The Winter's Tale (1910)
11min · Short, Drama · 27 May 1910
The kings of Bohemia and Sicilia, monarchs of adjoining kingdoms, have been close friends since boyhood. But after each has assumed his regal duties and find that they are not able to see much of each other. Therefore at the opening of the story it has been several years since they have met, each has taken unto himself a royal spouse, and the King of Bohemia boasts a son of four years. The King of Bohemia enjoys a visit to his boyhood friend of Sicilia, is royally received and presented to his host's queen. She, in fulfilling her duties as hostess, unconsciously arouses the jealousy of her royal husband. Blinded by his jealousy, the King of Sicilia orders his royal guest, whom be considers his rival, poisoned. The King of Bohemia escapes a horrible death through the confession of the courtier who has been employed to kill him. He returns safely to his own kingdom, carrying with him the courtier who saved his life. Enraged at the escape of his victim, the King of Sicilia orders his Queen imprisoned. From her prison the Queen sends her infant daughter to her royal father, hoping to soften his heart. But the King is not to be won over. He heartlessly orders the child taken beyond the borders of his kingdom and there left in the wilderness to perish. The Queen is tried at a public tribunal and there, overcome with grief at the false accusation, she swoons and is pronounced dead by Paulina, her lady in waiting. The body is left in Paulina's charge and when later the Queen revives she is taken to Paulina's house, where she dwells in seclusion, her existence being unknown to anyone but her faithful maid. The infant Princess of Sicilia is found by a shepherd of Bohemia, taken to his home and reared as his daughter. Her costly robes and jewels are kept by the old shepherd in the hope that in some future time they will assist in identifying her as the child of wealthy parents. After a lapse of fifteen years we see at the court of Bohemia the young Prince starting from the palace in a decidedly mysterious manner. When questioned by his father, the King, as to where he is going, the Prince refuses to answer. He is allowed to go but the King, accompanied by his trusted friend, follows him. The Prince disguises himself as a shepherd, and in this guise woos a beautiful maiden whom he supposes naught but a simple shepherdess. She is, in reality, however, the Princess of Sicilia. The King arrives at the shepherd's hut just in time to hear the Prince announce his intention of wedding the shepherdess. The King forbids the engagement and leaves the Prince in anger. His faithful courtier, however, decides to befriend the young couple and advises them to fly for protection to the court of the King of Sicilia. The lovers arrive in Sicilia, accompanied by the old shepherd. Here they are gladly received by the repentant King, who, too late, realizes that his jealousy was groundless. He mourns his lost Queen and his estranged friend. The shepherd, in endeavoring to prove that his adopted daughter is of gentle birth, thus permitting of her marriage to the Prince, shows the King the clothes in which he found her as a baby. The King recognizes the clothes as those his own child wore. The King of Bohemia then arrives upon the scene and is told the glad news amid general rejoicings. As a final surprise the royal party is invited by Paulina to visit her house and there view a statue of the Queen. The statue comes to life before the eyes of the royal party, or rather the Queen who had made up to resemble a statue, extends her hand to her grieving spouse, who is glad to receive her, whom he had thought lost and now found again.
- Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis