MR. DUNG BEETLE: What, rolled away? My ball? Good God! Catch him! Catch him! Thieves! Murderers! (He hurls himself to the ground.) My hard-earned fortune! They've killed me! I'd sooner give up my life than my golden ball of manure! (He jumps up.) H-e-e-e-lp! Catch h-i-m! Mur-der-ers! (He rushes off left.)
TRAMP: Haha, a dung ball got stolen! Cry murderer! Cry thief! And you expect the sky to fall and share your awful grief! And yet, my friends, cheer up and try to smile a bit: The thief was one of your own. Who else would want a ball of shit? (He sits down to one side.)
MR. CRICKET (offstage): Careful, darling. Careful you don't stumble. Here we are, here we are, our little home! Our new little house! Oops, careful. Did you hurt yourself?
MRS. CRICKET: No, Cricket, don't be ridiculous.
MR. CRICKET: But darling, you must be careful. When you're expecting. . . (Enter MR. CRICKET: and pregnant MRS. CRICKET.)
MR. CRICKET: Open your eyes now. There! Do you like it?
MRS. CRICKET: Oh, Cricket, I'm so tired!
MR. CRICKET: Sit down, my little soul, sit down. Wait, nice and easy. There.
MRS. CRICKET (sitting down): Such a long distance! All that moving! Cricket, you must be out of your mind.
MR. CRICKET: Hihihi! Mother! Peek-a-boo! Mom! Mamma! Momsie!
MRS. CRICKET: Leave me alone. Don't be a pest.
MR. CRICKET: Hihi! I won't say another word. I was just joking around. Mrs. Cricket is not expecting babies, of course not! Shame on you, what do you take her for!
MRS. CRICKET (tearfully): You nasty thing, it's easy for you to make fun of it!
MR. CRICKET: But honey! I'm just so happy! Just think: all those little baby crickets, all the screaming, all the chirping, hihihi! My darling little wife, I'm going crazy with joy.
MRS. CRICKET: You. . .you silly little thing! Peek-a-boo, Daddy, hihi!
MR. CRICKET: Hihihi! How do you like it here?
MRS. CRICKET: Nice. This is our new home?
MR. CRICKET: Our nest, our mansion, our dear family shop, our -- hihihi! -- place of residence.
MRS. CRICKET: Is it going to be dry? Who built it?
MR. CRICKET: Would you believe it? Another cricket used to live here.
MRS. CRICKET: Did he? Why did he move away?
MR. CRICKET: Hihihi! Yeah, he sure moved away. He sure did! Bet you don't know where to! (He begins a children's song.) "Close your eyes and take a guess. . . "
MRS. CRICKET: I can't. Lord, it takes you forever to say things. Hurry up, Cricket!
MR. CRICKET: Well then. Yesterday, a shrike got him and stuck him on a thorn for his supper. I swear it. Honey, spiked him all through and through. Just imagine! He's up there wiggling his legs like this, see? Hihihi! He's still alive. And I thought right away, there's something in this for us! We'll move into his apartment. Bang! What luck! Hihi! What do you say?
MRS. CRICKET: And he's still alive? Ugh! What a horror!
MR.CRICKET: Isn't it? Oh, we're so lucky! (He launches into song.) Tralala. . . Wait, we'll put up our shingle right now. (He pulls out a sign which reads "Mr. Cricket's Music Shop.") Where shall I hang it? About here? More to the right? More to the left?
MRS. CRICKET: A bit higher. And you say he's still wriggling his legs?
MR. CRICKET: (hammering and demonstrating): I tell you, like this.
MRS. CRICKET: Brrr. Where is he?
MR. CRICKET: Would you like to see him?
MRS. CRICKET: I would. No, I wouldn't. Isn't it horrible?
MR. CRICKET: Hihihi, you bet. Is this hanging straight?
MRS. CRICKET: Yes, it's fine. Cricket, I feel so strange.
MR. CRICKET (runs toward her): Oh dear, maybe. . . your hour is here. . .
MRS. CRICKET: Stop it! Ooooo, I'm scared!
MR. CRICKET: But Momsie, who would be scared? Hihihi! Any woman can do it!
MRS. CRICKET: How can you talk like that! (She starts to cry.) Cricket, will you always love me?
MR. CRICKET: Of course, my little soul! (yammering) Yihi! Don't cry! Mommy!
MRS. CRICKET (sobbing): Show me how he jerks his legs.
MR. CRICKET: Like this.
MRS. CRICKET: Hihihi, that must be funny.
MR. CRICKET: There, there, there! You see? No more tears. (He sits down beside her.) Just wait, we'll make it all nice and cozy, and as soon as we're a bit better off, we'll put in. . .
MRS. CRICKET: Pretty curtains.
By Josef and Karel Capek (1921)
Translated by Tatiana Firkusny and Robert T. Jones