William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act II, Scene i

The great hall of the Ducal Residence in Arrakeen, Arrakis
Boxes piled high with belongings
She opens two boxes, revealing a painting and a bull’s head

JES: O that these too, too costly timbers grew
Yet in whatever planet’s soil their seeds
First fell. How came they to this alien place
But by expenditure of wealth too dear
For reason unbeclouded by the tides
That drive us to these deadly, shifting sands.
Too costly is our transplantation hence.
What doom unveiled these tokens first of all?
My duke’s own father’s image, and his bane.
Lie packed together as in grisly greeting;
The heralds of our coming. What sign this
Beneath a whiter sun, a blacker sky?
Almost I could see far-off Caladan.

Enter the DUKE LETO

LETO: And here we are, I thought you might be lost
I’th’bowels of this most hideous pile of stone.

JES: ‘Tis cold, this house. The city reeks of cold.
Is that not strange, in such a torrid clime?

LETO: ‘Tis built of barracks, and of dirt and dust.
And we must change it. These are public rooms,
Where we’ll hold court. The private rooms are better.
Where’s Paul?

JES:                 At lessons now with Dr. Yueh.

LETO: I came here but to hang the castle key.

JES: I saw our banner as we entered.

LETO:                                                 Aye, and where
Did you intend to hang this head; this painting?

JES: Here, somewhere.

LETO:                            My ancestral dignity
Must overrule thy too nice stomach, darling.
They must hang in the dining hall, and you
May take your dinner in your rooms, as hath
Your custom ever been.

JES:                                         Thank you, my Lord.

LETO: Tish, be glad I did not marry thee.
Then ye must needs be with me every meal.

JES: (nods)

LETO: We’ve poison snoopers fixed above the tables
And in thy rooms. I have engaged us servants.
The Fremen – Thufir Hawat’s cleared them all.

JES: Can any from this place be truly safe?

LETO: They hate Harkonnens as with solar fire.
The headwoman may please you: Shadout Mapes.

JES: ‘Shadout.’ What Fremen title then  is this?

LETO: It meaneth here, “the one who dips from wells,”
Consider here how such a one must prove
Herself worth trust. She bears’a most unlike
A servant, though good Duncan holds her true.
He says she’s most peculiar drawn to you.

JES: To me?

LETO:             To serve you, Bene Gesserit.
Of Bene Gesserit they’ve legends here.

JES: Has Duncan found us Fremen allies, then?

LETO: A truce at least, no more than that, and that
Is yet a mighty thing. Harkonnen kept
His losses to the Fremen from the eyes
Of any who might tell the Emperor
How deadly were the Fremen blades to him.
And now I must return me to the field
To cozen dune-trained men to stay with us
In spite of rules that let them ‘scape from hence
To worlds of softer clime. The Judge of Change
Cannot be bought, and so we must buy men.
I’ll send for Paul, for he must needs attend
Our strategy, and play the part of man.
O would we stood on any world but this
We two could be a world within ourselves.


LETO (from off): Attend the Lady Jessica within!

JES: Be damned to thee, dead noble villain sire,
Who lit this cruel need for victory!

MAPES: What are your orders, lady Noble Born?
I am the Shadout Mapes, and ‘tend on ye.

JES: I am Duke Leto’s bounden concubine
And none of Noble Birth. You may me style
‘My Lady’ and fear no impertinence.

MAPES: There is a wife, then, in this ducal House?

JES: There’s none, nor ever was. I bore his heir.
He told me that thy title was ‘Shadout.’
An ancient word is that to bear today.

MAPES: You know the ancient languages of man?

JES (aside): Why do I play this sham out, I’ve no need
To cow a servant, but the teachings run
As lifeblood in the veins, and I’m compelled.
(to MAPES)
I know Chakobsa, and Bhotani Jib
The languages of hunters long forgot.

MAPES: ‘Tis even as the legend teaches us

JES: I know the Dark Things, and Great Mother’s ways
Andral t’re pera! Misceces prejia!
Trada cik buscakri mis’ces perakri!
I know thou hast borne children, seen them die
That thou hast loved. That thou hast violence done
And shall do more. That thou hast hid in fear.
I know these many things.

MAPES:                                  I meant no insult.

JES: Thou seekest answers to a riddling legend
I say to thee, beware that thou shalt find.
I see that knife concealed within thy bodice.
Thou couldst, perhaps, draw out my blood therewith
And with it loose a flood of torment such
That thou canst not imagine: worse than death
Yea, even for the Fremen folk entire.

MAPES: My lady, this blade was a gift to thee
Should you indeed be proven as the One!

JES: And means to slay me should I dare prove false.

MAPES (drawing crysknife): Do you know this, O Lady from afar?

JES: ‘Tis crysknife.

MAPES:                      Say the word not lightly thus,
And tell me if you can what it doth mean.

JES (aside): What answer doth she seek from me to that?
To hear the answer hath she took this post
And for no other reason. What’s to say?
‘Shadout’ they call her in Chaskobsa tongue.
And ‘knife,’ they call ‘The Maker of a Death.’”

(to Mapes)
‘Tis maker…

MAPES shrieks and falls

Should I not, then know the Maker?

MAPES: When one has lived with prophecy so long,
The shock of its fulfilment strikes through flesh
And shocks the very marrow of the bone.
This is an unfixed blade; now keep it close.
A week away from flesh will cause it to
Disintegrate, and crumble into dust.
This tooth of shai-hulud is yours, for life.

JES: And you have sheathed it without drawing blood.

MAPES: Take the water of my life, my Lady!

(JESSICA stabs her, lightly)

JES: Do up thy bodice, Mapes.

MAPES:                                              You are the one.
Who sees that blade must die, or must be cleansed!
You know that, Lady. Who a crysknife sees
May never leave Arrakis, ‘gainst our leave.
With such we do entrust you. Now the thing
Must take its course, and it cannot be sped.
And here we’ve much to do with time, in sooth.

JES (aside): “The thing must take its course.” That prophecy
Foretells a Reverend Mother comes to set
Them free. What hideous place is this to sow
That legend here, against the utmost need?

MAPES: How shall I serve My Lady? What’s to do?

JES: Hang those in the dining hall. The bull
Must hang to face the picture of the Duke
That was. They hang above the table, mind.

MAPES: And first I’ll clean the dirt from off its horns.

JES: That is no dirt, but blood, preserved the hour
The Old Duke died upon those very horns.

MAPES: And so? Blood ‘frights me not. I’m of the desert.
I’ve seen blood aplenty, some mine own,
And more than you did draw with that slight gash.

JES: Should I have cut thee with a deeper wound?

MAPES: And waste the body’s water? Nay, you did
The thing aright, to keep it from the air.

JES: Shall I send men to help thee with the weight?

MAPES: My own strength is sufficient to the day.

JES: The men without have keys, if you do need them.


MAPES: She is the One. Great Mother pity her.