When Peer escaped from the trolls and the Mountain King he lept into darkness. Now he is floating or falling through the void. A mysterious voice speaks to him in riddles.
Dedicated to Sylvie.
Peer Gynt: Richard Scott.
The Bøyg: Jana Elizabeth.
Peer’s Mother: Bertie.
Solveig: Jana Elizabeth.
Story adapted by Bertie.
Audio Edited & Produced by Jana and Bertie.
Solveig Song: Sung by Jana Elizabeth.
Bertie: Peer Gynt has escaped from the hall of the Mountain King and the trolls by leaping into vast empty darkness. He is not sure if he is floating or falling. And then he hears a voice...
Peer: Who are you?
Voice: I am, myself.
Peer: You are yourself. That makes no sense.
Voice: Can you say as much?
Peer: What is the meaning of these strange words?
Voice: You are never yourself, you are too busy pretending to be somebody else, Prince Peer, future emperor of the world.
Peer: Show yourself! Let me fight you!
Voice: You trust your fists and your youthful strength, but your inner self is weak. How ready you were just now to give up your humanity!
Peer: But in the end I refused!
Voice: By leaping into nothing you escaped from your own emptiness.
Peer: Who are you that speaks in these riddles?
Voice: I am the Bøyg.
Peer: Well Bøyg, will you kindly release me from this void?
Voice: I will release you if you can tell me of one time when you were true to yourself.
Peer: It is correct that in my 20 years I have not often been true to myself. But I’ve changed recently. Truly, you must believe me.
Voice: I asked for an example, not pleading.
Peer: I was ready to give up my humanity just now, and I would have become a troll, but for one thing.. if I could not see beauty, I would never see my love again, not even in my dreams. I refused. I stood firm. I was true to myself.
Voice: Interesting. But should I believe that even the worst of souls can be true on occasion? Even one who swore to be false?
Church Bells ring out
Peer: What do those bells mean?
Voice: This time you were fortunate. You were saved by the sound of church bells rung by one who is good and pure. Had she not remembered you - had she not come to your rescue - you would have stayed here forever, suspended in darkness, nothingness, emptiness.
Peer: Who saved me, tell me who saved me?
Voice: Do you not know? Are there so many people in your life who are good and pure?
Peer: What is their name? I can’t think of anyone.
Voice: Solveig of course, Solveig, Solveig, Solveig.
Church bells and birds singing
Peer: Hello Light! Hello Sun! How I missed your life giving warmth!
It was Solveig who rescued me from the darkness and the void. It was Solveig who remembered me, and who rang the church bells for me. She brought me back to the light. She thought of me. If only I could see her now.
Peer: Solveig, is it you?
Solveig: Yes, I came to find you, to warn you. Ingrid’s father has had you declared an outlaw. He says you came to kidnap his daughter from her wedding. If you go back to the village you will be killed.
Peer: Well that’s no loss. I didn't mean to go back to my old life anyway.
Solveig: But your mother is grieving for you. She thinks you are lost, dead. She is dying of a broken heart.
Peer: What should I do?
Solveig: Why? You must sneak back to see her of course. Let her know you are alive. And then you must disappear. Leave this land. Make your way in the world.
Peer: And leave you?
Solveig: I shall keep you in my heart. I promise.
Peer: Why, why me? I am a good for nothing. A bad son, a fantasist, a poet. What use am I?
Solveig: Everyone has good in them, and what I see in you my love, is warmth from your heart, creativity and romance. Yes, some may say you are immature, but that is something that life will cure.
Now, go! You must hurry to your mother before it is too late.
But make sure nobody sees you on the way, because they will haul you before the magistrate if they do.
Peer.. Be safe.. I will keep you in my heart, and one day we will be reunited.. in this world or the next.
Music - knocking on door
Peer’s Mother: Who’s there?
Peer: Mother, it is I.
Peer’s Mother: Who?
Peer: Your son, Peer.
Peer’s Mother: I don’t believe you.
Peer: Ha! Well nothing’s changed there then!
Peer’s Mother: Peer. You have come back to me. Thank you God for saving you.
Peer: Mother, do you see my bed and my duvet? They are the same as when I was a child.
Peer’s Mother: I see them. You used to say that it was a sleigh, and Blackie our cat was a reindeer to pull you through the air at night, away to a magic castle made of ice.
Peer: Dear Blackie. She is still with us.
Peer’s: She is ancient now.
Peer: But still able to pull a sleigh. Come Mother, close your eyes. Let me take you on a journey. The sleigh bells are tinkling. We are flying, flying through the stars. Look, there is the ice palace, glistening on the mountain top. Let’s drop down for a while and speak to the Snow Queen.
Peer’s Mother: My eyes are tired.
Peer: Sweet dreams, dear Mother, sweet dreams. And if you don’t see me for a while, know that I remember you. I must go, for they have made me an outlaw.
Peer’s: Go, go son, and stay safe. Send me word to me if you can, that all is well.
Peer: Goodbye dear Mother, I shall, I shall.
So I must leave the village where I was born, and everyone I love, my mother, Solveig, Blackie the cat! There is no one else that I shall miss. I have three lumps of gold in my knapsack, the nuggets that I picked from the Hall of the Mountain King. I will head far away from here, to the sea and pay my passage to go abroad, trade goods on the Silk Road, make my fortune, and I shall only return when I have been crowned emperor of the world! Then they shall all laugh on the other sides of their faces.
And I’m delighted to dedicate this episode to Sylvie and her Mother Alison, who support us on Patreon. Sylvie’s favourite story is Astropup and the Dog Master. And her favourite character is the parrot.
Parrot: Thanks so much Sylvia and Alison!
Thank you so much to our wonderful Richard!
The Storynory version of Peer Gynt is read by Richard Scott, with help from Bertie, Amarni, Sophie and me, Jana.
Bertie has adapted the script from the drama, by Henrik Ibsen, and we have recorded and produced our own version of the music by the Norwegian composer, Edvard Greig. We have drawn our own illustrations too.
Producing these stories takes a huge effort and a massive amount of time, so if you can support us, we would be incredibly grateful.
The front page of Storynory.com has links to our Patreon page, and also to PayPal. And now you can even donate with Bitcoin.
There will be five episodes of Peer Gynt in all.
For now, from all of us at Storynory.com - Goodbye.