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Undine

Let's Pretend

Undine

Jun 19 1954



CAST:

NARRATOR

FATHER, an old fisherman

MOTHER, the fisherman's wife 

UNDINE, a strange, wild, and lovely maiden

LORD HULDBRAND

THE OLD WHITE ONE, Undine's creepy uncle

LADY BERTALDA

PRIEST (1 line)




MUSIC: ... INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NARRATOR: Once upon a time, a long time ago, an old fisherman and his wife lived beside a beautiful lake, deep in the heart of a haunted forest. With them lived their foster daughter -- a strange, wild, and lovely maiden named Undine. More than anything Undine loved the water. Even now as evening falls over the haunted forest and the old couple stands at the door of their cottage, they know where to look for Undine.


SOUND: PASTORAL BACKGROUND (BIRDS CHIRP, RUSH OF WATERFALL, ET CETERA)


MOTHER: Yes, there she is, over at the waterfall.


FATHER: Ah, yes, yes, I see her now.


MOTHER: (CALLS) Undine?! Supper's ready! Come home!


UNDINE: (RHYTHMIC)

Home? Home! Who knows his home? 

Which is the water, the wave or the foam? 


MOTHER: (DISMAYED, TO FATHER) Oh, that song of hers again.


FATHER: Sh-sh-sh! Listen!


UNDINE: (RHYTHMIC)

Which is the bird, feathers or flight? 

Which is the candle, the flame or the light? 

Who knows the answer makes both his own, 

The voice and the echo, the known and unknown!


FATHER: (SLOW AND THOUGHTFUL) "Who knows the answer makes both his own."


MOTHER: But look, now she's dancing again. Oh, it's no use calling when she's in this mood. Come, Father.


MUSIC: OUT WITH--


SOUND: PASTORAL BACKGROUND OUT AS COTTAGE DOOR SHUTS


FATHER: Yes. Yes, you're right. No use calling.


MOTHER: Oh, but, Casper, it's at times like these I - I can't help wondering: who is Undine, really?


FATHER: Who? Oh, now, Mother--


MOTHER: Where did she come from, really, before we found her at our door, dripping wet, that day so long ago?


FATHER: Well, she was washed ashore from some shipwreck out on the lake, of course.


MOTHER: That's what we told ourselves. But, Casper, did any ship in the world ever sail from a land like Undine remembered? Crystal palaces she talked about. Coral stairways--


FATHER: No, Mother. No, no. We said we wouldn't wonder in that fashion. Undine's our own dear daughter, come to us like an answer to our grief -- from the lake that took our own baby away.


MOTHER: Oh, yes. Yes, you're right, Casper. And supposing there is a mystery-- No. Enough. Let us eat supper now. She'll be along soon.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: Yes, ever since Undine had come to them, there had been one fear in the old couple's minds: a fear that Undine might somehow be different from themselves, a supernatural being like the spirits of the forest. But now, as always, they put the thoughts from them and busy themselves with supper, when suddenly they were startled by a sound rarely heard in the forest.


SOUND: GALLOPING HORSE'S HOOFBEATS APPROACH AND STOP ... RIDER DISMOUNTS AND HURRIEDLY WALKS TO COTTAGE DOOR ... KNOCK ON DOOR ... DOOR OPENS


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR-- 


NARRATOR: The fisherman opened the door and then stepped back, astonished. There stood a noble knight in glittering armor.


HULD: (RELIEVED) Oh, thank heavens you're real -- no awful shade or spirit! May I enter please?


FATHER: Oh, yes. Of course, of course. Forgive me.


SOUND: HULD'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES


HULD: (SIGHS WITH RELIEF) Lamplight! Good solid table, the smell of meat. And they're real, all real!


MOTHER: (SYMPATHETIC) I understand. The goblins and spirits of the forest have been tormenting you.


FATHER: Sit down, Sir Knight. Rest and relax. You are free from them here.


HULD: Thank you. And please forgive the way I stormed in. Magic always puts me in a rage. If I had my way, there wouldn't be any such thing in the world.


FATHER: (POLITE) Indeed, sir? Well, it would make for a different world, all right. I'm not so sure a better one.


SOUND: SPLASH! OF A BUCKET OF WATER ON THE WINDOWPANE


UNDINE: (MERRY LAUGHTER, OFF)


SOUND: BUCKET DROPPED


HULD: (PUZZLED) Well, what's that now?


MOTHER: Oh, dear. That must be Undine, up to some of her mischief.


FATHER: (CHUCKLES) Yes. Throwing water against the windows to tease us.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AS UNDINE ENTERS ... HARSH WIND BLOWS BRIEFLY, THEN OUT WITH-- ... DOOR SHUTS


UNDINE: (MERRILY) So I come, Mother, as you bade me, and-- (STOPS SHORT AS SHE SEES HULD, THEN IMPRESSED) Ohhhhhh.


MOTHER: (MILDLY ADMONISHES) Undine, do not stare, dear.


HULD: (ALSO IMPRESSED, SLOWLY) This--? This is your daughter?


FATHER: Yes, this is Undine, Sir Knight. I'm sorry I know not your name.


HULD: (ENTRANCED) Undine--? (RECOVERS) Oh, yes. My name. I'm Lord Huldbrand of Ringstetten on the Danube.


UNDINE: (SMITTEN) So handsome! So brave and beautiful! Oh, Sir Huldbrand, why have you been so long in coming?!


MOTHER: (MILDLY SCOLDS) Undine! Such talk!


HULD: No, good mother, do not scold. For, truly, if I'd known my journeying would lead me to such a lovely sprite, I would not have raged so at the phantoms in the forest.


UNDINE: But didn't you know I'd be here? Why else did you come?


HULD: I-- Why, I came because the Lady Bertalda bade me to -- as proof of my worthiness to be her chosen knight.


UNDINE: (JEALOUS) The Lady Bertalda?!


HULD: Yes, the duke's adopted daughter. She promised me her hand if I dared the forest for her.


UNDINE: (IN DESPAIR) Promised you her hand?! You mean you love her? Love another?! Oh, no! (MOVING OFF, TO HERSELF) He loves another! Loves another!


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, HER HURRIED STEPS TO DOOR ... WHICH OPENS ... HARSH WIND BLOWS, IN BG


MOTHER: Undine! 


FATHER: Undine!


HULD: Undine, wait a moment!


UNDINE: (OFF, CALLS UNHAPPILY) Did you hear, Old White One?! Did you hear?!


HULD: (LOW, PUZZLED, TO FATHER) To whom does she call?


FATHER: (EVASIVE) Why, no - no one. It, er-- It's just a fancy of hers.


MOTHER: Oh, Lord Huldbrand, I apologize for all her wild words and actions.


HULD: But we must go after her. She'll be hurt. Lost.


FATHER: By the lake? Not Undine.


SOUND: CLAP OF THUNDER


HULD: But it's storming. I must find her. (CALLS) Undine! Undine!


SOUND: HULD'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY


FATHER: Wait, Sir Huldbrand! If you go, I go, too. (CALLS) Undine! Undine!


SOUND: FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... FAST, FOR A CHASE ... OUT WITH--


SOUND: HARSH WIND BLOWS AND WATER IN BROOK CHURNS LOUDLY, THEN IN BG ... HULD AND FATHER'S STEPS BRIEFLY


HULD: (CALLS) Undine?!


FATHER: (CALLS, OFF) Undine!


HULD: (SIGHS) No branches here.


UNDINE: (A WARNING) No! Not there, Sir Knight!


HULD: (RELIEVED) Undine? Is that you?


UNDINE: Back! Step back from the brook! He is angry!


HULD: Undine? You're all right?


UNDINE: (STILL MIFFED) You care? I don't see why.


HULD: Care? When you ran out into the night, it seemed life was worthless if I never saw you again!


UNDINE: (POINTEDLY) But my name is not Lady Bertalda.


HULD: Bertalda? Listen, Undine. I thought I loved her, but ever since meeting you it's - it's as though I were bewitched.


UNDINE: (PLEASED) Bewitched? I see.


HULD: No, no -- why do I say that? I mean I love you, Undine. You're more beautiful and lovely than any maid I ever dreamed of. I love you.


UNDINE: You love me?


HULD: Yes. I want you for my wife.


UNDINE: (THRILLED) For your wife? Oh, Huldbrand!


FATHER: (CALLS, FROM OFF) Undine?!


UNDINE: There's father. (CALLS) Here, father! By the brook!


SOUND: FATHER'S STEPS APPROACH ... BROOK CHURNS A LITTLE LOUDER


FATHER: (COMING CLOSER) Undine? He found you? All is well?


HULD: Indeed, it is, sir.


FATHER: Oh, thanks be to Heaven -- for truly the waters around this place seem to have gone mad. Why, it almost seems we're in for a flood.


UNDINE: (AMUSED) A flood?! I cried for a flood! But now--! (CALLS) Enough, Old White One! Enough!


SOUND: ABRUPTLY, WIND DIES DOWN AND THE CHURNING BROOK SUBSIDES


HULD: (UNEASY) Undine? What is this "Old White One"?


UNDINE: My darling, never mind now.


HULD: But the waters are quieter. Is there some sort of magic at work here?


UNDINE: Huldbrand, the magic is -- you love me. Let the waters rise and fall as they will. Perhaps - perhaps they will even bear us a priest or a holy father tomorrow -- to hear our marriage vows. Still, the magic will be your love.


MUSIC: ROMANTIC BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: Nevertheless, magic or no, a holy father did appear at the cottage door the next morning. And now, a little later, the old fisherman and his wife stand watching as Undine and her knight stand before the priest to say their vows.


PRIEST: And now, in God's holy name, I pronounce you man and wife. May your hearts and souls grow together in His care. Amen.


MUSIC: OUT


UNDINE: (WEEPS EXTRAVAGANTLY)


FATHER: Undine? What is it?


HULD: Why, she's crying!


UNDINE: (STOPS WEEPING) Our hearts and souls, he said. Ours! That means I have a heart and soul now, too.


MOTHER: Undine! What are you saying?


UNDINE: Oh, do a heart and soul bring suffering so quickly? Now, for the first time, I wonder if you will forgive me, Huldbrand?


HULD: Forgive you? For what?


UNDINE: I must tell you now. Huldbrand, my love. Dear humans whom I call mother and father--


MOTHER: Undine?


UNDINE: I am not a being exactly like all of you.


HULD: (QUIETLY) Undine--!


UNDINE: Just as there are wood nymphs who are spirits of the forest -- salamanders who dwell in fire -- I am of the water: a water nymph!


MOTHER: (EXCLAIMS)


FATHER: (REALIZES) So -- it was true.


UNDINE: My real father is a prince of the Mediterranean Sea. And it was with him, in those blue waters, that I lived -- till he vowed his only daughter should have what no water nymph ever had before: a soul.


MOTHER: You didn't have one before?


UNDINE: No, mother. Only the love of a mortal can give a creature like myself a heart and soul. And O, Huldbrand, now I see the dreadful truth. If you cannot bear to have such a creature for a wife, I must set you free!


HULD: (QUIET SHOCK) A water nymph for my wife. I who would outlaw magic!


UNDINE: You can't bear it? It is too much? (STARTS OFF) Farewell then, my love!


HULD: (PASSIONATE) No, no! Not farewell. Nymph or mortal, I love you, Undine!


UNDINE: (PLEASED) Huldbrand!


HULD: What I said last night; it's still true. I'd die if I were to lose you, Undine. I will never leave you; never cease to love you.


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... BRIEFLY, FOR THE DEPARTURE OF THE OLD WHITE ONE


MOTHER: Good Heavens! What was that?


FATHER: (NERVOUS) At the window -- I - I thought I saw a - a tall white figure. But it's gone now.


UNDINE: (QUIETLY) The Old White One!


HULD: Undine? The truth about him now.


UNDINE: (RELUCTANT) He - he is my uncle. It was he who bore me across many seas, rivers, and lakes -- to this cottage. He has remained in the brook -- in the waterfall -- guarding me.


HULD: Saints defend us!


UNDINE: (HAPPY) But he has heard your vow now, Huldbrand, and is gone -- and no need for him to return -- for Undine is a new creature now! I have a heart and soul!


MUSIC: JOYOUS BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: The old folks could hardly believe that the gentle, devoted maiden who now hurried to serve them was the same Undine they'd known. Too soon, it was time to say goodbye; time for Undine to follow her husband to the city and thence to his castle home at Ringstetten. Only one thing marred their journey.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, HORSES' HOOFBEATS FADE IN ... THEN STOP WITH--


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... FADES IN, FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE OLD WHITE ONE ... THEN IN BG


HULD: (TENSE) There he is again! Over by those rocks!


UNDINE: Oh, Huldbrand, I am sorry. I had thought the Old White One would return to the sea now all is so changed with me.


WHITE: (ECHO, OMINOUS) I watch for the day he breaks his vow!


HULD: (PUZZLED, TO UNDINE) He spoke. What did he say?


UNDINE: (OFFENDED, TO WHITE) Breaks his vow?! You know not what you say, Old White One! He will not break it! He loves me and I love him! Go now. Go, in peace.


WHITE: (ECHO, OMINOUS) I watch!


MUSIC: OUT AS--


SOUND: WHOOSH! OF WATERFALL ... THEN QUIETLY IN BG


HULD: (UPSET) And again he changes into a waterfall!


UNDINE: Oh, milord, I don't blame you for being angry. But he knows nothing of love -- and the wonders of a soul. Pay his words no heed!


HULD: Oh, it's not that. It's the way he keeps appearing, disappearing. Will he keep on like this in the city, too?


UNDINE: Truly, I hope not, my love. But I would he did not trouble you so.


HULD: I care little for phantoms. No more does the duke. And as for the Lady Bert-- (STOPS SHORT)


UNDINE: (REASSURING) Do not fear to mention her name, Huldbrand. The Lady Bertalda is not going to be angry because you have married me. We're all going to be friends; I know it!


HULD: (REASSURED) You speak with such faith, Undine. And, indeed, if the Old White One will only let us be, I, too, feel it will be as you say. No one could help loving you. So come! Let us hurry on to the city!


MUSIC: BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: It was as Undine said: the Lady Bertalda was cool at first, but soon warmed to friendliness. And now as the visit at the duke's castle draws to its close, Undine, Huldbrand, and Bertalda walk on the terrace at evening.


UNDINE: We are leaving too soon, Bertalda. I knew we would be friends, but I did not know I would feel such a - a tie between us.


BERT: How curious. I felt a tie, too, Undine -- a strange bond.


UNDINE: Oh, Huldbrand, it is impossible we three should part just yet. When we journey on to Ringstetten, let us ask Bertalda to come with us.


HULD: That sounds like a fine plan. Do come, Bertalda.


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... FADES IN, FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE OLD WHITE ONE ... THEN IN BG


BERT: Wait. What's that?


HULD: (TENSE) Undine! No, not again! Not here!


BERT: Look! That misty figure! It - it seems to be rising from the fountain!


UNDINE: There is no need to be frightened. Please, Huldbrand, tell her so, while I go speak with him.


SOUND: UNDINE'S HURRIED STEPS ACROSS TERRACE


HULD: (CALLS AFTER HER) Tell him begone, Undine!


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... UP BRIEFLY, AS UNDINE CONFRONTS THE OLD WHITE ONE ... THEN IN BG


UNDINE: Please, Old White One, you must go and leave us in peace! If aught goes wrong between my knight and me, it will be your doing now! He does not care for magic.


WHITE: (ECHO) And are you no longer magic, Undine, because you have a heart and soul now?


UNDINE: That is different. He loves me!


WHITE: (ECHO) Ah, yes -- so he says. But I come to warn you, Undine. You must not put such trust in human love. Humans love what they know and understand. The unknown fills them with fear and hate. It is true for all mortals: your husband, your new friend--


UNDINE: No, it's not true! Love casts out fear!


WHITE: (ECHO) Very well. Then would you test it? I will give you some news for Bertalda, that new friend of yours. Then you will see. And even as Bertalda fails your faith in her, so will Huldbrand!


MUSIC: TURNS MELANCHOLY


UNDINE: No! No!


WHITE: (ECHO) Yes. 

(RHYTHMIC)

Humans are faithless -- they turn on their own --

For love turns to fear when it meets the unknown.


MUSIC: UP, FOR BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: A little distance away, Huldbrand grows more and more agitated, Bertalda more and more frightened, as Undine still lingers. But now--


BERT: Here she comes at last. But, Huldbrand, that man she spoke with-- Why, it looks as though he just vanished!


HULD: Into the fountain. Yes -- that's his way.


BERT: Magic? You mean it's magic?


UNDINE: (APPROACHES, OVERJOYED) Bertalda! Oh, such news!


HULD: (WITH DISTASTE) Undine? How long does he pursue us?

 

UNDINE: Milord, be glad this once he came -- little dreaming his test would prove there was indeed a bond between Bertalda and myself! Oh, dear Bertalda, have you not often dreamed of whom your real parents might be?


BERT: (PUZZLED) Why, yes, of course I've dreamed of a lovely mother and noble father. But, Undine--?


UNDINE: (INTERRUPTS) One moment! Only one moment and you'll see them, Bertalda -- weeping for joy at finding their long-lost daughter!


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... FOR THE APPEARANCE OF MOTHER AND FATHER ... THEN IN BG


FATHER: (SURPRISED) Undine?


MOTHER: (DELIGHTED) Daughter dear!


UNDINE: Yes, mother. But greet your real daughter now -- the one the lake carried away when she was a baby!


HULD: (ASTONISHED) Undine, it can't be!


BERT: (CONFUSED) I see only an old fisherman and his wife.


UNDINE: Yes! Two of the dearest people in the world -- as I know full well -- for these, my foster parents, are your real parents, Bertalda!


FATHER: Is it--? Is it true, Undine? She is the little one we lost?


MOTHER: (RECOGNITION) Oh, yes! Yes, I'd know those eyes, that mouth!


BERT: (HORRIFIED) No! No, it's not so! I'm not the daughter of some poor common fisherman! I won't be!


UNDINE: (REPROVING) Bertalda!


BERT: (UPSET) Oh, it's all some dreadful magic! Some wicked magic you're responsible for, Undine! (MOVING OFF) But I won't stay to be insulted! I won't!


UNDINE: (CALLS AFTER HER) Bertalda! I thought you'd be happy! Bertalda, come back!


MUSIC: UP, FOR AGITATED BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: Frightened and unhappy, Undine embraced the old couple and they vanished as magically as they had appeared. Then Huldbrand could contain himself no longer.


HULD: (UPSET) Never! Never in my life have I seen anything so horrible!


UNDINE: Huldbrand, you're - you're angry with Bertalda? She will repent her hard words, I am sure!


HULD: Bertalda? Indeed, she did act badly. But it's the magic I'm talking about.


UNDINE: (SURPRISED) Oh-- Oh, no--!


HULD: And you did it! You raised your hand and the old folks appeared out of nowhere -- and disappeared again!


UNDINE: Yes, Huldbrand, I did it. So doesn't that mean you can't possibly fear it so? Or hate it? It's my magic!


HULD: I don't care whose magic it is! I hate everything that happens beyond sense or reason! Everything you can't see or touch or begin to understand!


UNDINE: Huldbrand, don't speak so! The world is full of things you can't see or touch. Can you touch a bird's flight? The light of a candle? Love? Love itself is something you cannot see or touch.


HULD: (SLOW, THOUGHTFUL) Love? No, that is different. You are love, Undine.


UNDINE: But I am magic, too. Always and forever. (PASSIONATE) Oh, but now I'll try my best not to be, Huldbrand. As much as I can, I'll deny it -- forget it; be what you want me to be!


HULD: Undine, no, wait. You're right, and I shouldn't fear magic -- or hate it, if it's you. From now on, I won't. Be what you are, Undine, and I shall love you forever. I promise.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: So all was peace and happiness as they rode to Ringstetten the next day. Bertalda, who had indeed repented her hard words, rode with them. But now, with the towers of Ringstetten in sight, they are suddenly forced to stop by a rushing brook.


SOUND: RUSH OF BROOK, WHICH CONTINUES IN BG ... HORSES APPROACH AND STOP


HULD: Hmm, there must have been floods while I was away. Look at the boiling stream that's cut through from the river.


BERT: But now how do we cross it and get on toward the castle?


HULD: Well, I feel we have no course but to ride along the stream till it narrows or ends.


UNDINE: Oh, dear! And with home so near, too. The waters are not kind.


SOUND: RUSH OF WATER SUDDENLY UP BIG ... THEN FADES OUT BEHIND--


BERT: Good heavens! Look what's happening! Is it possible? The water has halted and-- Oh, no!


HULD: It can't -- but it does -- flow backwards! And the bottom is dry! (SHARP, DISAPPROVING) Undine?!


UNDINE: Milord, it was none of my doing.


HULD: None of your doing? Well, whose then? Not mine, surely, or Bertalda's! 


UNDINE: The water spirits heard me sigh! They did it!


HULD: (EXPLODES) So! -- there's no escape from that infernal magic if you're anywhere about! You carry it like a plague!


UNDINE: Huldbrand, don't be angry!


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... FADES IN, FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE OLD WHITE ONE ... THEN IN BG


UNDINE: (DISMAYED) The Old White One. (CALLS) No, uncle! 


BERT: (UNEASY) That phantom again.


WHITE: (ECHO, OMINOUS) I come to warn you, knight! You vowed eternal love for Undine! We of the sea hold you to that vow!


UNDINE: (DESPERATE) But Huldbrand does not break it! For a moment only he forgets!


WHITE: (ECHO) He must not forget! (TO HULD) Turn on Undine once again as you have just done, knight -- look on her with hate and fear -- and you perish!


UNDINE: No, Old White One -- no!


MUSIC: FADES OUT ... FOR THE DEPARTURE OF THE OLD WHITE ONE


UNDINE: (QUIET) Oh, Huldbrand, what are we to do? How am I to save you from him?


HULD: (REGRETFUL) Save me? Oh, Undine, I did fail you. I said I wouldn't hate magic. I said I'd accept it because it's you. (REASSURING) Undine, don't look so frightened. I won't forget again, I promise. No matter how it makes me feel, it's - it's you to be loved, not hated. (UPBEAT) So come now! Let us ride on for home!


MUSIC: BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: And so at last Undine arrived at her husband's home. And for many days, all was well at Ringstetten. But then, one night, Bertalda asked Huldbrand to walk with her by the river.


SOUND: RIVER BACKGROUND


BERT: It is time for me to visit the old fisherman and his wife, Huldbrand. I've had another letter. Oh, hate me if you must; I am not good like Undine. I cannot think of them as my mother and father.


HULD: I understand how you feel, Bertalda. It's only human.


BERT: But Undine-- Oh, it's true. Her goodness isn't human.


HULD: No. And sometimes it's hard for me, too, trying to measure up to it. (CHUCKLES) Alas, you and I are both human, Bertalda.


BERT: (HOPEFUL) Oh, Huldbrand -- and there are times when you remember we were so nearly betrothed.


HULD: (CONCEDES) There are times when I think you're the sort of person I can understand, Bertalda, and-- (CATCHES HIMSELF) No. No, it's wrong to speak so. (CHANGES THE SUBJECT) Look, we've come to the very edge of the river.


BERT: Huldbrand, don't change the subject! Why won't you admit it's impossible for a mortal to be happy with a mermaid? Isn't it true--?


SOUND: WHOOSH! AS WAVE WASHES UP FROM RIVER AND BRIEFLY ENGULFS BERT


BERT: (STARTLED) Oh! Oh, that wave! Out of nowhere!


HULD: It's all right, Bertalda! I have you!


BERT: But I'm drenched and--! (REALIZES) Oh! Oh, my bracelet! The wave snatched it from my arm!


UNDINE: (APPROACHES, INDIGNANT) Oh, the Old White One goes too far!


HULD: Undine? Where did you come from?


UNDINE: (APOLOGETIC) Whenever you go near the water, I watch. (TO BERT) But the Old White One shouldn't have treated you so, Bertalda. And taken your bracelet, too! (DETERMINED) Never mind. I'll kneel and reach my hand into the water and summon you a finer one by far!


HULD: (UNEASY) Summon one?


SOUND: SPLOOSH-SPLASH! OF UNDINE'S HAND IN AND OUT OF THE WATER


UNDINE: (TRIUMPHANT) Yes! And there you are, Bertalda! See? Twice as many diamonds!


HULD: (TERRIFIED) No! No, Bertalda! Don't touch that accursèd thing! For all we know, it - it burns or freezes!


UNDINE: (SHOCKED) Huldbrand! Would I give Bertalda any such thing?!


HULD: (SAVAGE) You--! Who knows what you'd do?! (QUIETLY ACCUSING) Oh, you're good. Too good for anybody like me or Bertalda to understand. But maybe that goodness is witchcraft, too. (EXPLODES) How's a man to live with such a wife?! It's impossible!


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... FADES IN, FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE OLD WHITE ONE ... THEN IN BG


UNDINE: (DISMAYED) Oh, Huldbrand, he comes! And it's my fault! I forgot and worked magic!


WHITE: (ECHO, OMINOUS) I come, knight!


BERT: (WORRIED) The phantom--


HULD: (QUIETLY REGRETFUL) He comes. But it's my fault. Again I failed.


WHITE: (ECHO) I warned you, knight! Now you go with me to meet the judges of the sea!


UNDINE: No! No! I won't let you take him! (GETS AN IDEA) Wait. I come in his place! I come!


HULD: Undine, no! No, what are you saying?


WHITE: (ECHO, TO UNDINE) No, you cannot save him!


UNDINE: I can! I will! (PASSIONATE, TO HULD) Be true to me, Huldbrand. Be faithful. Farewell.


SOUND: SPLASH! AS UNDINE DIVES INTO RIVER


MUSIC: UP AND OUT, FOR THE DEPARTURE OF UNDINE AND THE OLD WHITE ONE


BERT: She dived in! She disappeared! The phantom, too.


HULD: (DISTRAUGHT) Undine--? No! Come back! He came for me -- it's I who should have gone! Oh, what is life without you? Undine! I shall find you myself and bring you back!


BERT: Huldbrand!


SOUND: SPLASH! AS HULD DIVES INTO RIVER


MUSIC: BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: And with that, he dived into the river, but hardly a moment later, he rose again to the surface.


HULD: (SURPRISED, TO HIMSELF) It's - it's as though the very water pushed me back. (DETERMINED) But I won't let it. I'll find her.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: Again and again he dived. And not only that night, but the next day. And when it was finally plain it was of no avail, then he stood on the river bank and watched in numb wonder as the river sank lower and lower till it was only a trickle in its muddy bed.


HULD: (SORROWFUL) And now there's no way I can seek for you. This is my punishment for failing you and fearing what I could not understand. Oh, Undine-- Undine--


NARRATOR: Days passed into months, and Bertalda begged him to cease grieving, to forget Undine. And at last she cried out--


BERT: Oh, enough! She is dead and it's time her spell was broken! Time you married me, Huldbrand -- as you should have, in the beginning.


HULD: (EVENLY) It shall be as you say, Bertalda. Summon a priest to marry us.


NARRATOR: But he continued to stand in the dark, near the river.


MUSIC: GENTLY OUT WITH--


SOUND: TRICKLE OF RIVER ... THEN IN BG


HULD: (QUIET, TO HIMSELF) Be true, she said. Be faithful. So now surely the Old White One will come, thinking I fail again.


MUSIC: MYSTICAL ... FADES IN, FOR ANOTHER MAGICAL APPEARANCE ... THEN IN BG


HULD: Yes! Yes, and I welcome you, Old White One!


UNDINE: (HAPPY) My love!


HULD: (SURPRISED) Undine? It's you?!


UNDINE: Yes! Because of this soul you gave me, I was stronger than he, and I came to tell you, "Live! And be happy!"


HULD: Be happy -- without you? You think I meant to marry Bertalda? Undine, it was only a ruse to bring the Old White One. But instead, you came.


UNDINE: (A WARNING) Huldbrand! Stand back! One step nearer and you say goodbye to all that's known!


HULD: I care not. All I know is worthless without you.


UNDINE: (SLOW, CAREFUL WARNING) Where I am, it is all unknown.


HULD: (REASSURING) I fear it no more. Love casts out fear. (BEAT) Your hand, Undine?


SOUND: WHOOSH! AS HULD ENTERS THE RIVER


MUSIC: TURNS ROMANTIC BEHIND--


UNDINE: (RELIEVED) Ahh, Huldbrand -- at last!

(RHYTHMIC)

Love knows the answer makes both its own, 

The voice and the echo, the known and unknown!


MUSIC: ACCENT AND "LET'S PRETEND" THEME FOR CURTAIN


SOUND: CHEERS AND APPLAUSE


NARRATOR: And that's the "Let's Pretend" version of the famous German fairy tale "Undine" ...


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