The Giant's Stair
THE GIANT'S STAIR
Thursday, Dec. 1, 1938
10:00-10:30 P. M.
ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Workshop presents ... "The Giant's Stair" ... by
Wilbur Daniel Steele.
THEME: Dramatic storm music, with decidedly eerie note. Fade behind
NARRATOR: There is a single farmhouse at the upper end of a mountain valley,
and from here the valley descends by easy, alluvial steps to the town below, a
mile or two away. About this time of year, on November nights like these,
prewinter winds blow up through the valley, up these steps to the solitary
farmhouse, and fill the night with music, insistent, mournful, and menacing.
When this happens, people in these remote parts say that giants are moving up
the stairway to the mountain ... people, that is, like the widow Mrs.
Weatherburn and her mystical sister Til....
BIZ: Eerie wind off mike.
TIL: (Her voice is always high-pitched, unaccented) This is another of them
nights, Abbie. Hark, Abbie! Hark to that!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (Absently) Another of what nights, Til?
BIZ: Sound of stove lids being put on stove.
TIL: One of them nights when the giants comes up the stairs to go on the
mountain. Makin' noise as they come trampin' up the stairs.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Going down, I should say, Til. The wind's from up.
TIL: No, giants goes against the wind.... Don't you know that?
BIZ: Stove lid bangs down.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Mercy livin', Til, look at what time it is. Past seven, and
supper not started yet, to say nothing of laid. (Sighs) It's a queer, funny
thing. When John was here ...
TIL: When John was alive ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: When John was here, I'd have give him a piece of my mind if
he'd been later than six o'clock for supper. And yet now, here it's me that's
dawdlin' ... lazin' and dawdlin' till all hours ... now that John's away ...
TIL: Now't John's dead ... now't he's dead and gone for a ghost ... troopin'
along with the dead giants' ghosts ... up the stair to the mountain! ... Hark
to that wind, Abbie!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Don't hark to it! Don't pay any attention, Til!
BIZ: Phone begins sharp ringing. After each ring, Til speaks, thus:
TIL: (Ring) The Smiths! (Ring) The Harrises! (Ring) The Wilsons! (Ring) The
Whites! (Pause) Whites, Abbie. Somebody wants Mis' White, probably. Who could
be wantin' Mis' White's?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Never you mind, Til.
[BIZ: Receiver sound]
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Til! Stop that! Put that receiver down!
TIL: It's Mis' Wilson, talkin' with Mis' White. She says ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Til, that's none of your business. Put that down!
TIL: She says ... Abbie! She says the Pros'cutor was by today, and what can
the Pros'cutor be snoopin' 'round this neighborhood for ... unless it's about
... Oh! ... Oh!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: For heaven's sake, Til! What's the matter?
BIZ: Sound of receiver being replaced with vicious click.
TIL: They says I was list'nin'. They says that! Says somebody was snoopin' in
on their line. Abbie!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: There! Don't take on so, Til. Come set down in your own
chair, there's a good girl. (Footsteps) I'll take that telephone a minute and
... (Receiver sound) Yes, here's "somebody" again, May White. Yes, "snoopin',"
Clara Wilson. Only it happens it ain't the same somebody, now.... Yes, it was
Til. My poor sister Til. And all I wanted to say was, I think two ladies such
as you would consider themselves in fine business, making fun of such a one as
Til! ... How? Yes, 'tis. Blowin' furies up here. Perfect cats and dogs....
How? The road bridge! (To Til) Til, Clara Wilson says the brook's so swole
that the road bridge is like to go any minute. (To phone again) Don't tell me!
Dear ... me! I guess we shan't look to have any callers tonight, at any rate.
More likely us to be comin' down your way, house and all.
TIL: (Whimpers pitifully, etc.)
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (Hastily, to Til) No, Til, no. That was only jokin'! No
danger of that, I guess. (To phone) No, I was just speakin' to Til. Well, good
night to both of you. Good night.
BIZ: Receiver is replaced. Storm howls up a minute ... subsides.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (As if to herself) I wish John was here tonight.
TIL: Don't say that! Not with these ... these giants movin' up the stair! They
might hear you ... and send him!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Hush, Til. You're makin' me nervous.
BIZ: Footsteps ... then stove-noises. Then sudden knocking on the door.
BIZ: Knocking again, more insistent.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Til ... you've got me scared now, myself, and ...
BIZ: Door opens ... rush of mind.
BANE: Howdy, folks
TIL: Why, it's ... it's only Sheriff Bane!
BIZ: Door slams ... wind dies out.
BANE: So, Til. Who did you imagine I'd be? And you, Mrs. Weatherburn. You're
not still hopin', are you? Or mistrustin'?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (With an effort at control) It was only you give us such a
start. To think of any livin' mortal being out tonight ...
TIL: Along with them that ain't!
BANE: You can be sure I wouldn't be out if I'd known how bad it was. It wasn't
anything like so bad when I started. I been up the mountain all afternoon
looking for them two young heifers of mine that's been strayed since Tuesday
night. You ain't seen 'em, I suppose?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: No, we ain't, neither one of us.
BANE: Well, when it come on so all-creation bad and I see the light in your
MRS. WEATHERBURN: And quite right you was, Bane. Look at you ... drownded!
Take off that coat and draw up to the stove.
BANE: No, thank you, my boots are all mud. I'll just take a chair by the door
here a spell, if you don't mind.
TIL: What did them red heifers of yourn die of?
BANE: Die of? They ain't died of anything that I know of. Why?
TIL: I only thought it was queer a body'd be searchin' for anything livin' ...
up this mountain here ... tonight. Did you hear any of 'em round about you?
BANE: Any what ... heifers?
TIL: The giants. Comin' up the stairs.
BANE: Giants! I declare for the woman. There ain't no such thing as giants
TIL: No, they're all dead now ... long ago, long ago. And then with them other
dead, they pass up through the trees and the bushes ... troopin' up ...
BANE: What's all this foolishness about, Mrs. Weatherburn?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Nothing, Bane. Don't mind Til. She's got it in her mind it
would be hard for anything mortal to get up the road tonight. We heard on the
telephone the bridge to Wilson's is like to go out any minute. You'll hardly
get home tonight, I'm afraid, will you?
BANE: Don't look it. I'll set here, if you don't mind.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Land, no! But you ain't et. No more have we. I'll put some
eggs on directly....
BANE: I've et. Before I started.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: But I thought you was on the mountain all after ...
BANE: (Hastily) I ... that's what I was going to say.... Only ... only you
didn't let me finish. Before I started down I et, I was going to say ...
havin' takin a snack along with me in a paper. See?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Oh! (Pause) Well, you don't mind if we have ourn, Til and
me. I was just gettin' at it.
BANE: No. But I've et.
BIZ: Sounds at the stove. Storm up a moment, then down.
TIL: The first step on the stair is the Smiths. The next step is the Harrises.
Big huge steps in the dark. It's feelin' for 'em with their feet in the dark
makes all the noise. The next step after Harrises is the Wilsons.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Never mind, Til.
TIL: And then the next step is us.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Bane, there's one thing I'd like if you'd make clear. When
you come in you says to me, "Still hopin'?" And by that I take it you mean
still hopin' it might be my husband come back.
BANE: I did.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: But it's what you says next I want explained. "Or
mistrustin'?" Why did you say "Or mistrustin'"?
BANE: What'd I mean? Land! I never meant ... I mean it was more like a ... a
joke. Only ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Only what, Bane?
BANE: Nothin'! Only ... (Pause) Mighty comfortable here, Mrs. Weatherburn, a
night like this. See you been brightenin' things up a bit since John was ...
was gone, eh? Them window curtains make a difference now, don't they? John
Weatherburn was never very much on decoration, was he? And that pink lamp
shade. Makes the room a mite cheerier, don't it, though?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: You think so?
BANE: And then the telephone. A telephone's a comfort, especially to women
folks. I'm glad you got the telephone after all these years, to kinda connect
you with the outside world, you might say. John was never very much for
contraptions, was he? 'Specially when they cut into the money. John was
insured, wasn't he?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Is there anything in this valley, stick, stone or haystack,
ain't insured, and insured as high's ever the agent'll let you?
BANE: Why did you say "haystack"?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Why shouldn't I say "haystack"?
TIL: And then the next step after us goes right on up on the mountain ... and
all the bridges are out in the dark and the brook is roarin' and tumblin' ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Bane, you never come here tonight about heifers!
BANE: Well, as a matter of fact ... Set down, Mrs. Weatherburn.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Thank you, I'll stand!
BANE: (Too casually) Was a Mr. Cantpole by today?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: That's the Pros'cutor, ain't it?
BANE: Yes, Cantpole is the Pros'cutin' Attorney.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes, he was by. What's more, you know well enough he was by.
Look here, Bane, speak out! Is it about John?
BANE: About John's vanishin'.
TIL: (Dreamily) About John's dyin'. About John's dyin' of murder in the dark.
BANE: (Loudly) And how did you know he was murdered, Til Jessup? How'd you
come to know?
TIL: How'd I come to know? Why ... why, I'll tell you how. I hear Mis' Wilson
sayin' as much on the telephone ... day before yesterday, 'twas. (Phone rings)
Smiths! (Phone rings again) Harrises! There, it's for Mis' Harris now. Wonder
who could be ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Set still and leave it be, Til.
BANE: I trust you'll believe me, Mrs. Weatherburn, when I tell you 'tain't my
own wish I'm here tonight. It's Cantpole sent me. I shouldn't've moved of
myself, same as I ain't moved before this.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes, I've give you credit for a deal of sense ... till now.
I says to myself, there's one man in the valley's got sense enough to know
John must've just gone away for a spell, somewheres, by himself.
BANE: No, Mrs. Weatherburn, it wasn't that. For that wouldn't be sense. Now
what manner of sense would there be, tryin' to believe a man like John
Weatherburn, a solid church-going man with a good farm and a bank account ...
a good bank account ... that a man like that would be changing all of a
sudden, one special night, and skippin', no word to anybody and never heard of
again? No, that's too much!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: There's queer things happens in the world.
TIL: There's queer things happens in the world.
BANE: No, no, 'tain't that, 'tain't that. It's something else. Mr. Cantpole
never lived in this valley. I have. Why, I've known John Weatherburn since him
and I was boys. Boy and man, I've known him. Why, I was the last person to see
MRS. WEATHERBURN: So I hear.
BANE: (Pointedly) The last that'll confess to it, anyhow. When he left me that
night, there in my pasture ... when I see him walking away in the dusk of the
evening ... if I had thought ... if I had been able to know what was in store
... Oh, dear! It sets heavy, Mrs. Weatherburn. It's set so heavy on me I ain't
been myself. The farm work's suffered. Nothing tended, nothing done. And
here's the Pros'cutor after me all the while: "When you goin' to act,
Sheriff?" And me settin' home thinkin', thinkin', "Sorrow has come on that
family up there. Poor Mrs. Weatherburn." But today, when Cantpole was by,
there wasn't no "When you goin' to act?" This time it was: "Act!"
MRS. WEATHERBURN: So you acted! Til, would you mind gettin' me in some wood?
That's a good girl. And wait! Take along this lantern ... (Sound of lantern
being opened) For I want some good sticks this awful night. Good, medium
small, square sticks. Mind, pick them careful, Til. That's a good girl.
BIZ: (Door opens ... rush of wind ... closes)
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (After brief pause) So, Bane, you acted! You come to accuse
me of murderin' John!
BANE: Not so fast. Not so fast. I come here at Cantpole's orders ... simply to
have a look around. That's all.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Looks like it.
BANE: Is that John's gun up there?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes, it is.
BANE: Hmm. Good gun. (Pause) D'you ever try shootin' this gun, Mrs.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: No, I never shot that gun.
BANE: Sure of that, ain't you?
BIZ: Muffled pounding on door.
TIL: (Way off mike, muffled) Open the door for me, Abbie!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: More wood than that, Til! More wood'n that! (Pause) What do
you mean, Bane?
BANE: I just mean ... I was just wonderin' ... if it wasn't ... Let me just
look at this gun a little closer. (Sound of gun breaking) Just wonderin', Mrs.
Weatherburn, if it wasn't you, then who was it!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (Brief pause) I'll tell you who 'twas. It was my husband
himself. I recollect now. 'Twas the day before he ... left. I recollect him
comin' in with that gun, sayin' as how he had shot at some quail up in the
stone pasture. But he'd missed.
BANE: I don't doubt your word, Mrs. Weatherburn, nor your recollection. All I
want to say is ... he never shot this gun. If your husband ... or any other
man ... was to've shot this load, he'd've cleaned it after him. He'd sit up
all night cleanin' it!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (High-pitched excitement) Give me that empty cartridge and
that gun! They're my prop'ty, not yourn.
BANE: No, sir. Sorry, but I guess I'll want to hang onto these articles a
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (Deliberately) ... What would you do if I was to tell you
'twas me shot that gun?
BANE: Shouldn't believe you.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Then what 're you after?
BANE: You and John been gettin' on well together these past few months? I
don't know as I take much stock in gossip, but they do say John wasn't always
the easiest man on earth to get along with ... to home. Good man ... savin'
man ... but tempery, they say. And, of course, there's women with tempers,
MRS. WEATHERBURN: I shouldn't stand here hark'nin' to you!
BANE: Yes, women with tempers too. 'Specially out on lonesome farms ...
without gossip nor sociability nor nothin'. Tryin' to the temper, that is.
'Specially after it's been goin' on some years ... draggin' on ... always the
same ... workin' on the mind and temper. Specially with a man to put up with
... a sober man, a saving man, but ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Bane, them ain't your words! Them ain't your ideas!
BANE: I grant it. They ain't mine. They're the Pros'cutor's.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (Menacing) You ... give ... me ... that ... gun!
BANE: I shan't.
BIZ: Door blows open ... rush of wind ... closes. Then, after a pause
BANE: Look here, don't let's bicker over the gun. Let's leave Til decide.
Here, Til, take it.
TIL: (Utters small scream)
BANE: What's wrong, Til? It's a good gun, ain't it?
TIL: Don't want it!
TIL: Kills things! Murders things! All kinds o' things it murders and kills!
BANE: Then why did you shoot it that time?
TIL: (Vaguely) I ... I don't know. I ... I feel like I wanted to ... to
horrify myself. Wanted to hear it bang. To ... horrify myself!
BANE: And what did you shoot at, Til?
TIL: Nothin'. Least ways nothin' but giants and ghosts and the like.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: You leave her alone!
BANE: In the dark, it was?
TIL: In the dark.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Ed Bane, if you pertend to think Til knows what she's
BANE: I don't pertend to think, one way nor t'other. That's other folks'
business. All I say is, don't be s'prised. When John's body comes to be found
one of these days, hid in the bushes somewheres or under somebody's haystack
... I say, don't be s'prised if his head's found half blown off with a charge
of bird shot. Mark what I say and don't be s'prised. That's all.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Set down, Til. Now, you listen to me, Ed Bane ...
BIZ: Phone, rings as before.
TIL: Smiths! (Ring) Harrises! (Ring) Wilsons! (Ring) Whites! (Ring) Us. Us,
Abbie. Shall I ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Set still. Set down, Til. (Phone click) Hullo? Yes, it's
Abbie.... Yes, what's wantin', Marion? (To Bane) It's to your house, Bane.
Your sister speakin'. Would you want to ... (Pause.... To phone again) How?
(Pause) How? (Very long pause ... phone is heard to click ... then dully,
aloud, but to herself) It's him.
BANE: Not John?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: John.
TIL: Not ... livin'!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: In the flesh.
TIL: (Shaking her head solemnly) No.... No, no, no.
BANE: John. Well, of all things. And me here, then, all for nothin'. But how
come? Where's he been to? Not to my house? Did Marion ... say he was?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (In monotone) 'Twas your hired man, Eggar, see him, Marion
says. She says Eggar was up to the pasture just now, lookin' to get the colt
in out of the storm. He had a lantern with him, lookin' everywheres for the
colt. He thinks he see somethin' movin' along the road, and, thinkin' maybe
'twas the colt had got out, he climb the fence there near Harris'
MRS. WEATHERBURN: By Harris' road where his haystacks are....
TIL: Maybe he's been under Harris' haystacks. Seems I hear somebody sayin' he
might be under somebody's haystacks.
BANE: Go on!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: ... where his haystacks are, and then he see 'twasn't the
colt after all. 'Twas a man. Walkin' along in the rain, his hat pulled down.
Eggar give him good evenin', and when the man give him no answer Eggar throw
the light in his face, and he couldn't believe his eyes when he see it was
John. But John never says a word but come on up along the road like a ... a
TIL: A dead man ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: He look wore out, Eggar says.
TIL: Wore out. No wonder. Wore out.
BANE: (Hearty) Well, I vow! Of all things.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: I s'pose I better put on somethin' hot to eat, if John's
BANE: I shouldn't worry. He may be comin', all right, but I doubt if he'll
make it a night like this. It's too much for mortal man, the way the brook's
swole, and the wind ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: What will I give him? Let me see, let me see.... (Almost
breaks into weeping) Oh, dear ... oh, dear. (Sobs)
TIL: Hark to 'em ... hark to 'em comin', making a moan and a drone on the
stairs o' the mountain. Hark to that, Abbie.
BANE: Drat the woman.... Come, come, Mrs. Weatherburn, don't give in to
yourself. Seems like you should be happy, instead.
TIL: Hark to 'em troopin' up the stair! Hark to 'em swishin' through the
BANE: Pester the crazy girl. Come now, Mrs. Weatherburn! I know it's a shock
to you ... a happy shock, of course, but a shock all the same. You've had your
cry afore. Now's the time to smile. Ain't you glad John's turned out alive,
after all? Eh? Ain't you glad?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Am I glad? (With vehemence) If you was to know how glad.
BANE: There, that's better. It's but natural a woman should be glad, havin'
her husband back, safe and sound.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Tain't that, Bane. (Pause) Til, I know what I'll put on for
supper. You know that fowl I got hung for Sunday out in the shed? You go bring
it in for me.
TIL: He won't want it.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (Sharply) Til, you do as I say.
TIL: (Sullenly) I don't like the dark. There's things!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Don't be a scared cat. Here, take this lantern, and the dark
won't be there.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: There, that's a good girl.
BIZ: Door opens ... wind sound ... closes.
BANE: Now, what you mean by "Tain't that!" Ain't you glad to have John back?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: John's comin' or goin' ... specially after all this ...
ain't apt to affect my happiness one way or the other. That's what I mean,
BANE: You do speak out, don't you. But you said you was glad he was ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Alive! Glad to know it. More glad and relieved than I can
... ever say.
BANE: I see now! Then after all, it was about her.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes. About Til.
BANE: You wa'nt so sure as you made out about Til, was you? About that gun,
and shootin' at ghosts, and all that.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (With some anguish) I tell you I didn't know what to think.
Oh, if you'd had the bringin' up of that poor creature. If you'd had the worry
of her and the shieldin' of her ... and knowin' every minute you can never
tell what was next in her poor wild brain. And then I was away that night,
too. 'Most an hour I was away, down to Mrs. Wilson's ... And then there's
another thing. Til's fond of me. She's like a faithful dog. I b'lieve she'd do
anything for me.
BANE: Then maybe you and John had words or somethin'....
MRS. WEATHERBURN: We did have words that day. John was his worst. Over my
wantin' the phone. He lay a hand on me for the first time.
BANE: And Til see him?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Til see him. Oh, if you'd had that thought weighin' on your
brain, week after week.... Oh, you'd know why I was glad.
BANE: I'm glad you been frank, Mrs. Weatherburn. I'm glad you've told me these
things. I shan't forget ... and I hope you won't forget!
BIZ: Door bangs open ... rush of wind ... shuts.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: What's wrong, Til? Where's the fowl?
TIL: There's things. They blow out my lantern.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Til! Where's that fowl?
TIL: (Sulkily) He won't want it. Where's the use of spoilin' earthly victuals
BIZ: Telephone rings.
TIL: Smiths! (Ring) Harrises! (Ring) Wilsons! (Ring) Whites! (Ring) Us! Abbie
... they've see him again!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Be still. (Phone clicks) Hello ... Yes, it's me, Mattie....
How? Speak louder.... Yes, I hear now.... Yes, I tell you I hear.... (Long
pause) ... Yes, I'm list'nin'. He wasn't himself, you say.
BANE: Be quiet, Til!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes, Mattie, yes, I heard it all. Much obliged, Mattie.
(Phone clicks ... pause)
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (As if to herself) What's ailin' him, I wonder? There's
TIL: Abbie, say somethin'. Where was it ... to Harrises, this time?
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes, to Harrises. He's been by. 'Twas Harris himself see
him. He was coming back from havin' a look at the road bridge, Harris was,
when he met him. Mrs. Harris says Harris got home in a sweat, as if he'd seen
TIL: Yes. He see a ghost.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Seems Harris speak to him before he see who he was. Harris
was so laid out for a minute he couldn't move. Then he thinks of the bridge
again, and, "John," he says, "if you are John Weatherburn, as you seem to be,
you best come back to my house along with me." And by that, John was gone on
up the road and disappeared.
BANE: And the bridge out, ahead of him.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Mercy angels. He'll walk straight in.
BANE: No, but he'll see ...
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Straight in and be drownded.
TIL: (Laughs eerily)
BANE: Stop it! Quit it!
TIL: (Laughs wildly)
BANE: (In a fury) Pester you! If you don't quit that! Why do you keep laughin'
that crazy way?
TIL: It's the horror! It's the horror gettin' in my throat!
BANE: Horror of what?
TIL: Him! Comin'! Comin' up the giant's stair. He'll be comin' in the door
there, takin' off his hat there, settin' down in his chair there without
sayin' a word, with his back to us all, so we can see the back of his head
shot away, with the straws stickin' to it ...
BANE: (Shouting) Straws! Where from!
TIL: From Harris's haystacks. Didn't you say he come from Harris's haystacks?
I hear you say awhile back ...
BANE: Mrs. Weatherburn, mark that! I call on you to make note of that! I'll
ask you to recollect that!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: What are you talkin' of ...
BIZ: Phone rings.
TIL: Smiths! (Ring) Harrises! (Ring) Wilsons! (Ring) Whites! (Ring) Us! Us,
BIZ: Phone receiver click.
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Yes, it's me ... (Pause ... then gasp. ... To the others)
They've found his ... his body.
BANE: Where? I demand you tell me where!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: (To phone) Where? In the brook? (To Bane) No, not in the
brook. This side. By Wilsons. Jo Wilson see the body lyin' in the mud down by
their gate. He come back to get Ed. (In phone) Yes, Clare? How? Gone. You
didn't say ... gone! (Receiver click) ... When Jo and Ed got back to the gate,
it was gone. So it couldn't have been his ... He couldn't've been dead. He
must've just fainted there a minute.
TIL: (Laughs crazily)
BANE: I'll kill you, Til Jessup ! I'll strangle you if you don't leave off
that.... (Sound of struggle) Here! Where you goin' now? (Scuffle) Til, if you
open that door ... Mrs. Weatherburn, make her quit it, the crazy ravin' thing.
(Sound of latch lifted ... door opens ... wind, etc.)
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Til ... what're you carryin' on so for?
TIL: To horrify myself. I got to look. To horrify me! I see him.... Black as
pitch it is, and yet I see him. Under the trees he is ... comin' on ... comin'
on by the road toward Whites!
BANE: That's the end. That's enough.
TIL: In the black dark there ... his dead eyes shinin' pale in his head ...
pale in the drippin' dark. You'd think he'd drag his feet, but he don't drag
his feet. His feet's not on the ground. Inches above the ground his feet is,
and he comes on floatin' against the wind ... up the stair ...
BANE: That's the end. (Sound of struggle ... then door slams ... wind out)
Just for that, Til Jessup, to learn you ... for that ... I arrest you, Til
Jessup, in the name of the law. I arrest you for the murder of John Parsons
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Ed Bane, you crazy? What you sayin'? And him comin' here in
BANE: Tain't so! It's all a trick! Why did you think the Pros'cutor'd been
callin' on every house in the valley today? All a trick of Cantpole's doin'!
Prearranged, every mite of it. Rehearsed', every word of it. There, don't you
believe me? Me? That was with him when he arranged it? You hear me, Til? I
arrest you for the murder. Moreover, I arrest you for goin' ahead and
concealin' the corpse ... by your own confession, mind you ... in one of
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Bane, that ain't true. You're just twistin' the poor child's
own words about ... to your own ends.
BANE: Own ends, you say? I'll ask you to weigh your words, Mrs. Weatherburn.
Next thing you'll be accusin' me of ... of ... most anything! Accusin' me, the
Sheriff of Twinskill County. Of ... most anything!
TIL: (In dreadful monotone) Comin' on swifter now, he is. Comin' on. He's been
by Whites now. Mis' White see him. In the light from the porch she see him.
Now she's going back through the hall, white's a sheet. Now she's goin' across
the dining room. Now she's to the telephone.
BIZ: Phone rings.
TIL: (Exultantly) Smiths! (Ring) Harrises! (Ring) Wilsons! (Ring) Whites!
(Ring) Us! Us, Abbie.... Hello! Yes? Yes? Quick, Mis' White. Yes? ...
BANE: (Savagely) Give me that.... Who's there? Hullo? Hullo? Who's there? It's
me, Sheriff Bane. Hullo! Hullo! ... (Off phone) They've gone. (Rattle of phone
hook) Hullo! Hullo! Blast this phone. (Wrenching noise as phone is pulled from
wall and dashed on the floor) There, now, that'll be the end o' that. Go on
and ring now. Ring!
TIL: He's on the farm now. I hear the gate just now. In the roar and moan of
the wind I hear the gate. John! John! (Door opens ... wind)
MRS. WEATHERBURN: Oh, Til!
BANE: Oh, "Til!" I'll "Til" her. I'll "Til" the crazy loon!
BIZ: Sound of struggle and as she drops back.... door slams wind down. Clatter
as latch breaks and falls to floor from violent slam.
TIL: You broke the latch! Now you can't keep it shut!
BANE: I guess I can. I guess I can. I'll hold it ... all my weight against it.
TIL: (After a pause) There ... listen. (Long pause) That's the other gate.
BANE: I never heard a thing.
TIL: You hear that, then? On the gravel? He's come out of the wind now. He's
got his feet on the ground now. Hear that?
BANE: No! No!
TIL: On the step ! He's just outside, standin' on the sill!
BANE: (Hoarsely) Go away! Go away, I tell you. (Beats on the door) Go away!
TIL: He ain't gone. He's still standin'.
BANE: (Voice against the door) I'll tell you something! You listenin'? I got a
gun here. It's your own gun, John, and it's loaded. Right here to my hand I
BIZ: A muffled knock, as of a soft glove on the hand, on door from outside.
TIL: (Gives a little cry.)
BANE: No, you won't. You can't. You can't touch me, John Weatherburn. No, sir.
It wasn't my fault. You oughtn't've called me a liar, there by the gate. Not
with a gun in my hand. You oughtn't've dared strike me. Not when I had a gun
in my hand. You ought've known me better 'n that, John. Your own fault John
... 'twasn't mine....
VOICE OUTSIDE: Open the door, Bane. Open I tell you.
BANE: What? Who? ...
VOICE I say, open the door, Bane. It's Cantpole.
BANE: (Hushed) It's Cantpole. Thank God, it's only Cantpole!
TIL: John's went and brought the Pros'cutor with him.
BIZ: Door opens ... wind in ... long pause.
CANTPOLE: Good evening, Mrs. Weatherburn. I just dropped up from Mr. White's
place, as by arrangement with Mr. Bane.... So just as well I came.
TIL: (Gives a strange, wild cry.)
CANTPOLE Good Lord! What's that!
MRS. WEATHERBURN: It's my sister Til.... Til, come back here! Where you goin'
TIL: (Going off mike) I'm going to horrify myself!
MUSIC: Up dramatically ... hold ... then fade behind
ANNOUNCER: You have just heard a presentation of Wilbur Daniel Steele's famous
one-act play, "The Giant's Stair," adapted for radio by Charles R. Jackson.
This was the third of three well-known short works by Mr. Steele, presented by
the Columbia Workshop. The first two were "A Drink of Water" and "Luck."
Tonight's broadcast featured __________________ as Mrs. Weatherburn;
__________________ as Til; and __________________ as Sheriff Bane. Music was
composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann, and the entire production was
under the direction of Earle McGill. Next Thursday evening at this same time,
the Columbia Workshop will present __________________. This is the Columbia
... Broadcasting System.
(Fade theme 20 seconds)
ANNOUNCER: 10:30 P.M. B-U-L-O-V-A Bulova Watch Time ... WABC ... New York.
Originally broadcast: 1 December 1938