Document 1341

Pompitie Finnds a Needle - play

Author(s): David Purves

Copyright holder(s): David Purves



A One Act Play for Children of all ages

By David Purves

Adapted from a story

By Agnes Grozier Herbertson

POMPITIE FINNDS A NEEDLE comedy/fantasy, 90 min. (3M6F)

This is a short play in Scots for children of all ages, based on a story by Agnes Grozier Herbertson, which was written in the 1920s.

Pompitie, the main character, is a gnome with the power of flight, who finds a needle on the Common which has just been bought by the Broun Ogre from the Wutch-that-Mends Rainbows, in order to mend his favorite dream. The Broun Ogre is furious at having lost the needle and threatens to kill whoever has taken it. Pompitie is tormented by the Needle (a tyrranical symbolic conscience with the power of speech) and forced to perform a series of kind deeds in succession, for the Hen Wyfe, The Toll Man and the Tea Wyfe.

Pompitie, exhausted with enforced well-doing, is forced by the Needle to return it to the Wutch to whom it originally belonged. The Wutch then mends the Broun Ogre’s favorite dream. Pompitie is terrified that the Broun Ogre will discover that he had had the Needle, so he is astonished when the Ogre calls to thank him for returning it. The Wutch is a frightening Jungian archetype who is realised as a harmless old woman, and the Broun Ogre is a threatening male figure who also turns out to be quite benign in the end. Pompitie’s ability to fly might lead to some practical production challenges.

The play has been publicly read by the Edinburgh Playwrights’ Workshop


Broun Ogre
Wutch-that-mends Rainbow
Pompitie the G-nome
Needle (a female voice)
Hen Wyfe
Gangril Man
Toll Man
Feather (a male voice)
Tea Wyfe
Green Leaf (a female voice)
Pepper the G-nome


The Green Common before the house of the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows

The Broun Ogre buys a needle from the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows. He loses it and Pompitie finds it. The Needle forces Pompitie to go home by the Hen Wyfe’s place.


The Hen Wyfe’s House

The Needle forces Pompitie to look for the Hen Wyfe’s lost hen. Pompitie finds the hen on the Gangril Man’s potato patch and returns it to the Hen Wyfe. The Hen Wyfe gives Pompitie a hen feather and the Needle forces Pompitie to go home by the toll road.


The Tea Wyfe’s House

The Broun Ogre calls to report he has lost the Needle. He threatens whoever has taken it.


The Toll House

The Needle forces Pompitie to go to the Tea Wyfe’s house to buy a thimbleful of tea for the Toll Man. The Feather guides Pompitie.


The Tea Wyfe’s House

Pompitie buys tea and carries it back to the Toll Man.


The Toll Man’s House

Pompitie delivers tea to the Toll Man. The Toll Man gives him a green leaf. The Needle forces Pompitie to go to the house of the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows.


The Witch’s House

Pompitie arrives at theWitch’s house and she relieves him of the Needle with the aid of the Feather and the Green Leaf.


The Witch’s House

The Broun Ogre arrives, in a rage about his lost Needle. The Witch uses the Needle to mend the Ogre’s favorite dream and returns it to him.


A curly bush on the Common

Pompitie rests by the curly bush on his way home. His neighbor, Pepper, discovers him and wheels him home in a barrow.


Pompitie rests while Pepper makes him a cup of tea. Pompitie starts to tell his sad story. There is an unexpected visit from the Broun Ogre, who has had his favorite dream restored and has evidently been cured of his aggressive tendency.


Narrator: Pompitie was a wee g-nome that bade on the Five-Stern Gress Common an near the Heuchie Knowe. His wee houss haed twa windaes in it, an a door, am a lum as heich as heich. In the front gairden, the war twal heich sunflouers aw in a raw. In the back gairden the war a whein aipil trees an thrie blawawa plants cuivert in blawawas.

Ae day, as Pompitie wes fliein atowre the Common, whit soud he see but the Broun Ogre staunin crackin wi the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows at hir houss door?


The Gress Common before the house of the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows. There is curly-bush left and a large toadstool right. The Broun Ogre is in conversation with the Witch and he has a large needle with a golden thread in his hand. Enter Pompitie, who is equipped to lift off the ground now and then, in simulation of flight. The Ogre carries a large club in his other hand and when Pompitie sees him he is very alarmed.

Wutch: Twa-thrie steiks wi that an yeir dream wul be as guid as ever it wes!

Pompitie: (Aside) Oh Mercie!

(Pompitie quickly hides himself in the curly bush)

Broun Ogre: Ir ye richt shuir it wul wark richt? Ah haena been sleepin weill at aw this whyle back frae the want o ma favorite dream. Ah aye wauken up in the wee smaw oors, an for the rest o the nicht, Ah’m tossin an turnin this wey an that. It’s lyke Ah didna ken whit wey ti turn. It’s an awfu job whan ye canna git yeir sleep richt. It’s no fair at aw, Ah tell ye.

Wutch: Naething is fair in the warld.

Broun Ogre: Whan Ah canna sleep, Ah hae awfu nichtmeirs. Whyles the ill dream is that awbodie in the warld is deid binna masell, an Ah’m left aw ma lane – ti fend for masell an wi naething ti eat. It is lyke the war naething at aw in the haill warld but ma bed an me lyin on it. Whyles Ah dinna ken wha Ah im.

Wutch: Aweill, we aw hae oor problems.

Broun Ogre: Whyles the dream is that Ah’m no here at aw – that Ah wes never born, sae that naebodie haes ever heard o me, an naebodie can see or hear me, an awbodie carries on lyke Ah haed never been here at aw.

Wutch: Ah’m rael vext ti hear that.

Broun Ogre: Ah’ve tried coontin yowes lowpin owre a dyke, but eftir Ah coont thrie or fower hunder, Ah gie up, an here the ill dream cums back again. Ae nicht, ane o the yowes fell owre the dyke an hurt its leg, an Ah lost coont an haed ti stert aw owre again.

Wutch: Howt, ye needna fash. The Needle wul sort aw this for ye.

Broun Ogre: Whyles Ah try sayin ti masell, owre an owre again, whit ma mither uised ti say whan she pit me ti bed: “Nou Wullie, juist you courie doun an gaun ti sleep this verra meinit!”

But that disna wurk aither.

Wutch: Mebbe ye soud try bydin wauken aw nicht. That’s ane o the best weys o fawin asleep --- tryin ti byde wauken.

Broun Ogre: Ah haena tried that.

Wutch: But never heed! Ah haena the tyme ti pit in listenin ti your meiseries aw mornin. Ye hae the Needle. That wul be a groat for the Needle.

Broun Ogre: A groat---! Did Ah hear ye say “a groat”?

Wutch: Ye did that!

Broun Ogre: A haill groat---! Ah coud buy twa guid denners for that. A haill groat---! Ye fairlie ken hou ti chairge!

(He fumbles in his pouch for a coin.)

Wutch: Ye’l finnd it’s cheap at the price. Yeir health soud cum first. Gin ye haena yeir health ye haena mukkil, Ah aye say.

Broun Ogre: That’s aw the siller Ah hae ti lest me or the weekend.

(He hands over a coin reluctantly.)

Ye fairlie ken hou ti chairge, Wumman! Ye’ve an awfu neck!

Wutch: Aweill, if it cums ti the bit, that’s an awfu neb ye’ve got on ye. Ye’r nae eyl pentin yeirsell.

(The Ogre fingers his nose speculatively)

Broun Ogre: Ah’l tell ye this. The Needle haed better wurk. Ye’l hear mair aboot it gin it disna. Ah’l be wantin ma siller back, sae Ah wul.

Wutch: Dinna you worrie yeir heid aboot that! It’l wurk awricht. Yeir favorite dream wul be as guid as new.

Broun Ogre: Ah howp sae! Ai, Ah div howp sae! Ah’m sair missin it. Aweill, Ah’l awa hame an try it oot afore Ah try ti gaun ti sleep the-nicht.

(He turns and marches away ponderously to the right, carrying the needle in his left hand and the club in his right, with a sound of heavy tramping. The Witch retires inside her house and shuts her door. Pompitie starts to emerge from the bush, but the Ogre hears the sound of rustling, halts, and looks back. He leans on his club and absent-mindedly sticks the Needle into a large red toadstool. He listens for a few seconds. Pompitie freezes.)

Broun Ogre: Whit wes that, Ah wunner? Ah thocht Ah heard a rabbit or sum ither thing Ah coud fell wi ma mukkil stick. Ai, Ah wad fair lyke ti kill sumthing this mornin! Sum wee furrie thing Ah coud eat for ma denner. Ae clour wi this an it wad be deid!

(He brandishes his club)

Ah coud sweir Ah heard sumthing rustle-rustlin!

(The Ogre shakes his head, resumes his progress and tramps off right, grumbling: “A haill groat, God sakes--! She fairlie kens hou ti chairge!”)

(When the sound of his tramping has died away, Pompitie emerges from the bush, takes off and continues his flight across the Common in the same direction as the Ogre. He soon notices theNeedle sticking in the red toadstool. He descends ti see what it is, lands and pulls it out of the toadstool.)

Pompitie: Ah wunner wha’s aucht this braw needle? This is fair the biggest needle Ah hae ever seen, an look at that threid! It’s as bricht as a ray o sunshyne.

Guidness gracious me! This maun be a needle that belangs the Wutch-That-Mends-Rainbows! Ah wunner hou she cam ti loss it?

(He looks about here and there, pretending that there is some possibility the Witch could be about)

Pompitie: Ah dinna see whit the auld Wutch wad want wi sic a gret mukkil needle. Mebbe she haes thrawn it awa.

(Again he looks about him, pretending there might be something else the Witch had dropped. He holds up the Needle.)

Pompitie: This is verra lykelie a threid the Wutch uises for mendin the rainbows. That’s juist whit it wul be, richt aneuch. Whit graund fun it wad be ti shew a whein steiks in the tourie o ma best bunnet at hame. Syne it wad skinkil lyke the sun itsell, sae it wad. Here, Ah coud uise the needle as a dirk, tae! It wad be guid for stickin inti fowk. It wad be the verra thing for that. Ah coud gie ma frein, Pepper, a richt gliff wi this. Ho, Ho, Ah micht even gie the Broun Ogre a jag in the hurdies wi it. Ah coud cum oot frae ahint a curly buss an gie him a richt guid yin in the bum whan he wesna lookin. Syne Ah coud jouk back again ahint the buss whan he wes rinnin about rairin his heid aff wi pain.

(He brandishes the Needle triumphantly, then sticks it with its thread into his jacket, takes off and flies away delightedly to the left towards home. But in a short while, he feels something pricking him. The Needle has to be rigged to appear to stick into him.)

Pompitie: Ow---! Yow---! Whit’s this---?

(He tries to pull out the Needle, but it appears to be stuck fast.

A high-pitched voice—the voice of the Needle—is heard)

Needle: Ah dinna lyke this road hame. Wad ye be sae guid as ti obleige me an flie roond bi the Hen Wyfe’s houss?

(Pompitie is astonished and examines the Needle)

Pompitie: Sae ye can speak as weill as jag, can ye?

Needle: Ye wad be surprised at whit Ah can dae. Ah hear ye’r gey brave aboot jaggin ither fowk. Mebbe YOU wad lyke ti ken whit it feels lyke? Try this for a stert!

(The Needle pricks him again)

Pompitie: Yow---! Ma Conscience---! Whit ir ye jaggin me for? Whit dae ye think ye ir daein?

Needle: Ah dinna want ti be sherp wi ye, but wad ye kyndlie obleige me bi gaun hame bi the Hen Wyfe’s place?

Pompitie: (In a pompous voice) No lykelie--! Ah’l no dae that. Ah aye flie this road hame.

Needle: Aweill, doutless that is true on ordnarie days, but the-day, ye maun gang the wey Ah want ye ti gang. Aither that or Ah wul shew yeir twa sleeves thegither an tak ye ti the Broun Ogre, wha wul clour ye owre the heid wi his mukkil stick, stowe ye in his larder, an hank ye on a huik.

(Pompitie begins to tremble and shake with fright on hearing this)

Pompitie: Wu-w-wul ye? O Mercie---! Aw-Awricht, mebbe it’s tyme Ah gaed hame bi anither road for a chynge. Ah haena seen the Hen Wyfe for a whyle. But whit div Ah hae ti gang thare for?

Needle: Ye’l see whan we win thare. The puir wumman needs yeir help.

(In dismay, he turns himself round to go home by the Hen Wyfe’s place. In practice, he flies off right.)



Before the Hen Wyfe’s house. The Hen Wyfe is on her doorstep, shading her eyes with her hand and looking around her anxiously. Pompitie enters from the left. At the other end of the stage the Gangril Man is digging his potato patch.

Hen Wyfe: (In a pathetic voice on seeing Pompitie) See me, a puirlyke craitur! Wha wul gae an look for ma tint choukie hen that winna cum hame?

(The Needle goes prick-prick into Pompitie)

Pompitie: Ow---! Yow---! Crivvens---!

Needle: You say “Ah wul”, or Ah’l shew yeir sleeves thegither an tak ye hame til the Broun Ogre, wha wul clour ye owre the heid wi his mukkil stick, an stowe ye in his larder, whaur he wul hank ye on a huik.

Pompitie trembles and shakes some more, but the Needle goes prick-prick)

Pompitie: Ow---! Yow---! Ow---! Ah wul, Hen Wyfe! Mercie, Ah wul!

Hen Wyfe: Thenk ye, Pompitie! Thenk ye verra kyndlie! That is rael guid o ye. Ah’m a gey puirlyke craitur, sae Ah im! Sae as ye’l ken hir, ma hen is a kynd o brounie-gray color, maistlie. She haes kynd o riddie feet. Look oot for the riddie feet!

(The Hen Wyfe goes in and shuts her door behind her)

Pompitie: Nou Ah sal flie hame for ma tea.

(He turns to go left, but the Needle goes prick-prick again)

Yow---! Aaaa-Ow! Help---!

Needle: Na, Na, ye’l dae nae sic thing! Did Ah no hear you offer kyndlie ti help hir? Nou we sal gang an hunt for the Hen Wyfe’s lost choukie.

(Pompitie looks very cross, but flies and runs all over the Common looking for the lost hen)

Pompitie: Ah canna see onie hen at aw! This is uissless!

Needle: Ah think we wul dae a sicht better doun on the grund. The hen micht be hidin oot o sicht sumwhaur.

(The Needle goes prick-prick again)

Needle: Did ye hear whit Ah said? Land on the grund!

Pompitie: Yow-ow-ow--! Here, that’s awfu sair! Stap jaggin me, wul ye!

Pompitie lands and continues running on foot)

Needle: No that wey---! It wad please me ti gang til the left!

(Pompitie corrects his course and runs about some more, but again the Needle goes prick-prick)

Pompitie: Ow---! Yow-ow---! In the name o aw that’s guid---!

Needle: Turn roond an gang back the wey ye cam! Ye’ve cum owre ferr.

(Pompitie turns round desperately)

Pompitie: Ye’r garrin me gang the maist stourie an bramblie weys o aw. Ah’m aw stung wi nettles an Ah can see nae hen.

Needle: Juist you keep yeir een open! YOU speak back ti me aince mair an Ah’l gie ye a jaggin ye’l never forget!

(They reach the Gangril Man’s potato patch, where the Gangril Man is digging. There is a hen evidently lying asleep on the patch. Pompitie approaches the Gangril Man.

Gangril Man: (Leaning on his spade) Graund mornin, Pompitie! It’s taen a turn for the better. It’s better nor it wes yestrein, but it’s no no sae guid as it wes the day afore yesterday. Ah think the sun’s lyke ti cum oot nou.

Pompitie: Div ye think sae? Ah daursay ye’r richt.

(Pointing) Is that burd lyin owre thare the Hen Wyfe’s choukie?

Gangril Man: Ah daursay it is! Ah dinna ken wha else haes hens aboot here. It’s been lyin sleepin here this haill blissit day. Ah expek it wul be fair tyrt oot wi layin owre monie eggs.

Pompitie: The Hen Wyfe said it wes a brounie-gray color. It looks lyke the burd that belangs hir. She askit me ti finnd it for hir.

Gangril Man: Ye’d better tak it back til hir than. Ah wul be vext ti see it awa in a wey. It lays guid eggs. Ah wes switherin aboot whuther Ah soud hae it for ma supper. Ah haena tasted roast chicken in a guid lang whyle.

(He resumes his digging. Pompitie lifts the hen and evidently wakens it up with a great deal of squawking. He then leaves for the Hen Wyfe’s house. The Gangril Man casts a wistful glance after him)

Pompitie: (To hen) Dae ye want me ti thraw yeir neck? The Hen Wyfe wul no thenk me gin Ah bring hir hame a deid hen. Juist you byde still the-no gin ye dinna want me ti thrappil ye! Ye’r mair bather nor aw ye’r worth, sae ye ir!

(There is a pause whyle he flies across the Common)

(He is before the Hen Wyfe’s house again. The Hen Wyfe is inside. Pompitie appoaches, carrying the hen. Holding the hen by the neck he knocks on the door of the house. The hen continues to protest.)

(The Hen Wyfe answers the door and when she sees her hen, she is delighted)

Pompitie: Here yeir choukie, Hen Wyfe! It’s no deid!

Hen Wyfe: This is rael guid o ye, Pompitie. Ah’m mukkil obleiged. It wes guid o ye ti help a puir dounhauden bodie the lykes o masell. Ah canna think hou oniebodie wad want ti dae sic a favor for a puir waesum auld craitur lyke masell. Ah’m shuir A dinna deserr it at aw. Oniething wad be guid aneuch for the lykes o me.

Pompitie: It wes naething, Hen Wyfe. Ah wes gled ti dae it.

Hen Wyfe: But Mercie, Pompitie, ye look sae wabbitie, an worrit an waebegaen. Juist byde you thare a meinit! The’r sumthing Ah’d lyke ti gie ye.

(She goes into her house carrying the hen with her. There is a loud squawk of protest from within and she returns with a rather sad-looking hen’s feather which she offers to Pompitie.)

You tak this, Pompitie, for it wul bring ye the luck!

Pompitie: (Unenthusiastically) Wul it? Thenk ye, Hen Wyfe!

(Pompitie takes the feather, sticks it in his bonnet and starts to fly for home (left), but the Needle immediately goes prick-prick. The Hen Wyfe goes into her house.)

Pompitie: Ow---! Ow---! Ai that wes awfu sair!

Needle: Whaur dae ye think ye’r gaun?

Pompitie: Ah wes ettlin ti flie hame. Ah’m sair needin a rest.

(Pompitie tries to pull the needle from his coat to throw it away, but it is stuck fast.

Needle: Ah’l tell ye whan ye can gang hame.

Pompitie: This is the nearest wey ti ma wee houss. Ah aye gang this road hame. This is the gait Ah aye tak.

Needle: Aweill, that is on ordnarie days, but the-day ye maun gang roond bi the toll road, for that’s the road Ah want ti gang. Aither that, or Ah wul shew yeir twa sleeves thegither an tak ye hame til the Broun Ogre, wha wul clour ye wi his mukkil stick, an stowe ye in his larder, whaur he wul hank ye on a huik.

(Pompitie stands and sighs and sobs and weeps, but the Needle does not appear to notice and simply goes prick-prick again)

Pompitie: Ow---! Wow---! Oh dear, Ah’m lyke a prein cushion! Please leave iz alane, wul ye?

(Pompitie sets out for the toll road and flies off right)



The Common by the Tea Wyfe’s House. The Tea Wyfe is sitting by her door, swirling the contents of a large teapot. The sound of heavy tramping and moaning is heard from offstage. Enter the Broun Ogre looking distressed.

Tea Wyfe: Coud ye no mak less noise? That’s an awfu dirdum ye mak strampin up an doun wi thae mukkil feet o yours.

Ir ye here eftir yeir tea?

Broun Ogre: Tea---? Me--? No me---! No the-day!

Tea Wyfe: Whit ir ye eftir than? Ye canna be here kis ye fancie me?

Broun Ogre: This mornin, Ah peyed the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows a haill groat for hir magic Needle an nou Ah hae tint it. Ah canna finnd it oniewhaur. Ah maun hae putten it doun sumwhaur near the Wutch’s houss, but Ah hae been aw roond thare an the’r nae sign o’t. Whaur can it be?

Tea Wyfe: Ah’m shuir Ah dinna ken. Ah’ve been sutten here aw day. Whit wad Ah ken aboot it?

Broun Ogre: Ye haena seen oniebodie gaun past haiglin a mukkil needle, hae ye?

Tea Wyfe: No that Ah can mynd o. In fact, Ah haena seen oniebodie at aw. Whit war ye wantin wi the Wutch’s Needle?

Broun Ogre: Ah wantit it for ti mend ma favorite dream. Ah canna sleep richt athout ma favorite dream. Whaur the Deil can it be?

Tea Wyfe: Yeir dream---?

Broun Ogre: Na, the Needle---! Ah need the Needle ti sort ma dream.

Tea Wyfe: Howt, Man, never heed dreams! Ye’r a growne man. Ye soudna fash yeirsell aboot dreams. The tea is weill maskit. Coud ye no dae a cup?

Broun Ogre: Ah hae nae siller for ti buy tea, eftir peyin the Wutch for the Needle.

Tea Wyfe: Ah dinna lyke ti miss a sale. Ye coud aye pey me anither day.

Broun Ogre: Na, Na, Ah haena tyme the-day!

Tea Wyfe: Ah coud merk ye doun in the ledger?

Broun Ogre: Ah’l hae ti hunt for whaever haes stown the Needle. Ah’l kill him athout mercy whan A finnd him. Twa-thrie clours owre the heid wi this an he’l no be stealin onie mair Needles.

(He brandishes his club) He’l be stane deid! That wul lairn him a lesson he’l no forget!

Ah maun awa nou, Ah hae nae tyme ti waste or Ah finnd this thief.

(He moves to leave)

Tea Wyfe: (Holding out the teapot) Cum back, ye coud hae a guid cup o tea for naething.!

(The Broun Ogre ignores her and tramps off)



The Common by the Toll House. The Toll Man is standing by his door in his red jacket, looking about him here and there. Pompitie enters from the left.

Toll Man: (Seeing Pompitie) Wha wul gang an buy for me a guid thummilfu o tea? Ah coud fair dae a guid drink o tea. Ah’m as dry as a stick, sae Ah im. This is gey dry wark staunin here waitin Ah can tell ye.

(Pompitie does not reply to this}

Needle: You say, “Ah wul”! (The Needle goes prick-prick)

Pompitie: Ow----! Wow---! (Sobbing) Ah wul, Toll Man!

Needle: Say, “Ah wul, gledlie---!”

Pompitie: Ah wul, gledlie, Toll Man!

Needle: Thenk ye kyndlie, neibor---! Ah’m as dry as a stick. Ah coud dae fyne wi a guid cup o tea. Tak thir! Here twa pennies an a siller thummil! Watch an dinna you loss the pennies! That’s hauf this mornin’s drawins at the toll.

(He gives Pompitie two pennies and a silver thimble into his hand, goes in and shuts his door)

Pompitie: Nou Ah sal flie hame. (He turns to move left)

(The Needle goes prick-prick)


Needle: Sae ye war gaun ti keep the Toll Man’s pennies ti yeirsell, war ye?

Pompitie: Please, Needle, Ah wesna!

(Sobbing) Ah wesna!

Needle: Ye telt the Toll Man a lee an ye war gaun ti keep his pennies ti yeirsell, war ye?

Pompitie: Please, Needle, Ah wesna!

Needle: Ye telt the Toll Man a dounricht lee an ye war gaun ti keep his pennies. Ye ir a leear as weill as a thief.

(Cheerfully) But Ah wadna lat ye dae a sleikit thing lyke that.---sumthing ye micht be ashamed o eftir.

Needle: This wul lairn ye no ti tell lees!

(The Needle goes prick-prick)

Pompitie: Yow-Ow-Wow! Help---! Murder---! It wesna me---!

Needle: Nou we sal set oot for the houss o the Tea Wyfe.

Pompitie: Ah wesna gaun for ti keep his pennies. Ah wesna---! Ah juist wantit ti gang hame for a wee rest first.

Needle: Stert fliein!

Pompitie: (Pathetically) But Ah dinna ken whaur the Tea Wyfe bydes. Ah’ve never been thare afore, but Ah ken it’s awfu ferr awa.

Needle: Stert fliein!

Pompitie: But Ah dinna ken whaur ti gang.


Pompitie: B-B-But---!

Needle: Ah’l no speak again.

(Pompitie starts running and flying desperately right, and a pleasant voice is heard)

Feather: Juist a wee bit ti the richt, Pompitie!

Pompitie: Wha’s that speakin? Wha ir ee?

Feather: This is yeir auld feather speakin. A wee bit mair til the richt for the Tea Wyfe’s houss. Eftir that, keep gaun strecht on an Ah’l keep ye richt gin ye gang wrang. That’s whit Ah’m here for --- ti help ye.

Pomitie: Thenk ye Feather! O thenk ye, thenk ye!

(Pompitie corrects his course and leaves to the right)



The Common by the Tea Wyfe’s house. The Tea Wyfe is sitting by her door holding a large tea caddy. Pompitie enters from the left.

Feather: Nou ye ir on the pad that leads til the Tea Wyfe’s door. Thare she is, look!

(Pompitie sees the Tea Wyfe and goes up to her, holding out the two pennies)

Tea Wyfe: Mercie, an wha is this wee man? It’s Pompitie the g-nome, an Ah’m no mistaen. Ah haena seen you sen ye war a wee bairn. Pompitie, Ah wad haurlie hae kent ye.

Pompitie: Tea Wyfe, an ye please, wad ye be sae guid as ti gie me a guid thummilfu tea for the Toll Man? He is dry as a stick.

Tea Wyfe: Whan is he no? Ay, shuirlie, shuirlie! Ah can shuirlie dae that.

(The Tea Wyfe fills the thimble with tea from her caddy and gives it to Pompitie, who gives her his two pennies)

Tea Wyfe: Thenk ye Pompitie! Tak guid care o that tea, nou!

Pompitie: The’r no mukkil tea here!

Tea Wyfe: That’s a richt guid tippence worth! The Toll Man is ma guid frein an that’s the verra best tea. That’s aw the road frae a place cawed Darjeeling. That’s nane o yeir soupins frae sum Bombay fluir!

Pompitie: (Pompitie inspects the tea critically) Ah see a stalk or twa in there.

Tea Wyfe: Ye haena seen a mukkil needle lyin aboot oniewhaur, hae ye?

(Pompitie gives a start and tries to hide the Needle by gathering his jerkin around it. The Tea Wyfe is replacing her tea caddy.)

Pompitie: A mukkil needle---?

Tea Wyfe: Ay, a big braw yin.

Pompitie: N-N-Na, no me! Wha wants ti ken?

Tea Wyfe: The Broun Ogre wes here an he wes tellin me he’s lost yin belangin the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows.

Pompitie: D-D-Did he?

Tea Wyfe: The Broun Ogre wes in an awfu lyke temper. He says he’s gaun ti hunt doun whaever stale his needle an blouter him wi his gret club.

Pompitie: Ai, Mercie---!

Tea Wyfe: He says he’s gaun ti kill him athout mercy..

(Pompitie looks like he is going to spill the tea)

Caw cannie, nou!

That’s nane o yeir stourie rubbish, Ah tell ye!
Ye look lyke ye’r gaun ti skail it, lad.
That tea is wurth its wecht in gowd.
The Toll Man wul fairlie enjoy that, Ah can tell ye.
It wul warm the cokkils o his hert.

Caw cannie, wul ye?

Pompitie: Ah hear ye, Tea Wyfe.

(Pompitie carries the thimbleful of tea gingerly offstage to the left)

Tea Wyfe: (Crying after him) You tell the Toll Man Ah wes speirin eftir him! Mynd an tell him Ah wes askin for him! An ask him aboot his sair back!



The Common by the Toll Man’s house. The Toll man is still standing by his Toll House and is holding a small brown teapot in his hand. He is looking expectantly about him. Enter Pompitie carrying his thimbleful of tea from the right.

Toll Man: Ah thocht ye war never lyke cummin.

(He holds his throat) Man, Ah’m that drouthie! Ah’m as dry as a stick! Ah’m kynd o hairse i the thrappil the-day. It’s richt drylyke wark this, staunin here!

Pompitie: Here ye ir, Toll Man! The Tea Wyfe wes askin for ye.

(He hands the Toll Man the thimble. The Toll Man empties it into his teapot. He is delighted.)

Toll Man: Ah’m mukkil behauden ti ye, Pompitie. Ah’m juist deein for a wee jirbil o tea. This wul fairlie slocken ma drouth. It’s graund tea she aye sends me.

Pompitie: The Tea Wyfe telt me ti speir aboot yeir sair back.

Toll Man: Ma lumbaigie---? Tell hir frae me whan ye see hir, it’s aye sair, wi aw the haurd wurk Ah dae, but it haes been waur. Wul ye mynd ti say that til hir?

Pompitie: Ay, Ah’l no forget, but ……….Ah never see hir!

Toll Man: Aweill, the thocht wes thare. Never heed! Ah’l tell hir masell. But Michtie, Pompitie, ye div look wabbitie, an wurrrit, an wabblie, an waebegaen.

(He takes a green leaf from his pocket and gives it to Pompitie)

Hyuh, Pompitie! Tak this, for it wul bring ye the luck!

(The leaf is dry and withered, but Pompitie takes it and sticks it in his coat)

Wul ye no byde for a cup an a bit crack wi me? Ah’m gey thrang wi this toll, but Ah can aye finnd tyme for a wee crack. Wul ye no byde an be neiborlyke?

Pompitie: Na, Na, thenk ye! It’s tyme Ah wes gaun hame.

(The Toll Man shakes his head, waves him goodby and goes into his house to make his tea. Pompitie starts to fly home.)

Needle: No that road, Pompitie!

(The Needle goes prick-prick)

Did ye hear whit A said? NO THAT ROAD!

Pompitie: (Shrieks) Yeow-ow-ow! Leave iz alane, wul ye?

A-a-ow! Ah canna staun onie mair o this.

Ye jaggin Deil that ye ir---!


(Pompitie tears at the Needle in his coat and tries to wrench it away, but it is still stuck fast)

Needle: Ye’d better no try that again or ye’l be vext for it.

Pompitie: Ah aye gang this road hame.

(He stamps his feet in a tantrum of vexation)

Ah aye gang this road, Ah tell ye!

Needle: Aweill, that is on ordnarie days, but the-day ye maun gae roond bi the houss o the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows, for Ah want ti pass the tyme o day wi hir, sae Ah div.

Pompitie: Ah’l never, never dae that. Ah’m feart for hir. Ah’l no gang near hir. Ah’l no! Ah’l no! Ah’l NO!

Needle: Aweill, syne Ah sal shew yeir sleeves thegither an tak ye hame ti the Broun Ogre, an he wul clour ye owre the heid wi his mukkil stick an stowe ye in his larder whaur he wul hank ye on a huik.

Pompitie: Ah canna gang. Ah’m feart for hir, Ah tell ye.

(Pompitie weeps pitifully, but the Needle just goes prick-prick)

Pompitie: Yeee-ow! Mither---! Ah canna thole it onie mair! PLEASE, no hir, Needle---! NO THE WUTCH---!

Needle: Ah keep tellin ye, but ye’l no tak a tellin. Ah dinna want ti be owre sherp wi ye, but ye dinna seem ti tak ma pynt. Try this than!

(The Needle goes prick-prick again, relentlessly)

Pompitie: Yeee-ow-aa-ow! Yee-ow-aa-ow! Stap tormentin me! Ah canna beir it!

Needle: Ai, ye div lyke ti mak things difficult! Ye ir yeir ain warst enemie! Ye’d better lairn ti dae as ye’r telt for Ah can keep this up for as lang as ever ye lyke! Ah’m no funnin, believe you me!

Pompitie: (Sobbing) Ah gie in, Ah gie in!

Needle: That’s mair lyke the thing. Nou that’s whit Ah want ti hear! It wesna that difficult, wes it?

(Pompitie continues to sob)

An whan ye see the Wutch, ye’l tell hir naething aboot me jaggin ye, wul ye!

(Pompitie does not answer)

Aunsir me whan Ah speak ti ye!

Pompitie: A-A-Ah’l no tell hir oniething. Please dinna jag me onie mair, Needle! Please, please---!

Needle: Ah dout ye deserr anither guid jag, Pompitie. Ye telt the Tea Wyfe a dounricht lee back at hir houss. Ye telt hir ye haedna seen me lyin aboot oniewhaur on the Common.

Pompitie: Please, please, please, kynd Needle, Ah didna think whit Ah wes sayin. Oniewey ye warna lyin aboot. Ye war stuck in a puddok stuil.

Needle: That is no the pynt. This is for tellin the Tea Wyfe a lee aboot me.

(The Needle stabs Pompitie dutifully)

Pompitie: Yee-ow-aa-ow! Help---! Mither---! Murder---! Yee-ow-aa-ow!

Needle: Ah wadna say it hurts me mair nor it hurts you, but Ah dinna lyke jaggin ye, Pompitie. It gies me nae pleisir, but ye hae ti be cruel ti be kynd. Ye micht finnd it ill ti credit, but it’s aw for yeir ain guid. Whit ye dinna unnerstaun, Pompitie, is that ye need me.

Pompitie: Need ye--? Whit dae Ah need YOU for?

Needle: Ye need me ti keep ye richt. In a lyke wey, ye’l aye need me. Ye’l need me for the rest o yeir days. The neist tyme ye think o tellin a lee, ye’l bring me in mynd.

Pompitie: Ah’m no lyke ti forget YOU in a hurry, richt aneuch.

(Pompitie turns round and flies to the right for the Witch’s house. However, he is reluctant and petulant and dawdles on the way. In the distance is heard the heavy tramping of the Broun Ogre looking for his needle.)

Broun Ogre: (Anguished crying in distance) Whaur ma needle? Ah hae tint ma needle? Ah canna finnd ma needle.

Needle: Ye ken whit wul happen til ye gin the Ogre catches ye, wi me stickin in yeir jaiket?

(Pompitie runs to hide in a bush, but the Green Leaf whispers to him)

Green Leaf: (With a pleasant female voice) Pompitie, Pompitie, tak tent ti whit Ah say!

Pompitie: Wha is that, whusper-whusperin?

Green Leaf: This is yeir Green Leaf speakin til ye. Hoy on, Pompitie, ye maun hurry an win ti the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows first, afore the Broun Ogre wins thare.

Pompitie: Ah canna hurry verra weill, Green Leaf. Ah dinna think Ah im able. Ah’m no able at aw. Ah’m fair forfochen!

Green Leaf: A stoot hert til a stey brae, Pompitie! A stoot hert til a stey brae!

(Pompitie hurries on as best he can, for he is footsore and weary)

Pompitie: Ai, ma legs is sair. Ah’m sair aw owre, sae Ah im!

Green Leaf: Dae yeir best, Pompitie! Juist dae yeir best! Naebodie can dae mair!

(He moves wearily offstage to the right)



The Common by the Witch’s house. Pompitie arrives at last, entering from the left. The Witch is standing there beating a rug. Pompitie approaches reluctantly. He is very frightened and distressed.

Wutch: (Seeing Pompitie) Wha is this Ah wunner?

(She beckons) Cum here, Son! The’r naething ti be feart for.

(Peering at him) Govie Dick, if it’s no Pompitie! This is a surprise veisit, Pompitie. Whitna unexpekkit pleisir!

(Pompitie opens his mouth to speak, then closes it)

Wha wul finnd for me the braw needle Ah selt til the Broun Ogre this mornin for ti mend his verra best dream? The needle he gaed an tint on the Gress Common----

(The Needle goes prick-prick. Pompitie jumps about in pain)

Pompitie: Yow-ow-ow-wow---! Ye-ee—ow!

Wutch: Whit ails ye, Pompitie? Ir ye giein me a bonnie wee sang? Ye keep lowpin aboot. Ye’r lyke a hen on a het girdil.

(The Needle goes prick-prick again. Pompitie continues to jump about)

Wutch: Ye’r no wantin the duffie, ir ye? It’s roond ahint i the stick houss.

Pompitie: A-A-Ah im awricht the-nou, Wutch.

Needle: Juist you say, “Here it is!”

(The Needle goes prick-prick)

Pompitie: Ye-ee-ow---!

Needle: Say it!

Pompitie: (Desperately) Here it is, Wutch! Here is yeir needle stickin in ma coat! Here it is Wutch! Here it is!

(The tramp-tramp of the Ogre is heard in the distance)

Wutch: (Peering at the Needle) Is that it? Ai, ma auld een is no whit they war. They’r that bleirie whyles.

Michtie me, sae it is! That’s it, richt aneuch. Whaur did ye finnd it?

Pompitie: It wes stickin in a puddok stuil no ferr frae yeir houss.

Wutch: But Mercie, afore Ah can tak it oot yeir jaiket, Ah maun finnd a whyte feather an a green leaf.

(At this, Pompitie gives a great leap of excitement)

Pompitie: Here they ir, Wutch! Here they ir, baith, in ma bunnet an in ma jaiket! See, here they ir!

(The Witch examines the feather and then the green leaf)

Wutch: They’l dae the turn graund!

(Then she grips the Needle and pulls it easily from Pompitie’s coat. She is delighted)

Is that no a braw needle?

Pompitie: (Sighs with relief) It’s your needle, Wutch. Ah’m gled for ye ti hae it back.

Wutch: It wes rael guid o ye ti bring it back ti me, Pompitie. Ah tell ye whit it is, Pompitie, sum fowk wad juist hae keepit it ti thairsells, an never lat on.

Pompitie: Ah wesna gaun ti keep it. No me! Nae fears!

Wutch: Ah daursay no! the Broun Ogre wul be richt gled ti see it again, whitever. He’s been sair missin his favorite dream, puir bodie.

Pompitie: Ah’m feart for him. Ye’l no tell him a haed it, wul ye?

Wutch: Ah’l no mention it, Pompitie!

(Looking closely at him) Losh, ye look that wabbitie, an worrit, an wabblie, an weepie, an waebegaen. Yeir face is aw begrutten!
The Needle haesna been onie bather ti ye, haes it?

Pompitie: N-N-Na, n-nae bather, but Ah didna want ti keep it, kis it wesna mynes.

Wutch: Guid for you, Pompitie---! Guid for you---! Ye’r a guid lad. It’s whyles a bit mischievious, an it lykes ti keep fowk richt, but it’s a guid needle at hert. It lykes naething better nor ti dae fowk guid turns.

Pompitie: Daes it? Ah didna ken.

Wutch: Whyles it’s inclyned ti gang owre the score wi weill-daein. It haes a strang sense o duty, ye see. Ah howp it haesna been up ti onie o its tricks?

Pompitie: N-N-Na, it didna dae oniething.

Wutch: Ah’m gled ti hear it.

Here, whit’s that Ah see on yeir mou?

(Pompitie puts his hand to his mouth)

My, Ah can see whit ye haed for yeir denner!

Pompitie: Ah haena haen onie denner yit.

Wutch: (Coyly) It wes trekkil dumplin, wes it no?

Pompitie: Ah haed trekkil dumplin yestrein.

(He wipes his mouth with his sleeve)

Wutch: Dae ye never think ti gie yeir face a dicht? Aweill, never heed! As lang as ye enjoyed it---! That’s the main thing!

(Pompitie starts to move away)

Haud on, Son! Ah hae a wee thing here for ye.

(She takes a small piece of gray fluff from a pocket in her apron and sticks it in his shoe)

You tak this, Pompitie, an it wul ease yeir dule! Ah’m vext A haena a sweetie for ye ti souk.

Pompitie: Thenk ye, Wutch! Thenk ye!

(The Witch groans and holds her thighs)

Wutch: Ai, Pompitie, ma legs, ma auld legs---! Whyles they ir that waek an dwaiblie, Ah can haurlie ryse oot ma chair. Ah wush Ah coud rin aboot lyke you again.

Pompitie: But Wutch, can ye no gar yeirsell rin? It’s easy. See---!

(He tries to run himself, but soon gives up the attempt)

Ah wad shaw ye, but Ah can haurlie walk masell the-day. Ah daursay Ah wul can rin again the-morn.

Wutch: Rin---? Listen til him! It’s as mukkil as Ah can dae thir days ti hirpil the length o the houss door.

Pompitie: Coud ye…….coud ye no cuist a spell on yeirsell? Coud ye no dae that, Wutch?

Wutch: Ai Pompitie, ma mannie, if ye onlie kent.

Pompitie: Coud ye no uise sum glaumerie for ti pit yeirsell richt?

Wutch: Glaumerie---? Whit div Ah ken aboot glaumerie? Ah dout, Pompitie, it’s a new perr o legs Ah’m wantin!

(Pompitie turns from her door)

Ye soud cum an veisit me mair aften, Pompitie! Ah’m aw ma lane here, an Ah wearie whyles. Ah’m echtie year auld, ye ken – echtie year auld. It’s a fair disgrace! Auld age disna cum its lane, Pompitie! Ah wearie whyles for young companie--- For young fowk aboot me.

Pompitie: Div ye, Wutch? (He looks astonished)

Wutch: Ah wesna aye an auld wumman, Pompitie. Ye wadna ken nou, wad ye, at Ah wes aince a bonnie young lassie? Ah coud daff an link wi the best o thaim.

Pompitie: (Wide-eyed) Hae ye no aye been the wey ye ir nou?

Wutch: Deil a fears, Pompitie---! Gin ye coud see me the wey Ah wes whan Ah seivinteen year auld, Ah dout ye wad never ken me. But never heed, Pompitie. Ah hae haen ma day, an monie fowk haes haen waur lives nor me. Whyles Ah can git oot an hear the burds liltin an see the flouers……an breathe the caller air.

Pompitie: Mistress, Ah’l hae ti gang hame nou.

Wutch: Sae ye wul, sae ye wul, but juist a meinit, Son. It’s in ma mynd the’r a poke o taiblet on the drawers heid. Ir ye for a bit?

(Pompitie nods with interest. She enters the house and returns with a crumpled bag. Pompitie selects a substantial piece and pops it into his mouth)

Pompitie: Thenk ye, Wutch. That’s graund taiblet. Coud Ah hae anither bit? Ye fairlie ken hou ti mak the guid taiblet.

Wutch: Pompitie, an Ah wes ti gie ye anither bit, Ah’d hae ti gie ye castor eyl, an ye michtna win hame wi a perr o clean breiks. Ye ken whit they aye say: “Bairns at gits taiblet gits eyl eftir”. Ye wadna lyke that, wad ye?

Pompitie: Na! Nae fears---!

Wutch: Ye can hae anither bit, the neist tyme ye cum ti see me.

(Pompitie looks interested)

Wutch: Awricht, Pompitie, Cheerio, Son! Cum back an see me again suin, an bring a frein wi ye!

Pompitie: Ah dinna ken---Ah’m no aften this wey.

Wutch: Ay, Ay, Ah maun be an awfu jaud. Naebodie wants ti veisit me. Naebodie kens whit it’s lyke ti be left aw yeir lane wi nae companie but yeir maimories.

Pompitie: Ah didna want ti keep yeir needle kis it wesna mynes.

Wutch: Ah ken, Pompitie. Ah ken.

Pompitie: Ah’l awa than.

(He flies away left for home. The Witch waves him goodby, then goes into her house and shuts her door. The tramping of the Ogre is heard again and becomes louder an louder, and the Green Leaf whispers to Pompitie.)

Green Leaf: Flie laich, Pompitie! Flie laich!

(Pompitie flies low and then collapses exhausted in a heap. The Ogre is heard tramping past offstage, grumbling about his favorite dream on his way to the Witch’s house.)

Broun Ogre: (From offstage) Ochone, Ochone, Ah div wush Ah coud hae ma favorite dream back again. Ah’l kill him; sae Ah wul. Whaever haes taen ma Needle, A’L KILL HIM DEID!

(Pompitie is terrified at hearing this and tries to fly twice without success, then struggles on wearily on foot and goes off left, moaning softly.)



The Common by the Witch’s house. The Witch is inside. The heavy tramping of the Broun Ogre is heard offstage. The Broun Ogre enters, carrying his club and approaching the Witch’s door. He hammers on the door and repeats the process, when there is no answer.

Broun Ogre: (Angrily) Whaur ir ye, ye auld wutch? Cum oot here as quick as ever ye lyke. Cum oot here ye auld jaud, afore Ah brek this door doun!

(There is a sound from inside and the door opens to reveal the Witch, looking none too pleased)

Wutch: Mercie, Broun Ogre, whit ails ye? Whit’s wrang nou? That’s an awfulyke dirdum ti mak at ma houss door. Ye’ve juist waukent me up oot ma sleep. Ye’l be vext for it, Ah can tell ye, if this is for naething.

Broun Ogre: It’s no for naething. Ah peyed ye a haill groat for yeir glaumerie Needle an Ah haena haed the guid o’t. Ah dinna ken whaur the Needle is. Ah’m thinkin ye’d better gie me back ma groat. Ah peyed ee a groat for naething an it wes aw the siller Ah haed for ma denner.

Wutch: Ah micht hae kent! Ye hae tint ma Needle. Ye wad loss yeir heid gin it war lowss. Whit haes aw this dirdum adae wi me? Ah selt ye ma Needle an ye peyed a groat for it. If ye hae lost it, it’s yeir ain blame. Gin ye canna be ceivil ti me, ye can juist turn yeirsell roond an gae back til yeir ain den an girn thare. Ye can whussil for yeir Needle for aw Ah care. Ah’l tak nae mair snash frae you.

Broun Ogre: Wutch, Ah didna mean ti vex ye, but Ah’m at ma wuts’ end. Ah dinna ken whit ti dae. Ah canna finnd the Needle oniewhaur. Ah left it ahint sumwhaur on the Common grund an Ah’ve huntit awhaur for it. Ah canna dae athout ma favorite dream. Ye ken whit Ah’m lyke athout it.

Wutch: Awbodie kens whit ye’r lyke. Ye canna behave yeirsell!

Broun Ogre: Ah gaun aboot brekkin oniething Ah see, an clourin awbodie, an Ah canna help masell.

Wutch: Ah ken whit ye’r lyke awricht. Ye’r a danger ti yeirsell an awbodie else.

Broun Ogre: (Sobbing) It’s lyke Ah haed turnt inti sumbodie different awthegither--sum Deil Ah didna ken at aw. Please help iz, Wutch! Help iz ti mend ma favorite dream.

Wutch: Nounae, nounae, it wul be awricht. Keep a caum souch! Ah ken whaur the Needle is.

Broun Ogre: Ye ken whaur the Needle is? Please tell iz!

Wutch: Ye gomeril, ye left it stickin in a puddok stuil on the Common. Pompitie the g-nome fand it thare, an kennin it wes mynes, lyke the guid, honest wee fallae he is, he brocht it here ti me.

Broun Ogre: The Lord be praisit. Ah can hae ma favorite dream again.

Wutch: Ye can hae yeir favorite dream again an ye can hae yeir Needle back again. Ah micht buy it back frae ye sum day whan ye’r short o siller.

Broun Ogre: Ah’m short o siller the-nou. In fact, Ah haena onie at aw. Ah’m aye short o siller. Ah haena haed onie denner the-day.

Wutch: Aweill, Ah howp ye’r no expekkin onie denner here! Ah dinna want ye drawin in yeir chair here, but Ah tell ye whit Ah’l dae for ye, ye mukkil sumf, gin ye behave yeirsell. Cum on inby ben the houss an Ah’l steik up yeir favorite dream for ye wi the Needle! Ah’l mak it as guid as new, lyke whan ye first dreamed it. Syne Ah’l gie ye back yeir groat sae ye can buy yeirsell a guid denner. Ye’l no be lykelie ti be needin the Needle again.

(The Ogre’s face is wreathed in smiles and he clasps his hands together)

Broun Ogre: Ah can haurlie wait or Ah hae ma favorite dream again.

Wutch: Sae ye needna think ye’r ill duin til.

(The Witch beckons him inside and he enters)



The Common with a curly bush in the centre. Pompitie enters wearily on foot from the right. The Green Leaf whispers to him.

Green Leaf: Rest a meinit, Pompitie! Byde a wee bi the curlie buss! Tak yeir meinits!

(Pompitie sits down exhausted by the curly bush and rests, and before very long, along comes Pepper, the g-nome, Pompitie’s neighbor.)

Pepper: Mercie, Pompitie, whitna lyke sicht ye ir---! Ye puir sowl, whit hae ye been daein for ti git sae wabbitie, an wabblie, an weepie an waebegaen?

Pompitie: (With tear-stained face) Ah canna tell ye nou, Pepper, but it is a sad an waesum storie. Ah’m fair worn oot awthegither, sae Ah im. Ah’m aw jags aw owre. Ah’m lyke a prein cushion. An Ah canna flie onie mair. Ah can haurlie walk, lat alane flie!

Pepper: Ye canna flie? That’s terrible. Hou dae ye git aboot at aw?

Pompitie: Ah dinna ken whit ails me, but Ah hae lost the knack o’t awthegither. Ah think it’s kis Ah’ve lost ma confidence. Aw the smeddum haes been jaggit oot me.

Pepper: Ye canna flie? This is an unco business! Canna flie, eh---? Ah never heard the lyke.

Pompitie: Dae ye think mebbe the Wutch-that-Mend-Rainbows haes putten an ill spell on me?

Pepper: Ah dout it, Pompitie.

Pompitie: Ah can haurlie lift the ae fuit eftir the tither---lat alane lift masell aff the grund.

Pepper: Ah’m rael vext ti see ye lyke this, Pompitie. It’s juist a maitter o confidence. See---! He gives a short demonstration.

Pompitie: It’s nae uiss, Pepper.

Pepper: Aw ye need is a guid rest.

Pompitie: Ah feel that bad, Pepper, Ah think Ah’m mebbe deein, but Ah’m no verra shuir whit that feels lyke. Ah’ve never duin it afore, ye see.

Pepper: Ay, Ah can see ye’r no richt Pompitie. Whit can Ah dae?

Pompitie: But Ah’m rael gled ti see ye, Pepper.

Pepper: (Waving his finger) Ah ken---! Byde you here a meinit, Pompitie! Ah’l be back suin.

(Pepper leaves to the right. Pompitie lies moaning and groaning by the curly bush. In a short while, Pepper returns with a wheelbarrow.)

Pepper: Here, Pompitie, ye puir sowl, lat me help ye inti this barrae an Ah’l wheel ye aw the road hame. It’s gey clairtie wi cou shairn, but it wes the best Ah coud finnd.

(Pompitie nods weakly and is assisted into the barrow)

Pompitie: Ah dinna want for ti be a bather ti ye, Pepper, but Ah’m juist no able at aw. No able---! Ah juist canna gang anither step. Ah think Ah’m mebbe deid areddies. Div Ah look deid, Pepper?

Pepper: Ye look deid tyred, but wheisht, save yeir braith!

Pompitie: This barrae is shairnsell, sae it is! Coud ye no hae fund a cleaner lyke barrae, Pepper? It looks lyke a cou haes duin its haill business in here in a hurry. Hoy, Ah’m aw cuivert wi shairn nou! Michtie, whitna lyke mess Ah’m in! Ah’m an awfu smell, tae.

Pepper: It wes aw Ah coud finnd. Onie port in a storm---! Ah’l brush it aff yeir claes whan they’r richt dry.

Pompitie: (Pathetically) Ye’r mair nor a neibor ti me, Pepper---ye’r ma guid freind.

(Putting his hand on Pepper’s arm) Ye’r ma verra guid freind.

Pepper: Howt---! It wul be awricht, Pompitie. Awthing is aye awricht i the hinner end.

Pompitie: Ye’r the best frein Ah ever haed, Pepper.

(He pats Pepper on the arm) Ye ir that!

Pepper: Ah’m thinkin ye’r mebbe a wee thing deleirit, sae ye ir! It’s awricht, Pompitie. Ye wad dae the same for me, Ah’m shuir. Things wul be different the-morn.

(Pepper wheels Pompitie groaning offstage left)

Awthing is aye awricht i the end. Ye ken whit fowk say: “It wul be aw the same a hunder year hence, an we’l no be here ti see it, an we’r spared an weill!”

(Pompitie appears to have dozed off)



Inside Pompitie’s house. Pompitie is reclining in an armchair by the fireside and dozing fitfully. Pepper is busy boiling the kettle. He holds a brown teapot in his hand. Pompitie gradually wakens up.

Pompitie: (Yawning) Dae ye ken, Pepper, the Wutch-that-mends-Rainbows pit a bit gray fluff in ma shae here, an it haes fairlie gien me sum easement?

Pepper: Ah’m rael gled ti hear that, Pompitie. Ye’r feelin a bit better than?

Pompitie: A lot better--- It’s lyke as if aw ma aches an pains haed dwyned awa lyke they hae never been, an aw ma sair jags haed haeled up, ilkane. It’s a fair meiracle! Dae ye ken, Ah uised ti be feart for that auld Wutch, but she’s no sae bad as Ah thocht. She’s a nyce kynd auld wutch.

Pepper: (Astonished) Ye hae been ti see the Wutch.

Piompitie: Ay, that’s hou Ah got the bit gray fluff. Ah cam strecht here frae the Wutch’s houss.

Pepper: Ye didna speak til hir?

Pompitie: Ah certainly did! Ah veisitit hir.

(Pepper’s jaw drops at this)

Ah juist thocht Ah’d pey hir a caw ti be freinlie, lyke.

Pepper: (Incredulously) Ye wantit ti be freinlie wi a wutch.

Pompitie: She’s no sae bad as she’s cracked up ti be.

Pepper: War ye no feart? She micht hae turnt ye intil a puddok or a slaiter or a forker or sumthing skunnersum lyke that. Did ye never think o that?

Pompitie: Ah wesna feart at aw. Mebbe….Mebbe she wesna aye a wutch? She said she wes a bonnie young lassie aince.

Pepper: That’s ill ti credit. The’r naething bonnie aboot hir nou! She haes a neb on hir lyke a hungirie gled, an a face that wad soor milk.

Pompitie: Wha can tell whit she wes aince lyke? She looks lyke a wutch nou, but she’s awricht aince ye git ti ken hir. She gied me a bit taiblet.

Pepper: Ye taen a bit taiblet frae hir! War ye no feart it micht hae been puzzent?

Pompitie: It wes rael guid taiblet, Ah can tell ye. It fair meltit in yeir mou. She wantit me ti hae anither bit, but Ah thocht Ah haed better no. It’s a queerlyke thing. Whan Ah lookit at the Wutch eftir Ah’d etten hir taiblet, she haed turnt amaist bonnie.

Pepper: Mebbe she wes never a wutch at aw?

(Pompitie is silent for a moment and looks thoughtful)

Pompitie: Ay! Mebbe! She said she wad lyke for me ti veisit hir again an Ah wes ti bring you alang wi me. Ah think she wad gie ye a bit taiblet, tae.

(Pepper is silent at this. The kettle comes to the boil and Pepper infuses the tea.)

Pepper: Ma faither uised ti say that even rats is no sae bad, aince ye git ti ken thaim richt.

Pompitie: Ay, Ah daursay the’r sum truith in that. They maun whyles seem nyce til thair ain kynd. A Mammie rat wul seem kynd an furrie an cuddlie til hir ain bairns.

Pepper: Ay, maist fowk is no sae bad whan ye ken thaim. Ah’l no say awbodie, mynd ye! Ah wadna say awbodie.

Pompitie: Ay, mebbe no the Broun Ogre.

Pepper: Na, mebbe no him. Mebbe he wadna improve wi the kennin.

Pompitie: Things is no aye whit they seem.

Pepper: Na!

(There is silence for a few seconds. Then Pepper lifts the teapot.)

Pepper: The tea is maskit, neibor.

Pompitie: Is the tea frae Darjeeling?

Pepper: No that Ah ken. Ah dinna ken whaur it’s frae. It haed Melrose on the packet, whaurever that is. Dis it maitter?

Pompitie: No at aw---!

Pepper: Coud ye dae a cup?

Pompitie: Coud Ah no, juist?

(Pepper pours him a cup of tea and hands it to him)

Pepper: Hou did ye git aw thae sair jags ye war speakin aboot?

(Pompitie has a sip of tea and settles down)

Pompitie: Ai, that IS guid! Whaurever it cums frae---! Ah’l tell ye, Pepper, whit happent ti me the-day…….. Ah dinna think you coud hae stuiden it!

Pepper: Hou can Ah tell afore Ah even hear aboot it?

Pompitie: Na, you coud never hae stuiden it, Pepper! It wad hae been owre mukkil for ye, Ah dout. It taen aw ma smeddum ti git throu the day.

Pepper: Tell me aw aboot it, Pompitie!

Pompitie: Weill it wes lyke this. First thing this mornin, Ah wes haein a bit flie ti masell owre the Common, whan wha soud Ah see but the Broun Ogre staunin crackin ti the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows, an whit dae ye think he wes haudin in his haund?

Pepper: Ah’m shuir Ah dinna ken.

Pompitie: A gret mukkil, sherp, jaggie needle.

Pepper: Oh Mercie---!

Pompitie: He haed juist bocht it frae the Wutch.

Pepper: Did the Broun Ogre jag ye wi the Needle?

Pompitie: He wad hae, but he didna see me, wi him be-in sae big an me be-in sae wee.

Pepper: Ah wad hae been feart richt aneuch. Whit did ye dae?

Pompitie: Ah wes a wee bit feart masell, sae Ah hid masell gey smertlyke, Ah can tell ye……..Ah joukit doun oot o sicht ahint a curlie buss.

Pepper: Oh, an whit war they sayin?

Pompitie: Ah coudna hear richt, but Ah can tell ye this: they war verra thick. They war that thick thegither!

Pepper: Ye dinna tell me?

Pompitie: Ay, Ah think the Broun Ogre wes the thickest o the twa.

Pepper: But hou did ye git aw the sair jags?

Pompitie: Ti mak a lang storie short, the Broun Ogre lost the Needle. He left it ahint stickin in a mukkil puddok stuil, an Ah fand it thare. Ah stuck it in ma coat, but it kept jaggin at me an garrin me gang places an daein things Ah didna want ti dae at aw. Sae Ah said ti masell: this Needle belangs the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows. Ah’l dae the richt thing an juist gang til hir houss an tell hir Ah fand it on the Common.

Sae that’s whit Ah did. Ah wes gled ti git quut o the Needle i the feinish, but the Wutch gied me a bit taiblet for ma truibil.

(There is the sound of heavy tramping, off)

Ah wunner wha that is at this oor.

Pompitie: (Terrified) It-It’s no the Broun Ogre is it?

(Pepper goes to the window)

Pepper: That’s wha it is, richt aneuch. He’s cummin strampin doun owre the brae. Mercie, it’s lyke he wes heidin strecht this wey. Whit’s he wantin here? The’r naething for him here! He’s no eftir you is he?

Pompitie: HELP! MITHER!

(He leaps from his chair and runs round the room desperately)

He‘s fund oot aboot the Needle The Needle is mebbe wi him. HELP! Keep thaim oot! Keep thaim awa frae me! Quick, hyde iz, Pepper!

Pepper: The’r naewhaur ti hyde in here, Pompitie. Ye canna hyde ahint the curtain.

(The heavy tramping stops. Pompitie dives below the table, where he crouches, trembling. There is a short silence and in bursts the Broun Ogre carrying his club. He rests his club against the wall.)

Broun Ogre: (In a deep stern voice) Is this whaur Pompitie the g-nome bydes?

Pepper: He-He’s no here, Broun Ogre.

Broun Ogre: Ir YOU Pompitie the g-nome?

Pepper: (Nervously) N-Na, ma name’s Pepper.

Broun Ogre: But ye ir a g-nome?

Pepper: A-A-Ah think sae.

Broun Ogre: Ye’l be a frein o his, lyke?

Pepper: Ay---! Ah daursay Ah im.

Broun Ogre: Gin ye’r no him, whaur IS he?

Pepper: Ah dinna richt ken. He wes here a wee whyle sen. Ah think he haes mebbe duin a bunk.

Broun Ogre: Haes he nou? Ah never saw him cummin oot the houss.

(The Broun Ogre looks around and spots Pompitie below the table)

Broun Ogre: Wha’s that? (Pepper is silent) Is that him? (Pepper hangs his head)

(The Broun Ogre goes and picks up his club)

‘IS THAT HIM’, A SAY? (Pepper nods)

Broun Ogre: Whit the leevin Hairrie ir ye daein doun thare, Pompitie? Ah’m no gaun ti eat ye! Cum oot o thare!

(He prods Pompitie out from under the table with his club and assists him to his feet. Pompitie flinches, cowers and guards his head with his hands.)

Pompitie: Ah lyke ti play on the fluir whyles.

Broun Ogre: Oh ay, A daursay. Ah howp ye dinna expek me ti git doun on the fluir alang wi ye. Ah’m owre auld for that, Ah dout.

(Lays down his club) Ah hae juist been ti see the Wutch-that-Mends-Rainbows, an Ah cam owre ti see ye Pompitie, kis Ah wantit ti thenk ye verra kyndlie for finndin ma Needle an takkin it back til hir.

Pompitie: (Anxiously) Ye haena brocht the Needle wi ye?

Broun Ogre: Na, it’s safe hame in ma den, stuck in anther puddok stuil. Ah dinna think Ah’l be needin it onie mair.

Pompitie: Ye wantit for ti thenk me?

Broun Ogre: Ay! It wes rael guid o ye, Pompitie. Rael kynd o ye---! The Wutch telt me hou kynd ye haed been. She haes mendit ma favorite dream wi the Needle, an nou it is as guid as new again. It haps me lyke a flie’s weing.

(He hugs his shoulders affectionately)

Ah’m mukkil behauden til ye, Pompitie.

Pompitie: (Generously) It wes naething, Broun Ogre.

Pepper: Whit is yeir favorite dream, Broun Ogre? Ah howp ye’l no mynd me speirin?

Broun Ogre: Ti me, it’s the graundest dream in aw the warld.

Pepper: Ah wad fair lyke ti hear aboot it.

Pompitie: Sae wad Ah.

Broun Ogre: Ay, it’s the graundest dream in the haill warld ………but it’s no easie for me ti speak aboot it. Ah dinna finnd it easie---

Pepper & Pompitie: Please tell us, Broun Ogre!

Broun Ogre: Awricht, Ah’l tell ye, an ye promise no ti lauch at me. Ah’ve never telt oniebodie else afore. Aw ma lyfe, even whan Ah wes a wee laddie, naebodie ever lykit me.

Pompitie: Ye war never a wee laddie, shuirlie?

Broun Ogre: Ah wes aye big an strang for ma age, but it didna dae me onie guid. Ah wes aye gaun aboot brekkin things. Even ma ain mither didna think mukkil o me.

Pepper: Ah’m rael vext ti hear that, Broun Ogre.

Broun Ogre: (Sobbing) She wes aye roosed wi me. She wes aye hittin iz. Whyles she wad skelp me owre the heid for naething at aw: juist kis Ah wes thare!

Pepper: She didna?

Broun Ogre: She did! She did! SHE DID SAE! She hut me on baith lugs whan A broke hir guid teapot.

(Convulsive sobbing) Ah didna mean onie herm!

Ah juist wantit ti play wi the teapot.

(Pepper and Pompitie are struck dumb with concern)

Broun Ogre: She wes aye hittin me for naething.

(Sobbing) She wad kaim an brush ma hair, whyles. Aince she gaed oot an gethert sum braw chesnuts for me.

(Recovers and blows his nose) Sae ye see, g-nomes, kis ma mither didna lyke me, Ah didna lyke masell aither, sae Ah needit a favorite dream juist ti keep gaun---juist ti help me haud up ma heid.

Ma dream ye see, is a dream whaur awbodie in the haill warld lykes me fyne, whaur naebodie shuts the door in ma face, whaur naebodie locks me in the coal houss, an Ah’m no hochlin an ugsum onie mair.

Pepper: Naebodie is gaun ti lock ye in the coal houss in here! Ye’r no that ugsum, Broun Ogre.

Broun Ogre: Div ye think sae? It’s rael ceivil o ye ti say sae, but Ah ken fyne Ah’ve never been weill-faured. Ah ken Ah’m no bonnie. Whan Ah wes wee, a lassie burst oot greitin whan Ah tryit ti kiss hir. She said Ah wes a mukkil jessie! Juist kis ye’r big an strang, it disna mean ye want ti hurt oniebodie. It’s terrible ti ken ye’r ugsum an naebodie lykes ye. (Sobs) Whyles Ah canna beir it.

Pepper: Ah lyke ye……..a wee bit.

Broun Ogre: Sae Ah need ti hae ma favorite dream as guid as new ilka nicht, for ti keep me frae stravaigin aboot clourin fowk owre the heid wi ma mukkil stick. Ah need it for ti keep masell richt.

Pepper: Ye’r mebbe no the aunser til a maiden’s prayer, but naebodie wi onie sense wad say ye war a mukkil jessie. Sum fowk micht say ye war………. manly lyke.

Broun Ogre: (Holding his head to the side) Div ye think sae? Ah didna ken. Ah’m whyles grumfie!

Pompitie: B-Broun Ogre---!

Broun Ogre: But eftir ma favorite dream Ah’m no grumfie onie mair. Ah’m as cannie an freinlie as a spaniel dug.

(Pompitie pulls Ogre by the sleeve)

Broun Ogre: Whit is’t, Pompitie?

Pompitie: Dae ye think…..? The tea is maskit. Dae ye think, Broun Ogre, ye wad lyke ti byde for a wee whyle an hae a cup o tea an a trekkil scone wi us?



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Information about Document 1341

Pompitie Finnds a Needle - play


Text audience

Children (under 13s)
Teenagers (13-17)
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2002
Word count 11406

Text setting


Text type

Script (film, play, radio, tv etc.)


Author details

Author id 17
Forenames David
Surname Purves
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Biochemist
Place of birth Selkirk
Region of birth Selkirk
Birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Master Grocer
Father's place of birth Selkirk
Father's region of birth Selkirk
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Selkirk
Mother's region of birth Selkirk
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes