Then & Now: Never Again

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The Independent Online
Christmas, 1907: 'Peter Pan' by J M Barrie (written 1905) is revived with a new last scene depicting Wendy as an 'old married lady'. The still young Peter Pan tries to persuade her to fly to Never Never Land with him. Barrie described it thus:

'He was exactly the same as ever . . . a little boy, and she was grown up. She huddled by the fire, not daring to move, helpless and guilty, a big woman.

'Hello, Wendy,' he said, not noticing any difference, for he was thinking chiefly of himself . . .

'Hello, Peter,' she said, faltering, 'are you expecting me to fly away with you?'

'Of course, that is why I have come.'

'I can't come,' she said apologetically, 'I have forgotten how to fly.' (She turns up the light)

He gave a cry of pain.

'I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than 20. I grew up long ago.'

'You promised not to]'

'I couldn't help it. I am a married woman . . . the little girl . . . is my baby.'

. . . He took a step towards the sleeping child, with his dagger upraised. Of course he did not strike. He sat on the floor instead and sobbed; and Wendy . . . ran out of the room.

(Peter and Jane fly away, and Wendy explains to Nana the dog): 'When Jane grows up I hope she will have a little daughter who will fly away with him . . . and this way may I go on for ever and ever . . . so long as children are young and innocent . . . and heartless.'

August 1993: Michael Jackson, who has called his house Neverland, is accused of child abuse.

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