A folktale from India (found in ďForest TalesĒ)
Adapted by Marilyn Kinsella
PUPPETS: Little Elephant, Bird, Large Snake, Tiger, and Big Elephant
ACT ONE: In the deepest, depths of a forest in India
E. (walking and talking to himself) Oh, it is so hot here in this forest. I wish I could cool off. That bird up in the tree looks nice and cool. I wonder how she does it. Bird, oh Bird, how do stay so nice and cool?
B. Caw, caw. Thatís easy. You fly from branch to branch and the breeze keeps you cool. Just watch. (flies around the stage and exits)
E. Let me see here. I have two front legs and two back legs. The only things that even look like wings are my two enormous ears. Iíll try flapping those to see if I can fly. (jumps around bobbing his head and waving arms and legs) Oh, I will never be able to fly as high as a bird. And this did not cool me down one bit. In fact, Iím sweating worse than before. Will I ever cool down? Wait, thereís Billy Boa. His skin is always so dry. Perhaps he can help me. Billy! I have a question for you.
S. Yessss, Peanut, what isss it?
E. Iím so hot and sweaty. Tell me how to cool down.
S. Thatíssss eassssy. You jussst curl your body around the trunk of a tree and you ssstay nice and cool. (slithers up the side of the stage and disappears) Now you try it, Little Peanut. I think Iíll jussst take a little sssnoozzze. (snore)
E. Well, Billy sure made that look easy. Letís see. Iíll just grab hold of this trunk with my trunk andÖ(tries, but falls back down several times Ė huffing and puffing, and yelling ďowĒ each time he falls). This isnít working. My big, fat belly keeps getting in the way. Maybe Mamaís right. I better lay off those jelly bellies unless I want to turn into one. Gee, now Iím hotter than ever and have black and blue marks on my bottom. I better find a way to cool off that isnít a danger to my health!
(Peanut is still walking through the forest Ė Tiger is above stage looking down from on top of puppet stage.)
E. Oh-oh. Speaking of a ďdanger to my healthĒ I think I see Tiger up in that tree. Maybe he doesnít see me.
T. Hello there Little Peanut.
E. (looks up) Oh, Hi there, Tiger. I didnít even see you.
T. (sarcastically) Of course, you didnít. Pray tell, what brings you to this part of the forest? Didnít your mommy warn you about trespassing on tiger territory?
E. Actually, I think she probably did mention that a time or twoÖhundred. But while Iím here, I may as well ask youÖHow do you stay so cool, calm, and collected when it is so hot and humid?
T. Hmmm, hmmm, (smacking lips) How do I stay so cool, calm, and collected? My, my my. No one has ever asked me such an interesting question. Of course, I wouldnít let just anyone in on my little secret. So, if you will come just a little closer, Iíll be happy to whisper it in your tasty..er..ah...trusting ear.
E. (hurridly) Ah...Did I just hear my mother calling me? Comin' Ma! Thanks for all your help there, Tiger. Right nice of you. See you around the old watering hole. Bub-bye! (Runs of stage)
T. Too bad Peanut didnít stick around. My way of keeping cool is to not chase around the woods getting all sweaty and hot just for a tasty little morsel like Little Peanut. ĎTis much more prudent to follow the sage advice of spider and invite an unsuspecting cheeky monkey or a yummy yak into my parlorÖ for lunch! But for now Iíll just take a little nap. Perchance to dream! (yawn loudly and exit)
E. Iíll never cool off. I canít fly like a bird or slither up a tree like a snake. And as for a tiger Ė well, there are just some things that I donít know even want to know. Oh, woe is me. (Walking along with head down and bumps into Big Elephant Ė George) Oops! ExcuseÖOh, itís you, George. What are you doing here?
G. What am I doing here? Why, Little Brother, Iím on way to cool off.
E. To cool off? Thatís what Iíve been trying to do all day. How does an elephant cool off?
G. This isnít one of those silly elephant jokes, now is it? I donít like elephant jokes.
E. No, I really want to know.
G. Okay. Just follow me as I step gingerly into the Indus River. (pretend to walk over to the river and jump in by jumping down and letting only the head bob up and down) Cowabunga! (kersplasha!) All right, Little Bro, you try it.
E. But Iíve always been afraid of the water Ė sharks and crocodiles and other creatures that go bump in the water.
G. Yea, well, Iím here now. So thereís nothing to fear, but fear itself.
E. ( starts slowly into the water) Gee, this does feel good.
G. Didnít I tell you, Little Bro? Just stick with me.
E. It sure is great to have a big brother like you George.
G. You arenít so bad yourself, Peanut Ė once you come out of your shell.
E. Say, I thought you didnít like elephant jokes.
G. I guess I just feel a little nutty
E. You mean pea-nutty! (both laugh) It sure is ďcoolĒ to have a big brother!
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