Summary: A literary adaptation of the Brothers Grimms' story of the same name.

A/N: This was an assignment for my intro to theater class and I'm so proud of it that I decided to share it with the world. So, please enjoy and be the gems you all are and review! Tootles, Widow Shark.

A Riddling Tale

Scene 1

Curtain opens; one side of the stage is dark while the other is lit showing the inside of a small cottage. An elderly woman, with her glasses hanging from a string on her neck, is sitting in a rocking chair gently gliding. There is a roaring fire in the fireplace behind her. She looks up seemingly startled.

Old Woman: Oh my goodness! Fumbles to put on her glasses. Recognizes the newcomer instantly. Oh, it's only you. Adjusts glasses. Well, don't just stand there. Sit down! Now what did you come here for? Short pause. Really now? That's all you want—a story. Well have I got a story for you! It's about this young lady who lives with half a dozen or so tiny men and does all their chores and what not. It's really a great story—did I mention there was a witch in it? Short pause. Oh. So, you've heard that one before? Have you heard the one about the poor boy and the giant then? Short pause. You've heard that one too. Okay. Let me think… Picks up knitting from basket next to rocking chair. Knits while looking around the room for inspiration. Spots spinning wheel in the corner. Hmm. Aha! I bet you haven't heard the one about the little man who could spin hay into gold! Short pause. That too, huh? How about the one of the sleeping princess—don't even say it, you've heard that one too. That just about does it then, Kiddo. I don't really know any other stories… Glances at table on the other side of the cottage. There is a vase with three identical flowers in it sitting on the table. A light from the window illuminates the centerpiece. How do you feel about riddles? Short pause. So… you like them? Do you know the one about the three maidens who were turned into flowers? Short pause. No? Well, then you're in for a real treat. Ready? Good. Once upon a time… Short pause. EH! What do you mean I can't start a riddle with "Once upon a time"? Of course I can, it's a story riddle. You said you wanted a story, didn't you? Uh-huh. You kids these days; can't make up your minds! Now where was I? Oh yes. Adjusts glasses again. Once upon a time there were three young maidens, all friends, who decided to pick a pretty bouquet of flowers in a field not far from their town. In fact they were picking flowers just like the ones on my table over there. Points at table. When the maidens reached the field they discovered it was full of these flowers so they began picking them by the handful…

The other side of the stage lights up, revealing three young women each of them is holding a bouquet of flowers. The inside of the cottage is still visible and the old woman is still sitting there knitting.

Maiden 1: Standing. Aren't these the prettiest flowers?

Maiden 2: Standing. They are. I only wish there were more. I want to fill my home with them.

Maiden 3: Sitting on ground. Hmm, yes. They are pretty. Well, all of yours are. Mine are just average.

Maiden 1: Speaking to Maiden 3. Would you like some of mine, Envy? I have more than enough. Besides, my husband is allergic. I'll give each of you half of my bouquet. That way you can have some prettier flowers like you wanted and Desiree can have more like she wanted. Then everyone's happy. I'll only keep one, that's all I need and want.

The old woman puts her knitting down and gets up to look out her window. She sees that her field of wild flowers is bare and sees the three maidens with the flowers in their hands.

Maidens 2 & 3: Why thank you, Charity. That's so…

Old Woman: Running across the stage to where maidens are standing. She is furious. That's so thief-like is what that is. Three maidens gasp simultaneously. This is my field so those flowers belong to me!

Maiden 1: Pleading. Please forgive us, missus. We did not know this field was on anyone's property. We're very sorry; we should have asked first.

Old Woman: Arms akimbo. That's right, Missies. If you had then maybe you would know that I am a witch!

Maidens 2 & 3: A Witch!

Old Woman: Yes, I am a witch and because you maidens were so greedy I shall have to punish you. But how? Looks around for an idea; sees flowers and smiles wickedly. I know the perfect punishment for the three of you. Since you did not even leave my field with a single flower I shall have the three of you replace them…with yourselves. Bwahahaha!

The lights go out. The three maidens scream and then silence. The lights come back on and there are three identical flowers standing in a row with the old woman/witch hovering over them.

Old Woman (Witch): That will teach you to steal from me. She heads back to her cottage. Curtains close.

Scene 2

Curtain opens and a young man comes wandering on the field part of the stage. The old woman is in her cottage knitting.

Will: Charity! Charity, where are you? It's late. Why haven't you come home? Stops when he sees the cottage. Maybe whoever lives there knows where she is. Walks up to cottage, knocks on door.

Old Woman: Gets up from chair. Grumbles. Who's here at this time of night? Opens door. Who are you and what do you want?

Will: My name is Will and I'm so sorry to bother you at this late hour, Ma'am, but my wife didn't come home this evening from gathering flowers and I was wondering…well, if maybe you had seen her.

Old Woman: I might have. Was her name Charity?

Will: Ecstatic. Yeah, that's her name! So, you have seen her?

Old Woman: I have. She was with a couple of her friends. Nervously. She probably just went for a walk with them somewhere.

Will: Did she say where she was going?

Old Woman: Really panicky. Uh…uh, why no, Sir. But if I see her, I'll be sure to let her know you're looking for her. Bye-bye now! Slams door. Sits back down in rocking chair and picks up her knitting.

Will: That was strange. Oh well. Maybe Charity will be home by now. Exits.

Old Woman: Back in narrator mode. Well, that old witch was in a fix. One of the women she'd turned into a flower was married. Short pause. Why does it matter!? Witch's law said she couldn't interfere with true love. Short pause. What do you mean by that? I see. Well, not all witches are bad. In fact many of them are just grumpy if you get what I'm saying. Short pause. I don't have to answer that. Anyway, back to the story. Short pause. I told you before it was a story riddle. Short pause. The riddle part is coming. You just have to wait till the end—if you ever let me get there. Where'd I leave off? Oh yes. The witch would have to give the one maiden a chance to break the spell. So once the husband left, the witch went outside and cast another spell which would allow Charity to become human at night so she could see her husband, but it would only be good for one night. Short pause. Why, yes. I did say that, but I never said she was an angel. Anyhow, the witch did tell Charity how her spell could be broken—she would have to be picked from the field while she was a flower. A simple task, except for the fact that all three flowers were identical. The witch also laid down a few rules. Rule number one: Charity had to return to the field by sunrise. Rule number two: Her husband could not follow her until fifteen minutes after she left. Finally, rule number three: If he picked the wrong flower, all three flowers would shrivel up and die. Short pause. What do you mean that's not fair? Nobody ever said life was fair. ESPECIALLY, not in fairy tales! So, in her maidenly form, Charity was on her way home to break the spell.

Curtains close.

Scene 3

Curtain opens to inside of Charity and Will's cottage. Will is sitting inside trying to figure out where Charity went to. Charity is running from opposite end of stage to the cottage. She rushes in the door. It is very late giving her only a few short hours to break the spell.

Charity: Will, Will, I'm back, but we don't have much time.

Will: Much time for what? What's wrong? You sound terrified.

Charity: I am terrified! A witch turned the girls and me into flowers to replace the ones we picked from her field.

Will: A witch—where?

Charity: She lives near the field where all the wild flowers were. That's where the other two girls are—they're still flowers. I'm the only one who was allowed to go home. But it's only for tonight—if the spell isn't broken then…

Will: Don't worry, we'll break the spell. Just tell me what we have to do.

Charity: No, it's what you have to do. I have to return to the field before dawn. So, you must come and pick me in my floral form to break the spell! However, there are two things you must remember…

Curtains close.

Scene 4

Curtain opens. The old woman is sitting in her rocking chair knitting. The field is lit and the three flowers are standing in a row. Will walks onto the stage and picks one of the flowers. The lights go out and the three flowers are replaced with the three women. Will and Charity hug each other and the lights go out on that side of the stage. The old woman smiles and puts down her knitting and adjusts her glasses yet again.

Old Woman: And so the spell was broken and everyone lived happily ever after. What's that? Short pause. I'm getting to that part. The riddle in this story-riddle was how did Charity's husband know which flower was her seeing as all three flowers were exactly the same? Well the answer to this riddle is quite simple. Since Charity was not in the field during the night as her companions were, no dew fell on her and by this Will knew which flower she was. So as a further reward for breaking the spell, the witch, who was quite generous if I do say so myself, decided the other two maidens had been punished long enough and let them go as well. The… Short pause. What do you mean? Short pause. The End. Picks up knitting again. Loses concentration and looks back up at her audience. The story's over. Now go home! Shoo. Before I turn you into a toad.

A/N 2: If any part of this play seemed confusing to you, just e-mail me and I'll try to explain it. Okay, tootles again!