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Peer has run away to the mountains. He meets a green lady who takes him into the Hall of the Mountain King.

Dedicated to Lumin.

Peer Gynt: Richard Scott.
Green Lady: Jana Elizabeth.
Goblin King: Bertie.
Trolls: Jana, Amarni & Sophie.
Music: In the hall of the Mountain King.
Illustration: Bertie.

The second part of the famous Norwegian fairy tale . Loosely based on the drama by Ibsen with music by Grieg.

In five parts.

Produced by Jana and Bertie for Storynory.

Peer (breathing heavily):

It’s a good thing my legs are strong, because this mountain is steep. Up, up, I climb, the moon lighting my steps. And I can keep going for hours yet! Oh my young body is full of strength. I could pick up a pine tree if I wished!
I shall live on berries and rabbit stew.
And if I need new clothes,
the skin of a reindeer will do.
See up there, the snow on the tops of the mountains sparkle in the light of the stars. That’s where I’m heading.

This night is lovely, but what if a storm comes out? I’ll be soaked, and the sharp wind will cut me up. I need to find a shelter. And I don’t mean a poor log hut or a cabin. A palace - that’s what I need. A palace in the mountains for Peer Gynt whose destiny is to be emperor of the world one day.

Now where do I find such a palace? Hmmm.. let’s examine these rocks. Do they not look like a palace? Here I see a tower, in these stones. And these stones, they look just like battlements? I’ll say they are. So where’s my way in? This wall here.. to common people no doubt, it looks just like a rock face, but my conjuring eyes can see the outline of a gate. The entrance to the hall of the Mountain King! And now, I’ll put my ear against it and listen carefully. Yes, I can hear.. there’s singing and feasting going on within. Those are the trolls, those are.

Peer: (Calls out) Oh, Gatekeeper! Let me in! Let me in! Open up the gates I say! Open Sesame! It is I, Prince Peer, on a royal visit, to parley with the King of Trolls in his palace!

Well, that’s odd. They are refusing to let me in. Perhaps they are all getting ready to sleep. Talking of which, I’ll lie down on this mossy bank and wait for dawn.

Oh hello, who are you my pretty one, all dressed in green?

Girl in Green:(Jana) Is it true that you are Prince Peer?

Peer: That’s who I am.

Girl in Green: (Jana) You don’t look well dressed.

Peer: These are my hunting clothes. You should see me in my Sunday best!

Girl in Green: (Jana) I heard you saying that you want to visit my father’s palace?

Peer: You heard right, young lady.

Girl in Green: (Jana) If you enter through the gates, you must remember this: All might seem opposite to you. To your human eyes, big might seem small, and ugly might seem beautiful, and gold might seem like rust.

Peer: It’s the same with me. These fine clothes I am wearing might seem like rags to your eyes. Clean might seem like dirt.
Whole might seem torn to tatters.

Girl in Green: (Jana) Well now Prince Peer, we have much in common.

Peer: Indeed you look beautiful to my eyes, and I believe that my magical powers allow me to see you correctly.

Girl in Green: (Jana) Thank you, kind sir.

Peer: Since we get on so well, shall we ask your father’s permission to marry? Say yes. Say that you shall be mine, and you shall never have to sew or cook or fetch or carry. I shall look after you well. I won’t even pull your hair when I’m angry.

Girl in green: (Jana) You know who my father is? He is the king of these mountains and when he is furious all the trees of the forest tremble and the very rocks shake. His name is King Bose.

Peer: And you know who is my mother? She is Queen of all the land below the mountains. When she goes off on one and starts scolding, the trees run and hide, and the rocks beg her to shut up. Her name is Queen Asse!

Girl in Green: (Jana) So it seems we are made for each other.
I shall call my steed and he will carry us to my father (Whistles).

Peer: What kind of horse is that? He looks like a giant, wild pig.

Girl in Green: (Jana) He looks like a pig to you, but in fact he is a magnificent stallion. Come, let us climb up onto his back.

Peer: Ride on, noble charger!

Music - In the hall of the Mountain King

Peer: Oh if they could see me now. If Mum, Ingrid, and lovely Solveig could see me riding with a green princess into this mountain palace for an audience with the King, then they would finally know that fairytales are not fantasies. We are heading deep inside. Every rock glistens with gold, great lumps of gold lie around waiting to be picked up and on all sides the courtiers, the elves, the brownies, and the trolls are calling out to us:

Trolls: Let me slash his face with my knife!
Let me pull out his hair!
Let me bite his behind!
Let me boil him for broth!
Let me toast him on a spit!

He’s bewitched the King’s daughter, tempted her, led her astray, wants to marry her. How dare a Christian dare such a thing!

Peer: Hmm, they aren’t so polite to visitors, but no doubt the King will be enchanted by my good manners and noble bearing. Ah, that must be him, up there! He sits on a throne suspended from the ceiling of the hall by golden chains. Behind him expands a vast emptiness, nothingness, infinite darkness. Scary. It makes me sick to contemplate it.

Peer: All hail your majesty. I am Prince Peer.

King of the Trolls: And it seems it’s my daughter you are after.

Peer: If she comes with a good dowry.

King of the Trolls: Dowry, certainly. Half of what is mine shall be yours on your wedding day and the rest after I am dead.

Peer: Your offer is acceptable to me.

King of the Trolls: But there are conditions.

Peer: Such as?

King of the Trolls: First you must never think of what is beyond these halls. You must give up the sky, the sun and the moon. You must never again step out into the fresh air. All that is inside the mountain is yours, but all that is outside is forsaken to you.

Peer: It is a price worth paying for a kingdom.

King of the Trolls: Second you must let our law rule your life. Christians say be true and selfless in all things. We trolls say: Be false and selfish in all things.

Peer: I agree to live by the wise law of the Trolls.

King of the Trolls: Next you must agree to wear a tail.

Peer: Sure. Why not if it’s the fashion around here?

King of the Trolls: Good. You will soon learn to wag and wave it nicely.

Peer: Fantastic! I have agreed to all you ask. Now can I wed your daughter right away?

King of the Trolls: Certainly Prince Peer! You will make a fine troll! You are perfectly suited to be one of us! This calls for a celebration! (Claps hands). Bring on the musicians! Bring on the dancing maidens!

Music (Hall of the Mountain King)

King: Well how did you find our entertainment? Did the dancers seem fair to you?

Peer: To my eyes they seemed hideously ugly!

King: Eh?

Trolls: SSSSSSWSS! Boil him! Skin him! Eat Him!

Peer: Er, er I was joking of course Ha ha! Funny, no? In truth the dancers were lovely, exquisite, delightful.

King: Joking? I don’t believe you!

Peer: You question my honour. You call me, Prince Peer, a liar?

King: Of course I call you a liar. Why, just five minutes ago you swore that you would always be false! You gave your solemn oath of falsehood like the true troll that you are not! Ha! But there’s a cure for this human sickness of yours. Let me scratch your eyes. Then all that is ugly will seem lovely to you! And all that is lovely will seem ugly!

Peer: Scratch my eyes with your hideous claw? Take away my clearness of vision. No, I, Prince Peer, will not agree to that.

(Quietly, aside) For if I cannot appreciate beauty, I will never see Solveig again, not even in my dreams.

King of the Trolls: Just think of the trouble I will save you. Your eyes are windows onto the world! All they bring you are truth, troubles and tears! We trolls can’t be doing with those human afflictions!

Peer: No I say, I will not allow you to scratch my eyes!

King of the Trolls: RRRRRRRR! Now I am becoming angry!

Trolls: SSSSSS Fry him! Gnaw his flesh! Bite his head!

Peer: Make up your minds! Are you going to boil or fry me? But this is no time to hang around. Which way to run? The chimney is too narrow, the window is barred, the rat holes too small. Oh if only I were as tiny as a mouse!

There is only one way out. I must leap into the darkness, the vast empty abyss behind the king’s throne. But before I go, I’ll pick a few lumps of Troll gold from the ground. It will prove useful to me if I live to see the light of day!

One, two, three - JERONIMO! Out I leap into the vast empty void!

Am I falling down into the fiery centre of the earth? It’s taking time, maybe because it is such a long way. Or am I floating like a spirit in mid air? It is hard to tell in this darkness. What is to become of me? Will I stay here forever and a day?

And I’m delighted to dedicate this episode to Lumin, whose family support us on Patreon. Lumin lives in Colorado, and she likes to listen to Storynory during her bath. Thanks so much to you and your dad, Ben for supporting us!

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