Copyright 2000
by Phillip Martin
All rights reserved.
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Cast of Characters:

Black Snake,  Chicken,  Rooster

 

As Grandmother finishes her story, Grandchild 2 fidgets around checking pockets and the area around the ground in search of something she lost.

Grandchild 2: Grandma! Grandma! My earring!

Grandmother: What about your earring?

Grandchild 2: I lost my earring, what do I do?

Grandmother: Let's try to find it and everything will be okay. Come on, children, let's look for her earring.

Grandchild 3: I hope you know that I do not appreciate crawling around on my hands and knees looking for your missing earring.

Grandchild 1: Are you sure you even lost it? I don't see the other earring. Did you even put them on this morning?

Grandchild 2: Of course, I put them on. I think . . .

Grandchild 1: You think?

Grandmother: Maybe you better stop and think about this. Did you put on your earrings this morning?

Grandchild 2: I think I put them on. I know I was worrying about losing them this morning.

Grandmother: You know, you remind me of a story my papa always told me when I worried too much. Some things are worth worrying about and some things just aren't worth the effort. You need to know which is which and then take responsible action. It was a lesson that Chicken needed to learn too.

Grandchild 2: Please tell me the story.

Grandchild 3: If it will keep me off my knees looking for missing earrings I want to hear it too.

Grandchild 1: I hope this story has a little more blood or violence. I don't think Spider learned his lesson well enough in the last one you told us.

Grandmother: I promise you that a lesson is learned very clearly at the end of this story. Now, Chicken was not the type of creature to remain calm about anything. If she was worried, everyone knew it and one day, her screams shattered the peace of the bush.

Chicken: My eggs! One of my eggs is missing. Yesterday I had twelve eggs and today there are only eleven.

Grandmother: As Chicken ran from her nest to find Rooster, she had no idea that she was about to lose more eggs. Just out of view from the nest the thief silently and patiently waited for Chicken to leave her eggs. Black Snake crept slowly and quietly up to the nest, eyeing the eggs, and then he quickly swallowed one. It slipped easily down his long neck and was crushed by the muscles in his throat.

Black Snake: Such a silly chicken to go speak to Rooster and leave her nest unguarded. Little does she know that I will just eat another one. This plan of mine has worked so well; it only requires a little patience. (Then he gulps another egg.) A simple plan with great results. I must compliment myself. Delicious! I'll be back later for another scrumptious egg, Chicken. Thank you for such a tasty meal. As Black Snake slithers away, the frantic Chicken begins her conversation with Rooster at the other side of the stage.

Chicken: Help me, Rooster, someone has stolen one of my eggs! How could someone take one of my eggs?

Rooster: First you must be certain you have all the facts. Are you sure you counted correctly? Maybe you just thought you saw eleven eggs. Put on your glasses and count the eggs again.

Chicken: You know I can count. Come see for yourself. How many eggs do you see in my nest?

They return across the stage to the nest.

Rooster: One, two, three. (He frowns and stops counting aloud.)

Chicken: Well, what's the matter now? Are you afraid to admit for once that you were wrong and I am right?

Rooster: No, Chicken, it nothing like that at all. Something is very wrong here. I only count nine eggs.

Chicken: What? Nine eggs! What is happening? Who would do this to me?

Grandmother: The next few days were just terrible for Chicken. She worried constantly about her remaining eggs. If she went to get some food or check on her other chicks, no matter why she left, the same thing always happened. One or two eggs were missing each time she returned to her nest.

Grandchild 2: How absolutely horrible! I would be a nervous wreck if this happened to me!

Grandchild 1: We already know that.

Grandchild 3: But this time the chicken deserves to be a nervous wreck. What did she end up doing? Surely she came up with some kind of a plan.

Grandmother: Well, a plan was devised but it wasn't Chicken who thought of it. Let me continue . . .

Chicken: Someone is watching me very closely and knows exactly where I am each moment. I only have three eggs left.

Rooster: I am not always very good at solving these kinds of situations. But, out of all the animals that I know of, I can narrow it down to only one. Who is the only animal we know that loves eggs?

Chicken: Who? Who can it be?

Rooster: Black Snake, the worst reptile that anyone has known. You didn't know? He is infamous for being a sly thief who always gets away with his crimes.

Chicken: Well, I know of him, but how did he do this crime?

Rooster: He is known for his patience. He is willing to wait a long time because he thinks that your delicious eggs are worth it.

Chicken: Eeeew!

Rooster: And besides, who else could slither in and out of your nest without a bit of proof?

Chicken: All right, you're correct. I can't believe I didn't know. Oh no! I forgot! My eggs! I've been away from my eggs far too long. I have to hurry before he comes again.

Rooster: Hurry!

Chicken: (frantically runs to her nest and peers inside) Oh no! It happened again. That horrible snake came again! Rooster! Come quickly! My nest has been robbed again! There's only one egg left. Rooster, come help me! What am I to do?

Rooster: (runs over to check the nest) That slithering snake! I feared this was going to happen.

Chicken: I feared it too! And now there's only one left. What should I do?

Rooster: You must guard this last egg. No matter what, stay here day and night. Don't leave for any reason. Black Snake will see you on guard and won't come for the last egg. In the mean time we must plan a way to stop Black Snake. This problem will only continue if we do not settle it once and for all.

Chicken: True, but what can we possibly do to stop Black Snake? He is so clever that nobody has actually even seen him commit this crime. What could we ever do to catch him?

Rooster: I've got it! Yes, I know what to do. Say good-bye to all your troubles with that sleazy reptile!

Chicken: Well, go on. What is the plan?

Rooster: Let me just say that no more eggs will be sliding down Black Snake's throat only to be crushed by his muscles. Let me tell you more about the plan because there is much we must do to prepare.

Grandmother: Rooster lead Chicken away from the nest to prepare for their plan to stop Black Snake. Everything was said in whispers because they didn't want the snake to be suspicious at all.

The next day Rooster and Chicken tried to act as if nothing unusual was in the works. Black Snake was not to know a deadly plan had been set. The snake watched for hours until Chicken finally left her nest briefly to talk to Rooster.

Chicken: Oh, Rooster, may I have a word with you?

Snake: Ah, the grand finale! How foolish that little chicken was to think she could protect her eggs from someone as wise as Black Snake. The last egg is awaiting me. I will miss these wonderful eggs, but the last must be the best.

This plan of mine has worked so well. Don't worry, little egg, I plan to eat a lot more of you in the future. So lovely! So perfect! So delicious! So stuck in my throat! Uh oh, I can't breathe! I can't get this egg out either!

Grandmother: He squeezed the egg as hard as his muscles could squeeze but all attempts to remove the egg were futile. He knocked at it. If he had arms, I'm sure he would have tried to reach down his throat. But slowly, slowly, very slowly, in great pain, and with a little over acting, the snake gasped his last breath and died.

Grandchild 1: All right!

Rooster: Well, I hope he learned his lesson.

Chicken: Whether he did or not, I'm sure he won't be repeating his crime any more.

Rooster: That's for sure. Do you think that he had the slightest idea why that egg didn't break?

Chicken: Not even a slither of a idea. How could he possibly have known that the egg was . . . hard boiled?

Grandchild 3: What? Hard boiled? Who would do something like that?

Grandchild 2: Oh, why didn't they just paint a rock white?

Grandchild 1: What are you complaining about? This is my kind of ending. The lesson is crystal clear -- you get what you deserve -- with a little death and violence on the side.

Grandmother: Well, I was hoping you'd see a different lesson.

Grandchild 3: Like never put all your eggs in one basket?

Grandchild 2: Or, don't count your chickens before they hatch?

Grandchild 1: No, the lesson is more like:

Open your mouth and pass the gums

You swallow trouble and more will come!

Grandchild 3: That's disgusting.

Grandchild 1: What do you know? You're only a girl.

Grandchild 2: You think you know everything.

Grandchild 1: Well, boys do! We grow up to be men who rule and make decisions.

Grandchild 3: But women are every bit as capable as men. I'll be able to do whatever I set my mind to do when I grow up.

Grandmother: Now, now, children. This reminds me of another story. It's about the paramount chief who thought he was wise -- but he still learned a lesson. And just for you, my dear, this tale happens to be a love story.

Grandchild 1: Yuck!

Grandchild 2: Yeah, a story I don't have to worry about.

Grandchild 1: Not possible.

Grandmother: Grandson, the chief was a little like you because he was not always able to admit that maybe someone else could think of a better idea than he. In fact, the chief's greatest pleasure in life was having others bring their problems to him for his wise advice. Now this story begins as two men come before the chief with a problem only he can resolve.

 

Part 1   Spider and the Honey Tree
Part 3   The Chief Who Was No Fool

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