour his father and his mother

                    They will be your parents now.

                    Let me hear a good report of you!

 

[He kisses her.  Now Edna takes Sarah in her arms and speaks to Tobias.]

 

EDNA: Brother Tobias

                    May the Lord of heaven bless you!

                    Here is my daughter, Sarah

                    Bring her back to me one day

                    And let me see your children before I die

                    That I may rejoice before the Lord.

                    Look, Brother Tobias!

                    Here is my daughter, Sarah

                    I give her into your hands

                    I give her into your trust

                    Do nothing to grieve her!

 

[Now Sarah removes herself from her mother's embrace and goes to Tobias.  Exit Raphael, Tobias, and Sarah.  As they leave the stage, Tobias turns and calls to Ari, who runs up to  Tobias and goes off with them.]

 

RAGUEL:       [Looking after them as they go.]

                    Farewell, my children!

                    The Lord of heaven and earth

                    Grant you a safe journey.

 

 

 

 

20

 

[On the road to Nineveh.  Enter Ari, the dog, followed by Raphael, Tobias, and Sarah.]

 

RAPHAEL:     We're nearly there now -

                    Remember, Brother Tobias

                    How you left your father?

                    You must run ahead to him

                    Bring the gall of the fish

                    Surely your have it still?

 

TOBIAS:        Yes, it's right here in my bag.

 

RAPHAEL:     The moment he hears your voice

                    Your father will open his eyes.

                    Anoint his eyes with the gall

                    Pricking them, so he shall rub.

                    The blindness shall fall away

                    And he shall see you.

 

[The light comes up on the house at Nineveh to reveal Anna and Tobit outside, as before.  Anna is still sweeping, looking sometimes disconsolately down the road.  The dog runs up to her and greets her, she recognises him and starts for joy.]

 

ANNA: Ari!  Is that you, Ari!

                    Wake up, old man -

                    Behold, your son is coming!

                    And so is the man who went with him!

 

                    [Anna runs to Tobias and falls upon his neck.]

 

ANNA: Tobias!

 

TOBIAS:        Mother!

 

ANNA: My child!

                    I have seen my child again

                    Now I am content to die!

 

[Tobit tries to approach them but stumbles.  Tobias runs to him, takes him by the arm to steady him.]

 

TOBIAS:        Here I am, Father

                    Be of good hope, my dear Father!

 

[Tobias now anoints his father's eyes with the gall.  Tobit rubs his eyes hard, blinks - then looks clearly at Tobias.]

 

TOBIT:          [Weeping, embraces his son.]

                    Blessed are you, O God

                    Blessed is your name forever

                    And blessed are all your holy angels.

                    You have scourged me

                    And you have taken pity upon me

                    For behold, I see my son, Tobias!

 

TOBIAS:        And here is Sarah, my wife.

 

                    [Tobit embraces her also.]

 

TOBIT:          Welcome, daughter!

                    Blessed be God who has brought you to us

                    And blessed be your father and mother.

                    And now Tobias -

                    What of our friend, Brother Azarias?

                    We mustn't forget that good man

                    Who has done us so much service.

 

 

TOBIAS:        Here he is, Father!

                    He has led me back to you in safety.

                    It was he who caught the great fish

                    When it would have swallowed me whole.

                    It was he who saved Sarah from the demon.   

                    He brought back the money from Gabael

                    And he even gave you back your sight.

                    All this he has done for me

                    Let us give him half of the money.

 

 

TOBIT:          He deserves it.

                    Brother Azarias, come here

                    Please, take half of the silver

                    You have earned it, and much more.

 

 

[Raphael  now appears in his angel mask.  The whole scene is bathed in a shimmering azure blue light  They all fall down in fear and amazement.]

 

 

RAPHAEL:     Bless God and praise his holy name forever

                    For his wonderful works to the children of men.

                    It is right to reveal the goodness of God

                    To speak of his wonderful mercy.

                    Now will I speak and keep no secrets from you.

 

                    I was with you, Tobit, when you rose from your table

                    to bury the faceless dead.

                    I was with you, Sarah

                    When you cried out to God in your distress.

                    I was sent to heal you both.

                    I am Raphael

                    One of the Seven Holy Angels

                    Who carry the prayers of men to heaven

                    And go in and out before the Holy One.

                    Now I must return to Him that sent me

                    [He turns to Tobias.]

 

                    Farewell, little Brother!

                    I was with you when you caught the terrible fish.

                    I was with you on that fearful wedding night.

                    I did not eat, I did not sleep -

                    You saw but a vision.

                    Farewell, Tobias!

                    Watch over our sister Sarah

                    Keep her always close to your heart

                    For a loving wife is a gift of the Lord.

 

                    [He turns to Sarah.  She rises to her feet and faces him.]

 

                    Sarah, farewell!

                    Your sorrow was the music of my dreams

                    Sweet and low as the wind in the grass

 

                    Sarah, farewell!

                    When your first child

                    lies sleeping at your breast

                    Think of me - Raphael!

                    Alone among the glittering stars of heaven.

 

[Raphael disappears in a great aureole of blue light.  Slowly all rise, and stand gazing up into heaven.]

 

 

 

 

THE END


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