Possum and friends tell another Jataka tale, of the huge hound (you can find my text version of this story here.)
As usual, full text of the script is below.
Rolf: Sharpie, can I help act out one of the Jataka tales?
Sharpie: Yes, Rolf. I’d like you to help with the story of Queen Usinara and the Huge Hound.
Sharpie: One day the Buddha’s followers were talking about how he left his life in a palace to go and do good in the world. The Buddha said to them, “In all my previous lives, I also tried to teach goodness.” And he told this story.
Possum: In the land of Queen Usinara, the people had given up doing good, and did evil instead. Sakka, ruler of the gods, saw this and decided to come to earth as a hunter with a huge hound.
Castor: The world is doomed to destruction!
Queen Sharpie: Oh! What a horrible sound! Can’t you stop your hound from howling?
Castor: Mm. My hound is hungry.
Queen Sharpie: Get food for the dog.
Hedgie: Yes, your majesty!
Possum: So they brought a huge meal for the huge hound, but he ate it all in one gulp and kept howling.
[Howling in background]
Queen Sharpie: This is no ordinary hound. Why does this hound come here with you?
Castor: The hound comes to eat my enemies.
Queen Sharpie: And who are your enemies?
Castor: People who are smart and educated, but who use their skill only to get money.
Castor: People who betray friends or spouses. People who pretend to follow religion, but who actually do whatever they want.
Castor: People who allow others to go hungry while they have enough to eat.
[Rolf growls and howls.]
Queen Sharpie: No, no, don’t let your hound go! We will go back to being good again.
Possum: So Queen Usinara and all the people saw how they must stop doing evil, and return to the ways of doing good. They must stop doing evil, or the huge dog would remain hungry, and keep on howling!
Sharpie: Then the Buddha told his followers that he was Sakka, ruler of the gods, in a previous life.
Rolf: I like the way the huge hound howled whenever he saw wrong-doing.
Castor: Imagine if there really were a huge hound, and every time he saw somebody hungry, he howled.
Possum: I think this story is telling us to speak out when we see injustice.
Finally, thanks to Maribea, a fellow admirer of Fred Rogers’s puppeteering, who gave me the pin that Queen Usinara wears in the video.