The lamp on the table lights. The two children wake and sit up in bed.
Tyltyl. Are you sleeping?
Mytyl. And you?
Tyltyl. No; how can I sleep when I’m talking to you?
Mytyl. Is this Christmas Day?
Tyltyl. Not yet; not till tomorrow. But Father Christmas won’t bring us anything this year.
Mytyl. Why not?
Tyltyl. Mummy says that she can’t go to town to tell him. But he will come next year. He will come to the rich children tonight.
Tyltyl. Of course. I have an idea!
Tyltyl. Let’s get up!
Mytyl. But we mustn’t.
Tyltyl. Why, there’s no one about. Do you see the shutters?
Mytyl. Oh, how bright they are!
Tyltyl. It’s the Christmas-tree of the rich children. Let’s open the shutters.
Mytyl. Can we?
Tyltyl. Of course; no one will stop us. Do you hear the music? Let us get up!
The two children get up, run to one of the windows, and throw back the shutters. A bright light fills the room.
Tyltyl. We can see everything!
Mytyl. I can’t.
Tyltyl. It’s snowing! There are two carriages, with six horses each!
Mytyl. And twelve little boys!
Tyltyl. How silly you are! They’re little girls.
Mytyl. They’ve got trousers.
Tyltyl. What do you know? Don’t push so!
Mytyl. I never touched you.
Tyltyl. I see the tree!
Mytyl. What tree?
Tyltyl. The Christmas-tree! Lots and lots of lights!
Mytyl. What are those people doing? They are making such a noise.
Tyltyl. They’re the musicians.
Mytyl. Are they angry?
Tyltyl. No; but they work hard.
Mytyl. Another carriage with white horses!
Tyltyl. Be quiet! And look!
Mytyl. What are those gold things there?
Tyltyl. Toys! Swords, guns, soldiers, cannons.
Mytyl. And dolls; are there any dolls?
Tyltyl. Dolls? That’s too silly; dolls are not funny.
Mytyl. And what’s that all round the table?
Tyltyl. Cakes and fruit and tarts.
Mytyl. I had some once when I was little.
Tyltyl. So did I; it’s nicer than bread, but it’s very little.
Mytyl. They’ve got many tarts there. The whole table’s full. Are they going to eat them?
Tyltyl. Of course; what else will they do with them?
Mytyl. Why don’t they eat them at once?
Tyltyl. Because they’re not hungry.
Mytyl (surprised). Not hungry? Why not?
Tyltyl. Because they eat whenever they want.
Mytyl (incredulously). Every day?
Tyltyl. They say so.
Mytyl. Will they eat it all? Will they give some cakes to us?
Tyltyl. They don’t know us.
Mytyl. Let’s ask them.
Tyltyl. We mustn’t.
Mytyl. Why not?
Tyltyl. Because it’s not right.
Mytyl (clapping her hands). Oh, how pretty they are!
Tyltyl. And how they’re laughing and laughing!
Mytyl. And the little babies are dancing!
Tyltyl. Yes, yes; let’s dance too!
Mytyl. Oh, what fun!
Tyltyl. They’re taking the cakes! They can touch them! They’re eating, they’re eating, they’re eating!
Mytyl. Two, three, four cakes!
Tyltyl. Oh, how lovely! Oh, how lovely, how lovely!
A knock at the door of the cottage.
Tyltyl (frightened). What’s that?
Mytyl (scared). It’s Daddy!
The big latch is rising, with a noise. The children see a little old woman dressed in green with a red hood on her head. She is humpbacked and lame and near-sighted; her nose and chin meet; and she walks with a stick. She is obviously a fairy.
The Fairy. Do you have the grass here that sings or the bird that is blue?
Tyltyl. We have some grass, but it can’t sing.
Mytyl. Tyltyl has a bird.
Tyltyl. But I can’t give it to you.
The Fairy. Why not?
Tyltyl. Because it’s mine.
The Fairy. That’s a reason, no doubt. Where is the bird?
Tyltyl. In the cage.
The Fairy. I don’t want it; it’s not blue enough. You must go and find me the bird I want.
Tyltyl. But I don’t know where it is.
The Fairy. Me too. That’s why you must look for it. And I must have the blue bird. It’s for my little girl, who is very ill.
Tyltyl. What’s the matter with her?
The Fairy. We don’t quite know; she wants to be happy.
The Fairy. Do you know who I am?
Tyltyl. You’re rather like our neighbour, Madame Berlingot.
The Fairy (angrily). Not a bit! This is intolerable! I am the Fairy Berylune.
Tyltyl. Oh! Very well.
The Fairy. You must start at once.
Tyltyl. Are you coming with us?
The Fairy. I can’t, my soup always boils over if I leave it for more than an hour. (Pointing to the ceiling, the chimney and the window). Will you go out this way, or that way, or that way?
Tyltyl (pointing timidly to the door). I want to go out that way.
The Fairy (angrily again). That’s quite impossible. It’s shocking! (Pointing to the window) We’ll go out this way. Well? What are you waiting for? Get dressed at