The Silly King & the Wrong Wife

As well as the ballet fanstasy, The Little Ballet of the Handkerchief Princess the February Half Term Treat at The Harlequin Puppet Theatre includes the funny puppet play written especially for puppets, The Silly King and the Wrong Wife.

This rather old fashioned fairy story was written by an American lady called Edna St. Vincent Millay. It was originally called Two Slatterns and a King but since we realised very few people know what the word slattern means we thought it deserved a new title.

The King really is silly. First he says he’ll never ever get married, then completely changes his mind and goes looking for a wife. His idea of a wife is someone who is clean and neat and tidy, and good at washing clothes and cleaning palaces and cooking meals and making beds and ….  do you think he’s really looking for a wife? It sounds more like a servant doesn’t it?

The King

Anyway he goes about it in completely the wrong way, and he’s bossy too! Well he gets his deserts. There’s mischievious demon called Chance, and he can make everything go wrong, and he does.

Mistress Tidy

The King rejects Mistress Tidy, who is having a very difficult day, but is very impressed by Mistress Slut.

The King thinks he has been so clever and found the perfect wife to be his slave, but in the end it looks like he’s the one who gets bossed around and probably has to do the washing up!


Mistress Slut

This story was written with adults as much in mind as children. The moral of the tale is pretty universal but the language aimed at adults and older children would seem a challenge for the little ones. Nevertheless they usually listen attentively and are amused by the situation of the King being fooled, while the adults will probably enjoy the poetic and witty dialogue.

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