The Turtle and the Geese

Possum, Sharpie, and friends act out one of their favorite Jataka tales — the one about the Turtle who decided to migrate with two of his goose friends. Let’s just say the migration flight does not go well.

Click on the image above to view the video on Vimeo.

Thanks to guest puppeteer Carol Steinfeld. As usual, the full script for the video is below.

Possum: Sharpie, it’s time for another Jataka tale!

Sharpie: Yes, one of those old stories from India about the Buddha and his followers.

Possum: Edgar and Booby, for this story you two will have to pretend to be geese.

Edgar Raven: OK, I guess.

Sharpie: Once, the two chief followers of the Buddha went to stay with a man named Kokalika. Because they were famous, they made Kokalika promise not to tell anyone they were staying with him. But Kokalika told people anyway, and it led to all kinds of problems. So the Buddha told this story:

Possum: Once upon a time there was a turtle who lived in a pond. During the summer, two geese made friends with the turtle.

Edgar: We have a beautiful home far away. We start migrating back tomorrow. It’s a long but pleasant journey. Want to join us?

Muds Turkle: But that’s impossible. I don’t have any wings. And I walk really slowly.

Edgar: We have a plan. But you’ll have to promise to keep your mouth shut, and say nothing to anyone.

Muds: I really want to go with you. So I’ll promise to keep my mouth shut.

Possum: The next day the Geese brought a stick, and they held the ends of the stick in their beaks.

Edgar: Take the middle of this stick in your mouth, and don’t say a word until we reach our home.

Muds: OK.

Possum: The Geese sprang into the air, with the Turtle between them, holding fast to the stick with their mouth. People on the ground saw the two Geese flying along with the Turtle and they cried out:

Packie Rat: Look, up in the air! It’s a goose!

Nicky Rabbit: No, it’s two geese carrying a Turtle by a stick!

Queen: How very silly looking that Turtle is!

Possum: The Turtle looked down so that he could say, “Well, and if my friends carry me, what business is that of yours?” But in order to speak, he had to open his mouth, and he fell down to earth, badly bruised.

Muds: Oooh. Why did I have to go and open my mouth?

Nicky: I’ve been meaning to tell the Queen that sometimes she talks too much. This is my chance to do it kindly. O Queen, they that talk too much, and set no limit on their speaking, will always come to misfortune like this.

Possum: Sometimes I like to talk a lot. That story makes me think that maybe I should think before I talk.

Muds: Actually, I didn’t like that story much.

Sharpie: I liked the way the wise adviser to the Queen was able to use the example of the turtle to tell the Queen something she didn’t want to hear.

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