Once Upon a Pond
Characters: Tadpole, Frog, Whirligig Beetle, Lily Pad, Damselfly Nymph, Dragonfly Nymph.
Props: water lilies, crown, loop on back of stage to hold up lily prop.
Tadpole Tell me a story, Daddy!
Father Frog Once upon a time there was a fierce dragon who lived at the bottom of a pond.
Tadpole Ooooh, a scary fairy tale.
Frog The dragon was a nymph, a young dragonfly, and it needed to eat a lot so it could grow up and become a flying dragonfly. It was the terror of the pond kingdom.
Tadpole Did it eat tadpoles?
Frog Yes, it especially liked tadpoles!
Tadpole How did it catch them?
Frog That’s the trouble. No one knew how the dragonfly caught its prey. But there was one young and daring tadpole…
Tadpole Like me?
Frog Yes, he was a lot like you, only he was a tadpole prince. One day he decided to go and see the dragonfly for himself. He said goodbye to the Frog King and then…(both exit; put up water lilies prop)
Tadpole Prince (wearing crown) Now how to find the dragon in this big pond… Maybe those beetles on the surface can help me.
Whirligig One two spin two one two…stop! Who goes there?
Tadpole It is I, the Tadpole Prince. What’s all this spinning and whirling about? I’m on a quest to see the dragon. You’re making me dizzy!
Whirligig Oh, pardon your honor! We’re whirligig beetles, the royal guards. We’re patrolling the pond.
Tadpole With that suit of armor, you’re well-suited to your job.
Whirligig Yes, our hard wing covers are good protection, our antennae sense the slightest vibration, and we always keep our double eyes out for intruders.
Tadpole Double eyes?
Whirligig Yes, we can see above the water with these upper eyes, and below with these lower ones.
Tadpole Then have you seen the dragon, and can you tell me where he lives?
Whirligig Oh yes. He lives below those lily pads. But we steer clear of him, and you should too, Master Tadpole, or your gig will be up! Gotta whirl! One two spin two one two. (exits)
Tadpole Then I’ll follow this lily stem downwards. Mmm, it’s covered with algae. I’ll just take a nibble.
Lily Pad Who’s that nibbling on my stem?
Tadpole It is I, the Tadpole Prince. I’m not nibbling on your stem. I’m eating the algae that’s growing on it.
Lily Pad Well, just don’t chew into my stem, for then I might die, and that would be bad for us both.
Tadpole Why is that?
Lily Pad Because plants like me, and tiny floating ones too small to see, make the oxygen in the water that you animals need to breathe.
Tadpole You’re right. My gills help me get air out of the water, but I never realized where it came from. I won’t hurt your stem, but I must follow it down for I am going to see the dragonfly!
Lily Pad Beware, young tadpole! That dragonfly’s an ogre! If you have any trouble, you must hide among the lily stems.
Tadpole Thanks. I’ll remember that. (tips downward) Wait, what’s that I hear?
Damselfly Nymph Oh boo hoo. I’m so distressed!
Tadpole Oh dear, a damselfly in distress. What’s the matter?
Damselfly It’s just that I can’t fly with these short little wing buds so I’m stuck down here underwater. I want to fly on delicate wings and wear a coat of blue!
Tadpole I see what you mean. You don’t have real wings, and you are kind of an icky green.
Damselfly At least my color helps me hide on these green plant stems.
Tadpole You are hard to see. You know, I think you’re like me – still a youngster. When you grow up, I’m sure you’ll be a flying insect.
Damselfly You think so?
Tadpole Yes, I do. I think you’re a damselfly nymph, and someday you’ll become a beautiful winged damselfly.
Damselfly Oh, goody! Now I just need to eat a lot so I can grow up fast. Hey, you’d make a huge meal for me.
Tadpole Uh oh! Time for this prince to gallop away! (both exit; tadpole returns) Here I am at the bottom of the pond. It’s muddy and dark, and hard to breathe. I’ll just rest on this rock…
Dragonfly Nymph Roarrr!
Tadpole Yikes! (jumps away) The dragon!
Dragonfly Fee fi fo fog, I smell the blood of a pollywog!
Tadpole You were hiding in the mud!
Dragonfly Of course! That’s how I surprise my prey! And you’re going to be my next meal, you tasty tadpole!
Tadpole You aren’t going to taste me! You can’t reach me way over here.
Dragonfly That’s where you’re wrong! (hops around) I can reach you with my bottom jaw because it works like – THIS! (extend jaw)
Tadpole Yikes, I’d better swim for it! Up the lily stem I go!
Dragonfly Roarrr, I’m right behind you! (both exit; remove tadpole’s crown)
Tadpole Did he get away?
Frog Yes, he hid among the water lilies, and the dragonfly went back to the bottom to wait for easier prey.
Tadpole That was a close call!
Frog Yes. After that, the tadpole always stayed far, far away from the murky bottom where the dragonfly lurked. And he warned the other tadpoles, and told them how they must keep out of reach of those terrible long jaws!
Tadpole Is that all of the story? Didn’t the tadpole ever turn into a real prince?
Frog Even better. He turned into a big green frog. And can you guess his favorite food?
Tadpole I’m not sure. Something with wings…wait, I know! Dragonflies!
Frog That’s right. And when the dragonfly became an adult with wings, he had to steer clear of that fierce, dragonfly-eating frog prince!