A Ferntastic Journey
Characters: Girl, Genie, Ferns: Polypody, Christmas, Interrupted, Ostrich, Hayscented, Lady
Props: Fiddlehead – curl one end of a pipe cleaner into a spiral; magnifying lens.
Girl Oh gee, I’ve been studying ferns all day and I just can’t tell them apart. I wish I had some genius for this kind of thing. (Genie enters) Huh? Who are you?
Genie A genie. That’s who. You said you wanted some kind of a genie and so here I am.
Girl But I said genius. I was talking about ferns.
Genie Talking ferns? You want talking ferns? Your wish is my command. Just step right up on my magic carpet and I will take you on a ferntastic journey. Here we go! (both exit)
Polypody Hi, honey. My name’s Polly Pody and I’m right glad to meet you.
Girl A talking fern! Or, are you a fern? I think of ferns as being really, well, really lacy.
Polypody I’m just a once-cut fern. See how my frond looks like it’s cut into smaller leaflets?
Girl Yes, I do see. And what are those pretty golden dots on the underside of your leaflets?
Polypody They’re fruit dots. They hold my spores.
Girl Don’t you mean seeds? Fruits have seeds in them.
Polypody No I don’t mean seeds. Ferns don’t have seeds, or flowers or fruits. We have spores – that’s what’s inside our fruit dots.
Girl This is confusing. Fruit dots aren’t fruits and spores aren’t seeds. So what are the spores for?
Polypody Why honey, it’s quite simple – they’re for making new ferns. Anything else you’d like to know?
Girl Well, how come you’re called Polypody?
Polypody Why, I don’t know for sure, honey. But I think it must be because I’m pody nice. (exits)
Girl Pody silly, if you ask me. (Xmas enters) Oh, hello there! Another fern! Let’s see, dark green, once-cut…you’re another Polypody!
Xmas Nope. Use my hand lens to take a closer look.
Girl OK, thanks. Hey, you are different! Every one of your leaflets has a thumb, just like my hand! Here’s your lens back. (fern drops it)
Xmas Oops. Sorry – I’m all thumbs.
Girl What’s your name, then? Thumb Fern?
Xmas No, but I’ll give you a clue: My leaves stay green all year long.
Girl Green – green? In winter, too, like a Christmas Tree? Hey, I’ll bet you’re the Christmas fern!
Xmas That’s right! Merry Christmas! (Xmas exits, Genie re-enters)
Girl Bye – and merry Christmas to you, too!
Genie And a happy new year! Time to fern over a new leaf.
Girl You again! Where are we going now?
Genie Roadsides and ditches.
Girl You know, Genie, the ferns we’ve met so far were not very lacy or fern-like.
Genie That’s because they were all once-cut ferns. Are you ready for some twice-cut ferns?
Girl Twice cut – I bet that means each leaflet is cut into smaller leaflets. (genie exits, interrupted fern enters) Here’s a big, lacy, twice-cut fern, only there’s something wrong with some of its leaflets.
Interrupted You are probably referring to my fertile leaflets which carr –
Girl (interrupting) Gee those shriveled up leaflets are all covered with brown speckles.
Interrupted As I was saying, those are my spore-bearing leaflets and they are extremely –
Girl (interrupting again) I guess those must be your spores.
Interrupted Certainly those are my spores. I should be extremely unhappy were I to carry –
Girl (interrupting again) I must say you’re certainly very tall.
Interrupted Yes, as a matter of fact I am among the three tallest ferns in this –
Girl I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, interrupting like this – it’s rude of me!
Interrupted Oh, it’s not your fault. Happens all the time. I’m used to it. After all, I am the Interrupted Fern. So long!
Girl Good bye. (ostrich fern and fiddleheads enter) Why, look at the pretty curlicue plant coming up out of the ground. It looks just like the neck of a fiddle.
Ostrich Those are my fiddleheads, my babies.
Girl Fiddleheads? Mmm, they’re good to eat.
Ostrich To eat!! Stay away from my babies!
Girl Okay, I won’t eat them. Let’s see, if those are fiddleheads, then you must be a fiddle fern!
Ostrich Fiddle fern! Fiddlesticks! There’s no such thing as a fiddle fern.
Girl Sorry. You’re so tall and lacy. You look more like a feather than a plant. Like an ostrich plume. That’s it – you must be the ostrich fern.
Ostrich ’At’s right, matey, and that’s no strich of the imagination either. (exits)
Genie I always say, ostrich in time saves nine.
Girl I thought you’d left.
Genie Me? I would never leaf you! Here we go. How do you like this field? (genie exits, hayscented fern enters)
Girl Mmm, this field smells like freshly mowed hay.
Hayscented Zat is me. Zat is my perfume. I am zee hayscented fern.
Girl Oh, it’s a lovely perfume. And you’re the laciest, most beautiful fern I’ve ever seen. You must be a thrice-cut fern. Every one of your leaflets is cut into the tiniest of tiny leaves.
Hayscented Yes, I only wear zee latest fashion. Now sit right here for the show. (girl exits, Lady enters)
Lady Fern Speakin’ of fashion, let’s not get carried away, girls. I’m thrice-cut, too, and you won’t catch me putting on airs like Miss Hayseed.
Hayscented Oh, how dare you speak to me zat way. And you call yourself a lady.
Lady Fern I most sointainly do. I’m a Lady Foin. I’m just as dainty as you, Madame Hayscent.
Hayscented Perhaps, but you do not have zee perfume like moi!
Lady Fern Poifume! Is that what you call it? Whatever it is, it’s givin’ me hayfever.
Hayscented In zat case, perhaps I should leave.
Lady Don’t bother, I was just goin’ myself. (both exit, genie and girl re-enter)
Girl Those two thrice-cut ferns are very lovely and delicate, but they sure are silly.
Genie Yeah, they’re a couple of cut-ups.
Girl Thanks for a great trip, Genie. Now that I’ve met some ferns, I really can tell them apart.
Genie Sure you can, and remember my motto: if at ferns you don’t succeed, then try, try again.