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The Puddok and the Princess

By David Purves


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This play, which is in Scots, is based on a traditional Scottish version of the European Frog Prince theme. It is set in a mythological Scotland a long time ago, when aw the fowk bydin in the Kinrik war blyth an weill content, ilka man the frein o his neibor. It haed nae keing for the Keing haed dee'd, but he haed left ahint him a Queen an twa bonnie dochters. However, the Queen falls mortally sick and her two daughters are sent in turn to a Well at Ardnamurchan where the water has magical curative powers. There each meets the Puddok (frog) Guardian of the magic water, but the price of obtaining the water is marriage with the Puddok. The eldest daughter, Nanse, is too proud and selfish and refuses, but Morag, the younger daughter accepts for her mother's sake. The Queen gets her cure, but the Puddok turns up at the Palace claiming his marital rights. In the end, the Puddok is transmogrified into a Prince, Morag's sacrifice is rewarded and everybody lives happily ever after. The play received its premiere (Theatre Alba) at the 1985 Edinburgh International Festival, when it won a Fringe First Award. It was subsequently produced at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and toured Scotland in 1986 and 1988 with Scottish Arts Council Support. Each production was acclaimed by the critics.