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_ The Tale of Rabbit and the Well
By Tony Devaney
Based on an African folk tale.
( for a cast of
The Story Tellers Griot 1 Griot 2 Griot 3
Animals Lion Monkey Giraffe Elephant Leopard Fox Cloud Rabbit
1:This is the story of Rabbit...
Griot 2: And why Rabbit has long
Griot 3: But why he has no tail.
Lion: (to Monkey)
Friend Monkey, for many days and many nights we have had no
Monkey: Indeed, the ground is dry and we cannot drink the
Lion: Let us call all our friends to see among them can find us
Monkey: (monkey makes a great call) Come friends, come. Lion
Giraffe: Why do you call us Lion? The sun is hot and we are
Elephant: Why do you call us. The walk makes our thirst even
Leopard: Indeed, I was asleep in the shade and now I remember I
have not drunk in days.
Fox: And I was curled within my lair, my tail
across my eyes.
Lion: I call you friends to hear your thoughts. It is
many days we have no rain. What must we do to have some water?
We all must think. Perhaps together we can devise a plan.
Elephant, raise your trunk and trumpet loud. Perhaps your great sound will
frighten the clouds and make them to drop their rain.
Elephant, trumpet your trunk!
ALL: Yes, Elephant, trumpet your
Griot: And so, mighy Elephant trumpeted his
(Elephant makes a great sound.)
Cloud: Brother Elephant why
do you trumpet. I have no water to give.
Griot: And then he tried
(Elephant makes a great sound)
Cloud: Again I ask, why do
you trumpet? I have no water to give.
Griot: And so there was no
Monkey: Elephant you could not make the clouds to drop their rain
but perhaps another might try.
Leopard: Giraffe, stretch your neck and
raise your head and strike the clouds to make them spill their
ALL: Yes, Giraffe, stretch your neck and raise your head and
strike the clouds.
Griot: And so, tall Giraffe streched her neck and
raised her head and struck the clouds.
(Giraffe stretches and knocks the
cloud. We hear the knock.)
Cloud: Sister Giraffe, why do you strike? I
have no water to give.
Griot: And then she tried again.
stretches and strikes again.)
Cloud: Again I ask, why do you
Griot: And so, there was still no rain.
you could not make the clouds to drop their rain but perhaps another might
Elephant: Leopard you must leap as high as you can and topple the
clouds to make them spill their water.
ALL: Yes, friend Leopard, leap as
high as you can.
Griot: And so, Leopard leaped as high as he ever leaped
and tipped the cloud but still no water spilled out.
Cloud: You see, my
friends, I have no water to spare.
Lion: Now we see well Great Cloud that
you have no water but then what shall we do.
Cloud: You must look to the
earth. Look to the earth.
Lion: How shall we do this for the earth is
Griot: Then Fox, who had been quiet until then spoke up.
We must ask Snake for she lives in the earth.
Monkey: Snake, Snake, Come
out from your hole beneath the great stone. Come give us your
Griot: And so, Snake appeared from out of her hole beneath the
great stone. But when she did, all the other animals took a big step
back. For, wise as she was, Snake was often too wise for one’s
Snake: What do you seek?
Lion: For days and days we have
had no rain. The land is dry and there is no water to quench our thirst. Even
Cloud is dry and tells us to look to the earth.
Monkey: But even
the earth is dry.
Snake: Ah, the earth is dry to you who live above but
dig below to the caves and tunnels that turn below and there will you
find your water.
Elephant: But how can we dig below?
must go to Man and from him buy a digging stick.
Giraffe: But how can we
buy a digging stick?
Snake: You must give Man the fat he likes to cook
Fox: But how can we give him this fat for his
Snake: You must each cut off a tip of your ear to make the
Griot: Then Fox, who too was sly, but not so sly as Snake, suspected
Fox: Cut off the tips of our ears! You Snake are jealous! You
tell us to cut off our ears for you, without fine ears, have always
Griot: But Snake only repeated:
Snake: You must cut
off the tip of your ears to make the fat.
Griot: Then each of the animals
cut a tip of their ear and boiled them down to make the fat. Monkey, who was
most like Man, took the fat and came home with the digging
stick. Each took a turn and soon:.....
Lion: Look my friends, Snake
was right. We have water.
Fox: Water in the earth.
Water for my bath.
Leopard: Water for my young.
Giraffe: Water for
Griot 1: And so they all drank and were very happy.
Griot 2: But this is not where the story ends my friends.
3: For This is the story of rabbit.
Lion: Come friends, let us all now
take an well dried gourd and bring water to our children.
Griot 1 : But
now it happened that Rabbit, who was ever so lazy was watching from the
Griot 2: And lazy Rabbit had dreamed a plan.
Griot 3: As
lazy rabbits who do not work have time to do.
Griot 1: Rabbit took a
Griot 2: A very big....
Griot 3: And very
Griot 2: pumpkin gourd.
(Rabbit makes a great deal of
noise with the gourd.)
Lion: Is that Thunder?
Monkey: Is that
(Rabbit makes a great noise again.)
Leopard: It is
Fox: It is not Falling Rock.
(Rabbit makes the noise
Elephant: Perhaps it is a fearsome thing who seeks this water as
Lion: Then let us run and let him drink his fill.
And we can return at dawn.
Griot 1: Then all the animals who had dug the
well, ran along their way.
Rabbit: Silly all! ( He looks at the well.)
Ah sweet water! Now I will drink. ( he drinks.) This I will fill to bring
to my children. ( He fills the calabash.) And now I will bath. ( He baths in
Griot 2: Now Rabbit who had done no work...
And who never cut the tip of his ears....
Griot 1: (That is why his ears
are so long!)
Griot 2: Enjoyed what he did not deserve.
now leaves with his calabash of water.)
Griot 3: The next morning the
other animals returned to the well.
Lion: But what has become of our
Monkey: Look how little remains.
Giraffe: And what remains
is cloudy and muddy.
Leopard: As though someone had bathed in
Fox: And stirred it all about.
Elephant: Who has spoiled our
Lion: Let us call again sister Snake.
Griot 1: And so they
called again upon Snake who wiggled from her place beneath the great
Snake: Why do you call me now? Have you not your
Lion: Yes, we have our water.
Giraffe: But someone has made
Elephant: And we can no longer drink.
Fox: We will soon
again be thirsty.
Leopard: And fear that we will die.
and image of chalk and mud and set it by your water.
Lion: An image of
chalk and mud?
Griot 2: But Snake said no more.
Griot 3: And
slipped away beneath her stone.
Griot 1: And so the animals made the
Griot 2: An image of chalk and mud.
Griot 3. They set it
beside the well,
Griot 1 : And went to hide behind the bushes.
Rabbit returns banging the calabash. He approaches the image which does not
move. He makes more noise.)
Rabbit: Are you not afraid? Move away or I
will strike you.
Griot 2: But the image did not move.
you not hear? Move away or I will strike you.
Griot 3: But of course,
the image did not move.
(Rabbit strikes the image. His hands
Rabbit: Let go, I say. Let go or I will kick you with my
Griot 2: But the image, of course, did not let go.
kicks with his feet and his feet stick.)
Rabbit: Let go, I say. Let
Griot 3: But the image, of course, did not let go.
Let go of his hands....
Griot 1: Or let go of his feet.
Animals come out from behind the bush.)
Lion: Shame, Rabbit
Monkey: You did no work!
Leopard: You did not cut the tip
of your ears!
Fox: You gave us a freight.
Giraffe: You drank our
Elephant: And you muddied our well.
Fox: For what you have
taken you must now pay.
Griot 2: And so they went up to Rabbit
Griot 3: And each took a piece...
Griot 1: A piece of his
Griot 2: For you see, in those days, Rabbit’s tail was long,
Griot 3: As long as his ears.
Griot 1: The ears he did not
Lion: Now, be on your way. (They release Rabbit) And without your
tail forever run among the grass.