Possum and his friends act out the Sumsumara-Jataka (no. 208):
Full script is below the fold….
Possum: Hey, guys, let’s act out a Jataka tale.
Nanas: What’s a Jataka tale?
Sharpie: Buddhists believe that Jataka tales are stories about one of Buddha’s previous lives.
Elephant: But I don’t believe that people had previous lives.
Sharpie: Well, Jataka Tales are also just good, fun stories that can make you think.
Possum [as narrator]: A monkey lived in in a fig tree by a river, and in the river lived some crocodiles. One day, one of the crocodiles said to her son, “I want the heart of a Monkey to eat.” Now this little crocodile was stupid, but he came up with a plan. He swam to the tree where the Monkey lived.
Crocodile: Oh, Monkey, come with me to the other side of the river where the mangoes are ripe.
Nanas: But I can’t swim.
Crocodile: I’ll take you over on my back.
Possum: The monkey wanted some mangoes, so she jumped onto the Crocodile’s back.
Nanas: This is great!
Crocodile: Check this out!
Possum: And the crocodile dove under the water. The monkey didn’t like that at all.
Nanas: Don’t dive! I can’t breathe underwater.
Possum: Now remember, this crocodile was stupid. He said:
Crocodile: I’m going to drown you so my mother can eat your heart.
Nanas: Oh, that’s too bad. I didn’t bring my heart with me. It’s up there.
Possum: And the monkey pointed to one of the figs hanging way up high in the tree.
Crocodile: You mean you left your heart in your tree?
Nanas: Yes. If you want it, take me back to my tree. But first, take me to the island so I can get some mangoes.
Crocodile: No, monkey. Give me your heart first, then I’ll take you to the island.
Possum: But as soon as the monkey jumped onto land, she ran quickly up the fig tree, and she shouted down to the crocodile:
Monkey: O silly crocodile! Did you really believe there were animals who kept their hearts in a tree?
Possum: The crocodile went back sorrowing to the place he lived.
Elephant: I like the way the Monkey did not have to use violence to get herself out of trouble.
Possum: I like the way this is a religious story, but the Monkey does not call on a god or goddess to get herself out of trouble.
Sharpie: There are many ways to interpret this story. How do YOU interpret it?