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Copyright 2000
by Phillip Martin
All rights reserved.
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by students from International School Manila
.

Deep in the Bush Where People Rarely Ever Go is a collection of three tales from West Africa. The story begins in the bush, or rain forest, where a grandmother and three grandchildren have taken a walk.

Cast of Family Members:

Grandmother,  Grandchild 1,  Grandchild 2,   Grandchild 3

 

Grandchild 2: Grandmother, what kind of tree is that?

Grandmother: It's a honey tree, my dear.

Grandchild 2: Why is it way out here?

Grandmother: Because it only grows deep in the bush, where people rarely ever go. Where people rarely ever go . . . whew! We have walked far today and I'm tired. Let's sit down for a bit.

Grandchild 3: I have some fruit if you'd like some, Grandmother.

Grandmother: Thank you, my dear.

Grandchild 1: Give it to me!

Grandchild 3: Grandmother first, me second, and you . . . well, maybe.

Grandchild 2: And what about me?

Grandchild 1: No, what about me!

Grandmother: Children, there is plenty of fruit and no reason to fight. Settle down now. This reminds me of a story about a very selfish Spider and a honey tree -- maybe this very tree. This story happened so very long ago.

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Cast of Characters:

Spider, Young Girl

 

Grandmother: There was once a young girl from a far away village who had a special talent. She could find the very best food in the bush. Her oranges were just a little bit sweeter, her plums just a bit larger, and her bananas had just a little more flavor. Everyone in the village wondered where she found such rare and delicious fruit.

Grandchild 3: Many people must have followed her into the bush to find those special fruits, right Grandmother?

Grandchild 2: That would make her very popular.

Grandchild 1: No way! I would keep all that delicious fruit for myself.

Grandchild 3: That's selfish.

Grandmother: Actually, it was her secret. One day a lazy spider decided to ask the young girl to help her find food. The spider was too lazy to work for himself and was sure he could trick the little girl into sharing her secrets.

Spider: Little girl, you find the best fruits of all. Won't you take me with you just this once into the bush to find some?

Young Girl: I don't know . . . I've never done that before.

Spider: I promise not to tell a soul. It would mean so much to this humble spider if you would show me just this one time.

Young Girl: Do you promise to keep my secrets?

Spider: You can trust me.

Young Girl: Well . . .

Spider: Pull - ease!

Young Girl: I suppose I can show you just once. What do you like to eat?

Spider: Well, I like plums, bananas, and especially honey!

Young Girl: I think I can help you.

Spider: What luck! We better start now before she has a chance to change her mind.

Young Girl: Now you must follow me deep into the bush, where people rarely ever go.

Spider: No problem!

Young Girl: It's quite a long walk, but I think you will find it worth the effort. We're almost there. Yes, this plum tree does not have much fruit. Most people completely ignore it. But, its fruit is the sweetest in all of the bush.

Grandmother: Now, Spider was just as greedy as he was lazy. As soon as the young girl showed him the secret plums on that little tree, Spider's eyes got very large and his mouth started to water. Then, he pushed the little girl into the bushes. The spider climbed the plum tree and ate every one of the plums. He didn't even leave one for the little girl.

Young Girl: And, he didn't even say thank you.

Spider: (rubbing a very full belly) This is the best day of my life. I wonder if she is foolish enough to show me more treasures? This little girl is foolish. Why, if I were in her place, I would never have shown anyone these hidden treasures. But, I'm not complaining about this -- no, not at all. As long as she guides me to the food, I will continue to eat everything.

Oh, little girl, is there anything else in the bush that you would like to share with me?

Young Girl: Would you like some bananas now?

Spider: Absolutely! And, before she has a chance to change her mind, I better get over to her.

Young Girl: Spider. We really must trot onward. There are plenty of other places I want to take you before the sun goes down. We just need to continue a little further down this path, where people rarely ever go.

Spider: Lead the way and I will gladly follow you.

Young Girl: It's just a little further this way. Just over here you will find a patch of the very best bananas.

Grandmother: Now you already know what happened. As soon as the young girl showed Spider the banana plant, Spider's eyes got very large and his mouth started to water. Then, he pushed the little girl into the bushes. The spider climbed the banana plant and ate every one of the bananas. He didn't even leave one for the little girl.

Young Girl: And, he didn't even say thank you.

Spider: Ummm . . . that was delicious! This is how every spider in my family should live. Ahh! I just love eating the treasures of the bush all day. But, the day isn't yet over, so I could eat more. That won't be a problem either since this girl is so foolish. As long as she guides me, I will continue to eat all of her food.

Oh, little girl, is there anything else in the bush that you would like to share with me?

Young Girl: If you are not too full, I know where we could find some honey.

Spider: I'm coming! I'm coming! -- I'm coming as quick as I can so she will not change her mind! Besides, I'm never too full for honey. Hurry up! I haven't got all day!

Young Girl: Just follow me a little deeper in the bush, where people rarely ever go.

Spider: Honey, honey, HONEY. I can hardly wait.

Young Girl: Well, you don't have to wait any longer. We've arrived. Over there is a very special tree. Deep inside a small hole is the most delicious honey you will ever find. I hope the honey pleases you. It's the best know of.

Grandmother: And once again, you already know what happened. As soon as the young girl mentioned the honey, Spider's eyes got very large and his mouth started to water. Then, he pushed the little girl into the bushes. The spider climbed into the honey tree to eat all of the that sweet golden honey. He didn't save one drop for the little girl.

Young Girl: And, he didn't even say thank you. But, go on right ahead and eat what you want. Of course, you'll be pleased. You love honey and you're just about to make every part of my plan work. You'll learn to say thank you and a whole lot more. Just you wait and see.

Spider: This is so delicious, a real meal for a Spider with class -- like me! All this golden honey. Every drop just for me. Why should I ever share?

Young Girl: Everything should be just about ready.

Spider: This is how life must be in paradise. With any luck, she'll show me the way to some more delicious treats of the bush.

Now I wonder, oh, little girl, is there anything else in the bush that you would like to share with me?

Young Girl: If you are not too full, I could easily show you where some more fruit grows. But, you must hurry. I have to go home soon.

Spider: Of course I'll hurry. -- I don't want her to change her mind!

I'll be right there. Ahhh, my stomach. I'm stuck! Help me, little girl, I'm caught in the honey tree!

Young Girl: You haven't eaten too much now have you? Come on down right away, I have to go home soon.

Spider: Please, young girl, help me! I have grown too large. I cannot get out of the tree. You wouldn't want to leave a poor old helpless Spider stuck in a tree, now would you?

Young Girl: You wouldn't be stuck if you hadn't been so selfish. Now it is time for you to learn a lesson about selfishness.

Spider: I'm sorry for what I did! Please call for help! Pull - ease!

Young Girl: You aren't sorry for what you did. You are only sorry you are caught in the tree.

Spider: No, you're wrong (with fingers crossed). How did she know that?

Why don't I learn? All that food was so good and tasty. Next time, I'll bring all the food home. There I won't get stuck. That little girl is right. I'm the foolish one and she's not a so foolish at all.

Please call for help. I beg you! I'm trapped here and we are so deep in the bush where people rarely ever go. Please do this for me and I promise to be a better spider.

Young Girl: Well, okay, are you ready, Spider? Cover your ears because I'm ready to call for help.

Spider: I'm ready!

Young Girl: (stage whisper) Help! Help! The foolish spider is caught inside the honey tree. Somebody come and help this greedy spider.

Spider: What? Help me? Nobody can hear your whispers! Help!

Young Girl: (still whispering) Somebody help this foolish spider. Help!

Grandmother: Of course, nobody could hear her whispers for help. And nobody could hear Spider's cries from deep inside the honey tree. They were too far in the bush, where people rarely ever go.

The little girl looked up at Spider and smiled. It was getting ate and she had to hurry home. However, she did promise to show the spider the following day where her special oranges grew if he was interested. Of course, Spider never showed up. Nobody ever heard from him again.

Grandchild 1: Yes, that's the kind of ending I like in a story. And they don't all live happily ever after!

Grandmother: That isn't the only lesson I want you to get from the story. There is a lot more to learn.

Granddaughter, is something wrong?

 

Part 2   Black Snake and the Eggs
Part 3   The Chief Who Was No Fool