This site is not part of the official CPC website. It is, however, a collection of practices related to how the members of CPC often celebrate the eight holidays of Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostre, Beltane, Midsommer, Lughnasadh, and Mabon. This website was begun in 2005 by Myth Woodling, with the assistance of her webmaster/Spouse, Thoron Woodling, and is offered as a free service to the CPC community. More information will be added about the holidays as seems relevant. Please send comments and suggestions to Myth Woodling.

The Yuletide Mummer's Play
(adapted from Richard and Roni Schotter's There's A Dragon About, A Winter's Revel)

Director's instructions to caste

  1. Have fun. This is supposed to be fun.
  2. Don't worry about screwing up your lines. The word, mumble, comes from mummer.
  3. Project your lines. Even if you get 'em wrong, say 'em loud.
  4. Over-act. Try to Out-Ham Hamlet.
  5. Nobody hit the dragon. Seriously!
  6. As you fight the dragon, walk around him, make noice, swinging your props, but take care not to hit him or your fellow actors.
  7. The dragon may growl, but not actually claw anyone or eat them. Menace with the claws without actually touching anyone.
  8. When you get up off the floor, after being revived, stretch and yawn like you are waking up.
  9. Sing "Deck the Halls" with gusto.

Dramatis PersonaeProps used
Father YuleStaff with evergreens on it
La BefanaBroom, patched apron with pocket, orange(s)
King ColeCrown, bowl, sword
Queen MegCrown, pennant or flag
Brave TessPot, spoon
Little JackAxe
Giant BlunderboreFlyswatter
DragonGloves (claws), hat (teeth)
Knight GeorgeHobbyhorse, horn, sword
DoctorLab coat, mistletoe
(May get mistletoe from Father Yule)

Set-up: Chairs for Father Yule and La Befana

Director, to audience
This is an old story. It's directly adapted from a children's book called, "There's a Dragon About." However, it's connected to the medieval mummer's play of Saint George and the Dragon. It got changed a little bit. You'll have to see how.

However, this is a participatory program. You are all supposed to help our characters out, particularly with seeing the dragon. Warn them if you see the dragon. Yell "Ho! Dragon!" Clap, point, stomp your feet. Everyone, let's practice that.

Ho! dragon! (Clap twice, then point.) Uh...I didn't hear you. Let's try that again.

Ho! dragon! (Clap twice, then point.)

And when the good guys are winning, you have to cheer for them. Can everyone cheer?

The Play

Opening lines by Director or Narrator:
Room, room, give us room to rhyme!
We've come to show you activity upon this winter time.

Hold, friends, hold! We are very cold.
Inside and outside, we are very cold.
Something to warm us, if we may.
For that, kind folks, we'll give you a play.

(Father Yule enters, wearing a long white beard and staff, decorated with evergreens. This includes, preferably, mistletoe.)

Father Yule:
Here come I, old Father Yule.
Welcome or welcome not,
I pray old Father Yule never be forgot!

Hot cider, fruit cake,
Figgy pudding and mince pie.
And who likes that any better than I?

(Father Yule sits and marks.)

La Befana:
La Befana comes at night.
Worn shoes don't fit right.
I have brought my broom,
To sweep away the winter gloom.
Patches on an apron, in a pocket a treat.
Here, Father Yule, an orange sweet.

(She hands an orange to Father Yule and sits.)

There's a dragon about.
If you see him, shout!
He grunts. He groans.
He growls. He grins.
Watch! Our revel now begins.

King Cole:
I'm King Cole,
And here is my bride.
I've a crown on my head
And a sword by my side.

Queen Meg:
I'm Queen Meg.
Hear what I say.
I'm scared of dragons,
But I won't run away.
(Waves pennant or flag.)

Little Jack:
Jack's my name.
I'm brave as can be.
I can kill dragons.
They're nothing to me.
(Brandishes axe.)

Giant Blunderbore:
I'm Giant Blunderbore--
Fee, fie, fum.
Here to fight dragons,
So I say, "Come!"
(Brandishes flyswatter.)

Little Jack: (hiding or cringing in terror from the Giant)
The dragon I'll battle
Without any fear,
But show me a giant,
And I disappear.

Giant Blunderbore:
Come on out, little man Jack.
A thump on your rump and a whack on your back.
(Waves flyswatter at Little Jack, like he's going to smack Little Jack over the tush with it.)

Brave Tess:
My name's Tess,
Full five years old,
Ready to battle
The dragon bold.
(Bangs pot with spoon.)

King Cole: So here we join and take our stand,
Blunderbore, brave Tess, and Jack at hand.
(Pantomime drinking from bowl.)

Narrator: If you see the dragon, ring a bell,
Clap your hands, or give a yell.

(As Dragon enters, Father Yule should play the part of a shill for the audience, clapping his hands, pointing as he says something such as, "Ho, Dragon!" or "Uh, oh! Dragon!" At first, the other characters do not see where Father Yule is pointing, until the audience helps draw it to their attention. When they see the Dragon, the characters cringe, duck, and hide. Then the Dragon finally begins his lines.)

Stand on head, stand on feet!
Meat! Meat!
Meat for to eat!
I am the Dragon--
Here are my jaws!
I am the Dragon--
Here are my claws!
Meat! Meat!
Meat for to eat!
Stand on head, stand on feet.

Knight George: (arriving on hobby horse)
(Blows his horn.)
I am George, the famous knight.
What can we use to win this fight?

These are our tricks--
Ho, Dragon, ho!
These are our sticks--
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Whack, Dragon, so!
(George blows his horn to lead the charge.)

(Everyone fights the dragon with much slapstick and exaggerated gestures. In particular, characters encircle the Dragon, making music, noise, and shouting. Dragon waves his claws and growls. Eventually everyone, including the dragon, is mortally wounded and falls down. Knight George must "die" on center stage.)

Father Yule: (stands up from his seat)
Look, my friends, they've fallen down.
Can someone raise them from the ground?

Doctor: (entering)
I am the doctor. I can cure all ills.
Not with potions, not with pills.
I cure itch, stitch, pox, and gout,
Pains within and pains without.

(Doctor pauses to collect a piece of evergreen from Father Yule's staff--preferably mistletoe. If the Doctor forgets, the Narrator may hand this to him.)

I'll cast a spell and wave my hand,
And order everyone to stand.

(Wave mistletoe or other evergreen over the fallen characters.)

Like winter's end when spring rains fall,
Nature, be freed and heed my call.
Bloom again, rise again, one and all!

(Characters appear to awaken as though they've only been asleep, as the Doctor says their names. Father Yule may assist people in rising, particularly the ladies.)

Wake up, George. Up, Queen-bride.
King, Tess, Jack, stand aside.
Up from the floor, Blunderbore!
The dreadful Dragon is no more.

Father Yule:
All rejoice, girl and boy,
And wish the people winter joy.

(All the characters cheer, except for the dragon.)

Hey! What about me?
I've been bad, no doubt.
But must I lie here lonely,
All left out?

Dragons stay dead in stories of old.
But we agree to break that mold.

Rise up, Dragon, and kindly greet us.
We forgive you now,
Though you tried to eat us.

(Dragon arises. All characters shake hands and exchange hugs and cheer.)

Put up your sticks.
An end to the fun.
Stop all your tricks.
Our revel is done.

Be there loaf in your locker,
And sheep in your fold,
A fire on your hearth,
And good luck for your lot,
Money in your pocket,
And a pudding in your pot!


Note: As a transition from the play to the ritual, actors sing and encourage the audience to join them in singing, and if possible, get them to stand in circle.

"Deck the Halls"

Deck the Halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

About the characters
The Dramatis Personae in this Mummer's play are largely taken from the wonderful book by Richard and Roni Schotter, There's a Dragon About, A Winter's Revel. Like older Mummer's plays from England, the characters have been lifted from various bits of folklore and are, hopefully, recognizable to the audience. King Cole, for example, is from the old nursery rhyme:

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe
And he colled for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
The bowl is a wassail bowl filled with hot cider, spices, and possibly ale. Little Jack and Giant Blunderbore are drawn from the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. Knight George and the Dragon are both from the story cycle of the patron saint of England (see below). The Doctor is also drawn from English Mummer's plays. He is a folk healer or fairy doctor. There is no princess, per se, in this Mummer's play. Instead, we have Queen Meg and Brave Tess. Father Yule does not appear in the Schotter's book. He is adapted from the appearance of Father Christmas in many other Mummer's plays. La Befana is not a figure in the old English Mummer's plays. She is a gift giving spirit from Italy who arrives carrying a broom and giving away treats to good children.

This particular Mummer's play has been performed by adults and children attending our Yule Feasts since December 2003. However, the tradtion began in 2000, before the inception of organization, involving many of the same people. Children in particular enjoy being part of this play.

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