In the Kingdom of Bushelpeck, a fairytale land near the Wonderweird Forest during the Festival of All Cukes.
(8 actors, with doubling; 5 M and 3W)
Villager/Princess Sunnysky/Juggling Lion
Villager One/Herald/Mouse (male)
Villager Two/Servant/Witch/Snozzle (female)
(NOTE: The cast can be expanded, without doubling. An ensemble can also be added.)
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Bushelpeck, a land near the Wonderweird Forest, the townspeople are preparing for the Festival of Cukes. They gather their best bushels of cucumbers in hopes that King Willoughbye will select them to be included in his favorite dessert – Pickle-Chiffon Pie.
Unfortunately, this year, the cucumbers in Bushelpeck are in short supply. It is the great cucumber crisis of the century! And to boot, the King’s daughter, Princess Sunnyskye, is of marrying age and the royal family must find a suitable mate for her. Prince Wellred, who is very smart, Prince Musselbaum, who is very strong, and Prince Bernard (Sunnyskye’s favorite), who is very courteously kind, have all been invited to the castle for dinners. They eat so much of the King’s pie that it just adds to the crisis.
After dinner one night, the King decides to hold a contest to find a husband for the Princess, thereby reducing the number of people at dinner. This contest will be between Musselbaum and Wellred. But, the strong-willed Princess tries to persuade the King to include Prince Bernard too. With a little more coaxing by the Queen, the King agrees to include Prince Bernard, mostly because he is certain that Bernard isn’t strong or smart enough to win his contest anyway.
The King summons the three Princes to meet at the enchanted Wonderweird forest. He explains that whoever brings back the most wonderful thing will win the hand of the Princess. Along the way, each Prince encounters strange and interesting creatures. Musselbaum and Wellred are each sure that they have found the “Most Wonderful Thing,” while Bernard continues to search for his prize.
At the castle, Wellred and Musselbaum present their ‘wonderful things,’ to the King but Bernard has brought back nothing. He explains the incredible things he encountered, but also the reasons that stopped him from bringing them back to the King. In particular, he explains how he found a three-nosed Snozzle baking Pickle-Chiffon Pie, which he was certain was the most ‘wonderful thing.’ But, he decided not to take the Snozzle because, as he tried to drag the Snozzle toward the castle, he saw several small Snozzle children who would be left behind. After considering his love for the Princess and the Snozzle’s love for her children, he released the Snozzle.
After contemplation, The King announces that Bernard has won the contest because what he brought back from the forest isn’t “nothing” at all, but a tale of kindness, love and consideration for others, which is truly the “Most Wonderful Thing.”
Bernard and the Princess are married. At the wedding celebration, the Snozzle arrives and presents a giant Pickle-Chiffon Pie that she made from a generous supply of cucumbers in the forest. And they all live happily ever after!
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