Pua – a gibbon
Chanee – his wife
Tau – a turtle
Gwang – a deer
Seua – a tiger
The Banana Leaf Dragon
Narrator: A long time ago, when the forest stretched without end, all the animals shared their food. Gibbons and turtles and deer all ate bananas and grass and water leaf. Even the tiger joined them, for no animal ever thought to harm another. But that was before a Gibbon named Pua had a good idea.
Pua: Chanee, I like bananas. They taste great.
Chanee: I agree. Bananas taste wonderful.
Pua: Well why do we bother eating anything else? Why do we climb down to the ground and water where it is difficult to swing. We could just stay up here and eat bananas.
Chanee: But if we did that, there might not be enough for everyone else. In fact – look – here comes Tau the turtle. Hello Tau!
Enter Tau stage left
Tau: Hello Chanee. Hello Pua. I’m here to get some bananas. Don’t mind me, you know how difficult it is for me to climb with this shell.
Pua: Wait a moment Tau. Why do you want bananas at all? Don’t you like the taste of waterleaf better?
Tau: Well yes, I do like water leaf. And swimming certainly comes to me more easily than climbing trees. But I don’t know…I hate to change a way that already works.
Pua: This way will work even better. And…um…(thinking) then you won’t have to worry about the dragon.
Tau: The what?
Pua: The dragon. It is a creature that I have seen often near the banana plant lately. But it doesn’t eat bananas. It waits for animals that don’t climb trees well and eats them.
Tau: (shocked) eats animals?
Pua: That’s what I’ve heard.
Tau: Oh, maybe you’re right then. I do like waterleaf better anyway.
Pua: Yes and remember to eat our share as well.
Tau: Aren’t you scared of the dragon?
Pua: No, our long arms let us swing away very quickly. Don’t worry about us.
Tau: Ok. Thanks for warning me. Goodbye.
Tau exits stage left
Chanee: Pua is that true? Is there a dragon?
Pua: Of course not.
Chanee: Then why did you say there is?
Pua: It’s a good idea to eat our favorite foods. He even agreed. But he was so stuck in old ways of thinking that he couldn’t change. I just pushed him a little bit in a direction he needed to go.
Chanee: You’re right. It is a good idea. And I suppose it was for his own good.
Pua: and ours (eats banana)
Gwang enters stage right
Gwang: Hello Pua, Hello Chanee
Pua and Chanee: Hello Gwang
Gwang: How are the bananas today?
Chanee: A little green still.
Gwang: Perfect! That’s just the way I like them.
Pua: You seem to like eating pretty much anything green.
Gwang: (laughs) That’s true.
Pua: It looks like there’s plenty of green stuff below.
Gwang: I ate some already, now it’s time for bananas
Pua: Won’t your hooves make climbing up here difficult?
Pua: Well we don’t really want to climb down right now. So if you want our share of leaves and grass down there, you can have it.
Gwang: Is something wrong?
Pua: I don’t want to scare you, but there’s been a creature lurking around the banana plant…a dragon
Gwang: A dragon? What’s it look like?
Pua: It’s hard to say since it stays in the shadows. Huge body…glowing red eyes…and it breathes fire
Gwang: (excitedly) Fire!?
Pua: And it eats other animals.
Gwang: It eats animals?
Pua: Yes! And it even…wait…there it is now! Oh no!(shakes banana leaves)
Gwang: (screams) Aiiii
Gwang exits stage right
Chanee: Pua – that was terrible
Pua: Ha – you’re right. But it’s for the best. Remember, he’ll eat anything green. It’s all the same to him. Besides, the exercise might make it taste better.
Chanee: It’s a good idea, but it seems wrong to convince the others like that…with lies.
Pua: It’s for their own good. But not everyone is going to run away as easily as Gwang. I think we should fold some of the banana leaves into the shape of a monster with sharp claws and teeth.
Chanee: But scaring them seems so…
Pua(not listening): I’ll start folding the leaves. Try to keep the other animals away.(moves behind banana leaves)
Enter Seua stage Left
Seua: Who’s that by the bananas?
Chanee: Oh Seua hello, that’s the dragon. Be careful…it has very sharp claws and teeth.
Seua: Sharper than mine?
Chanee: (unsure) um…maybe, but it eats other animals too.
Seua: Eats other animals? What an interesting idea. I’ve often noticed that my claws would cut flesh as easily as leaves and grass. And my teeth would chew meat so much more easily.
Dragon’s head appears from the banana tree
Chanee: There it is! There’s the dragon! Run away before it gets you.
Seua: Ha! I’ll leave. But not out of fear. My claws and teeth are sharp as well. I think you’ve given me a good idea. In the future you had better be careful to stay up high. If you leave your trees, I may eat you.
Seua slowly exits stage left
Chanee: Oh Pua, I’m not so sure this is a good idea anymore(silence)…Pua…Pua!
Dragon: Pua is gone
Chanee: Who are you? Where is Pua?
Dragon: He imagined my claws were sharp so they cut him. He imagined I eat so I ate him. He imagined all would fear me, so back into shadow I return…for now.
Chanee: Pua! Pua!
Narrator: Chanee called Pua’s name for many years. In fact, where parts of the old forest remain, you can still hear her call out for him. Some of the animals, like Tigers and Wolves began eating other animals, because even a good idea can have unexpected and even unwanted consequences. So remember to be careful what you believe. It might come back to bite you in the end.