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The Princess and the Beggar, a Korean Folktale
By LaVon Bridges
Genre: Drama

Rehearsal for The Princess and the Beggar

Herald 1
Herald 2
Crying Princess
Other Princess
Princes and Princesses
Pabo Ondal

The Drama

Herald 1: Make way for the Royal Family! Make way for the Royal Family!

Herald 2: Out of the way!

Crying Princess: Oh, look at the poor boy in the mud. (She starts crying.)

Herald 2: It's only the beggar boy, Ondal! Hey, Pabo. Pabo Ondal!

Herald 1: Move aside or we'll kick you!

Crying Princess: On no, they kicked him! (She starts crying again.)

Other Princess: There she goes, crying again.

Queen: Why does she always cry about everything? What man will want a wife who cries all the time?

Narrator: Six years passed. There were stories about Ondal. Some said, "He lives among animals in the mountains. He is no better than an animal." That New Year's day the royal children came to bow before the King. When the Crying Princess bowed, she tripped and fell. She began to cry.

King: What's the noise? Who is crying on the first day of the New Year? If she keeps crying, we will give her to Pabo Ondal for his wife. (Ha! Ha! Ha!)

Queen: Don't speak of such a thing on New Year's Day!

Princes and Princesses: (all laughing and saying "You'll be the wife of Pabo Ondal!") "The King said so!" (laughing)

Other Princess: He wears animal skins and tears his meat raw from bones! (laughs)

Crying Princess: (She cries harder and harder.) (Speaking aside to the audience.) I will hide in the palace library. I will read my favorite poems and adventurous tales of dragons and tigers. I will read secretly.

Narrator: When she was 16 years old, the King chose a husband for her.

King: I have arranged a match for you with the son of noble Ko.

Crying Princess: Oh, sir. I cannot accept. I like to read and study, but the wife of a nobleman must give parties and entertain.

King: What? You WILL accept! You should be happy! You WILL OBEY ME!

Crying Princess: Before I would wed noble Ko, I would rather wed Pabo Ondal!

King: Impossible!

Crying Princess: You said so yourself. Can you go back on your word?

King: Go, then. Marry Pabo Ondal before you bring more shame on this family!

Narrator: The princess left the palace with only a small sack and a little gold. She walked toward Pabo Ondal's hut.

Crying Princess: (crying)

Pabo Ondal: Why do you weep?

Crying Princess: I have to become the wife of Pabo Ondal.

Pabo Ondal: Why do you make fun of me?

Crying Princess: If Ondal will not have me, I have nowhere to go.

Narrator: The man with the matted hair and ragged clothes stepped up and wiped away her tears. So then they were married. He hunted for food, and she made new clothes for him. She read him poems. He learned to read and write.

Crying Princess: Husband, go to the market and buy a horse from the royal line, even if it is weak.

Pabo Ondal: I am afraid the people will laugh at me.

Crying Princess: We have changed. You are not a beggar, and I never cry. They will not laugh.

Narrator: They cared for the horse he was able to buy from the royal line, and Ondal rode fearlessly in the Festival of Hunters. Everyone was pleased with this stranger who rode so well.

Crying Princess: Husband, you must enter the poetry contest at the King's Festival of Scholars.

Narrator: After she asked him three times, he agreed to enter the contest. He joined the scholars at the Lotus Pavilion.

Judges: Look at that peasant! Everyone knows a peasant cannot read or write!

Ondal: What do you fear, then, if I enter?

Narrator: When the judges read his poetry they were amazed.

Judges: Such wonderful work! Listen, everyone:

"On the wild mountain,
a lone orchid
filled with dew
The drops spill,
fall on a withered seedling.
The dying pine stirs to life."

Narrator: Everyone clapped, and the King clapped most of all.

King: Are you the skilled hunter from the Hunter's Festival? Why do you dress so common when you have mastered the royal arts?

Ondal: I learned from my esteemed wife.

King: I would like to see such a woman.

Crying Princess: Your Royal Highness, in earlier days my husband was called Pabo Ondal.

King: Oh, oh, my daughter has returned! Ask me for whatever you want. You may have anything you like.

Crying Princess: We only ask to serve you when you have need.

Narrator: So Ondal served the King well, and his greatest happiness was his wife and children.

The End.

Above photo shows students rehearsing "The Princess and the Beggar: A Korean Folktale" at Northwood Elementary School. All of the students in the photo speak English as their second language. Their teacher is Mr. Phillip Farson. He speaks Korean. Their bilingual tutor is Mrs. Pie Antonio. She is from the Philippines and speaks Tagalog, as well as some other languages that are spoken on the islands. LaVon Bridges, project advisor, is the Anchorage School District Bilingual Quality Assurance Specialist.

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