The Tales of Two Rodents
Characters: Beaver, Blue Jay, Fox, Muskrat
Props: three or four small sticks; two wooden blocks to bang together to make loud clap, cattail prop.
Cattail prop attached to stage
Beaver (places a stick on stage) Five, six, pick up sticks, seven, eight, lay them straight.
Blue Jay Hold it, wait a minute, hold on right there. What are you up to, Bernie Beaver?
Beaver I’m up to about three feet. Gotta build this higher to stop the water. (adds a stick)
Blue Jay Build what higher? Why stop the water?
Beaver I’ve got to build a dam to make a pond here.
Blue Jay Make a pond? What for? This was a nice little stream in the forest before you got here!
Beaver (adds another stick) Oh, you’ll like our pond – lots of animals do. We’ll turn this place into a wetland – cattails over here, alders over here, a nice big lodge. Plenty of storage space… this’ll be great!
Blue Jay A lodge in the middle of a pond? It’ll be wet inside.
Beaver Not in the pond! We’ll build a foundation out of rocks and mud so our living room will be above the water. Then we’ll make a roof of sticks and plaster it with mud. It’ll be nice and dry inside.
Blue Jay But stuffy. How will you get fresh air?
Beaver Cracks in the roof – let the cool air in and the hot air out.
Blue Jay Hot air? In winter? Where’s the hot air from?
Beaver From all the warm bodies – there’ll be mother, father, sisters and brothers – oh, nine or ten at least in the den.
Blue Jay That’s a lot of mouths to feed. How are you going to get out when the pond is frozen? And how are you going to find food?
Beaver We’ll have exit tunnels that go right down into the water under the ice. And we’ll store a pile of branches underwater, just outside the tunnel entrance.
Blue Jay So when you get hungry, you’ll just dive in and get a snack?
Beaver Yup. Easy as pie! Uh oh, I gotta go! (Beaver exits; noise of a loud clap)
Blue Jay Yikes! What was that? Sounded like a gunshot. This isn’t hunting season. (looks around) Now where’s that beaver?
Fox That’s what I want to know, too. A nice beaver kit would taste yummy right now. Well, look at this pond. This place is shaping up nicely. Pretty soon there’ll be muskrats too, mm-mm.
Blue Jay Well, I was talking to a big adult beaver – too big a mouthful for you. But then I heard a gunshot.
Fox A gunshot? That means hunters! I’d better run! Outa my way, Jay! (exits)
Muskrat (enters behind cattails, staying partly hidden) Is the coast all clear?
Blue Jay Well, the fox is gone, but I’m not sure it’s safe for beavers out here. I just heard a gunshot.
Muskrat Hunters? Rats! I bet they’re after my hide!
Blue Jay Maybe you should hide your hide, little beaver.
Muskrat Maybe – hey, you callin’ me a beaver?
Blue Jay Sure I am. I know a beaver when I see one.
Muskrat Now wait just one cotton-pickin’ minute.
Blue Jay Well, you swim like a beaver and you’ve got shiny waterproof fur like a beaver.
Muskrat Mink’s furry and swims like a beaver too.
Blue Jay But you’ve got big gnawing teeth and you’re carrying a stick just like a beaver.
Muskrat Well, rabbits have big teeth. And even you carry sticks to make your nest!
Blue Jay You’ve got beady little eyes like a beaver, and…where do you live in winter?
Muskrat Well, I dig a burrow, or I might build a lodge.
Blue Jay You see! Beavers build lodges, so you must be a beaver – a small beaver.
Muskrat Mr. Jay, aren’t you forgettin’ a very important fact about beavers?
Blue Jay I know all about beavers! I was just talking to one when I heard a gunshot.
Muskrat A gunsho, was it? I think we’re getting to the tail end of this story, Mr. Jay. You’d better take a closer look at me.
Blue Jay I can see you fine. I’ve got a bird’s eye view.
Muskrat That you do, but your bird’s eyes are seein’ the front of me, and what I’m talkin’ about is on the other end!
Blue Jay You mean your tail? I know what a beaver tail looks like. It’s leathery and scaly and shaped like a paddle.
Muskrat Well, mine’s leathery and scaly, all right, but it looks like this (comes out from behind cattails).
Blue Jay That’s not a beaver’s tail! More like a rat tail!
Muskrat Like I told you, I’m not a beaver. I’m a muskrat, and that’s no tall tale! (exits)
Blue Jay A muskrat! I should have known. Guess I’m feeling a bit rattled.
Beaver Hi, Blue Jay. Sorry if I scared you with my tail slap.
Blue Jay You mean you made that loud noise with your tail!?
Beaver Sure. The noise warns my family, and sometimes it scares the predator away.
Blue Jay Sure got my attention! And that, I’d say, is a good ending for this tale of two tails! Bye!
Beaver Good bye!