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The Country of the Blind

Escape

The Country of the Blind

Nov 26 1947



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

2ND ANNOUNCER


NUÑEZ

IBARRA

CLIMBER

CORREA

PEDRO

YACOB, chief of the elders

MEDINA-SAROTÉ, Yacob's daughter

DOCTOR




MUSIC: UNEASY INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT


ANNOUNCER: Are you burned up at the high price of turkeys? Can't get eggs for your pumpkin pie? Want to get away from it all? 


2ND ANNOUNCER: We offer you -- ESCAPE!


MUSIC: THEME ... MUSSORGSKY'S "NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN" ... THEN EERIE, IN BG


ANNOUNCER: You're trapped in a remote valley of the Andes, walled in by sheer rock precipices, and surrounding you -- closing in on you -- is a band of blind men who want your eyes.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN OUT


2ND ANNOUNCER: ESCAPE! -- produced and directed by William N. Robson and carefully plotted to free you from the four walls of today for a half-hour of high adventure.


MUSIC: UNEASY ACCENT ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: Tonight we escape to the high mountains of Ecuador and to a remarkable world where sight is unknown, as H. G. Wells imagined it in his curious story "The Country of the Blind." 


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT WITH--


IBARRA: (NARRATES) My name is Ibarra. I am a mining engineer in Quito, Ecuador, high in the towering Andes. And up until a year ago my chief sport was mountain climbing. My last climb was an attempt to scale the remote and forbidding peak of Parascotopetl, (MUSIC: UNEASY ... IN) a twenty thousand-foot crag unconquered by man. (BEAT) It is unconquered still. Three thousand feet from the icy summit our party turned back and fled for their lives. All of us escaped except one, a guide named Nuñez who slipped and fell over the precipice, disappearing into the vast chasm that yawned ten thousand feet beneath us. 


MUSIC: FOR A SICKENING FALL ... THEN BEHIND IBARRA--


IBARRA: (NARRATES) The horror of that man's fall has haunted my dreams for a year. Because of it, I have forsaken mountain climbing for the rest of my life. And that decision still stands. Even though, today, I have seen Nuñez. 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND IBARRA--


IBARRA: (NARRATES) He was sitting on the steps of my shack when I arrived at the mine this morning. At first, I didn't recognize him; he was so much changed. I thought he was a ragged beggar asking alms. 


NUÑEZ: (WEAK, HESITANT) Is--? Is it you, Señor Ibarra?


IBARRA: My name is Ibarra, yes. What do you want?


NUÑEZ: You do not know me, señor?


IBARRA: Why, no, I-- (BEAT, SLOW AND UNEASY) You look like a man I knew once, but he is--


NUÑEZ: (WRY) Dead? Dead on the slopes of Parascotopetl?


IBARRA: (SHOCKED) Nuñez! No, it couldn't be you.


NUÑEZ: Nuñez. That is my name, señor. At least, that is the name I remember.


IBARRA: But you fell! I saw you fall.


NUÑEZ: Yes. 


IBARRA: It's impossible that you could have lived.


NUÑEZ: Perhaps the gods of the mountain had some reason to spare me.


IBARRA: (NERVOUSLY APOLOGETIC) Nuñez, if we'd had any idea that you were alive-- But you went down, down thousands of feet. We couldn't even attempt to find your body.


NUÑEZ: I know. I do not blame you. You could not have reached me. And if you had, I - I should not have welcomed you -- at first. But then later--


IBARRA: (BEAT, PUZZLED) What do you mean, Nuñez?


NUÑEZ: Señor, you will not believe what I have to tell.


IBARRA: I can hardly believe that I am seeing you, talking to you. But what has happened to you?


NUÑEZ: You remember that night, the night I fell?


IBARRA: Yes.


NUÑEZ: We had been toiling all day, inching our way up a steep ice wall. (MUSIC: IN BG, BRIEFLY FOR A TRANSITION) And as darkness came we found a narrow ledge, barely three feet wide. 


MUSIC: OUT WITH--


SOUND: HARSH WIND BLOWS ... CONTINUES IN BG


IBARRA: It's not very wide, but we can get our shelter wall up, cut off some of this wind.


CLIMBER: Well, that'll be welcome.


NUÑEZ: (NO LONGER IN WEAK VOICE, YOUNG AND HEALTHY) Yes, but first we'll rest a moment.


IBARRA: Look at that icy devil up there, glistening in the moonlight. 


CLIMBER: There's another three thousand feet of sheer ice-wall to the top.


IBARRA: Well, I can see why no one's ever made it. Think we should go on?


CLIMBER: I don't know. Nuñez--?


NUÑEZ: What?


CLIMBER: What do you think?


NUÑEZ: (SHRUGS, EVASIVE) It is not my place to say, señor. I was hired to guide you to the top. I agreed. 


CLIMBER: What do you really think?


NUÑEZ: If I believed in the gods of the mountain -- as the Indians do -- I should be frightened now.


CLIMBER: Why?


NUÑEZ: Because we have invaded the forbidden circle. This part of the Andes is unmapped and unknown, señor. 


IBARRA: And therefore shrouded in superstition, eh?


NUÑEZ: It is an easy thing to believe strange things in this white loneliness.


IBARRA: Some of the legends are really fascinating. I've heard of one -- something about a hidden valley called the Country of the Blind.


NUÑEZ: Yes. It is supposed to be somewhere down there below us -- a fertile valley which was settled many centuries ago and then cut off by the great landslide of Aurauca.


CLIMBER: But why "The Country of the Blind"?


NUÑEZ: Well, even before it was isolated, the people developed a strange illness. All of them slowly went blind. After that, their children were born blind. And the legend is that the valley was the home of the mountain gods. It was too beautiful for human eyes. 


CLIMBER: That's odd. Well, it's all nonsense.


NUÑEZ: Yes, of course.


CLIMBER: (LIGHTLY) Would be pleasant to find it, though. You know the old proverb: "In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King"?


NUÑEZ: I doubt that we could ever find it. I even doubt if it exists.


CLIMBER: Of course not. (CHUCKLES) I was only joking.


NUÑEZ: Yes. Well, now if you're rested, we'll make the shelter wall.


CLIMBER: Right. I'll give you a hand in a minute. Believe me, Ibarra -- for two pesos, I'd give up this climb. I never realized how--


NUÑEZ: (PANICS) Señors, I'm slipping!


CLIMBER: (SHOUTS) Hang on! 


IBARRA: Nuñez! Nuñez!


NUÑEZ: (BLOODCURDLING SCREAM AS HE FALLS) Ahhhhhhh!


MUSIC: FOR A HORRIFYING FALL


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES, AGITATED) In one horrible instant, my foot had slipped on the treacherous ledge and I'd gone over, falling far out into the icy black night; falling down, down!


MUSIC: ACCENT ... AND OUT


SOUND: HARSH WIND OUT BEHIND--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES, WITH HORROR) I fell perhaps a thousand feet. Then I felt a heavy stinging impact of snow. (MUSIC: FOR SLIDING DOWN SLOPE, IN BG) I'd fallen on an almost perpendicular snow slope and now I was sliding, down, down -- tumbling over and over. 


MUSIC: GRIM ACCENT, FOR NUÑEZ SLOWING TO A NEAR-STOP ... THEN RUMBLING FOR AN AVALANCHE, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES, SURPRISED) And then, suddenly I realized that my own motion had almost stopped and it was the snow that was moving. I was riding an avalanche. At almost the same moment I went over the second precipice. 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES, RAPIDLY) It was higher than the first -- much higher -- perhaps four thousand feet. I fell with the snow for what seemed minutes -- every second expecting the terrible final impact. But the impact never came. Miracle of miracles! That sheer wall blended almost imperceptibly into another steep snow slope. And again I was sliding. 


MUSIC: SLOWS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES, INCREASINGLY SLOW) Gradually, as the arc of the slope curved away, I felt myself slow down. And finally, I rolled to a stop -- and lay still.


MUSIC: CALM ... IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) When I awoke, it was morning and I was covered with snow. I shook off the cold white blanket on my chest and rested a moment. And then I rolled over on my back and looked up.


MUSIC: FOR A VIEW OF A TOWERING MOUNTAIN ... IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) My heart almost stopped as I saw from where I'd fallen. Why, the mountain towered ten thousand feet above me. Then, carefully, I felt at myself. My clothes were torn. I - I was bruised and bleeding. I - I ached in every muscle, but - I had not a single broken bone. I lay there and offered up a prayer to the gods of the mountain. 


MUSIC: PASTORAL ... FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) Far below me, lay a lush valley sparkling in the morning sunlight. I could see the stately trees and the green meadows fresh with dew. I started down the mountain, but it was still an arduous descent. The farther down I got, the more I realized the beauty of the scene. Why, this was a hidden paradise I'd fallen into. And I was the first man ever to see it. So I thought. But I was wrong. I realized that, first when I saw the cultivation in the meadows, and then the walks -- well-kept stone walks -- laid in a symmetrical pattern all over the valley. And then I saw them.


There were men and women lying under the trees and resting in the fields. Nearby, a collection of windowless huts marked a village and the plastering of the houses was done in a wild variety of colors. I thought to myself, (CHUCKLES) "The plasterer who did that must have been blind as a bat." Then I saw two of the men quite close to me. They were standing on a bridge over the little stream. They were dressed in odd, loose clothing, and there was a strange look about their faces. They failed to notice me as I approached until I shouted. Suddenly, they looked up attentively in my direction. I waved wildly at them, but - they took no notice. 


MUSIC: OUT


NUÑEZ: (TO HIMSELF) Why, the fools must be blind. Blind? Could it be that I have fallen into the Country of the Blind? (REALIZES, WITH RELISH) Hm! In the Country of the Blind a One-Eyed Man can be King. 


MUSIC: BRIEF ACCENT ... THEN OUT


NUÑEZ: Hello, there. You needn't be afraid. I - I won't hurt you. I come in peace.


PEDRO: It - it is a man -- or a spirit -- come down from the rocks.


NUÑEZ: Oh, I'm a man all right -- just like you -- but I've had a miraculous escape and now I find myself here in your valley.


CORREA: (PUZZLED) Valley? Valley? 


PEDRO: Come hither. Let me feel of you.


NUÑEZ: Yes, certainly. Here. Here, my - my arm. Here's my face. You see, I am a man, like -- like yourself. Here, feel my lips; they move with speech. Oh, careful there; gently. Those are my eyes.


CORREA: (PUZZLED) Eyes? Eyes? 


PEDRO: That is strange. Feel this, Correa.


CORREA: Yes, I feel.


NUÑEZ: Careful. Feel the eyelids flutter?


CORREA: He is but imperfectly formed. Some strange bulge there. Unseemly.


NUÑEZ: No. No, you see, your eyes are shrunken in, but mine are whole. I can see


CORREA: "See"? Pedro, he is a strange wild one. Where does he come from?


PEDRO: He must have come down out of the rocks.


NUÑEZ: No, from over the mountains -- out of the country beyond there, where men can see. From Bogotá, where there are a hundred thousand people and the city stretches out of sight.


CORREA: "Sight"? What strange words he uses -- without meaning. And feel the coarseness of his hair. Like a llama's. 


PEDRO: Our fathers have told us men may be made by forces of Nature. It is the warmth of things and moisture and rottenness.


CORREA: Let us lead him to the elders.


NUÑEZ: But no one need lead me. I can see.


CORREA: "See"?


NUÑEZ: Oh, yes, of course. I can-- (EXCLAIMS AS--) 


SOUND: NUÑEZ STUMBLES OVER A WOODEN BUCKET


NUÑEZ: I - I didn't see your water bucket.


CORREA: His senses are still imperfect. He stumbles and talks unmeaning words. Lead him by the hand, Pedro. 


NUÑEZ: But, look, I-- (CHUCKLES) Oh, well. All right. 


MUSIC: IN AND BEHIND NUÑEZ--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) These people had been blind for centuries. They had forgotten even the words associated with seeing. And they thought I was an idiot, only half-formed, especially when they led me into the pitch blackness of one of their windowless huts and I stumbled over someone. 


SOUND: NUÑEZ STUMBLES AGAINST A WOMAN WHO--


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (EXCLAIMS)


PEDRO: A thousand pardons, Medina-saroté. He is a clumsy one.


NUÑEZ: I - I'm sorry I fell down. I - I couldn't see in the darkness. 


YACOB: Who is this and what is he saying?


CORREA: He is but newly formed, good father. He has come down from the rocks. He stumbles as he walks and mingles words that mean nothing with his speech.


PEDRO: He is a wild man out of the rocks.


NUÑEZ: No, I come from Bogotá -- over the mountains.


PEDRO: You hear? Bogotá. He uses wild words. His mind is hardly formed. He has only the beginnings of speech.


YACOB: (CHUCKLES) Bogotá? (CHUCKLES) 


NUÑEZ: Yes. I - I come from the great world, where men have eyes and see. 


PEDRO: That must be his name; Bogotá.


CORREA: He stumbled twice as we came thither.


YACOB: He must be taught.


NUÑEZ: No, you don't understand. I can see, but not in the dark. To you, darkness or light is all the same. But to me -- to us who can see -- to us outside in the world beyond the mountains--


YACOB: "Moun-tains"? What are moun-tains?


NUÑEZ: Very well then. Beyond the rocks.


YACOB: (AMUSED CHUCKLE) There is nothing beyond the rocks. That is the end of the world.


NUÑEZ: Oh, but surely you must realize the - the sky above covers more than just this valley?


YACOB: Sky? Above? There is nothing above but the roof of rock. (AMUSED CHUCKLE) He is very raw, my children. He shall have to be taught -- from the beginnings. (SIGHS) Now take him away. Feed him.


PEDRO: It shall be done, good father.


YACOB: But guide him. See that he does not stumble over my daughter again.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Do not fear, father. I shall guide him myself, and feed him.


YACOB: Very well.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Come. Take my hand.


NUÑEZ: Thank you. It-- It'll be a pleasure to get outside again -- out of this darkness.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Come this way.


NUÑEZ: Yes. (BEAT, AS THEY WALK) What is your name?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Medina-saroté.


NUÑEZ: Mine is Juan; Juan Nuñez. (WITH RELIEF) Oh! Oh, sunlight. Oh, this is better. And now I may look at you. (BEAT, ENTRANCED) Why-- You're beautiful. I cannot tell you what a wonderful thing you are to see.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (LOW) Oh, please. You must be careful.


NUÑEZ: Why?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: If you do not learn quickly, and cease speaking such strange words, they may not be so kind to you. They might be angry. They might even - destroy you.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NUÑEZ--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) This thought had not occurred to me -- and suddenly I had a twinge of fear. Still, the proverb kept running through my mind: "In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King." (WITH MUCH ANNOYANCE) But try as I would I cannot make them understand my wonderful gift of sight. They thought me stupid and untaught; almost an idiot. Day by day I learned their peaceful ways, but they could not learn mine. It was beginning to get on my nerves! And theirs, too, perhaps.


CORREA: (FROM OFF) Bogotá! Bogotá, come hither. (NO RESPONSE) Bogotá, you move not.


NUÑEZ: (IN CLOSE; TO HIMSELF, LOW AND DEFIANT) No, and I won't, you old beetle. I'll show you, I'll leave the path-- 


CORREA: (CONDESCENDING, AS IF TO A CHILD) Bogotá, trample not on the grass. It is not allowed.


NUÑEZ: (SURPRISED) How did you know I stepped on the grass?


CORREA: I heard, of course.


NUÑEZ: Heard? But I didn't make a sound!


CORREA: (MILDLY ANNOYED) Why do you not come when I call you? Can you not hear the path as you walk?


NUÑEZ: I can see it.


CORREA: There is no such word as "see." Cease this folly and follow the sound of my feet. 


NUÑEZ: (TO HIMSELF, DEFIANT) Oh, my time will come.


CORREA: You will learn. There is much to learn in the world. 


NUÑEZ: (ANNOYED) Has no one ever told you, "In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King?"


CORREA: (CARELESSLY) "Blind"? What is "blind"?


NUÑEZ: Oh, never mind.


CORREA: Bogotá, I must warn you: Just keep quiet and learn. And stop this nonsense about "seeing."


NUÑEZ: (FURIOUS) Nonsense, is it? I'll show you. I've taken enough of your insults -- "unformed mind," "got no sense" yet -- I'll be king here. I can see and I'll be king!


CORREA: Bogotá, stop it.


NUÑEZ: (EXPLODES) No! I'm through with your orders! I'll show you what an advantage sight can be. I can hit you and hurt you and you can't see me to strike back!


CORREA: Bogotá, put down that spade!


NUÑEZ: You devil. Your ears are sharp, aren't they?


CORREA: Bogotá, there must be no violence.


NUÑEZ: By Heaven, I'll hit you if you come any closer! I swear I will!


CORREA: Put down that spade and come off the grass.


NUÑEZ: You don't understand! You are blind and I can see! I can see!


CORREA: Bogotá! 


NUÑEZ: I'll hurt you! I swear I will!


CORREA: Put down that spade.


NUÑEZ: Leave me alone! 


SOUND: NUÑEZ HITS CORREA WITH SPADE


CORREA: (GROANS IN PAIN)


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NUÑEZ--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES, EXCITED AT FIRST, THEN INCREASINGLY DEFEATED) I hit him with the spade and ran -- over the wall, outside their valley, back to the rocks, back to the cliff I'd come from. When I reached that sheer rock wall, I knew there was no place to go. For two days and nights I stayed outside the valley. I grew hungry and cold. Then I realized the hopelessness of my position. I was trapped! I must spend the rest of my life here. There was no way out. (BEAT) So I went back. 


MUSIC: UP FOR ACCENT ... THEN OUT


NUÑEZ: (WEAK AND DESPERATE) I confess, O Chief of the Elders, I was mad, I admit. I was only newly made.


YACOB: That is better. And, er, do you still think you can, er, "see"?


NUÑEZ: No, no, no. That was folly. The word means nothing -- less than nothing.


YACOB: And what is overhead?


NUÑEZ: Rock. There's a roof above the world, a roof of rock and very smooth.


YACOB: Very well. And, uh--?


NUÑEZ: Please, before you ask me any more. Give me food or I shall die.


YACOB: Very well. Give him food, Medina-saroté.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Yes, father.


YACOB: And after that we must put him to the most menial tasks in the village. Guard him well. And perhaps-- (INDULGENT CHUCKLE) Perhaps he shall learn yet.


NUÑEZ: Thank you. Thank you.


MUSIC: BRIEF MOURNFUL TRANSITION ... THEN OUT WITH--


SOUND: CLATTER OF DINNERWARE


NUÑEZ: (WITH GREAT RELIEF) Oh, that is better. You are kind, Medina-saroté. Very kind.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: I am glad you came back.


NUÑEZ: You are? If they were all like you, I should never have run away.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: What was that word you said I was?


NUÑEZ: Beautiful. You are. Why, even your eyes: they're not shrunken depressions like the others. 


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: It means something nice -- "beautiful"?


NUÑEZ: Something very nice, Medina-saroté. Tell me. Why is it you have no husband?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (SADLY) I - I have a disfigurement. These long hairs.


NUÑEZ: Oh, your eyelashes? Oh, but they're beautiful.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: They are considered a disfigurement.


NUÑEZ: You're the most lovely girl in the valley. (WITH CONTEMPT) But they wouldn't know, would they? (GENTLY) You - you have no lover?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: No.


NUÑEZ: Medina-saroté, what do you think of me? Do you think of me as an idiot like all the rest do?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Oh, no. No, you have much to learn, but you will learn it, I'm sure. And you are kind and gentle, and your voice is soft. You speak words that are soft and warm. No one has ever spoken such words to me. 


NUÑEZ: Then I shall speak them often, Medina-saroté. You are the only one is this valley -- in this whole world -- I care for.


MUSIC: HOPEFUL TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NUÑEZ--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) And so it began -- I, the village idiot, the slave boy who dreamed to be king -- I, with my eyes still whole, fell in love with Medina-saroté, the daughter of the elder of the village. Only to her could I open my heart without fear. Only to her could I speak of the beauty I could see around me. (WARMLY, TO MEDINA-SAROTÉ) Oh, it is a beautiful valley, Medina-saroté: green with grass and yellow with sunlight -- and flowers, bright flowers, dotting the hills. (MUSIC: OUT GENTLY) And in the cool of the night the stars gleam like diamonds in the sky.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (IMPRESSED) Oh-- Oh, the words sound lovely. But what are "stars"? 


NUÑEZ: Stars? Why, the-- No, you wouldn't understand.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: And what do you mean "in the cool of the night"? You still get that confused, Juan. The night is warm. The day is cool.


NUÑEZ: Oh, no. It is you here who have them backwards. Because the darkness means nothing to you, you work in the cool of the night and sleep in the heat of the day, but--


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (CHUCKLES WARMLY) You are teasing me.


NUÑEZ: No-- Oh-- (CHUCKLES) What does it matter? (VERY SERIOUS) All that matters is you. You, you -- here beside me, Medina-saroté. (BEAT) I love you.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: And I love you.


NUÑEZ: I - I know they still think me an idiot, but you listen to what I say, and-- You don't think me an idiot, do you?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Oh, no. I like to hear you speak.


NUÑEZ: Then will you--? Would you marry me?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Yes. Yes, Juan. I will marry you.


MUSIC: A WARM TRANSITION ... TURNING COLD AT THE END


YACOB: No. I will not have it.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (PLEADS) But, father--


YACOB: He is an idiot. He has delusions. He cannot do anything right.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: But he is getting better. He's better than he was. And he is strong and kind -- stronger and kinder than anyone in the world. And he loves me and I love him. 


YACOB: No, I will not have it.


DOCTOR: (INTERRUPTS POLITELY) Ah, great sire, if you please. 


YACOB: What is it, good doctor?


DOCTOR: I have examined Bogotá and the case is clear to me. I think very probably he might be cured. 


YACOB: Huh? And, er, how might that be done?


DOCTOR: His brain is affected by something. I believe I know what it is: those queer things he calls eyes.


YACOB: Hm?


DOCTOR: Where we have but an agreeable depression, he has great lumps with flaps over them that move, and long hairs. Consequently, his brain is in a constant state of irritation. 


YACOB: But what can be done to cure him?


DOCTOR: A very simple surgical operation. Remove the cause of the irritation. We will merely cut out his eyes.


MUSIC: WRY TRANSITION


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (PLEADS) But, Juan, they say it will make you well. 'Twill make you look like us.


NUÑEZ: But you don't understand, Medina-saroté. My world is sight. You would not want me to lose my most precious possession? 


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: I don't know.


NUÑEZ: There are so many beautiful things to see: the flowers, the far sky with its drifting clouds, the sunsets, the stars. And you. If only just to see you, it is good to have sight. And I would never see you again.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Juan, I love to hear you say these things even though I know it is just your imagination-- 


NUÑEZ: But, my dear, these things are real.


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (REASONABLY) No. They are fancies. This is real: If you will let them cut out your eyes, we can be together always.


NUÑEZ: Then -- you want me to?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (PASSIONATELY) Oh, if you would. If only you would.


NUÑEZ: (HELPLESSLY) What else can I do?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: (LOVINGLY) Oh, my dearest one -- my dearest, with the tender voice -- I will repay you.


NUÑEZ: Oh, Medina--


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Be brave. And carry my voice in your thoughts. Now I must go. And tomorrow--


NUÑEZ: Yes?


MEDINA-SAROTÉ: Tomorrow - will be forever.


NUÑEZ: (BEAT, SLOWLY AND SADLY) Goodbye. Goodbye, Medina.


MUSIC: MOURNFUL TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NUÑEZ--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) I suppose I knew it then -- when I said that. I only meant to go up on the rocks and look out over the valley, to spend my last day feasting my eyes -- my precious eyes -- on the wonderful, beautiful world of light and color. But when I got there, it was too beautiful -- too lovely, this valley, this home of the mountain gods -- beautiful and forbidden. I drank it in: the green of the fields, the blue of the gently curving stream, the orange of the lichen in the rocky crevices. I climbed higher to see the great snow-capped peaks towering above and away to the distant sky -- and still higher as the shadows turned the snow to purple and crimson and deep blue. The valley now was far below and as beautiful as a painting. But like a painting, it seemed unreal. Medina-saroté was small and far away -- a distant dream. And the world of sight was here, all around, overpowering, wonderful. (MUSIC: OUT GENTLY) I turned and began to climb up that sheer rock wall.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN FADES OUT BEHIND--


NUÑEZ: (NARRATES) How many months it took me to make my way out over those mountains -- over glaciers and snow fields and sheer precipices -- I cannot guess. (VOICE GROWS WEAKER, AS IN THE BEGINNING) How I lived through the cold and hunger of it, I cannot tell you. But I'm here at last -- back from the Country of the Blind. 


IBARRA: (BEAT, SOBERLY) Good heavens, man. What an experience. 


NUÑEZ: Yes. Terrible -- and -- wonderful.


IBARRA: But - you aren't sorry you came back?


NUÑEZ: Sorry? (CHUCKLES) I see her face clearly now. It is the only thing I see. 


IBARRA: Nuñez. Come. You need food. Here, take my hand.


NUÑEZ: Thank you. Where is it, Señor Ibarra?


IBARRA: (REALIZES) Nuñez--?


NUÑEZ: (SLOWLY) Yes. The gods of the mountain have had their revenge. Those months of crawling over the snow and ice, with the sun glaring down-- Yes. I am blind.


MUSIC: CURTAIN


2ND ANNOUNCER: ESCAPE is produced and directed by William N. Robson and tonight presented "The Country of the Blind" by H. G. Wells, adapted for radio by John Dunkel with Paul Frees as Nuñez, Peggy Webber as Medina-saroté, Bill Conrad as Ibarra, and Harry Bartell as Correa. The special musical score was conceived and conducted by Cy Feuer.


MUSIC: UNEASY ACCENT ... THEN IN BG


2ND ANNOUNCER: Next week!


ANNOUNCER: When you're tired from a hard day at the office or your back aches from bending over a hot stove -- next week at this same time -- when you want to get away from it all, we offer you ESCAPE. 


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.


MUSIC: CLOSING THEME

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