| The StoryTeller|
(as part of The Jim Henson Hour)
|Air Date||April 28, 1989|
|Written by||Anthony Minghella, from an early Russian folk tale|
A Russian hussar is rewarded for his kindness to beggars with a special sack which can force anything inside it, as well as a deck of lucky cards that guarantees he wins every game. When he learns of a palace that is haunted by devils who play cards all night and have yet to be defeated, the soldier goes to the castle to play a game with them. They offer him gold if he wins and he offers his soul to them if he loses. The soldier wins, gathering the devils into the sack, and after driving off the rest, forces one of them to serve him faithfully.
Many years later, the soldier's son becomes ill. The soldier's devil shows him a special glass in which Death can be seen. Through Death's position in the glass, the soldier can determine whether the victim will recover, with the application of holy water, or perish, and uses the glass to become a healer. However, when Death comes to take him (the result of a bargain to spare the Tzar), the soldier makes use of the sack again, with unforeseen consequences.
At the end of the story, the dog asks where the soldier could be. The storyteller replies he could be anywhere. The dog notes the sack that the some biscuits he wanted looks like the one death was in. The storyteller simply throws it off, and on landing, one of the devils jumps out and flies away. The dog looks quite surprised at the sack, but ignores it.
- Bob Peck as the Soldier
- Stuart Richman as Fiddling Beggar
- Walter Sparrow as Card Trick Beggar
- John Franklyn-Robbins as Tzar
- Ishia Bennison as Tzar's Wife
- Jan Chappell as Soldier's Wife
- Gavin Knights as Soldier's Son
- David Fleeshman as Innkeeper
- Alistair Fullarton as Death/Devil
- David Alan Barclay, Michael Bayliss, Marcus Clarke, Richard Coombes, John Eccleston, Geoff Felix, Brian Henson, Mike Quinn, Francis Wright as the Devils (puppeteers)
- Tony Jackson, Peter Hawkins, and Peter Marinker as the Devils (voices)
- There is some unusual compositing in the first shot of this episode (of the Storyteller by the fire). Part of a different take has been superimposed over the center of the shot and is faded in and out.
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|The Heartless Giant||The True Bride|