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text The Revenge of Truth A Marionette Comedy Isak Dinesen Translated by Donald Hannah CHARACTERS: Abraham, a treacherous innkeeper lansquenet Sabine, his daughter Jan Bravida, a young lansquenet and journalist, guest at the inn Mopsus, a potman at the inn Fortunio, a serving-boy Amiane, an errant gypsy-woman, who is really a kind of fairy or witch The action takes place in Abraham's inn SCENE ONE ABRAHAM: Good Mopsus, kill Jan Bravida for me tonight. It's been a long time now since I asked you to kill anybody, my good Mopsus, so you can't say that I'm asking too much of you. It is strange, Mopsus, to think that this evening he is alive, and yet tomorrow he will be dead. This evening he isn't thinking about death at all and tomorrow his head will be full of it-and of nothing else. Oh, truly, I love death. It's the only thing we have left from the greatness of past times; without death no one could 107 stand the boredom of life. What a democrat you are, Death, my comrade, you practice true equality. Oh, let all democrats go and lie down when death comes. "What," says Death, "do you complain that King Rameses and Henry Ford have been richer than you for fifty years, when I shall grant you equal incomes for the next five million years?" "Do you talk about future states, children?" he says. "Don't quarrel, don't quarrel about that. My future state is all the future you have, and I will carry you thither." "I will teach you fraternity, brothers," Death says, "the head of one man shall be no higher than that of any other, and there shall be no ill will between you." "And now abideth," says Death, "liberty, equality and fraternity, these three, but the greatest of these will be fraternity." Death, the Paragon of Democracy, has yet another gift, and that is silence. What a relief it will be, when we are all silent. Wait until he's asleep, Mopsus, wait until he's asleep. Yes, be sensible. I, too, have got some business to do with Meindert Hobtoma, good business. Oh, but if only you were a little more intelligent. MOPSUS: I don't complain, master, about my not being more intelligent, but I am sorry that I am not braver. Unfortunately, I am so nervous, master, from what you have just said that I have been made quite upset. As a matter of fact, for someone like me it is wrong to be a thief and a murderer. What takes place in the dark-in that line anyway-isn't really my strong point. I shudder, master, at the thought, and if one night at long last you have nothing to do, then your conscience is a nightanimal -like a badger, for instance, in the daytime it keeps quiet, but it gets bolder at night. Oh, it is really very unpleasant. I don't love death, master, I love life. I would much rather give a human being life than death, and I wish that was the task you want me to do so much, master. If only I could be certain that other people had as much of a conscience as I have. But look here, a young mercenary, and a journalist into the bargain, do you think that he would hesitate to kill a little potman? That is what worries me. Master, master, when will you begin to repent of all my sins, for you are the one who has always profited from them? ABRAHAM: Be quiet, Mopsus, someone is coming. SCENE TWO AMIANE: Good evening, my dear children. The moon is rising, how are you? ABRAHAM: I don't know who you are. Have you come to have supper at the inn, or have you come to beg? AMIANE: I have come to tell you the truth. ABRAHAM: The truth? I'm not afraid of your threats. Sit down then and tell it. AMIANE: (Sitting down.) You are one of the ideas of Nature and they are all wise. The woods where I come from are Nature's...


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pp. 107-126
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