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An Episode in Fiddletown

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An Episode in Fiddletown

by Bret Harte

Genre: Drama
Setting:
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 90 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely

EXCERPT:

There occurred a mysterious and painful incident, which I shall simply record without attempting to explain. On the hall table a scarf, evidently the property of the servant before alluded to, was lying. As Ah Fe tried the lock with one hand, the other rested lightly on the table. Suddenly, and apparently of its own volition, the scarf began to creep slowly toward Ah Fe’s hand; from Ah Fe’s hand it began to creep up his sleeve slowly, and with an insinuating, snakelike motion; and then disappeared somewhere in the recesses of his blouse. Without betraying the least interest or concern in this phenomenon, Ah Fe still repeated his experiments upon the lock. A moment later the tablecloth of red damask, moved by apparently the same mysterious impulse, slowly gathered itself under Ah Fe’s fingers, and sinuously disappeared by the same hidden channel. What further mystery might have followed, I cannot say; for at this moment Ah Fe discovered the secret of the lock, and was enabled to open the door coincident with the sound of footsteps upon the kitchen stairs. Ah Fe did not hasten his movements, but patiently shouldering his basket, closed the door carefully behind him again, and stepped forth into the thick encompassing fog that now shrouded earth and sky.



COMMENTS:

Some embarrassing dialogue (Chinese dialect), but some interesting characters and a fairly satisfying, if Dickensian, wrap-up. Some big leaps in time (again, like Dickens). You might need to invent a strong conflict to make this storyline work; it’s currently a bit a things happening TO the characters, rather than characters fighting for something they want.


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