[This Willis Cooper play was broadcast as
early as Christmas 1935 on "Lights Out!"
Below is an attempted transcript of the
December 22, 1937 rebroadcast.]
VOICE: Lights out, everybody.
SOUND: TWELVE CHIME NOTES ... EERIE WIND BLOWS ... THEN A GONG!
NARRATOR: This is a tale they tell of another Christmas, a Christmas nineteen
years ago. The Great War was over. War-weary soldiers and officers were at
last being allowed to rest, to enjoy such recreation as soldiers might find.
"Leave areas" were established in various parts of France and, at intervals,
individuals were sent from the stations of their organizations to these areas,
there to rest and refresh themselves for a brief period.
This story properly begins on Christmas night, 1918 -- nineteen years ago. A
leave train was just coming to a halt in the station at Ville Franche.
SOUND: TRAIN SLOWS TO A STOP ... A NOISY, CROWDED RAILWAY STATION, IN BG
STATIONMASTER: Entre, montez, c'est un compartiment la, monsieur. Il y a [?]
un officier. C'est un Francais. C'est première classe, Monsieur.
BALLANTINE: Ah, merci, Mon-soo-er. I'll see if the blighter minds. Here ya
are, mate. (TIPS THE STATIONMASTER) Tot.
STATIONMASTER: (GRATEFUL) Ah, merci, merci, Monsieur l'Anglais, merci.
BALLANTINE: (LAUGHS) I'm not English. I'm not an Englishmen, old chap. Heh.
Australian. ANZAC. Compris?
STATIONMASTER: Ah, oui. Oui, oui, oui. Vous êtes Australien, n'est-ce pas?
BALLANTINE: Righto. And, uh, merry Christmas, old chap.
STATIONMASTER: Et Joyeux Noel, Monsieur l'Australien.
SOUND: NOISY STATION FILLS A PAUSE AS BALLANTINE ENTERS COMPARTMENT AND SHUTS
DOOR ... CROWD NOISE SUBSIDES A BIT
BALLANTINE: (ATTEMPTS FRENCH) Oh, er, excusez-moi, Mon-soor. But I, uh, s'il
vous plaît, I - I would like to, er, er, er, venir ici-- (GIVES UP, IN PLAIN
ENGLISH) Oh, blast it! I can't talk the ruddy language.
GASCOIGNE: (AMUSED) It is not necessary to speak the "blasted" language,
monsieur, since I speak yours, after a fashion. (CHUCKLES)
BALLANTINE: (RELIEVED) Oh, beg pardon, old chap. The stationmaster tells me
you wouldn't mind if I stowed myself in here with you -- I hope.
GASCOIGNE: I should be very glad indeed of your company. I am Captain Ismael
Rochefort de Gascoigne of the 212th Regiment Artillery, G. P. F.
BALLANTINE: I'm Leftenant Horace Ballantine of the Australian Light Horse,
GASCOIGNE: Ah, you are welcome, monsieur. May I help you with your baggage?
BALLANTINE: I'll have it stowed in half a tot, thank you.
SOUND: PUTS BAGGAGE ON RACK
BALLANTINE: (EXHALES) There. Oh, going on leave, Captain?
GASCOIGNE: Oui. I am not sure where yet, but c'est la guerre, one never knows
where he goes in this war.
BALLANTINE: That's too right, bigga. It's jolly good of you to share your
compartment, old chap.
GASCOIGNE: I am only too glad. It has been rather a lonely journey so far. I
am delighted of someone to talk to.
BALLANTINE: First class compartments are not too easy to copper, either.
(EXHALES) Yeah -- a bit cushy, this, isn't it?
GASCOIGNE: Not too bad, indeed. Uh, you'll pardon me, I know, but I am a bit
curious to know how an Australian officer should find his way to Ville
BALLANTINE: Well, I don't quite know myself, Captain, er, Gascoigne, is it?
GASCOIGNE: Er, yes. And your name is, uh, Ballantine?
GASCOIGNE: I must remember.
BALLANTINE: Well, I was at Gallipoli in the Infantry with the "eggs-a-cook" --
the Third Aussie Division, you know. Got a bit of a crack on the head and the
first thing I knew, I found myself transferred [?] a village a few miles east
of here. Nothing but Americans in it.
GASCOIGNE: Ah, the Americans! Ah, they are good soldiers, eh?
BALLANTINE: Fair dinkum!
GASCOIGNE: And now you find yourself bound for leave on Christmas night.
BALLANTINE: Righto -- and jolly glad of it.
GASCOIGNE: Mm. Where're you going, do you know?
BALLANTINE: Oh, report to the R.T.O. at [Ile de Bain?], that's all I know.
GASCOIGNE: (LAUGHS) You have the same difficulties in your army, I see. One
never knows where one goes. You are a long way from home, my friend.
BALLANTINE: Righto. A bloody long way. (CHUCKLES) Half way 'round the world,
GASCOIGNE: And you have come to fight for France. (GENUINELY) I salute you,
BALLANTINE: (SHRUGS IT OFF) Ah, it's been fun.
GASCOIGNE: (SOBERLY) Oui. ... And now it is over. And our young men lie dead
under the stars out there.
BALLANTINE: Ah, WE lost a few, too.
GASCOIGNE: (CLARIFIES) "Our" young men, monsieur: French, British, Australian,
BALLANTINE: Not to mention a few German chappies.
GASCOIGNE: Quite. Eh, bien, one cannot make the omelette without breaking the
BALLANTINE: A bloody lot of good eggs, friend Gascoigne.
BALLANTINE: (ON A LIGHTER NOTE) Oh, I wish the blasted train would start.
GASCOIGNE: (MATCHING HIM, CHUCKLES) It is always a mystery how they control
these trains -- particularly when one wishes to go somewhere in a hurry.
BALLANTINE: Oh, American chap out there -- looking for a place, I fancy.
GASCOIGNE: Ahhh. Perhaps we could invite him in here, if you do not mind.
BALLANTINE: Why not? If it's all right with you.
GASCOIGNE: Well, he is a comrade and there is little room on the train.
BALLANTINE: Righto. (CALLS OUT) Oh, Yank?! Yank, there! This way, Yank!
GASCOIGNE: He comes?
BALLANTINE: Well, strike me pink, now. The blighter's black! And an officer,
GASCOIGNE: So? I have heard that the Americans have two divisions of Negroes.
And they have many officers who are -- as the Americans say -- "colored,"
also. But I have never seen one.
BALLANTINE: You don't mind if I ask him in?
GASCOIGNE: My dear Ballantine, why should one mind? Is he not a man? An ally?
An officer? Do we dislike one another because I am French and you Australian?
BALLANTINE: (RELIEVED) Good chap. Ah, we've lots of blacks in our units. What
the devil's the difference? What difference does it make what color the
blighter's skin is? (CALLS OUT) Oh, oh, Yank -- room here!
MELVIN: (OFF) Do you mind awfully, Lieutenant?
BALLANTINE: Well, not much room anywhere else, old chap. Oh, come in, come in.
We've room for one.
SOUND: DOOR OPENS, STATION NOISE UP
MELVIN: (CLOSER, ENTERS COMPARTMENT) Thank you. I was afraid I was gonna be
BALLANTINE: My name's Ballantine, leftenant, Australian Light Horse.
SOUND: DOOR CLOSES, STATION NOISE OUT
MELVIN: I'm Captain Melvin, 370th American Infantry.
BALLANTINE: Delighted, Captain. And this is Captain-- (EMBARRASSED, TO
GASCOIGNE) Well, you'll have to help a chap out, Captain.
GASCOIGNE: (CHUCKLES) I am Captain Ismael Rochefort de Gascoigne of the French
artillery, Captain. Welcome.
MELVIN: Well, gentlemen, I thank you.
BALLANTINE: Oh, here. Give me your musette. I'll shove it up on the rack.
SOUND: PUTS BAG ON RACK
MELVIN: Oh, thank you, Lieutenant. Ahh, feels good to get that thing off my
GASCOIGNE: Sit down, Captain Melvin.
MELVIN: Mm, thanks. (SITS) Been standin' around there all day long on one foot
and then on the other, waitin'. Finally, when the train did pull in, I thought
I was still gonna stand there. Good of you to take me in.
GASCOIGNE: We are delighted.
MELVIN: You're an Australian, eh, Lieutenant?
BALLANTINE: Righto. From Adelaide.
MELVIN: My, just think o' that.
BALLANTINE: Where are you from, Captain Melvin?
MELVIN: Oh, I'm from Chicago.
BALLANTINE: And you, Captain Gascoigne?
GASCOIGNE: My home is in Bayonne, as one might infer from my name.
MELVIN: Your name, Captain?
GASCOIGNE: Gascoigne. Bayonne is in Gascony, you see.
MELVIN: Oh, is that so?
BALLANTINE: Oh, I see.
MELVIN: Hm. It's odd, ain't it? Here we are, three of us in one railway coach,
bound for - somewhere - and we've come from all over the world to meet on
Christmas night in France.
BALLANTINE: We don't even know where we're going. Do you?
MELVIN: (LAUGHS) I haven't the slightest idea. Leave area -- that's all I
BALLANTINE: Well ... may as well have a spot of Christmas cheer, eh? I've a
bottle of rather good wine in my musette.
MELVIN: And so have I.
GASCOIGNE: Not to be outdone in this matter, mes amis, I also have a bottle of
MELVIN: "Tears of Christ."
GASCOIGNE: A very precious wine in these days, mes amis. I do not remember how
I came by it but, suffice it to say, I have it.
SOUND: TRAIN WHISTLE
STATIONMASTER: (OFF) Attencion! Attencion!
GASCOIGNE: Ah, we are about to start, eh?
SOUND: TRAIN STARTS, NOISILY .. CROWD BUZZES
STATIONMASTER: (OFF) Attencion!
MELVIN: We ARE startin'.
SOUND: TRAIN SPEEDS UP, WHISTLES ... CROWD BUZZES, THEN FADES ... TRAIN NOISE
CONTINUES IN BG
BALLANTINE: Well! A ruddy happy crowd out there at the station. Christmas!
GASCOIGNE: Oui. Still Christmas -- despite the fact that most of them all want
to get out of the town and go somewhere.
MELVIN: Mm. Last Christmas, I was down in Texas -- Camp Logan.
BALLANTINE: I was in the hospital at Marseilles.
GASCOIGNE: (GRANDLY) And I, mes amis, had dinner with a German general.
MELVIN: A German general?
GASCOIGNE: Er, captured on Christmas Eve.
MELVIN: (LAUGHS) Oh, ho ho!
BALLANTINE: (LAUGHS) Gentlemen, will you drink with me?
SOUND: DRINKS POURED, IN BG
GASCOIGNE: With pleasure, oui -- if you will drink with me.
MELVIN: And with me.
BALLANTINE: Well, then, to Christmas, eh?
GASCOIGNE: To Christmas.
MELVIN: To Christmas.
SOUND: THEY DRINK AND EXHALE HAPPILY
BALLANTINE: You know, my musette's so bloody full of junk of all sorts, I was
afraid I might have lost the bottle.
MELVIN: Uh, souvenirs, huh?
BALLANTINE: Oh, yes. Silly toys and things that I picked up -- give 'em to
some kid somewhere. Lord knows they have few enough.
GASCOIGNE: I have gifts, too, in my musette. There is no one left of my people
to give them to but-- It is a sentiment. Sentiment for Christmas.
MELVIN: Suppose we all do that. Mine's packed with odds and ends. I - I didn't
know if I'd ever get back to that outfit after this leave so I got some
GASCOIGNE: Another drink, mes amis?
MELVIN: Oh, not now, thanks, Captain. I'll wait a while.
BALLANTINE: Ah, I think I shall, too.
GASCOIGNE: Quite. ... Ah, it's a beautiful night, eh?
BALLANTINE: Yeah, clear. You know, if the war was still on, I'd expect to hear
someone shout, "Lights out, Jerry's up!" -- have a lot of bombs land in our
GASCOIGNE: I hope we are done with that, monsieur.
BALLANTINE: No moon, though.
MELVIN: Yeah, but look at them stars.
BALLANTINE: Oh, see that one over there? You might imagine it to be the star
of Bethlehem. Ruddy bright, isn't it?
GASCOIGNE: Oui. (THOUGHTFUL) Nearly two thousand years ago. I wonder if that
same star still shines upon the Earth.
MELVIN: (TOUCH OF BITTERNESS) If it does, we wouldn't know it. Not us, who
fight wars and deny the name of the man that was born under it.
BALLANTINE: Oh, uh, religious chap?
MELVIN: No. No, not at all, Lieutenant. A long way from it.
BALLANTINE: I'm not a religious chap, either. Ah, but used to have some jolly
times as a kid at Christmastime, though -- church things and all that --
GASCOIGNE: Oui. One is not religious save when one sees the star shining down
MELVIN: (MUSING) I wonder if that COULD be the star.
GASCOIGNE: And why not, my friend? Our Earth changes but the everlasting stars
BALLANTINE: Yeah. Be funny if it is, wouldn't it? [?]
GASCOIGNE: Oui. But our journey is long, gentlemen. If you wish to sleep--
BALLANTINE: You sleepy, Captain?
GASCOIGNE: That little drink of wine has affected me, I fear. I cannot keep my
MELVIN: I'm a little tired myself. Standing around all day in that station
with no place to sit down--
BALLANTINE: (YAWNS) I can always sleep meself.
GASCOIGNE: I propose, then, that we do sleep for a little while, my friends.
MELVIN: (YAWNS) Talkin' of sleep has made me sleepy. I'm all for it.
BALLANTINE: Shall I turn down the lights?
GASCOIGNE: If you will, monsieur. (YAWNS) Pleasant dreams. Er, merry
BALLANTINE: And merry Christmas to you both, gentlemen.
MELVIN: And to you, Lieutenant Ballantine, Captain Gascoigne.
GASCOIGNE: Yonder star shall watch over us, n'est-ce pas?
MELVIN: The star that shone on Bethlehem.
BALLANTINE: (YAWN) Good night.
SOUND: TRAIN NOISE CONTINUES, FILLS A PAUSE ... WHISTLE BLOWS
GASCOIGNE: Are you asleep?
MELVIN: I'm not.
BALLANTINE: Nor I. Almost, though, I must say.
GASCOIGNE: I - I was thinking. It seems that I have met you both before -
BALLANTINE: That's - ruddy odd.
GASCOIGNE: Why, my friend?
BALLANTINE: I was thinking the same thing.
MELVIN: Uh, I was, too. But it couldn't be. One from France, one from
Australia, one from America.
GASCOIGNE: Oui. It is so. (SHRUGS IT OFF) Ah, good night, my friends.
BALLANTINE: Good night.
MELVIN: Good night.
SOUND: TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWS AS THE TRAIN RUMBLES DOWN THE TRACK ... FADE OUT
... THEN FADE IN TO A NOISY DESERT WIND THAT BLOWS STEADILY ... AND CONTINUES
BALTHASAR: Aye, aye, friend Gaspar, we have journeyed far and the sign that
thou didst promise to us is not yet.
GASPAR: Peace, Balthasar. We have not yet come to the end of our journey.
Behold, Melchior cryeth not out. Canst thou not study his patience, to be
likened to him?
BALTHASAR: Yet thou art tired, Melchior?
MELCHIOR: Aye. I am tired and weary. Yet must we go on. No man knoweth what
the end of his far journeying shall bring him.
GASPAR: Dost thou see, Balthasar? Thou must needs have faith.
BALTHASAR: I have faith, friend Gaspar. Yet my burden upon my shoulder is
cruel heavy. And I would fain rest.
GASPAR: Have faith, O Balthasar. Have faith, I conjure thee.
BALTHASAR: Faith. Aye. Aye, lead on, O Gaspar. Whither thou goest, there will
I follow thee.
MELCHIOR: And also I, Gaspar. For I know that thou art inspired of God and
that His hand doth lead thee.
GASPAR: Yet not even I know what miracle He will do before our eyes.
MELCHIOR: No matter. We will follow e'en thy road lead to death. Now, which
road takest thou? That to the right hand or - or to the left?
GASPAR: I know not.
BALTHASAR: Will thou not call upon God, Gaspar?
GASPAR: Aye. Kneel down, brethren.
SOUND: THEY KNEEL IN THE SAND ... WIND FADES OUT DURING PRAYER
GASPAR: (PRAYS) O Lord Father God, lead us Thy servants in the way Thou didst
set out for us. For know, Lord Father God, that we are poor. And our eyes know
not the right. And we would follow the way that Thou wilt have us follow.
Therefore, we pray Thee humbly, dear Father--
BALTHASAR: A miracle! A miracle!
GASPAR: Miracle? What sayest thou, Balthasar?
MELCHIOR: Behold, Gaspar! A sign from the Lord Father God!
GASPAR: There is no sign--
BALTHASAR: Behold! In the sky!
MELCHIOR: A sign!
BALTHASAR: A sign.
GASPAR: A star that burneth brighter than all the stars of the heavens. O Lord
God, we thank Thee. The way is before us. We follow Thy will.
BALTHASAR: Behold, Gaspar, the star shineth upon the pathway to the left.
GASPAR: Forward, forward, brethren - for the end of our far journeying is at
hand. Certes, this is a sign from God.
MELCHIOR: Behold, Gaspar, beyond the hill -- the lights of a village.
GASPAR: It is so! Now we are come to our destination, indeed. Haste, friends,
BALTHASAR: Knowest thou what town is that, O Gaspar?
GASPAR: Nay, I know not. Save that it be the end of our long journey.
SHEPHERD: (CALLS, FROM OFF) O travelers! Have ye seen the star?!
BALTHASAR: (CALLS BACK) Who calls?! Who art thou?!
MELCHIOR: It is a shepherd. See the flocks of sheep beyond the road?
SHEPHERD: (OFF) Seest thou the star, travelers? Knowest thou its meaning?
BALTHASAR: Aye, we have seen it, O shepherd. Yet we know not its meaning save
that a miracle of the Lord Father God is nigh unto us.
SHEPHERD: (OFF) From the blackness of the sky, it sprang into blaze, traveler.
Dost thou think it portends the end of Earth?
GASPAR: Nay, friend. Not the end of Earth. Say, rather, its beginning.
SHEPHERD: (CLOSER) What sayest thou?
MELCHIOR: Behold, shepherd, the mantle of the Lord is upon him.
SHEPHERD: Ye speaketh of miracles?
GASPAR: Aye. And a miracle WILL come to pass. Haste, friends, haste. For this
night will hear the voices of angels chanting and the sound of many great
wings. Peace on Earth. Peace, good will to men.
MELCHIOR AND BALTHASAR: Glory. Glory to God in the highest.
SHEPHERD: Verily, ye speak as men that understand the workings of the will of
BALTHASAR: Say now, shepherd, how is yonder village named?
SHEPHERD: Surely if ye know what shall come to pass because of the star -- how
is it ye know not the name of the town?
BALTHASAR: We have come from far lands, shepherd.
MELCHIOR: Aye. What matters it if we know not such trifles as the name of a
little hidden village, when we know of a miracle to be wrought in the name of
GASPAR: Aye, 'tis so.
SHEPHERD: What miracle shall come to pass?
BALTHASAR: It is hidden from our ken, O shepherd. Yet it shall come to pass.
GASPAR: Aye, and such a miracle as shall set all the world to singing praises,
lifting up their voices unto the heavens, crying in a loud voice "Mighty,
mighty is the Lord God of Hosts.
SHEPHERD: Ye be not of Israel?
GASPAR: Nay, I am from the land of the Greeks. And these, my companions, be
also from far lands. Melchior from Ethiop. Balthasar, a wise man of Egypt, a
soothsayer unto the King.
SHEPHERD: Ye have come far.
GASPAR: Aye, so. Since many days, our feet have trod the pathways of hidden,
unknown places - yet always have we set our faces unto the East, obeying the
bidding of a voice unheard, the guidance of a hand unfelt.
SHEPHERD: And ye go now unto the town?
GASPAR: Thou hast not told us its name, shepherd.
SHEPHERD: Certes, all men know that yonder town is called the town of the
house of bread, even Bethlehem. Know ye that I, even I, am of Bethlehem --
where was born a thousand years agon David, son of Jesse, that was King of
BALTHASAR: 'Tis well, for now I speak with the tongue of the Lord the wisdom
he hath put into my mouth. "Behold yonder Bethlehem whence came David, King of
Israel. Now this night shall be born in Bethlehem that Messiah, that very Son
of God, which the ancient prophets have foretold. And this is the miracle that
shall come to pass, for He shall be born of a virgin immaculate. And His name
shall be Jesus, called Christ." O Thou Lord God Father, I give thanks unto
thee that thou hast appointed me and my companions that we shall be witnesses
before all the world that the Son of God is born. (TO THE OTHERS) Haste, my
friends. We must on, for the miracle is at hand.
BALTHASAR: The spirit of God is upon him.
MELCHIOR: He speaketh with the tongue of the Lord. Haste!
SHEPHERD: O holy man, may I not go with thee, seeing thou knowest not the
village and I, with my brethren, was born there?
GASPAR: Aye, thou mayest come with us but haste, friends, haste.
MELCHIOR: Behold the star -- how it seemeth to beckon us on.
BALTHASAR: Lo! It cometh down from the heavens and standeth above the rooftops
of the town. It is the doing of God.
GASPAR: Aye. Praise God.
MELCHIOR AND BALTHASAR: Praise God.
GASPAR: Sling thy burthens from thy shoulders, friends. Haste! Haste!
BALTHASAR: I marvel also that there should be lights abroad in the town. The
hour is passing late. Yet there is a light in every house.
MELCHIOR: Perchance the men of Bethlehem rejoice that the Messiah is born.
GASPAR: Nay, not so. For He is hidden from men. And they of Bethlehem know Him
BALTHASAR: Then what--?
SHEPHERD: The feast of Chanukah is but lately over, my masters. The feast of
the lights, in memory of the Maccabee. And many remain. Also are there others
in the town who have come to deal with the men of Herod, the Tetrarch of
Galilee, even the tax collectors. And thus is the city full, even all the
BALTHASAR: Dost thou know where we should find Him, O Gaspar? Has it been
revealed unto thee?
GASPAR: All in good time, my friend. We follow the star.
MELCHIOR: Perchance he shall be born in a family of high repute.
BALTHASAR: Aye, 'tis not fitting that the son of God shall come from an humble
GASPAR: The will of God shall be done, the child Jesus be born in a wide field
as under the star, my friends. Haste!
SHEPHERD: Behold, these be the walls of Bethlehem, O wise man. Yonder lieth
MELCHIOR: Perchance the soldiers of the Tetrarch may refuse us admission into
the city, Gaspar.
GASPAR: Nay, they are gone away, Melchior.
SHEPHERD: Aye, they all lie in the inns and public houses and carouse with the
people of the town.
BALTHASAR: Gaspar, art thou sure indeed that we shall find Him in Bethlehem?
GASPAR: Dost doubt the word of God, Balthasar? On, on!
SHEPHERD: Now whither do we go, O Lord Gaspar?
GASPAR: Name me not "Lord," shepherd. For we are all humble men in the sight
SHEPHERD: Praise God.
MELCHIOR AND BALTHASAR: Praise God.
GASPAR: Behold how the rays of the star shine down upon this certain street.
It is the way, friends. Follow.
MELCHIOR: (AFTER A PAUSE) Lo! One comes, Gaspar, in haste.
GASPAR: Aye. But, so?
SHEPHERD: Perchance he knoweth.
GASPAR: Hold there, man! Whither goest thou?
PHYSICIAN: (HAUGHTILY) Who art thou? Stand aside that I may pass.
SHEPHERD: (OFFENDED) Who art THOU? Know that I am citizen even as thou art! If
indeed thou art a citizen and not a strolling player or hawker of false
PHYSICIAN: Ho! Speakest thou thus to me who am the great physician? Know man
that I am Balfus the Leech, the learned, the clever, skilled in cupping and
the arts of the chirurgeon, the saver of lives, the bringer of babes into the
SHEPHERD: Cease! Thy tongue clacketh like the wheels of--
BALTHASAR: Didst sayest thou art chirurgeon, O man of Bethlehem?
PHYSICIAN: Aye. I am that. I am Balfus, wrestler with the Angel of Death.
Sometime physician under great Antipater himself. I am--
GASPAR: Hold, I pray thee. Hast thou attended woman this night that was
brought of child?
PHYSICIAN: And how didst thou know that, stranger?
GASPAR: Wilt thou say "aye" or "nay"?
PHYSICIAN: Aye, I have done so. And, lookee, now, this night, have I come upon
a miracle, a very marvel, a prodigy of nature. Never before in all my time
SHEPHERD: Wouldst cease thy clacking and speak, leech?
PHYSICIAN: And who art thou thus to--?!
GASPAR: Speak of the marvel that thou hath witnessed, man.
PHYSICIAN: Behold. Not two hours have past since one came post haste, crying
before my door, "O Balfus, O most noble surgeon, O saver of lives, come down
in haste." And I, setting down the goblet of sack-posset wherefrom I did
drink, flung open the window and looked down.
SHEPHERD: (IMPATIENT) To thy story, leech. To thy story.
PHYSICIAN: "Behold!" cryeth the man in the street, "Behold, Balfus! A woman
hath need of thee in the stable nigh unto the inn of the two oxen."
BALTHASAR: In the stables?
PHYSICIAN: Aye. The stable. Now, I am a man of charity and always ready to
answer the call when sickness stalketh abroad. In the plague that came upon
Bethlehem nine years ago--
SHEPHERD: Aye, thou art always ready when thou dost smell the smell of gold,
leech. Say on, and quickly!
PHYSICIAN: If thou wilt but be still and let me! I spoke of a marvel--
SHEPHERD: Say on, say on!
PHYSICIAN: I flung my cloak about me and I came in haste -- as ill becometh a
man of my age and girth -- and yet I am charitable, I say, and-- Behold. In
yonder stable was a woman, couched in the straw of a manger, brought to bed of
SHEPHERD: Surely women have been brought to bed of a child in stables before,
PHYSICIAN: Aye, so. But, mark me well now -- this woman was a virgin.
PHYSICIAN: I swear it. By the holy phylactery. By my father's beard, I swear
it. Verily, was a child born unto her -- and she a virgin.
SHEPHERD: Heh! Thou hast drunk too much of thy sack-posset, neighbor.
(SCORNFUL) Thou a physician!
PHYSICIAN: I swear by--!
GASPAR: Hold! Thou'st said enough, leech. Verily, hast thou stood before a
miracle this night.
PHYSICIAN: A miracle? In sooth, a very prodigy--!
GASPAR: Where lieth the woman thou didst attend?
PHYSICIAN: In yonder stable. The man did say that they'd come from Nazareth in
Galilee, to give his testimony unto the tax collectors. And though they
beseeched the innkeepers, yet would none of them give them room, saving only
this one -- who, having pity upon a woman with child, did say unto them that
they might find bed amongst the kine in his stable and did charge them naught.
GASPAR: May all the blessings of God be on this innkeeper that he hath offered
shelter this night unto the Son of God.
PHYSICIAN: (STUNNED) Eh? What sayest--?
GASPAR: And on thee, physician, for that thou didst lend thy hand unto her who
is the very mother of Him who shall be the Savior of the world.
PHYSICIAN: (CONVINCED) Verily, I know not who thou art, old man, yet I
perceive that thou hast the gift of prophecy. If I have served, then I am
glad, for I took naught from them. And the babe did look upon me with a look
that I shall ne'er forget - though I live to be the last on the Earth. Now I
crave thy blessing. If thou dost speak sooth, I am most blessed among men.
GASPAR: Verily shalt thou stand at the right hand of Him who hath come to the
Earth, physician. Thine was the hand that first touched Him. Verily art thou
PHYSICIAN: I thank thee for thy grace, friend. Go now, inside the stable. I go
to the temple to render thanks unto God. For verily, I believe thee.
GASPAR: Now, my friends, 'tis the end of our long journey before us. Come with
me I pray, each of you. Come and fall down and worship the infant Jesus, Son
of God, which shall be called the Christ.
MELCHIOR: Praise unto Him.
BALTHASAR: Praise. Praise unto the Son of God.
SHEPHERD: I - will not go in. I am not worthy.
MELCHIOR: Nay, shepherd. There be none of us worthy to touch His hand, yet
there be none too humble to do Him reverence. Come.
GASPAR: Aye, come, shepherd.
SOUND: DESERT WIND BLOWS STRONGLY AGAIN
BALTHASAR: (AFTER A PAUSE) The star! The star waneth a little.
MELCHIOR: Shadows fall upon us.
GASPAR: The star paleth before His glory.
MELCHIOR: Nay. Nay, Gaspar. Behold! Behold in the sky! A sign!
BALTHASAR: A sign? O Father Lord God.
GASPAR: A sign! (PUZZLED, SLOWLY) The shape of a man - crucified - 'pon a
OMINOUS G O N G ...
SOUND: WIND OUT ... TRAIN RUMBLES DOWN THE TRACKS, WHISTLE BLOWS
MELVIN: (MUMBLES, HALF ASLEEP) Bal-- Balthasar! (AWAKES FROM DREAM)
BALLANTINE: (GASPS, HALF ASLEEP) Didst cry out unto--? (AWAKES) Uh-- I say--
What's the matter?
MELVIN: I - I was - dreamin', I guess.
GASCOIGNE: (AWAKES) Wha-? Where - where are we?
MELVIN: I-- (CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY) It was a dream. But I saw you two.
GASCOIGNE: You saw US?
MELVIN: It's hard to remember but, I--
BALLANTINE: Did you - did you dream of - three men, Melvin?
MELVIN: I-- Yes.
GASCOIGNE: I - I did, too.
GASCOIGNE: And Melchior?
MELVIN: And Balthasar.
GASCOIGNE: And Melvin?
MELVIN: And - Ballantine.
BALLANTINE: Good heavens! Look! Look at our shoes. All of us.
GASCOIGNE: Straw! Where did--?
BALLANTINE: Straw! From a stable. And that - that smell? What--?
GASCOIGNE: (SLOWLY, IN AWE) Gentlemen, I have been in the East. ... I know
what that smell is. ... It is myrrh. And frankincense.
SOUND: TRAIN FADES OUT
G O N G !
ANNOUNCER: "Lights Out," especially written for radio, comes to you each
Wednesday at this same time from our Chicago studios. This is the National
SOUND: NBC CHIMES