TRUCE IN THE FOREST

Fritz Vincken SFX: Gunfights and Killings Narration: The incessant exchange of gunfires and bloody kills that roared over Europe was too much to take in by our family. It was 1944, and Father, left us so he could serve in the army. How I miss him so! We are in a cottage, in the Hurtgen forest, near the Belgian Border, trying to hide from the war, a war I truly don’t understand… Child: Mother, when do you think will the war end? Mother: I don’t know my child, I don’t know. But let’s pray that your father will not get harmed in the war and return home safely. Child: I hope he could come this Christmas. KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK Mother: Who could that be? Child: Maybe it’s father! (Mother opens door SFX: breeze howl) Robin: Please help us. We have a wounded friend. (Point to Harry on Jim’s shoulder) Mother: (silent for two seconds) Come in (hands going in) Mother: Do you understand German. (Everyone shakes head with confusion in gestures) Hmm…how about French? (Jim raises hand) (To Jim) Please help in cooking dinner while your friend and I tend to your friend. (Jim nods) Mother: My child, go get Hermann and six potatoes! Child disappear and reappear with roast chicken and potatoes. On the scene: Harry on bed. Mother stripped bed sheets into bandages and wrapped Harry’s leg. Harry must look hurt (of course). Child setting up the table with Jim. KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK (child open door and silence)(Mother approaches child at the door) Mother: (shocked) Merry Christmas! Corporal: Merry Christmas! We have lost our regiment and would like to wait for daylight. May we rest here? Mother: (lovingly) Of course. You can also have a fine, warm meal and eat till the pot is empty. (Germans smell the aroma and try to step in. But mother stopped them.) Mother: But we have three other guests whom you may not consider friends. (Stern) This is Christmas Eve and there shall be no shooting here. Corporal: Who’s inside? American? Mother: (Slowly) Listen. You could be my sons and so could those in there. A boy with a gunshot wound, fighting for his life. His two friends, lost like you, exhausted and hungry. This one night, this Christmas night, let us forget about the killing. Corporal silent for three seconds Mother: Enough of this! Please put your weapons on the wood pile- and hurry up before the others eat the dinner (with a smile) Germans placed their weapons on the wood pile. Mother approached Jim and also said the same. Americans followed) Mother: (to child) Quick get more potatoes and oats. Med student approached Harry and took his glasses from his pocket. Mother: (to student) Do you belong to the medical corps?

(Robin nods) Mother. (med student translates to jim) Jim: Why don’t we go to Monschau? Corporal: No! We have retaken Monshcau. Pointing up and laughing Then they rested till next day. drank some wine.Student: No. Mother and child went back to the table. Narrator: Next day. Mother got up to get the bible and read the verse Matthew 2:12 …. They carried Harry and bade good bye to the family. The corporal brought out red wine and med student brought out some bread. Mother: (says the prayer of thanksgiving) Let’s eat everybody Mother: Will you all join me to the star of Bethlehem? Everyone went to door and looked up. thanks to the cold. Germans also bade good bye and went to the opposite direction of the Americans. Jim and Robin shook hands with the Corporal and Med Student. but I studied medicine at Heidelberg until a few months ago. Jim is holding the map Corporal: (pointing to map) Take this creek here upward until you reach the 1st Army regrouping there. All he needs is rest and nourishment. they returned to their country by another route… . Jim and Robin with Corporal and Med Student talking about how to get to their armies. Robin and Student went back to the table. Christmas Day Harry is feeling better. (turned to robin) He’s wound is not infected.