The Fairy Godmother's Assistant
by Bruce Lansky

From Girls to the Rescue Book #1

With the fairy godmother on vacation, the fairy godmother's assistant must use clever ways to help Ella, a king, and two squabbling princes.

 
       

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Characters in Order of Appearance
Narrator (or Fairy Godmother's Assistant)
Fairy Godmother's Assistant
Fairy Godmother
Ella
King
Prince Herman
Prince Sherman


Narrator: When you need help, don't you wish a fairy godmother would suddenly appear to make things right? Well, don't hold your breath. She doesn't do that kind of thing anymore. (She's getting on in years, you know.) So if you want some help-she still fixes anything from broken windows to broken hearts-you'll have to visit her little cottage in the Bavarian woods and wait your turn, just like everyone else. And when you knock on the door, I'll let you in and make you comfortable. I'll even serve you a nice cold glass of lemonade. You see, I'm the fairy godmother's assistant.

My job used to be quite simple, really, until the fairy godmother announced she would be taking a much-needed vacation. I was scared stiff! What would I say to people who came for help? I didn't know any magic. I couldn't have turned a pumpkin into a glittering coach if my life depended on it. I remember exactly what she told me as she was leaving.

Fairy Godmother: Don't worry.

Narrator: the fairy godmother told me.

Godmother: You're very sensible. I'm sure you'll find a way to handle whatever comes up. And besides, I'll only be gone for a few days.

Narrator: To be honest, I didn't get much sleep that night. I kept wondering how I could possibly fill her shoes. I got up the next morning and went to the kitchen to make a fresh pitcher of lemonade. When I heard a knock on the door, I opened it and found a young woman with a tear-strained face, wearing a tattered dress. I explained that the fairy godmother would be gone for a few days and that I was her assistant. But she looked so sad that I invited her in for a glass of lemonade to cheer her up. As soon as she sat down, she started to cry. I sat beside her and gave her a handkerchief to dry her eyes.

Assistant: First wipe away your tears. Then tell me what's bothering you.

Narrator: I said in a soothing voice. The young woman took a few breaths before speaking.

Ella: My name is Ella, but my stepmother and stepsisters call me Cinder-Ella, because my apron is always covered with cinders from cleaning the fireplace. They are mean to me and make me clean the house, cook, sew, and run errands all day while they have fun. Now I have to make them new gowns for the royal ball. But I want to go too.

Narrator: She started to cry again. I could guess where this was leading.

Assistant: I'm very sorry to hear that.

Narrator: I responded.

Assistant: I suppose you came to ask the fairy godmother to get you to the ball. Is that it?

Narrator: She nodded.

Assistant: I wish I could help you, but I make lemonade not magic.

Narrator: Ella began to cry again.

Ella: Can't you do anything?

Assistant: There's not much I can do. It's really up to you.

Narrator: She dried her eyes again with the handkerchief and stared at me in amazement.

Ella: Up to me?

Narrator: she queried.

Assistant: It's really very simple.

Narrator: I said.

Assistant: If you want to go to the ball, go. And don't let anything or anyone stand in your way.

Ella: But how can I go to the ball without an evening gown?

Assistant: Don't look at me.

Narrator: I responded.

Assistant: You're the seamstress. If you can make beautiful gowns for your two stepsisters, why not make another for yourself?

Narrator: Ella pondered this for awhile, then shook her head.

Ella: But I can't afford to buy silk or velvet. How can I make a gown without any fabric?

Assistant: Are there any velvet curtains in your house? Or silk bed sheets?

Narrator: Her worried look slowly turned into a smile.

Ella: There sure are!

Narrator: she gushed. But her smile was shortlived. Another question had flashed into her mind.

Ella: But what about dancing slippers? I don't have any.

Assistant: Then don't wear any.

Narrator: I advised. Ella couldn't believe her ears.

Ella: You mean I should go to the royal ball barefooted?

Assistant: What choice do you have, unless you want to wear those ugly boots you're wearing?

Ella: How am I supposed to get to the ball?

Narrator: she asked. This young woman certainly could think up problems!

Ella: The royal palace is almost a mile from my house.

Narrator: I knew Ella wouldn't like my answer.

Assistant: I suppose you'll just have to walk.

Narrator: A big frown appeared on her face. This wasn't the kind of help she had hoped to get from her fairy godmother.

Ella: But they'll never let me in if I don't arrive in a fancy, horse-drawn carriage.

Narrator: she whined.

Assistant: You're right.

Narrator: I agreed.

Assistant: They may not let you in through the main gate, but I don't think there's anyone guarding the door to kitchen. Do you?

Ella: I guess not.

Narrator: she said tentatively.

Ella: At least, I hope not!

Narrator: Ella seemed uncomfortable with my answers. She'd never done anything so daring before. I wasn't surprised when I heard another "but."

Ella: But if a prince asks me to dance, what should I say?

Assistant: Ask him to be careful not to step on your toes.

Narrator: I joked. Ella laughed so hard, she had to use the handkerchief again. Sensing she was close to deciding in favor of going to the ball, I gave her one more push.

Assistant: What have you got to lose?

Ella: Nothing.

Narrator: Ella exclaimed, smiling from ear to ear.

Ella: Nothing at all.

Narrator: She stood up to shake my hand.

Ella: Thank you for all your help. I've got to go now. I've got so many things to do!

Narrator: Before she left, I offered her some final advice.

Assistant: If you don't want your stepmother and stepsisters to know you've been to the ball, be sure to leave by twelve o'clock sharp. That way you'll be back in bed by the time they get home.

Narrator: I was quite pleased with myself for helping Ella. Relaxing for a moment with a glass of lemonade, I wondered if the fairy godmother with all her magic could have done a better job. I spent a good part of the day congratulating myself and feeling thankful I'd gotten through my first visitor without messing up.

After dinner I was surprised by a knock at the door. When I opened it up, I discovered a distinguished-looking elderly gentleman. He looked ever-so-much like the king, as pictured on every postage stamp in Bavaria, except that this man looked older, frailer, ad far more worried. He must have been trying to keep his visit a secret; no guards or footmen were with him. I curtsied deeply as soon as I let him in.

King: Enough of that.

Narrator: he blustered.

King: I must see the fairy godmother at once!

Assistant: I'm sorry, Your Highness.

Narrator: I explained.

Assistant: She's away. Can I help you?

King: Perhaps.

Narrator: he replied.

King: Do you know where she keeps her magic potions?

Assistant: If you tell me which potion you'd like, I'll be happy to look.

Narrator: I said in as helpful a voice as I could muster. The king looked embarrassed.

King: Well, actually, I'm looking for a potion that would enable me to, well… live forever.

Narrator: I offered the king a comfortable chair, excused myself, and went to the cabinet where the fairy godmother kept her potions. In a short time I returned with a handful of bottles.

Assistant: I've found a potion to keep your breath fresh longer, and one to make your suntan last longer. But I can't find anything to help you live longer, not even for a day.

Narrator: His royal highness was definitely not overjoyed by this news.

King: In that case, I'll wait here till the fairy godmother returns. You see, I'm not feeling well, and the royal doctors haven't been much use.

Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that, Your Highness. What seems to be the problem?

King: My back, for one thing. It's killing me. And I can't sleep at night because of terrible gas pains, not to mention splitting headaches. My eyesight's growing dim. I'm deaf in one ear. I'm growing forgetful… or did I mention that already? But worst of all, my twin sons are driving me crazy! Aside from that, I'm fine-just fine.

Narrator: There was no mistaking his sarcastic tone.

Assistant: I think you must be terribly uncomfortable, Your Highness. But why would you want to live forever? Surely your health will continue to get worse as you grow older. In a few years, you'll be confined to bed. Would you enjoy living forever in bed?

King: I never thought of it that way.

Narrator: he admitted thoughtfully.

King: But at least if I lived forever, I wouldn't have to worry about how to divide the kingdom between my sons, Prince Sherman and Prince Herman. They're identical twins, you know. Even I can't tell them apart. You see, no matter how I divide it, one or both of them will be angry with me. Their squabbling is driving me crazy… or did I mention that already?

Narrator: he asked absent-mindedly.

Assistant: Your memory serves you well.

Narrator: I answered diplomatically.

Assistant: But I wonder, if two sons' squabbling is driving you crazy, how will you like it when you have eight grandchildren arguing over how to divide the kingdom? Or thirty-two great-grandchildren? Or a hundred-and-twenty-eight great-great-grandchildren? If you're not crazy yet, that should do it.

Narrator: The king appeared lost in thought.

King: Come to think of it,

Narrator: he answered,

King: the longer I put off making a decision, the worse it will get. I suppose I'll have to make the best of my situation for as long as I can. You've been more helpful than you can imagine. I'm glad the fairy godmother was away.

Narrator: With more energy than he'd displayed since he arrived, he got up from his chair and announced,

King: I must be on my way.

Narrator: He smiled as though a great burden had been lifted from his back. He headed for the door, opened it, and was almost gone when he turned and said,

King: I want you to forget that I was ever here… or did I mention that already?

Narrator: He reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of gold coins, which he handed me. He didn't see me collapse into the armchair and pull out a handkerchief to wipe my face. This had been a most unusual day, and I was anxious to relax in a tub full of hot water and bubbles. (I'd found an excellent bubble bath in the fairy godmother's potion cabinet.) The next morning was uneventful. I'd slept well and was ready for anything. Then , around noon, "anything" happened. Who do you think knocked at the fairy godmother's door just as I was starting to think about lunch? Prince Sherman and Prince Herman! The first thing I noticed when I let them in was how angry they looked. They were arguing about something on the doorstep, and they continued to argue as I opened the door.

Sherman: I want the horses and the stables so I can play polo.

Narrator: said Prince Sherman. (I could tell he was Sherman because he had a large "S" monogrammed on his tunic.)

Herman: No way.

Narrator: replied Prince Herman. (He was the one with a large "H" monogrammed on his tunic.

Herman: I like to ride, too.

Assistant: Excuse me, Your Highnesses.

Narrator: I said as I curtsied.

Assistant: I'm afraid the fairy godmother isn't here. I'm her assistant.

Sherman: That's all right.

Narrator: said Prince Sherman.

Sherman: Our father, the king, sent us to see you.

Narrator: I couldn't believe my ears.

Assistant: He sent you to see me?

Herman: That's right.

Narrator: said Prince Herman.

Herman: You see, he told us he's very sick and doesn't have long to live. And he said we'd have to figure out how to divide up the kingdom ourselves.

Sherman: And…

Narrator: Prince Sherman continued,

Sherman: he said if we couldn't figure it out, to come and see you. Which is why we're here.

Assistant: What do you expect me to do?

Narrator: I asked.

Assistant: You know, I'm just the fairy godmother's assistant. I don't do magic.

Herman: We know all that.

Narrator: said Prince Herman.

Herman: But father said that what you do is better than magic.

Narrator: I was surprised… no, stunned… no, shocked!

Assistant: I-I- I'm fl-flattered.

Narrator: I stammered, not knowing what else to say.

Sherman and Herman: So we'd like you to divide up the kingdom for us.

Narrator: they said in unison.

Assistant: I don't suppose I can refuse a royal command.

Narrator: I said hesitantly.

Sherman: What do you mean?

Narrator: asked Prince Sherman suspiciously.

Assistant: You see, if I decide how to divide the royal kingdom, then you'll both be mad at me, because I can't possibly make you both happy. But I do have a few suggestions.

Sherman and Herman: Such as?

Narrator: they demanded. I cleared my throat to create some drama.

Assistant: Ahem.

Sherman and Herman: Yes?

Narrator: they asked, waiting for a brilliant pronouncement.

Assistant: Well, you could both renounce the throne and let your cousin Fritz rule.

Narrator: The twins looked at each other, wondering whether the other would seriously consider such a proposal.

Sherman and Herman: Nah!

Narrator: they said simultaneously.

Assistant: Or you could share the throne and rule together.

Sherman: Impossible!

Narrator: exclaimed Prince Sherman.

Herman: Disastrous!

Narrator: proclaimed Prince Herman.

Sherman: We can't agree about anything.

Narrator: added Prince Sherman. He paused.

Sherman: Well, almost anything. We both agree that's a stupid idea.

Assistant: Then there is only one other option.

Narrator: Again I paused for dramatic effect.

Assistant: Prince Sherman, you divide the kingdom as evenly as you can. Prince Herman, you choose which half you want.

Narrator: Prince Sherman looked at Prince Herman. Prince Herman looked at Prince Sherman. They smiled. Then they looked at me. Still smiling, they both reached into their pockets, pulled out bags of gold coins, and handed them to me at the same time. Then they walked out the door with their arms on each other's shoulders. They barely made it through the door.

Assistant: I can't believe it!

Narrator: I said to no one in particular as soon as I'd collapsed into the armchair again. Thank goodness there were no more visitors that day. I'd had all the excitement I could handle.

That night over dinner, I wondered whether Ella ever went to the royal ball. The next day I found out. Just before noon she knocked on the front door. She was carrying a satchel and looking tired but happy. I was about to ask, "How was the ball?" but she started talking before I could say a word.

Ella: The ball was great! The music! The food! The dancing! Everything! I would never have gone without your help!

Narrator: she gushed.

Assistant: Thanks.

Narrator: I replied.

Assistant: But I can't take any credit. You did it all yourself. By the way, what's in your satchel?

Ella: All my belongings.

Narrator: Ella replied.

Ella: After attending the royal ball, I really couldn't go back to living with my stepmother and stepsisters. So I decided to move to town and open up a dressmaker's shop. I really am a good seamstress, you know. I just came by to thank you and to tell you the latest news from court. Last night, the king announced he was stepping down from the throne so he could travel. He turned the throne over to Prince Herman-all except the stables. Apparently, Prince Sherman had decided to devote himself to polo.

Narrator: As she was leaving, I said,

Assistant: I'd like to be your first customer. I'll be in to see you for a fitting next week.

Ella: Thanks.

Narrator: she said.

Ella: Maybe we can go to the royal ball together next year.

Assistant: I'd love to.

Narrator: I replied.

Assistant: But next year we'll go in style. We'll rent a coach for the evening. And we'll both wear dancing slippers, too.

Narrator: Ella walked out the door laughing. The fairy godmother returned the next day. She didn't seem surprised when I told her all the things that had occurred while she was away.

Godmother: I told you when I left that you could handle whatever came up.

Narrator: she said. I wonder if those were magic words.

 

© 1995 by Bruce Lansky. Adapted from the story "Fairy Godmother's Assistant" in Girls to the Rescue, Book #1, published by Meadowbrook Press. This Classroom Theater version of "Fairy Godmother's Assistant" is © 2000 by Meadowbrook Press.

Permission is given for individual school classes to perform this play and to make as many copies of the play as are needed for the students' use. All other reproduction and performance is prohibited under penalty of law.

Click here to learn more about Bruce Lansky.