Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alfred Jarry | UBU ROI (in English)


by alfred jarry

 Translated from the French by Patrick Whittaker

 Act 1

Scene I

 Poland – that is to say nowhere.

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Pshite!

MAMA UBU. Oh! that’s a fine thing. What a pig you

are, Papa Ubu!

PAPA UBU. Watch out I don’t kill you, Mama Ubu!

MAMA UBU. It isn’t me you ought to kill, Papa Ubu,

it’s someone else.

PAPA UBU. Now by my green candle, I don’t


MAMA UBU. What! Papa Ubu, you’re content with

your lot?

PAPA UBU. Now by my green candle, pshite. Madam,

certainly yes, I’m content. I could be content with less.

After all, I’m Captain of Dragoons, Privy Councillor to

King Wenceslas, Knight of the Red Eagle of Poland,

and formerly King of Aragon. What more do you


MAMA UBU. What! After being King of Aragon,

you’re content with reviewing fifty flunkies armed

with cabbage-cutters, when you could put the crown of

Poland on your head where the crown of Aragon used

to be?

PAPA UBU. Ah, Mama Ubu, I don’t understand a

word you’re saying.

MAMA UBU. You are so stupid.

PAPA UBU. Now by my green candle, King

Wenceslas is very much alive. And suppose he snuffs

it – hasn’t he got legions of children?

MAMA UBU. What prevents you from slaughtering

the whole family and putting yourself in their place?

PAPA UBU. Ah! Mama Ubu, you do me wrong.

Watch out you don’t end up in the soup.

MAMA UBU. Poor unfortunate, when I’m in the soup

who’ll patch the seat of your pants?

PAPA UBU. Who cares? Isn’t my arse just like

everybody else’s?

MAMA UBU. If I were in your place, I’d want to plant

that arse on a throne. You could make lots of money,

and eat all the sausages you want, and roll through the

streets in a carriage.

PAPA UBU. If I were King, I’d wear a big widebrimmed

hat, the kind I had in Aragon, the one those

Spanish rogues stole from me.

MAMA UBU. You could also obtain an umbrella and

a big cape that would fall to your heels.

PAPA UBU. Ah! I yield to temptation. Buggery pshite,

pshitey buggery! If I ever run into him in a corner of

the woods, he’ll pass a bad quarter of an hour!

MAMA UBU. Ah! well, Papa Ubu, now you’re acting

like a real man.

PAPA UBU. No, no! Me – Captain of Dragoons –

slaughter the King of Poland? I’d sooner die!

MAMA UBU (aside). Oh, pshite! – (Aloud.) Would

you rather remain as beggarly as a rat, Papa Ubu?

PAPA UBU. Bluebelly! by my green candle, I’d rather

be poor a beggar like a skinny and brave rat than rich

like a mean and fat cat.

MAMA UBU. And the broad-brimmed hat? And the

umbrella? And the big cape?

PAPA UBU. And then what, Mama Ubu?

He leaves, banging the door.

MAMA UBU (alone). Vrout, pshite! He’s slow to

understand, but vrout, pshite! I believe he’s been

shaken. Thanks to God and myself, in eight days I may

be Queen of Poland.

Scene II

The stage represents a room in the house of Papa Ubu

where a splendid table has been set.

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu.

MAMA UBU. Hey! Our guests are bloody late.

PAPA UBU. Yes, by my green candle. I’m bursting

with hunger. Mama Ubu, you’re very ugly today. Is

that because we have guests?

MAMA UBU (shrugging her shoulders). Pshite!

PAPA UBU (grabbing a roast chicken). Hey, I’m

hungry. I’m going to bite into this bird. I believe it is a

chicken. It is not bad.

MAMA UBU. What, you wretch, are you doing? What

will our guests eat?

PAPA UBU. They will still have plenty. I won’t take

any more. Mama Ubu, go look out the window and see

if our guests are arriving.

MAMA UBU. (going to the window). I don’t see


Meanwhile Papu Ubu steals some veal.

MAMA UBU. Ah! There’s Captain Bordure arriving

with his men. What are you eating now, Papa Ubu?

PAPA UBU. Nothing, a little veal.

MAMA UBU. Ah! veal! veal! veal! He ate the veal!


PAPA UBU. Now by my green candle, I’m going to

pull your eyes out.

The door opens.

Scene III

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu, Captain Bordure and his men.

MAMA UBU. Good day, gentlemen, we’ve been

waiting for you impatiently. Sit yourselves down.

BORDURE. Good day, Madam. But where is Papa


PAPA UBU. Here I am! Here I am, damn it! By my

green candle, I’m certainly fat enough.

BORDURE. Hello, Papa Ubu. Be seated, men.

They all sit.

PAPA UBU. Ouf! A few more pounds and I’d go

through the chair.

BORDURE. Well, Mama Ubu, what are you giving us

that’s good today?

MAMA UBU. Here’s the menu.

PAPA UBU. Oh, this interests me.

MAMA UBU. Polish soup, cutlets of rastron, veal,

chicken, pate of dog, rump of turkey, charlotte russe…

PAPA UBU. Hey, there’s enough, I suppose. Is there


MAMA UBU (continuing). Sherbet, salad, fruits,

dessert, boiled beef, Jerusalem artichokes, cauliflower

a la pshite.

PAPA UBU. Hey! Do you think I’m an oriental

Emperor that you should spend so much?

MAMA UBU. Don’t listen to him, he’s an imbecile.

PAPA UBU. Ah! I’m going to sharpen my teeth

against your calves.

MAMA UBU. Eat your dinner instead, Papa Ubu.

Here’s some Polish soup.

PAPA UBU. Bugger! That’s bad!

BORDURE. It’s certainly not good.

MAMA UBU. You heap of savages, what do you


PAPA UBU (striking himself on the forehead). Oh! I

have an idea. I’ll be back in a little while.

He goes out.

MAMA UBU. Gentlemen, we are going to eat veal!

BORDURE. It’s very good. I’m finished.

MAMA UBU. To rumps now.

BORDURE. Delicious! delicious! Hurray for Mama


ALL. Hurray for Mama Ubu!

PAPA UBU (returning). And soon you’ll be shouting

“Hurray for Papa Ubu!”

In his hand he holds an unmentionable mop. He

dashes it on the banqueting table.

MAMA UBU. Wretch! what are you doing?

PAPA UBU. Try a little of that.

Several taste it and fall down poisoned.

PAPA UBU. Mama Ubu, pass me the cutlets of

rastron. I’ll serve.

MAMA UBU. Here they are.

PAPA UBU. To the door, everybody! Captain

Bordure, I have to speak to you.

THE OTHERS. Hey! we haven’t eaten.

PAPA UBU. How have you not eaten? To the door,

everybody! Remain, Bordure.

No one moves.

PAPU UBU. Not gone yet? Now by my green candle,

I’m going to murder you with these cutlets of rastron.

He begins throwing them.

ALL. Oh! Ouch! Help! Defend yourselves! Curses!

I’m dead!

PAPA UBU. Pshite, pshite, pshite! To the door! I order


ALL. Save yourselves! Miserable Papa Ubu! Traitor

and crude beggar!

PAPA UBU. Ah! they’ve left. I can breathe easy now,

but I dined very badly. Come, Bordure.

They leave with Mama Ubu.

Scene IV

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu, Captain Bordure.

PAPA UBU. Well then. Captain, did you dine well?

BORDURE. Very well, sir, except for the shit.

PAPA UBU. Eh! the pshite wasn’t bad.

MAMA UBU. Each to their own taste.

PAPA UBU. Captain Bordure, I’ve decided to make

you Duke of Lithuania.

BORDURE. But how? I thought you were terribly

poor, Papa Ubu.

PAPA UBU. In a few days, if you please, I shall reign

over Poland.

BORDURE. Are you going to kill Wenceslas?

PAPA UBU. He’s not silly, this chap. He guessed it.

BORDURE. If it’s a question of killing Wenceslas, I’m

in. I’m his mortal enemy and I’ll answer for my men.

PAPA UBU (throwing himself on Bordure to kiss him).

Oh! oh! I love you, Bordure.

BORDURE. Hey! you stink, Papa Ubu. Don’t you ever


PAPA UBU. Rarely.

MAMA UBU. Never!

PAPA UBU. I’m going to stamp on your feet!

MAMA UBU. Thick pshite!

PAPA UBU. Go, Bordure, I’ve finished with you. But

by my green candle, I swear by Mama Ubu to make

you Duke of Lithuania.


PAPA UBU. Say nothing, my soft child.

They leave.

Scene V

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu, a Messenger.

PAPA UBU. What do you want, mister? Get out of

here. You tire me.

THE MESSENGER. You are summoned, sir, by the


He goes out.

PAPA UBU. Oh! pshite, jarnicotonbleu, by my green

candle, I’ve been found out! I’m going to be

decapitated! Oh! Oh!!

MAMA UBU. What a softy! And time is short.

PAPA UBU. Oh! I have an idea: I’ll say it was Mama

Ubu and Bordure.

MAMA UBU. Ah! thick P.U.. If you do that…

PAPA UBU. Hey! I’ll go there at once!

He leaves.

MAMA UBU (running after him). Oh, Papa Ubu, Papa

Ubu! I’ll give you sausages!

PAPA UBU (offstage). Oh, pshite! You know what

you can do with your sausages!

Scene VI

The King’s palace.

King Wenceslas, surrounded by his officers; Bordure;

the king’s sons, Boleslas, Ladislas, and Bougrelas;

plus Ubu.

PAPA UBU (entering). It’s not me, you know! It’s

Mama Ubu and Bordure.

THE KING. What is the matter, Papa Ubu?

BORDURE. He’s drunk.

THE KING. As was I this morning.

PAPA UBU. Yes, I’m drunk. I’ve had too much

French wine.

THE KING. Papa Ubu, I am anxious to reward you for

your numerous services as Captain of Dragoons, and I

make you today Count of Sandomir.

PAPA UBU. 0 Wenceslas, sir, I don’t know how to

thank you.

THE KING. Don’t thank me, Papa Ubu. Just be there

tomorrow at the big parade.

PAPA UBU. I’ll be there, but please do me the honour

of accepting this small kazoo. (He gives the king a


THE KING. What would a man my age do with a

kazoo? I’ll give it to young Bougrelas.

YOUNG BOUGRELAS. He is a beast, this Papa Ubu.

PAPA UBU. And now I am going back home. (He

falls down turning away.) Oh! Ouch! Help! By my

green candle, I’ve busted a gut and cracked the


THE KING (picking him up). Are you badly hurt, Papa


PAPA UBU. Yes certainly, and I’m surely going to

burst. What will become of Mama Ubu?

THE KING. We shall see to her maintenance.

PAPA UBU. You’re very kind. (He goes out.) Yes, but

King Wenceslas, you won’t be any the less


Scene VII

Ubu’s house

Lap, Battery, Cotice, Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu,

Conspirators and Soldiers, Captain Bordure.

PAPA UBU. Hey! my good friends, it’s high time we

formulated a plan of action. Everybody’ll give their

opinion. I’ll give mine first, if you’ll permit.

BORDURE. Speak, Papa Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Hey well, my friends, my idea is simply

to poison the king by putting arsenic in his lunch. Then

when he goes to taste it, he’ll drop dead, and so I will

be king.

ALL. Fi, the sagouin!

PAPA UBU. Hey what, doesn’t it please you? Then let

Bordure share his idea.

BORDURE. I think we should give him a big stroke of

a sword that will split him from the head to the belt.

ALL. Yes! Voilà! That is noble and valiant.

PAPA UBU. And if he starts kicking you? I just

remembered – on parade he wears iron boots that hurt

badly. If I’d thought of it before, I’d have gone and

denounced you for trying to involve me in this dirty

business, and I reckon he would reward me too.

MAMA UBU. Oh! the traitor, the coward, the nasty


ALL. Boo, Papa Ubu!

PAPA UBU. Hey! Gentlemen calm yourselves if you

don’t want to visit my pockets. I agree to take the risk

for you. By the way, Bordure, you’re in charge of

slicing the king in two.

BORDURE. Wouldn’t it be better for us all to jump on

him at once while bawling and bawling? We’d have a

better chance of winning over the troops.

PAPA UBU. Then, voilà I’ll try to step on his feet.

He’ll jump back, and I’ll say to him: PSHITE, and on

that signal you will jump on him.

MAMA UBU. Yes, and as soon as he has died, you

will take his sceptre and his crown.

BORDURE. And I will lead my men in pursuit of the

Royal Family.

PAPA UBU. Yes, and I especially recommend you get

the young Bougrelas.

They leave.

PAPA UBU (running after them and making them

come back). Gentlemen, we forgot an indispensable

ceremony. It is necessary to swear to fight valiantly.

BORDURE. And how do we manage that? We don’t

have a priest.

PAPA UBU. Mama Ubu can stand in place of one.

ALL. Hey well. Whatever.

PAPA UBU. Do you swear to really kill the king?

ALL. Yes, we swear it! Hurrah for Papa Ubu!

Act 2

Scene I

The King’s palace.

Wenceslas, Queen Rosemonde, Boleslas, Ladislas and


THE KING. Mister Bougrelas, you were very

impertinent this morning to Master Ubu, knight of my

orders and Count of Sandomir. Therefore I forbid you

to appear at my parade.

THE QUEEN. But Wenceslas, it wouldn’t be too much

for you to have your whole family to defend you.

THE KING. Madam, I never go back on my word.

You tire me with these nonsenses.

BOUGRELAS. I submit, my father.

THE QUEEN. Really, my lord, are you determined to

go to this parade?

THE KING. Why not, my lady?

THE QUEEN. Have I not dreamed of him striking you

with his many weapons and throwing you into the

Vistule, while an eagle like that on the arms of Poland

places the crown upon his head?

THE KING. Whose head?

THE QUEEN. Papa Ubu’s!

THE KING. What madness! Mister Ubu is a very fine

gentleman who would let himself be torn apart by wild

horses for my service.


THE KING. Keep your opinions to yourself, young

sagouin. And you, my lady, to prove how little I fear

Mister Ubu, I’m going to the review as I am, without

buckler and without sword.

THE QUEEN. Fatal imprudence! I won’t see you

living again.

THE KING. Come, Ladislas. Come, Boleslas.

They leave. The Queen and Bougrelas go to the



great Saint Nicholas watch over you!

THE QUEEN. Bougrelas, come into the chapel with

me pray for your father and your brothers.

Scene II

The parade ground.

The Polish Army, The King, Boleslas, Ladislas, Papa

Ubu, Captain Bordure and his men, Lap, Battery,


THE KING. Noble Papa Ubu, come closer to me to

inspect the troops.

PAPA UBU (to his men). Attention, you lot. (To the

King). Coming, Sire, coming.

Ubu’s men surround the King.

THE KING. Ah! there is the regiment of Danzig horseguards.

My word, they are very beautiful!

PAPA UBU. You think so? They appear to me to be

miserable. Look at this one. (To the Soldier). How long

has it been since you washed yourself, you worthless


THE KING. But this soldier is very clean. What is the

matter with you, Papa Ubu?


He stamps on the King’s foot.

THE KING. Wretch!

PAPA UBU. PSHITE! To me, my men!

BORDURE. Hurrah! Forward!

All strike the King. A Paladin explodes.

THE KING. Oh! help! Holy Virgin, I’ve died!

BOLESAS, TO LADISLAS. That does it! Let’s draw!

PAPA UBU Ah! I have the crown! Now for the others.

BORDURE. Death to the traitors!!

The king’s sons run away. All pursue them.

Scene III

The Queen and Bougrelas

THE QUEEN. At last I begin to feel reassured.

BOUGRELAS. You don’t have any cause to fear.

An awful clamour is heard outside.

THE QUEEN. What is that dreadful noise?

BOUGRELAS. Ah! What do I see? My two brothers

pursued by Papa Ubu and his men.

THE QUEEN. Oh my God! Holy Virgin. They’re

losing ground.

BOUGRELAS. The whole army is following Papa

Ubu. The king is not there. Horror! Help!

THE QUEEN. Boleslas is dead! He received a bullet.

BOUGRELAS. Hey! (Ladislas turns around.) Defend

yourself! Hurrah for Ladislas!

THE QUEEN. Oh! he’s surrounded.

BOUGRELAS. This is the end of him. Bordure just cut

him in two like a sausage.

THE QUEEN. Alas! These madmen penetrate the

palace. They’re coming up the stairs.

The clamour increases.

THE QUEEN AND BOUGRELAS (on their knees).

My God, defend us.

BOUGRELAS. Oh! That Papa Ubu! The wretched

rogue! If I had him here…

Scene IV

The same. The door is demolished. Papa Ubu and his

men burst in.

PAPA UBU. Hey! Bougrelas. What now?

BOUGRELAS. By the living God! I will defend my

mother to the death! The first one to take a step dies!

PAPA UBU. Oh, Bordure, I’m scared! Let me out of


A SOLDIER (advances). Surrender, Bougrelas!

BOUGRELAS. Hold, hooligan! Here’s your


He splits open the Soldier’s skull.

THE QUEEN. Hold good, Bougrelas! Hold good!

MANY (advancing). Bougrelas, we promise to spare

your life.

BOUGRELAS. Scoundrels, scrotums, mercenary


He makes a windmill with his sword, and massacres


PAPA UBU. Oh! I’ll finish this thing just the same.

BOUGRELAS. Mother, save yourself by the secret


THE QUEEN. And you, my son, and you?

BOUGRELAS. I’ll follow.

PAPA UBU. Try and catch the queen! Ah, she’s gone!

As for you, you wretch…

He advances toward Bougrelas.

BOUGRELAS. Ah, by the living God! Here is my


He rips open Papa Ubu’s guts with a terrible blow of

his sword.

BOUGRELAS. Mother, I follow you!

He disappears by the secret staircase.

Scene V

A cavern in the mountains.

Young Bougrelas enters, followed by Rosemonde.

BOUGRELAS. Here we will be safe.

THE QUEEN. Yes, I hope so. Bougrelas, support me!

She falls in the snow.

BOUGRELAS. Ha, what, my mother, ails you?

THE QUEEN. I’m very sick, believe me, Bougrelas. I

have only two hours to live.

BOUGRELAS. What! Has the cold weather gotten to


THE QUEEN. How can I stand so many blows? The

king slaughtered, our family destroyed, and you –

representing the noblest race that ever carried the

sword – forced to hide in the mountains like a


BOUGRELAS. And by who, great God, by who?

Vulgar Papa Ubu, an adventurer from who knows

where?, a vile scoundrel, a shameful vagabond! And

when I think that my father decorated him and made

him a count, and the following day that villain

unashamedly assaulted him.

THE QUEEN. Oh, Bougrelas! When I remember how

happy we were before the arrival of this Papa Ubu! But

now, alas, all is changed.

BOUGRELAS. What do you want? Let’s wait with

hope and never renounce our claim.

THE QUEEN. I wish it for you, my child, but as for

me, I won’t see the happy day.

BOUGRELAS. Eh? what’s wrong? She becomes pale,

she falls. Help! But I’m in a desert! Oh, my God! Her

heart doesn’t beat any more. She’s dead! Is this

possible? Another victim for Papa Ubu!

He buries his face in his hands, and weeps.

BOUGRELAS. Oh, my God! how sad it is to find

oneself alone at the age of fourteen, with a terrible

vengeance to pursue!

He falls prey to the most violent despair. Meanwhile

the Souls of Wenceslas, Boleslas, Ladislas and

Rosemonde enter the cave. Their Ancestors come with

them and fill the cave. The eldest approaches

Bougrelas and gently wakes him.

BOUGRELAS. Hey? What do I see? All my family,

my ancestors! By what miracle?

THE GHOST. Learn, Bougrelas, that I was during my

life Matthias Lord of Koenigsberg, the first king and

founder of our house. I place upon you the

responsibility of exacting our vengeance. (He gives

him a big sword.) Let this sword not rest until it has

caused the death of the usurper.

The Ghosts disappear, and Bougrelas remains alone in

an attitude of ecstasy.

Scene VI

The King’s palace.

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu, Captain Bordure.

PAPA UBU. No! I won’t do it! You want to ruin me

with this nonsense?

BORDURE. But in short, Papa Ubu, don’t you see the

people await the happy event.

MAMA UBU. If you don’t have meats and gold

distributed, you’ll be overthrown within two hours.

PAPA UBU. Meats, yes! Gold, no! Slaughter three old

horses. That’s good enough for such sagouins.

MAMA UBU. Sagouin yourself! How did I end up

with such an animal as you?

PAPA UBU. For the last time, I want to become richer.

I won’t release a single coin.

MAMA UBU. When he has in his hands all the

treasures of Poland.

BORDURE. Yes. I know that there is in the chapel an

immense treasure. We will distribute it.

PAPA UBU. Wretch! Just you try!

BORDURE. But Papa Ubu, if you don’t make any

distributions, the people won’t want to pay their taxes.

PAPA UBU. Is this really true?

MAMA UBU. Yes, yes!

PAPA UBU. Oh, then I agree to all. Invite three

million people and cook a hundred and fifty cows and

sheep, especially as I will also have some.

They leave.

Scene VII

The court of the palace full of people.

Papa Ubu wearing a crown, Mama Ubu, Captain

Bordure, hirelings loaded with meat.

PEOPLE. There’s the king! Long live the king!


PAPA UBU (throwing gold). Catch. This is for you. It

hardly amuses me to give you money, but you know,

that’s what Mama Ubu wanted. At least promise me

you’ll pay your taxes.

ALL. Yes, yes!

BORDURE. Look, Mama Ubu, see how squabble.

What a battle!

MAMA UBU. It’s truly horrible. Ugh! there’s

someone with his skull cracked open.

PAPA UBU. What a beautiful spectacle! Bring other

cases of gold.

BORDURE. If we made a race…

PAPA UBU. Yes, that’s an idea. (To the people.) My

friends, you see this case of gold? It contains three

hundred thousand golden rose-nobles in genuine Polish

currency. Those who want to run get at that end of the

courtyard. You will start when I wave my

handkerchief, and the winner will have the case. As for

those that don’t win they will have this other case to

share as a consolation prize.

ALL. Yes! Long live Papa Ubu! What a good king!

One didn’t see anything so good in the days of


PAPA UBU (to Mama Ubu with joy). Listen to them!

All the people line up at the far end of the courtyard.

PAPA UBU. One, two, three! Are you ready?

ALL. Yes! Yes!


They start running and falling over themselves.

Screaming and tumult.

BORDURE. They approach! They approach!

PAPA UBU. Hey! The first one is losing ground!

MAMA UBU. No! He’s regained it.

BORDURE. Oh! He’s losing, he’s losing! Finish! It’s

the other

The one that was second finishes first.

ALL. Long live Michel Fédérovitch! Long live Michel


MICHEL FÉDÉROVITCH. My lord, I really don’t

know how to thank Your Majesty.

PAPA UBU. Oh, my dear friend, this is nothing. Take

home your case, Michel; and the rest of you, divide

this other case between you. Take a piece each until

there aren’t any left.

ALL. Long live Michel Fédérovitch! Long live Papa


PAPA UBU. And you, my friends, come and dine. I

open today the doors of the palace. Please honour me

by sharing my table.

PEOPLE. Let’s go! Let’s go! Long live Papa Ubu! He

is the noblest of rulers!

They enter the palace. One hears the noise of an orgy

that continues until the following day. The curtain


Act 3

Scene I

The palace.

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Now, by my green candle, here am I,

king in this country. I’ve already given myself

indigestion and someone is fetching my big cape.

MAMA UBU. What’s it made of, Papa Ubu? Being

king is all very well, but we have to economize.

PAPA UBU. Madam my female, the cape is made of

sheep-skin with a clasp and bridles made of dog-skin.

MAMA UBU. Why, that’s beautiful. But it’s even

more beautiful to be royal.

PAPA UBU. Yes, you are right, Mama Ubu.

MAMA UBU. We owe a great deal to the Duke of


PAPA UBU. To who?

MAMA UBU. Hey! Captain Bordure.

PAPA UBU. Do me a favour, Mama Ubu: don’t speak

to me of that buffoon. Now that I don’t need him any

more, he can kiss my arse. He’s not getting that duchy.

MAMA UBU. You’re making a mistake, Papa Ubu.

He’ll turn against you.

PAPA UBU. Oh! I pity him a lot, this small man. I

worry as much about him as I do about Bougrelas.

MAMA UBU. Hey? Do you think you’re done with


PAPA UBU. You bet your arse. What do you think

he’s going to do to me, that fourteen-year-old monkey?

MAMA UBU. Papa Ubu, pay attention to what I tell

you. Try to win over Bougrelas by your kindness.

PAPA UBU. More money to hand out? Ah! No!

You’ve already made me waste twenty-two million.

MAMA UBU. Watch your head. Papa Ubu. Or he’ll

cook it for you.

PAPA UBU. Hey well, you will be with me in the pot.

MAMA UBU. Listen once again. I am sure that young

Bougrelas can beat you because he has justice on his


PAPA UBU. Ah, dirt! Isn’t injustice just as worthy as

justice? Ah, you abuse me, Mama Ubu. I’m going to

cut you into little pieces!

Mama Ubu runs away, pursued by Ubu.

Scene II

The great hall of the palace.

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu, officers and soldiers, Lap,

Battery, Cotice, nobles in chains;

financiers, magistrates, clerks.

SUBTERRANEAN NOISES. Kneading the glottises

and larynges of the jaw without a palate,

How fast the printer prints!

The sequins tremble like the windmill’s vanes,

The leaves fall, in the teasing of the wind.

The jaw of the skull without brains chews up the

strangers brain,

Sundays, on the hill, to the sound of fifes and drums,

Or on red-letter days, in the endless cellars of the


Unfolding and explaining, the Debraining Machine,

How fast, how fast, the printer prints!

PAPA UBU. Bring in the noble crate and the noble

hook and the noble knife and the noble book! And then

– bring in the nobles!

The Nobles are brutally shoved in.

MAMA UBU. Restrain yourself, Papa Ubu, for

goodness’ sakes.

PAPA UBU. I have the honour to inform you that to

enrich the kingdom I’m going to kill all you nobles and

take your possessions.

NOBLES. Horror! To us, people and soldiers!

PAPA UBU. Bring the first Noble, and pass me my

Noble hook. Those that are condemned to death I’ll put

through the trapdoor and they’ll fall into the basement

of Pinchpork and then into the room below where their

brains will be removed by the debraining machine. (To

the 1st Noble.) Who are you, you buffoon?

FIRST NOBLE. Count of Vitepsk.

PAPA UBU. What’s your income?

FIRST NOBLE. Three million rixdales.

PAPA UBU. Condemned!

He grabs the Noble with the hook and puts him down

the hole.

MAMA UBU. What base ferocity!

PAPA UBU. Second Noble, who are you? (The Noble

says nothing.) You going to answer, dirt bag?

SECOND NOBLE. Grand Duke of Posen.

PAPA UBU. Excellent! Excellent! That’s all I want to

know. Into the hole! Third Noble, who are you? You

have a dirty head.

THIRD NOBLE. Duke of Courlande and of the cities

of Riga, Ravel, and Mitau.

PAPA UBU. Very well! Very well! Don’t you have

something else?


PAPA UBU. Into the hole then! Fourth Noble, who are


FOURTH NOBLE. Prince of Podolie.

PAPA UBU. What’s your income?

FOURTH NOBLE. I am skint.

PAPA UBU. For using foul language, you go in the

hole. Fifth Noble, who are you?

FIFTH NOBLE. Margrave of Thorn, Palatine of


PAPA UBU. That’s not much. Don’t you have

anything else?

FIFTH NOBLE. It is sufficient for me.

PAPA UBU. Hey well!. It is better to have little than

nothing. Into the hole! What are you snivelling about.

Mama Ubu?

MAMA UBU. You are too ferocious, Papa Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Hey! I’m becoming richer. I’m going to

have them read me MY list of MY possessions.

Herald, read me MY list of MY possessions.

THE HERALD. Earldom of Sandomir.

PAPA UBU. Begin with the principalities, you


THE HERALD. Principality of Podolie, Grand-Duchy

of Posen, Duchy of Courlande, Earldom of Sandomir,

Earldom of Vitepsk, Palatinate of Polack, Margraviate

of Thorn.

PAPA UBU. What else?

THE HERALD. That’s all.

PAPA UBU. How can that be all? Oh well then, let’s

get on with the Nobles, and seeing it’s taking so long

to get richer, I’m going to execute them all. So I’ll get

all their possessions. All right, throw the Nobles down

the hole.

(The Nobles are herded into the hole.)

PAPA UBU. Hurry, if you please. Now I want to make


SEVERAL. This we’ve got to see.

PAPA UBU. I’m going to first reform justice. After

that we will proceed to finances.

SEVERAL MAGISTRATES. We oppose all change.

PAPA UBU. Pshite! From now on, magistrates will no

longer be paid.

MAGISTRATES. And what will we live on? We are


PAPA UBU. You can have the fines you impose and

the possessions of those you sentence to death.


SECOND. Infamy!

THIRD. Scandal!

FOURTH. Indignity!

ALL. We refuse to judge under those circumstances.

PAPA UBU. Into the hole with the magistrates!

They struggle in vain.

MAMA UBU. Hey, what are you doing, Papa Ubu?

Who’s to render justice now?

PAPA UBU. Me! You’ll see how well things’ll go.

MAMA UBU. Yes, that’ll be perfect.

PAPA UBU. Shut up, you brainless tart. And now,

gentlemen, we proceed to matters of finance.

FINANCIERS. There’s nothing needs changing.

PAPA UBU. I want everything changed! First, I want

to keep half the taxes.

FINANCIERS. How excessive!

PAPA UBU. Gentlemen, we’ll put a ten percent tax on

property, another on trade and industry, a third on

marriages, a fourth on not marrying, and a fifth on

deaths, of fifteen francs each.

FIRST FINANCIER. But that’s that’s silly, Papa Ubu.


THIRD FINANCIER. That has neither head nor tail.

PAPA UBU. You dare argue with me? Into the hole

with the financiers!

They stuff the financiers in.

MAMA UBU. But really. Papa Ubu, what kind of a

king are you? You slaughter everybody.

PAPA UBU. Hey pshite!

MAMA UBU. No more justice, no more finance .

PAPA UBU. Fear not, my sweet child. I’ll go from

village to village to collect the taxes in person.

Scene III

A house of peasants in the vicinity of Warsaw.

Several peasants are assembled.

A PEASANT (coming in). Did you hear the big news?

The king is dead, the dukes also and the young

Bougrelas ran away with his mother to the mountains.

And on top of all that, Papa Ubu has seized the throne.

ANOTHER. I know some other news. I come from

Cracow where I saw them carry away the bodies of

more than three hundred nobles and five hundred

magistrates he killed, and it appears they are going to

double the taxes and Papa Ubu will come to collect

them himself.

ALL. Great God! What will become of us? Papa Ubu

is an awful sagouin and his family, it is said, is


A knocking at the door.

A PEASANT. Listen! Is that not someone knocking at

the door?

A VOICE (outside). Horn-belly! Open by my pshite,

by Saint John, Saint Peter, and Saint Nicholas, open

up! Blood and money! Hornducats! I’ve come for the


The door is demolished. Ubu enters followed by his

legion of money-grabbers.

Scene IV

PAPA UBU. Which one of you is the oldest? (A

peasant advances.) What’s your name?

THE PEASANT. Stanislas Leczinski.

PAPA UBU. Well then, horn-belly, listen to me well,

otherwise these gentlemen will cut off your ears. Do I

have your attention?

STANISLAS. Your Excellency has yet to say


PAPA UBU. What? I’ve been speaking for an hour.

Do you think I came here to preach to the wilderness?

STANISLAS. Such a thought is far from my mind.

PAPA UBU. I’ve come to tell you and direct you and

inform you that you have to produce and show your

money immediately, otherwise you will be slaughtered.

Let’s go, noble snot-noses of finance, bring in the

money wagon.

Someone brings in the wagon.

STANISLAS. My lord, we are down on the register for

only one hundred and fifty-two rixdales, which we’ve

already paid six weeks ago come Michaelmas.

PAPA UBU. It is very possible, but I’ve changed the

government and I announced in the newspaper that you

will have to pay all existing taxes twice, and three

times those that will be designated subsequently. With

this system I’ll make my fortune quickly; then I will

kill everybody and leave.

PEASANTS. Mister Ubu! Have mercy on us. We are

poor citizens.

PAPA UBU. I don’t give a pshite. Pay.

PEASANTS. We are not able to. We have paid.

PAPA UBU. Pay! Or I’ll break you with torture and

separation of the neck from the head! Horn-belly, I am

the king, am I not?

ALL. Ah, it is thus! To arms! Long live Bougrelas, by

God’s grace King of Poland and Lithuania!

PAPA UBU. Forward, gentlemen of Finance! Do your


A fight ensues. The house is destroyed, and old

Stanislas runs alone across the plain. Ubu remains to

collect the money.

Scene V

A dungeon in the fortress of Thorn.

Bordure in chains, Papa Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Ah, citizen, that’s how it is. You wanted

that I pay you what I owed you, then you rebelled

because I didn’t. You conspired against me and now

you’re in chains. Hornstrompet! The trick is turned so

well on you it must surely be to your taste!

BORDURE. Take care, Papa Ubu. In the five days

you’ve been king, you’ve committed more murders

than it would take to damn all the saints of Paradise.

The blood of the king and his nobles cries for

vengeance, and their cries will be heard.

PAPA UBU. Hey! my beautiful friend, you’re talking

heavy! I don’t doubt that if you escaped it could result

in complications, but I don’t believe the dungeons of

Thorn have ever set free any of the fine young men

entrusted to them. And so, good night, and I invite you

to sleep well although the rats dance a beautiful


He leaves. The gaoler comes to lock all doors.

Scene VI

The palace at Moscow.

The Emperor Alexis and his court, Bordure.

CZAR ALEXIS. Was it not you, infamous adventurer,

who cooperated in the death of our cousin Wenceslas?

BORDURE. My lord, forgive me. I was forced into it

in spite of myself by Papa Ubu.

ALEXIS. Oh! The awful liar! Anyway, what do you


BORDURE. Papa Ubu had me gaoled on a trumped-up

charge of conspiracy. I succeeded in escaping, and I

rode on horseback five days and nights across the

steppes to come and implore your gracious mercy.

ALEXIS. What did you bring me as a token of your


BORDURE. My free sword and a detailed plan of the

city of Thorn.

ALEXIS. I’ll take the sword, but burn this plan by

Saint George! I don’t want to owe my victory to


BORDURE. One of the sons of Wenceslas, young

Bougrelas, is still alive. I will do anything to restore

him to the throne.

ALEXIS. What rank did you hold in the Polish army?

BORDURE. I commanded the 5th regiment of

dragoons at Wilna and a company of mercenaries in

the pay of Papa Ubu.

ALEXIS. Good. I name you sub-lieutenant in the 10th

Cossack regiment, and beware if you turn traitor! If

you fight well, you will be rewarded.

BORDURE. I do not lack courage, my lord.

ALEXIS. That is well. Disappear from my presence.

He goes.

Scene VII

Ubu’s council chamber.

Papa Ubu, Mama Ubu, Councillors of Phynance.

PAPA UBU. Gentlemen, the meeting is now open. Try

to listen carefully and keep calm. First we’re going to

examine our finances, then we’ll talk about a little

system I’ve invented for making good weather and

bringing rain.

A COUNCILLOR. Very good indeed, Mister Ubu.

MAMA UBU. What a silly man!

PAPA UBU. Lady of my pshite, watch yourself. I

won’t endure your silliness. Well then, gentlemen, I

have informed you that the finances are going fairly

well. A considerable number of dogs in woollen

stockings pour into the streets, and the dognappers are

doing fine. On all sides one sees only burning houses,

and people bending under the weight of our finances.

THE COUNCILLOR. And the new taxes, Master Ubu,

are they working?

MAMA UBU. Not at all. The tax on marriage has

produced only 11 coins, and so Papa Ubu pursues

people everywhere to force them to get married.

PAPA UBU. Blood and money! Horn-belly! Madam

financier, haven’t I ears to speak with and you a mouth

to hear me? (Burst of laughter.) Or rather, no! You

confuse me and you are the reason I am silly! Now

horn of Ubu! . . . (A messenger enters.) Now what does

he want? Go then, sagouin, or I’ll poach you with

beheading and with twisting of the legs.

Messenger leaves.

MAMA UBU. Ah! He’s gone but he left this letter.

PAPA UBU. Read it. I believe I’m losing my mind, or

else I don’t know how to read. Hurry up, buffoonette,

this must be from Bordure.

MAMA UBU. Precisely. He says the Czar welcomed

him very well, that he’s going to invade your

dominions to re-establish Bougrelas, and then you will

be killed.

PAPA UBU. Ho! Ho! I am afraid! Ha, I think I’m

dying. Oh poor man that I am. What’s to become of

me, great God? This mean man is going to kill me.

Saint Anthony and all the saints, protect me! I will give

you money and I will burn candles for you. Lord,

what’s to be done?

He weeps and sobs.

MAMA UBU. There’s only one way out, Papa Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Which is what, my love?


ALL. Praise God! There! That is noble!

PAPA UBU. Yes, and I’ll suffer even more blows.

FIRST COUNCILLOR. Let’s run! Let’s run to

organise the army.

SECOND. And assemble the provisions.

THIRD. And to prepare the artillery and fortifications.

FOURTH. And to raise money for the troops.

PAPA UBU. Ah, no! I’m going to kill you. I don’t

want to spend money. And another thing – I was once

paid to make war and now I have to do it at my own

expense. No, let’s make war by my green candle since

you are so set on it, but don’t pay a single coin.

ALL. Long live war!

Scene VIII

The encampment before Warsaw.

Soldiers and Paladins.

SOLDIERS and PALADINS. Long live Poland! Long

live Papa Ubu!

PAPA UBU (entering with casque and cuirass). Hey,

Mama Ubu, give me my breastplate and my swaggerstick.

I’m soon going to be so loaded down I won’t be

able to walk if I’m pursued.

MAMA UBU. Fi, the coward!

PAPA UBU. Ah! There’s the pshite-sword that runs

away and the money-crook that doesn’t hold! I’ll never

be ready, and the Russians advance and they’re out to

kill me.

A SOLDIER. Lord Ubu, you’re losing your yardscissors.

PAPA UBU. I’m going to kill you with my pshitehook

and mug-knife.

MAMA UBU. Ah he is beautiful with his helmet and

his breast-plate. One is put in mind of an armed


PAPA UBU. And now I’m going to get up on my

horse. Bring, gentlemen, the Horse of Phynances.

MAMA UBU. Papa Ubu, your horse won’t be able to

carry you. It hasn’t eaten anything for five days and is

nearly dead.

PAPA UBU. How do you like that! They make me pay

12 coins a day for this nag, and she cannot carry me.

Ubu horn! Do you kid me, horn of Ubu, or are you

robbing me? (Mama Ubu blushes, and lowers her

eyes.) All right, bring me another beast, but I won’t go

on foot. Horn-belly!

Paladin Lap [in blackface] leads in an enormous


PAPA UBU. I’m getting on. Oh! I’d better sit because

I am going to fall. (The horse starts.) Ah! Stop my

beast. Great God, I’m going to fall and die!!!

MAMA UBU. He is indeed an imbecile. Ah, he’s up.

But now he’s down.

PAPA UBU. Fizzihorn, I’m half dead. But it doesn’t

matter. I’m off to war and I will kill everybody.

Anybody who steps out of line I’ll fix with twisting of

the nose and teeth and extraction of the tongue.

MAMA UBU. Good luck, Mister Ubu!

PAPA UBU. I forgot to tell you that I’m handing you

the regency. But I’m taking the accounts with me. To

bad on you if you cheat me. I’m leaving Paladin Lap to

help you. Farewell, Mama Ubu.

MAMA UBU. Farewell, Papa Ubu. Kill the Czar good.

PAPA UBU. For sure. Twisting of the nose and teeth,

extraction of the tongue and forcing of the swagger

stick in the ears.

The army moves off to the sound of fanfares.

MAMA UBU (alone). Now that this thick stooge is

gone, let’s make it our business to kill Bougrelas and

seize us the treasures.

Act 4

Scene I

The crypt of the ancient kings of Poland in the

cathedral of Warsaw.

Mama Ubu, alone.

MAMA UBU. Now, where is this treasure? No tile

sounds hollow. Yet I carefully counted thirteen

flagstones from the tomb of Ladislas the Great going

along the wall, and there is not anything. Someone

must have deceived me. No! Here the tile sounds

hollow. To work. Mama Ubu! Let’s loosen this stone.

It holds fast. Let’s use the end of the money-crook. It

will serve its purpose again. There! There is gold in the

middle of the bones of kings. Into our bag, then, with it

all! Hey! What is this noise? In these old vaults, can

anything still be alive? No, it’s nothing. Let’s hurry.

Let’s take all. This money will be better off in daylight

than in the middle of tombs of old princes. Let’s put

back the stone. Now what? Still that noise! This place

scares me. I will take the remainder of this some other

time. I will come back tomorrow.

A VOICE (rising from the tomb of Jean Sigismond).

Never, Mama Ubu!

Mama Ubu runs away terrified, carrying off the stolen

money through a secret door.

Scene II

The town square in Warsaw.

Bougrelas and his men, People and soldiers.

BOUGRELAS. Forward, my friends! Long live

Wenceslas and Poland! That old rogue, Papa Ubu, is

gone. All that remains is the old witch, Mama Ubu,

and her champion. I offer to march at your head and to

re-establish the race of my forefathers.

ALL. Long live Bougrelas!

BOUGRELAS. And I’ll revoke all the taxes

established by the awful Papa Ubu.

ALL. Hurrah! Forward! Let’s run to the palace and

slaughter the whole brood.

BOUGRELAS. Hey! There is Mama Ubu coming

down the stairway with her guards.

MAMA UBU. What is it you want, gentlemen? Ah! It

is Bougrelas!

The crowd launches stones.

FIRST GUARD. All the windows are broken.

SECOND GUARD. Saint George, I am stunned!

THIRD GUARD. Cornelius, I die.

BOUGRELAS. Launch stones, my friends.

PALADIN LAP. Hey! It is thus!

He unsheathes his sword and rushes in, wreaking

terrible carnage.

BOUGRELAS. Have at you! En-garde, you loose


They fight.

PALADIN LAP. I’m dying!

BOUGRELAS. Victory, my friends! And now for

Mama Ubu!

Trumpets sound.

BOUGRELAS. Ah! There are the Nobles arriving.

Let’s run. Let’s catch the evil harpy!

THE OTHERS. Until we strangle the old bandit!

Mama Ubu runs away pursued by all the Poles. Shots

and hail of stones.

Scene III

The Polish army on the march in the Ukraine.

PAPA UBU (enters dragging a long bridle). Blue

corn! Ham of God! Head of cow! We are going to

perish because we die of thirst and tiredness. Lord

Soldier, have the kindness to carry our phynance box,

and you, Lord Lancer, take charge of the pshite-chisel

and physics-stick to relieve our person, because, I

repeat, we are tired.

The soldiers obey.

BATTERY. Hey! Mister! It is astonishing that the

Russians don’t appear.

PAPA UBU. It is regrettable that the state of our

finances doesn’t permit us to have a car big enough for

our needs; because, for fear of demolishing our nag,

we came the whole way on foot, trailing our horse by

the bridle. But when we are back in Poland, we will

invent, by means of our science in physics and helped

by the enlightenment of our councillors, a car to

transport the whole army.

COTICE. There’s Nicholas Rensky on a hurry.

PAPA UBU. What’s bothering him, this boy?

RENSKY. All is lost. Lord! The Poles are revolting.

Lap is killed and Mama Ubu has fled to the mountains.

PAPA UBU. Bird of night, beast of misfortune, owl in

gaiters! Where do you finish with these nonsenses? It’s

just one thing after another. And who did it?

Bougrelas, I bet. From whence do you come?

RENSKY. From Warsaw, noble Sire.

PAPA UBU. Boy of my pshite, if I believed you I’d

make the whole army go back the same way it came.

But, esteemed youth, there are on your shoulders more

feathers than brains and you’ve dreamt this silliness.

Back to the outposts, my boy. The Russians are not far

off, and we will have soon to draw our weapons and

attack with everything we’ve got – pshite, phynances

and physics.

GENERAL LACSY. Papa Ubu, don’t you see the

Russians on the plain?

PAPA UBU. It is true! The Russians! And now I am

bolloxed! If there was means for me to get away – but

not at all. We are on a height and exposed on all sides.

THE ARMY. The Russians! The enemy!

PAPA UBU. Let’s go, gentlemen. let’s take up our

positions for the battle. We’re going to stay on this hill

and won’t commit the blunder of descending to the

bottom. I will hold the middle like a living citadel and

the rest of you will circle around me. I recommend that

you put in your rifles as many bullets as they’ll hold,

because eight bullets can kill eight Russians and that’s

a few less I won’t have on my back. We’ll put the

infantry at the bottom of the hill to receive the

Russians and kill them a little, riders behind to throw

themselves into the confusion, and the artillery around

the windmill here to fire into the heap. As for us, we

will stay inside the windmill and will fire with our

phynance-gun through the window. Across the door

we’ll place the physics-stick and if someone tries to

enter we’ll use the pshite-hook!

OFFICERS. Your orders, Lord Ubu, will be executed.

PAPA UBU. Hey! It goes well. We will be winners.

What hour is it?

GENERAL LASCY. Eleven O’clock in the morning.

PAPA UBU. Then we shall dine because the Russians

won’t attack before noon. Tell the soldiers, Esteemed

General, to get themselves ready and to begin the Song

of Finances.

Lascy leaves.

SOLDIERS and PALADINS. Long live Papa Ubu!

Ting, ting, ting; ting, ting, ting; ting, ting, tating!

PAPA UBU. Oh, the brave people. I adore them!

A Russian cannonball arrives and breaks off a vane of

the mill.

PAPA UBU. Ah! I’m scared. Lord God, I’m dead!

And yet, no – I’ve no injuries.

Scene IV

The same.

A captain, then the Russian army.

A CAPTAIN (coming in). Lord Ubu, the Russians


PAPA UBU. Hey, well, what do you expect me to do

about it? It wasn’t me who told them to. However,

Gentlemen of Finances, let us prepare to fight.

A second cannonball. Papa Ubu is bowled over, the

cannonball bouncing up and down on his belly several

times before coming to a stop.

GENERAL LASCY. A second cannonball! I’m getting

out of here.

He flees.

PAPA UBU. Ah, I’ve had enough. It rains lead and

iron here and we could damage our precious person.

Let’s descend.

All descend quickly. The battle has just begun. They

disappear into torrents of smoke at the foot of the hill.

A RUSSIAN (striking). For God and the Czar!

RENSKY. Ah! I’m dead!

PAPA UBU. Forward!! Ah you, mister – you that I’m

hitting because you tried to hit me first-do you hear?

You bag of wine, with your musket that doesn’t go off.

THE RUSSIAN. Is that so?

He shoots him with a revolver.

PAPA UBU. Ah! Oh! I am wounded! I am pierced! I

am punched! I’m done for! I’m buried! Except that he

missed! Ah! I got him! (He rips him open.) Now start


GENERAL LASCY. Forward! Let’s press home our

advantage! Cross the moat! Victory is ours!!

PAPA UBU. You think so? So far I feel on my

forehead more bumps than laurels.

RUSSIAN CAVALRY. Hurrah! Make way for the


The Czar enters, accompanied by Bordure, disguised.

A POLE. Ah! Lord! Save what you can! There’s the


ANOTHER. Ah! My God! He’s crossing the moat.

A THIRD. Biff! Boff! There’s four of them stunned by

that big bastard of a lieutenant.

BORDURE. Ah! had enough, the rest of you? Hold,

Jean Sobiesky, this is what’s due to you! (He stuns

him.) Now for the others!

He massacres the Poles.

PAPA UBU. Forward, my friends! Catch this blighter!

We’ll make minced meat of these Muscovites! Victory

is ours! Long live the red Eagle!

ALL. Forward! Hurrah! Ham of God! Get the big


BORDURE. By Saint George, I have fallen.

PAPA UBU (recognising him). Ah, it is you, Bordure!

Ah, my friend, we are well happy, along with everyone

else present, to see you. I’m going to cook you slowly!

Gentlemen of Finances, light a fire. Ah! Oh! Ah! I’m

dead. It is at least a cannonball I received. Ah! my

God, forgive me my sins. Yes, it is definitely a


BORDURE. You’ve been shot with a cap-pistol.

PAPA UBU. Ah! You ridicule me! Again? I’ll show


He rushes at Bordure and tears him apart.

GENERAL LASCY. Papa Ubu, we advance on all


PAPA UBU. So I see, but I’m not able to do any more.

I am bereft of energy. I would like to sit down on the

floor. (Sits on the ground.) Oh! my bollocks!

GENERAL LASCY. Go take the Czar’s instead. Papa


PAPA UBU. Hey! I’ll do that at once. Let’s go! Pshitesword,

do your duty, and you, money-crook, don’t

remain behind. Physics-stick, emulate them

unstintingly, and share with this swagger stick the

honour of slaughtering, burying and abusing the

Muscovite emperor. Forward, Mr. Horse of


He charges at the Czar.

A RUSSIAN OFFICER. Watch out, Your Majesty!

PAPA UBU. Take that, you! Oh! Ouch! Ah! But all

the same. Ah!, gentlemen, mercy! Leave me alone. Oh!

But I didn’t mean it.

He runs away. The Czar pursues him.

PAPA UBU. Holy Virgin, this fanatic pursues me! I’ve

got to escape, great God! Ah! Good, there is the moat.

But I feel him breathing down my neck. Courage!

Let’s close our eyes!

He jumps the moat. The Czar falls in.

THE CZAR. Bollocks! I’ve fallen in.

POLES. Hurrah! the Czar is down!

PAPA UBU. I hardly dare turn around! Ah! That’s

good. He’s a sitting target. That’s it, Poles, give him a

good kicking! He’s got a broad back, the poor sod! No,

I don’t dare watch. All the same, our prediction was

spot on. The physics-stick worked marvels. There’s no

doubt that I would have completely killed him if an

inexplicable terror had not come upon me and annulled

in us the effects of our courage. But we had to

suddenly turn tail, and owe our preservation only to

our riding skills and to the solidity of the hocks of our

Horse of Phynances, whose speed is equalled only by

its strength, and whose agility is famous, and also to

the depth of the moat which was fortunately in the path

of the enemy of those here present, Mister Finance. All

of which is very beautiful, but no one’s listening to me.

Let’s go! Here we go again!

The Russian dragoons charge, and rescue the Czar.

GENERAL LASCY (running across). This time it’s a


PAPA UBU. Ah! That’s our cue to get out of here.

Therefore, gentlemen of Poland, forward! Or rather,


POLES. Every man for himself!

PAPA UBU. Let’s go! What a shower, what a rout,

what a multitude! How am I going to get out of this

mess? (He is knocked over.) Ah! But you! Pay

attention, or you’re going to taste the wrath of Mister

Finance. Ah! he’s gone. Let’s save ourselves – and

quick! – while Lascy isn’t looking.

He runs off, then we see the Czar and the Russian

army pursuing the Poles.

Scene V

A cave in Lithuania.

It snows.

Papa Ubu, Battery, Cotice

PAPA UBU. Ah! What a wretched time. It’s freezing

enough to split a rock and the person of Mister Finance

is badly damaged.

BATTERY. Hey! Mister Ubu, are you over your terror

and your flight?

PAPA UBU. Yes. I’m not afraid any more, but I must

flee again.

COTICE (aside). What a swine!

PAPA UBU. Hey, Lord Cotice, your yard. How goes


COTICE. As well, sir, as it can and it could be worse.

By consequeynt of the fact thatte the lead bends it to

the ground, and I can’t extract the bullet.

PAPA UBU. That’s good. You were always wanting to

strike others. Me, I displayed the greatest courage and

without exposing myself to danger I slaughtered four

enemies by my own hands, not counting those that had

already died.

COTICE. Do you know, Battery, what became of little


BATTERY. He received a bullet in the head.

PAPA UBU. Just as the poppy and the dandelion are

mowed down by the pitiless efforts of the pitiless

mower who mows them down pitilessly, so did little

Rensky play the poppy. He is a hard man to beat, but

there were too many Russians.


AN ECHO (in the wings). Hhrron!

BATTERY. What’s that? Let’s arm ourselves with our


PAPA UBU. Ah, no! More Russians, I bet! I’ve had

enough! Bottom line: if they piss me off, I’ll marmalise


Scene VI

The same.

Enter a bear.

COTICE. Hey! Mister Finance!

PAPA UBU. Oh, hold! Look at the little doggy. He’s

so cute.

BATTERY. Look out! Ah! what an enormous bear!

My cartridges!

PAPA UBU. A bear? Ah! the atrocious beast! Poor

poor me, I’m being eaten! God save me! He’s coming

for me! No, it’s Cotice he’s after. Ah! I breathe.

The bear throws himself on Cotice. Battery attacks the

bear with a knife. Ubu takes refuge on a rock.

COTICE. To me, Battery! To me! Help me, Mister


PAPA UBU. Bernique! Sort it out yourself, my friend.

We’re saying our Pater Noster. Everyone will have his

turn to get eaten.

BATTERY. I have him! I’m holding him!

COTICE. Hold tight, my friend. He’s beginning to let

go of me.

PAPA UBU. Sanctificetur nomem tuum.

COTICE. Filthy coward!

BATTERY. Ah! He’s biting me! Oh Lord, save us. I

am dying.

PAPA UBU. Fiat voluntas tua.

COTICE. Ah! I have succeeded in wounding him.

BATTERY. Hurrah! he’s losing blood!

Amidst the cries of the Paladins, the bear bellows in

pain and Ubu continues to mutter.

COTICE. Hold him tight so I can get him with my

explosive punch.

PAPA UBU. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis


BATTERY. Get on with it. I can’t hold on much


PAPA UBU. Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus


COTICE. Ah! I have him!

An explosion sounds and the bear drops dead.


PAPA UBU. Sed libera nos a malo. Amen. Is it very

dead yet? Can I come down from my rock?

BATTERY (with contempt). If you wish.

PAPA UBU (descending). You may flatter yourselves

that if you are still living, and if you tread the snows of

Lithuania again, you owe it to the magnanimous virtue

of the Master of Finance, who strained himself, broke

his back, and near lost his voice saying paternosters for

your safety, and who handled the spiritual sword of

prayer with as much courage as you who handled the

temporal explosive punch of the here-present Paladin

Cotice. We pushed our devotion even further, because

we did not hesitate to go up on a very high rock so that

our prayers had less distance to cross to reach the sky.

BATTERY. Revolting she-ass!

PAPA UBU. Here is a stupid beast. Thanks to me, you

have something to eat. What a belly, gentlemen! The

Greeks would have been more at ease in there than in

their hobby-horse, and we were, dear friends, close to

being able to testify with our own eyes his internal


BATTERY. I’m dying of hunger. What is there to eat?

COTICE. The bear!

PAPA UBU. Hey! poor lads, are you going to eat it all

raw? We don’t have anything to make fire.

BATTERY. Don’t we have our rifle flints?

PAPA UBU. Hold, it is true. And it seems to me we

are not too far from a small wood where there must be

some dry branches. Be off to look for it, Master Cotice.

Cotice goes off across the snow.

BATTERY. And now, Master Ubu, go ahead and cut

up the bear.

PAPA UBU. Oh no! He might not be dead. While you,

who are already half eaten and bitten all over, you’re

just made for the part. I’m going to light a fire until he

brings wood.

Battery begins to cut up the bear.

PAPA UBU. Oh! Watch out! It moved.

BATTERY. But Lord Ubu, it’s already cold.

PAPA UBU. That’s a pity. It would have been better to

eat it hot. This is going to give the Master of Finance


BATTERY (aside). He’s disgusting. (Aloud.) Give us a

hand, Mr. Ubu, to complete the task.

PAPA UBU. No, I don’t feel like doing anything. I am

tired, as a matter of fact.

COTICE (returning). What snow, my friends! One

would think oneself in Castille or at the North Pole.

Night begins to fall. In one hour it will be black. Let’s

hurry while we still can see.

PAPA UBU. Yes, do you hear, Battery? Hurry

yourself! Both of you, hurry yourselves. Put the beast

on a spit, cook the beast. I’m hungry, me!

BATTERY. Ah, it’s too much! You have to work or

you won’t get anything, you hear, guzzler?

PAPA UBU. Oh! it’s all the same to me. I’d just as

soon eat it raw. It is you who will suffer. Besides

which, I’m sleepy.

COTICE. What, Battery, do you want? Let’s eat the

dinner all ourselves. He won’t get any, that’s all. Or

else we could give him the bones.

BATTERY. Fine. Ah, the fire is catching.

PAPA UBU. Oh! that’s good. It’s warm now. But I see

Russians everywhere. What a rout, great God! Ah!

He falls asleep.

COTICE. I wish I knew if what Rensky said is true,

whether Mama Ubu is indeed dethroned. It ‘s not


BATTERY. Let’s finish supper.

COTICE. No, we have to speak of more important

things. I think it would be a good idea for us to inquire

as to the veracity of this news.

BATTERY. You’re right. Should we abandon Papa

Ubu, or stay with him?

COTICE. The night brings wisdom. Let’s go to sleep.

We’ll decide tomorrow what needs to be done.

BATTERY. No, better to use the night to slip away.

COTICE. Let’s go then.

They leave.

Scene VII

Ubu speaks while sleeping.

Ah! Lord Russian Dragoon, pay attention. Don’t shoot

that way; everybody’s there! Ah! there’s Bordure. He

is bad, one would say a bear. And Bougrelas who

comes at me! The bear, the bear! Ah, there he is down!

It is tough, Great God! I don’t want to do any work,

me!. Bog off, Bougrelas! Do you hear, you fool?

There’s Rensky now, and the Czar! Oh! they’re going

to fight me. And Madame Ubu! Where’d you get all

this anyway? You stole my gold, you wretch! You’ve

plundered my tomb in Warsaw Cathedral, close to the

Moon. I’ve been dead a long time, me. It is Bougrelas

that killed me, and I am buried at Warsaw close to

Vladislas the Great, and also in Cracow close to Jean

Sigismond, and also at Thorn in the dungeon with

Bordure. There he is again! But go, accursed bear. You

look just like Bordure! Do you hear, beast of Satan?

No, he doesn’t hear. The Snot-noses cut off his ears.

That’s it! Slaughter them! Cut off their ears! Take all

their money! And drink yourself to death! That’s the

life of the Snot-noses – that’s the luck of the Master of


He falls silent and sleeps.

Act 5

Scene I

It is night. Papa Ubu sleeps.

Mama Ubu enters without seeing him.

The darkness is complete.

MAMA UBU. At last I find shelter. I am alone here.

This is not a pity, but what a wild race – to cross the

whole of Poland in four days! Every possible

misfortune assailed me at once. No sooner does that fat

arse leave, but I go to the crypt to become richer. Soon

afterwards I almost get stoned to death by Bougrelas

and his fanatics. I lose my cavalier, the Paladin Lap,

who was so enamoured of my charms that he would

swoon with joy at seeing me, and even, I’m assured,

when he didn’t look at me – which is the height of

passion. He would have cut himself in half for me, the

poor boy. The proof is that he has been cut into

quarters by Bougrelas. Biff, boff, boom! Ah! I think

I’m about to die. Then, therefore, I take flight, pursued

by the furious mob. I leave the palace. I arrive at the

Vistule. All the bridges are guarded. I swim across the

stream, hoping to evade my pursuers. On all sides the

nobility assembles and pursues. A thousand times I

cheat death, persecuted by a mob of Polacks lusting for

my blood. In short I escaped their fury, and after four

days of tramping through the snow of what was my

kingdom, I arrive to take refuge here. I’ve had nothing

to eat or drink these four days. Bougrelas was closing

in on me. But at last, I’m safe. Ah! I’m dying of

weariness and cold. But I would like to know what

became of my thick buffoon, I mean to say my very

esteemed spouse. After all, did I steal his money? Did I

run off with his rixdales?. Have I taken one lousy

bean?! And his Horse of Phynances, that was dying of

hunger – it didn’t see oats often, the poor devil. Ah!

What a great story. But alas! I lost my treasure! It’s at

Warsaw, go look for it who will.

PAPA UBU (beginning to wake up). Get Mama Ubu!

Cut off her ears!

MAMA UBU. Ah God! Where am I? I’m losing my

mind! Ah! no, Lord!

Thank heavens, I see

Little Papa Ubu asleep near me!

Let’s be nice. Well, my fat fellow, did you sleep well?

PAPA UBU. Very poorly! He was well hard, that bear!

Fight of the ravenous against the tough, but the

ravenous completely ate and devoured the tough, as

you’ll see when daylight comes. Do you hear, noble


MAMA UBU. What’s he babbling about? He’s even

stupider than when he left. Who’s he talking to?

PAPA UBU. Cotice, Battery, answer me, pshite-bag.

Where are you? Ah! I am afraid. But someone spoke.

Who spoke? It’s not the bear, I suppose. Pshite! Where

are my matches? Ah! I lost them in battle.

MAMA UBU (aside). Let’s take advantage of the

situation and the night. Let’s pretend to be a ghost, and

make him promise to forgive us our larcenies.

PAPA UBU. But, by Saint Anthony, someone speaks!

Ham of God! Hang me if they’re not.

MAMA UBU (magnifying her voice). Yes, Mister

Ubu, someone speaks indeed, and the trumpet of the

archangel which shall draw the dead from the ash and

the final dust would not speak otherwise! Listen to this

stern voice. It is the voice of the Archangel Gabriel,

who can only give good advice.

PAPA UBU. Oh! That, indeed!

MAMA UBU. Do not interrupt me or I shall say no

more, and it’ll be your funeral.

PAPA UBU. Ah, my belly! I’ll be quiet, I won’t say

another word.

MAMA UBU. We were saying, Mister Ubu, that

you’re a fat bastard.

PAPA UBU. Very fat, indeed, it’s true.

MAMA UBU. By God, shut up about yourself!

PAPA UBU. Oh! angels don’t swear.

MAMA UBU (aside). Pshite! (Continuing.) You are

married, Mister Ubu.

PAPA UBU. Absolutely, to the last of the minxes.

MAMA UBU. You mean to the most charming of


PAPA UBU. A horror. She has claws everywhere. One

doesn’t know how to take her.

MAMA UBU. It is necessary to take her with

kindness, Lord Ubu, and if you do you’ll see that she’s

at least the equal of Venus in Paradise.

PAPA UBU. Who did you say had lice?

MAMA UBU. You aren’t listening, Mister Ubu. Lend

us a more attentive ear. (Aside.) But we must hurry, the

day is about to break. Mr. Ubu, your woman is

adorable and delicious. She doesn’t have a single fault.

PAPA UBU. You’re mistaken. There isn’t a single

fault she doesn’t possess.

MAMA UBU. Silence! Your woman has never been

unfaithful to you.

PAPA UBU. I’d like to see the man that would want

her. What a harpy!

MAMA UBU. She doesn’t drink.

PAPA UBU. Not since I took the key to the cellar.

Before, at seven o’clock in the morning, she was drunk

and reeking of brandy. Now that she perfumes herself

with heliotrope she smells no worse. It’s all the same

to me. But now I’m the only one that can get drunk.

MAMA UBU. Stupid fool! Your wife doesn’t steal

your gold.

PAPA UBU. No? That’s funny.

MAMA UBU. She doesn’t syphon off a single coin.

PAPA UBU. Witness, sir, our noble and unfortunate

Horse of Phynances, who, not being fed for three

months, had to do the entire campaign dragged by the

bridle across the Ukraine. He died on the job, the poor


MAMA UBU. All lies. Your wife is perfect, and you,

what a monster you are!

PAPA UBU. All I say is true. My wife is a rogue, and

what a fathead you are!

MAMA UBU. Take care, Papa Ubu!

PAPA UBU. Ah, that’s right. I forgot who I was

talking to. No, I didn’t say what I just said.

MAMA UBU. You killed Wenceslas.

PAPA UBU. That was not of course my fault. It’s what

Mama Ubu wanted.

MAMA UBU. You killed Boleslas and Ladislas.

PAPA UBU. Too bad for them! They wanted to hit


MAMA UBU. You broke your promise to Bordure,

and then you killed him.

PAPA UBU. I’d rather it was me that reigns in

Lithuania than him. At present you can see it isn’t

either of us. At least, you can see it isn’t me.

MAMA UBU. There’s only one way for all your

misdemeanours to be forgiven.

PAPA UBU. What is it? I’m willing to become a holy

man. I want to be a bishop, and see my name on the


MAMA UBU. You must forgive Mama Ubu for

having diverted a little money.

PAPA UBU. Hey well, voilà! I will forgive her when

she has returned it all and when I’ve thoroughly

thrashed her, and when she has brought my Horse of

Phynances back to life.

MAMA UBU. He’s obsessed with that horse. Ah, I’m

lost! The day breaks.

PAPA UBU. Well, anyway, I’m happy to know for

sure that my dear wife has been fleecing me. I have it

now from a reliable source. Omnis a Deo scientia,

which means : Omnis, all; a Deo, knowledge ; scientia,

comes from God. There is the explanation of the

phenomenon. But Madame Apparition doesn’t say

anything any more. What can I do to comfort her?

What she said was very funny. Hold, but it is daylight.

Ah! Lord! Now by my Horse of Phynances, it’s Mama


MAMA UBU (brazenly). That’s not true. I’m going to

excommunicate you!

PAPA UBU. Ah! Carrion!

MAMA UBU. What profanity!

PAPA UBU. Ah, this is too much. I see perfectly well

that it’s you, soft minx! Why the devil are you here?

MAMA UBU. Lap is dead and the Poles hunted me.

PAPA UBU. And me, it is the Russians who hunted

me. Beautiful minds meet.

MAMA UBU. In this case a beautiful mind has met an


PAPA UBU. Ah! Hey well. She is now going to meet a


He throws the bear at her.

MAMA UBU (falling in a heap under the weight of

the bear) . Ah, great God! What horror! Ah, I die! I

choke! It’s killing me! It’s swallowing me! It’s

digesting me!

PAPA UBU. It’s dead, stupid. Oh! But, as a matter of

fact, maybe it isn’t! Ah Lord!, no, it isn’t dead! Let’s

save ourselves! (Getting back up on his rock.) Pater

noster qui es…

MAMA UBU (disentangling herself). Hold! where is


PAPA UBU. Ah, Lord! There she is again. Soft

creature, is there no way of getting rid of her? Is it

dead, this bear?

MAMA UBU. Hey, yes, you stupid arse! He’s already

cold. How did he get here?

PAPA UBU (confused). I don’t know. Ah, so, I know.

He wanted to eat Battery and Cotice me, and I killed

him with one blow of the Paternoster Noster.

MAMA UBU. Battery, Cotice, Paternoster Noster!

What’s is that? He is mad, my finance!

PAPA UBU. It’s exactly as I say. And it’s you who’s

mad, my little gibbon!

MAMA UBU. Tell me about your campaign. Papa


PAPA UBU. Oh, lady, no! It is too long. All I know is

that in spite of my incontestable valour, everybody

beat me.

MAMA UBU. What, even the Poles?

PAPA UBU. They were shouting: Long live

Wenceslas and Bougrelas! I believe they wanted to

quarter me. Oh! the fanatics! And then they killed


MAMA UBU. That’s a matter of indifference to me!

You know that Bougrelas killed Paladin Lap?

PAPA UBU. I’m indifferent! And then they killed poor


MAMA UBU. Who cares?

PAPA UBU. Oh, but all the same, hold on, you

carrion! Get down on your knees before your lord and

master. (He grabs her and forces her to kneel.) You’re

going to undergo capital punishment.

MAMA UBU. Oh, mercy, Mister Ubu!

PAPA UBU. Are you finished? Then I’ll begin:

twisting of the nose, extraction of hair, penetration of

the ears with a small stick, extraction of the brains

through the heels, laceration of the bottom, partial or

even total suppression of the bone marrow – if that will

remove the spininess of your character – not forgetting

the cutting open of the bladder, and finally the grand

beheading a la Saint John the Baptist, the whole drawn

from the holy writings of both the Old Testament and

the New, set in order, corrected and perfected by the

here-present Master of Finance! How does that suit

you, fathead?

He goes to lacerate her.

MAMA UBU. Mercy, Mister Ubu!

Loud noise at the entrance to the cave.

Scene II

The same.

Enter Bougrelas rushing into the cave with his


BOUGRELAS. Forward, my friends! Long live


PAPA UBU. Oh! oh! Wait a moment, Mr. Polack.

Wait till I’ve finished with Madame my better half.

BOUGRELAS (striking him). Take that, beggar,

heretic, bully, infidel, Moslem!

PAPA UBU (riposting). Take that! Polack, drunkard,

bastard, hussar, tartar, scabbard, cockroach, Savoyard,


MAMA UBU (hitting him too). Take that! capon, pig,

felon, histrion, rascal, trollop, Polack!

The soldiers rush at on the Ubus, who defend

themselves as best they can.

PAPA UBU. God! What a kicking!

MAMA UBU. They sure have feet, these Poles!

PAPA UBU. By my green candle, isn’t this ever going

to end? Another one! Ah, if I had here my Horse of


BOUGRELAS. Hit! Always hit!

VOICES (offstage) : Long live, Papa Ubu, our great


PAPA UBU. Ah! There they are. Hurrah. Here come

the Ubusmen. Forward. Come in. One has need of you,

gentlemen of Finances!

Enter the champions who throw themselves into the


COTICE. To the door, Poles!

BATTERY. Hey! We meet again, Mister Finance.

Forward! Push vigorously! Secure the door! Once

outside, all we have to do is run away.

PAPA UBU. Oh! I’m good at that. Oh! he hit me!

BOUGRELAS. God! I’m wounded!

STANISLAS LECZINSKI. It ain’t nothing, my lord.

BOUGRELAS. No, I’m only stunned.

JEAN SOBIESKI. Hit! Keep hitting! They’re making

for the door, the beggars!

COTICE. I’m almost there! Follow me, everyone. By

consequence of the fact that I see the sky.

BATTERY. Courage, Lord Ubu!

PAPA UBU. Ah! I’ve done something in my panties.

Forward, horn-belly! Murder them, draw blood, skin

them, slaughter them, horn of Ubu! Ah, they’re


COTICE. There are only two of them guarding the


PAPA UBU (stunning them with the bear). And a one!

And a two! Ouf! There – I am outside! Let’s save

ourselves. Everyone follow me – and quick!

Scene III

The stage represents the province of Livonia covered

with snow.

The Ubus and their suite in flight.

PAPA UBU. Ah! I believe they’ve given up trying to

catch us.

MAMA UBU. Yes. Bougrelas has gone to crown


PAPA UBU. I don’t envy him that crown.

MAMA UBU. You have every reason not to, Papa


They disappear into the distance.

Scene IV

The bridge of a ship running close to shore on the


On the bridge, Papa Ubu and all bis crew.

THE CAPTAIN. Ah, what a beautiful breeze!

PAPA UBU. We’re certainly sailing at a speed

bordering on the miraculous. We must be making at

least a million knots an hour, and the good thing about

these knots is the fact they can’t be undone. Of course,

we have a tail wind too.

BATTERY. What a pathetic imbecile!

A squall comes up. The ship dips and churns up the


PAPA UBU. Oh! Ah! God! We’ve capsized!

Everything is falling apart. Your boat is going to sink!

THE CAPTAIN. Everybody downwind. Edge the


PAPA UBU. Ah! But no! Don’t all get to the same

side. That’s imprudent, that is. And suppose the wind

changes direction? Everybody will go to the bottom of

the water and the fishes will eat us.

THE CAPTAIN. Don’t pull in! Tighten close and full.

PAPA UBU. Come on! I’m in a hurry, me. It’s your

fault, you ruffian of a captain, if we don’t make it. We

should be there already. Oh oh, but now I’m taking

over. Try to turn, for God’s sake! Drop the anchor.

Face into the wind. Hoist the sails, secure the sails,

helm up up, helm down, helm in the middle! You see,

that goes very well. Cut across into the trough and

that’ll be perfect.

They all roar. The breeze freshens.

THE CAPTAIN. Haul in the standing-jib, take a reef to

the topsails!

PAPA UBU. That’s not bad! In fact, it is good! You

hear, gentlemen of the crew? Bring in the big rooster

and we will make a tour of the plum trees.

They die laughing. A wave washes on board.

PAPA UBU. Oh, what a deluge! It’s all down to the

orders we gave.

MAMA UBU (to Battery). Delicious thing, this


A second wave hits the deck.

BATTERY (drowning). I renounce Satan and all his


PAPA UBU. Esteemed boy. Bring us a drink.

All sit and drink.

MAMA UBU. Ah, what a delight it will be to see

gentle France once more – our old friends, our castle of


PAPA UBU. Hey! We will be there soon. And right

this instant we have arrived at the castle of Elsinore.

BATTERY. I feel rejuvenated by the thought of once

more seeing my dear Spain.

COTICE. Yes, and we will dazzle our countrymen

with tales of our marvellous adventures.

PAPA UBU. Oh! absolutely. And me, I’m going to

rename myself Master of Finance in Paris.

MAMA UBU. There it is! Ah! what a jolt!

COTICE. It’s nothing. We’ve just rounded the tip of


BATTERY. And now our noble ship sails at full speed

over the dark waves of the North Sea.

PAPA UBU. Shy and inhospitable sea that bathes the

country called Germania – named thus because

inhabitants of this country are all Germanic cousins.

MAMA UBU. Now that’s what I call learning. They

say it’s a very beautiful country.

PAPA UBU. Ah! gentlemen, so beautiful but it doesn’t

compare with Poland. If there weren’t any Poland,

there would be no Poles!

~ END ~

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