21. The Second Shepherds' Play

By Judith Elbourne (This page where it has a CC-by-SA 3.0 licence)
 [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I meant to read this around Christmas, but I never got around to it. 

This is on my Invitation to the Classics list and often combined with Everyman. It is part of the Wakefield or Towneley Mystery Plays, a series of thirty-two mystery plays based on the Bible most likely performed around the Feast of Corpus Christi probably in the town of Wakefield, England during the late Middle Ages until 1576" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakefield_Cycle).

I read Everyman for the Well-Educated Mind List, but this one was not on that list. It is a short play and not too hard to read if you use a modernized and adapted version. The original version is a bit harder to understand.
Here is a synopsis of the plot:
The play is actually two separate stories presented sequentially; the first is a non-biblical story about a thief, Mak, who steals a sheep from three shepherds. He and his wife, Gill, attempt to deceive the shepherds by pretending the sheep is their son. The shepherds are fooled at first. However, they later discover Mak's deception.
At this point, the storyline switches to the familiar one of the three shepherds being told of the birth of Christ by an angel, and being told to go to Bethlehem, where they offer gifts to the Christ child. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Shepherds'_Play)
Everyman was easier for me to read. After a couple of attempts to read the original, I read this version:

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/engl/215/ssp.htm
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