Nory Ryan Readers' Theater
Chapter 1 of Nory Ryan's Song
by Patricia Reilly Giff
Published by Random House, Inc.
Used by permission of the Publisher
Nory Ryan walked along the cliff road where the mist rose
from the sea, cloaking the sea below. She didn’t see
her friend Sean running up the road below her.
Nor--ry. Nor-ry Ryyyyyan.
Sean Red Mallon?
Wait, Nory! I have something for
us. Purple seaweed!
(taking deep breath) Dulse. The
smell of the sea is still in it, salty and sweet. I
am so hungry I can almost feel the taste of it on my tongue.
Shall we eat it here?
It’ll be over and gone in no time.
Let’s go to Patrick’s Well.
As they climbed to the top of the cliffs, Nory danced in the
rain, twirling and singing.
I am Queen Maeve, Queen of old Ireland.
They scrambled up to Mary’s Rock and squinted toward the sea
that stretched itself from Ireland to Brooklyn, New York,
We will be there one day in Brooklyn.
I can’t imagine it. Free in Brooklyn.
My sister, Mary, is there now. Just think! Horses
clopping down the road, bringing milk in huge cans.
No one ever hungry. It even sounds wonderful!
Brook-lyn! I wish we had a coin
to drop into the well. I would wish to be there right
now. I don’t even have an extra scrap of clothing to
tie to the tree over our heads. I see my mam’s apron
string. I wonder what prayer she tied with it?
Doesn’t matter. Granda says it
takes ages for coins to sink to the bottom. That’s why
it takes so long for those prayers to be answered.
Nory looked up and blushed when she saw a piece of her sister
Celia’s slip hanging above her.
Oh, no! Now what does Celia
want? Has she no shame hanging a piece of her underwear
there to wag in the wind until it rots away! Every creature
who walks by will be gaping at it.
I know what you’d be wishing for.
Do you, now?
You’d be wishing for your da to come
back from his fishing.
(sadly) ‘Twill be months before
he can make enough to pay the rent…
He’ll come. He always has.
(Gasp) Sean, what’s happening
Men. Bailiffs with a battering ram.
Someone is being put out of a house.
(alarmed) I know who it is!
The little beggar, Cat Neely…her mam…teeth gone…cheeks sunken…
no money to pay the rent.
Don’t think about it. There’s
nothing can be done.
Coins. If only someone…no one
in the glen has an extra penny.
Not my family. My brother Francey
is saving every bit he can to marry your sister. It
will take years.
The dulse on her tongue tasted bitter now. She thought
of Cunningham, the English lord, who owned all of the land
and the houses on it. Cunningham, who could put any of them
out if he wanted.
Poor Cat and her mam….There is someone
with a coin…
Anna Donnelly! Nory, the sidhe
live under her table!
They shuddered, thinking of the sidhe, beings from the other
world with tangles of gray hair, bony fingers pointing, crouched
in the darkness. She had magic in her, too.
She can heal up a wen on the finger,
or straighten a bone with her weeds...but only if she wants
She didn’t save my mam the day little
Patch was born…but Anna Donnelly has a coin.
Anna had seen it one day she stopped near her house.
The thatch on her roof was old and plants grew green over
the top. And there was Anna outside, teetering on the
stool, her white hair in wisps around the edge of her cap.
She had peered over her shoulder, her face as wrinkled as
last year’s potatoes, then held something up before she shoved
it deep into the thatch.
The coin. I could save Cat Neely
and her mam if only Anna would give me that coin.
Nory, what are you thinking of doing?
Thank you for the dulse!
Nory left him standing there with his mouth open. She
flew down the path away from the cliff.
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