Le Marchand de coups de bâton


19 pages

Le Marchand de coups de bâton

| 1911 | France
Genre (as defined by the author)
Comédie en un acte
Carcassier, Barbandu, Monsieur Grimouillat, Madame Grimouillat, Bétinot, Le Portier du Palais, Le Gouverneur, Le Commissaire, L'Apothicaire, Le Mendiant
Number of acts

This comedy in one act and fourteen scenes was published by Henry de Graffigny in his collection "Théâtre Guignol" (Guignol parisien) and was mainly intended for domestic performance by amateurs. As always in this collection, the text is accompanied by precise instructions on the use of puppets and sets. This play written is a faithful rewriting of Louis-Edmond Duranty's Marchand de coups de bâton published in Le Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries in 1863. In his version, Graffigny replaces Arlequin with Carcassier, Pierrot with Barbandu and the King with a governor. In his "practical indications", the author foresees that the role of Carcassier will be played by "Guignol junior" and that that of Grimouillat will be played by the puppet of "Cassandre, dressed as an owner". He also points out that the play can easily be performed by a single puppeteer, as it only has scenes with up to two characters.

Plot summary

Satire on the vindictive nature of humanity

Carcassier, a soft cheese merchant, finds it hard to make a living from his trade. He would like to marry the governor's daughter, whose father would like to find her a rich and intelligent husband. His friend Barbantu offers to buy his cheese business on credit, but Carcassier refuses. Beaten by the Palace Doorman while trying to meet the governor's daughter, Carcassier is desperate. He meets a beggar who suggests that he learns from his misadventure and make a business selling sticks. Clients flock to Carcassier and he becomes richer, feeding the growing desire for revenge on his clients/victims. Feeling the wind shift, Carcassier gave up his business for free to Barbantu. The Commissioner arrives to stop this trade, arrests Barbantu and wants to hang him. Barbantu tricks and hangs the Commissioner instead. For his part, Carcassier goes to the Palace, offers his fortune to the Governor in exchange for his daughter's hand in marriage and promises to stop trading sticks. He convinced the governor to spare Barbantu and give him the vacant post of Commissioner.

Related works
Le Marchand de coups de bâton1862
Composition date

Publications and translations


Hanry de Graffigny, Le Marchand de coups de bâton, Paris : A. Lesot, 1911.

Literary tones
Comical, Farcical, Satirical
Animations techniques
All audiences
Public domain


Theatrical techniques



Written by

Carole Guidicelli