One stormy night, in a small town where the people eat raisins like they are going out of fashion, the Koch family is murdered. All, except Helga, their adopted daughter, known as 'Mad Helga'. She is the one who discovers the bodies in the morning and alerts the authorities. As a result, the police arrest a handsome young man named Himmel, when the latter pays for a meal in an inn with jewellery. It transpires that the night before, the young stranger crossed town before seeking refuge at the Koch house, where he spent the night with Helga. In the morning, the lovestruck Helga gave him everything she owned.
The play begins just after the young man's arrest. Three of the town notables, Richter, Kauf and Fleis, interview the suspects, Himmel and Helga, but are unable to obtain a confession. A message from the Prince arrives, insisting on a fair investigation to avoid any form of popular justice, and demanding proof. Himmel is presumed guilty and Helga, suspected of complicity.
Nine months later, no evidence has been found. Himmel has now become one of the townsfolk and is given partial release. Helga is soon to give birth. But who is the father? The situation is potentially explosive, as every man in the town -except Richter- has slept with Helga. All fear they will be unmasked by a physical resemblance once the child is born, and hatch plots to get rid of Helga and Himmel. But their intrigues fail and the tension rises. The day of the birth arrives. That morning, the Prince's men come for Himmel in secret. Helga despairs and dies giving birth. The men of the town await the verdict frantically. On seeing the child, Richter lets out a cry of horror. At that moment, a messenger arrives from the Prince carrying two large sacks of raisins as an Easter gift.
Regard du traducteur
A whole family is murdered. Who is the killer? Did Holga conspire with the mysterious stranger Himmel, a man whom she has claimed to be her fiancé since the night of the crime? The trial throws the community into disarray, threatens the powers of the bourgeoisie and reveals the hypocrisy and helplessness of the accusers. It seems the accusers themselves are being manipulated by unseen forces. This is a play that weaves together drama and comedy to reproduce the stuff of tales.