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How Frog Went to Heaven
A Tale of Angola

Told by Aaron Shepard

Reader’s Theater Edition #19

Adapted for reader’s theater (or readers theatre) by the author, from his story printed in Australia’s School Magazine, July 1996


For more reader’s theater, visit Aaron Shepard’s RT Page at
www.aaronshep.com/rt

Story copyright © 1996, 1998 Aaron Shepard. Script copyright © 1998, 2002 Aaron Shepard. Scripts in this series are free and may be copied, shared, and performed for any noncommercial purpose, except they may not be posted online without permission.

PREVIEW: Frog helps a young man who wants to marry the Sky Maiden.

GENRE: Folktales, myths
CULTURE: African, Angolan
THEME: Inventiveness, determination
READERS: 16 or more
READER AGES: 7–9
LENGTH: 8 minutes

ROLES: Narrators 1–5, Kimana, Rabbit, Antelope, Hawk, Frog, Girls (2 or more), Sun Chief, Moon Lady, Sky Maiden, Doctor, (Other Sky People)

NOTES: This tale comes from the Mbaka tribe, part of the Ambundu people of northwest Angola. In most of Africa—and in many other cultures worldwide—it is the custom for a groom to send a wedding gift to the bride’s family. Kimana is pronounced “kee-MAH-nah.” Below is the tune for “Good Day to You,” a traditional song. The syncopated rhythm of eight beats is accented on the one, the four, and the seven.

Good Day to You -- written music

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Book cover: Folktales on StageNARRATOR 1:  There was once a young man named Kimana. He wanted to marry the Sky Maiden. He wrote a letter to her father, the Sun Chief.

KIMANA:  (reads letter as he writes) “I, Kimana, a man of earth, wish to marry the Sky Maiden, your daughter.”

NARRATOR 4:  Kimana went to Rabbit.

KIMANA:  (holds out letter) Will you take this letter?

NARRATOR 4:  Rabbit said,

RABBIT:  I cannot go to Heaven. (hops away)

NARRATOR 2:  Kimana went to Antelope.

KIMANA:  (holds out letter) Will you take this letter?

NARRATOR 2:  Antelope said,

ANTELOPE:  I cannot go to Heaven. (leaps away)

NARRATOR 5:  Kimana went to Hawk.

KIMANA:  (holds out letter) Will you take this letter?

NARRATOR 5:  Hawk said,

HAWK:  I can go halfway. But I cannot go to Heaven. (flies away)

NARRATOR 3:  Then Frog came to Kimana.

FROG:  (hops in) Why do you not take the letter yourself?

NARRATOR 3:  Kimana said,

KIMANA:  This I cannot do.

FROG:  Then I will take it for you.

NARRATOR 3:  Kimana laughed.

KIMANA:  (laughs) Can a frog take a letter to Heaven?

FROG:  Whatever it is, I can do it. But only if I try. (takes letter in mouth, hops away)

NARRATOR 1:  Now, Frog lived by a well. Every day, the girls who served the Sun Chief came to this well. They climbed down from Heaven on a web made by Spider. Then they filled their water jugs and went home.

NARRATOR 4:  Frog put the letter in his mouth and hid in the well. The girls from Heaven came for water, singing their song.

GIRLS:  (come singing)

Good day to you, my sister.
Good day to you.

NARRATOR 2:  They lowered their jugs into the well, and Frog jumped into one. The girls did not see.

NARRATOR 5:  Then the girls climbed back up the web of Spider. They went into the house of the Sun Chief and left the jugs in a room.

NARRATOR 3:  Frog was alone. He jumped out of the jug and spit the letter out on a bench.

FROG:  (spits out letter)

NARRATOR 3:  Then he hid in a corner.

NARRATOR 1:  The Sun Chief came for a drink of water. He saw the letter and opened it. He read,

SUN CHIEF:  “I, Kimana, a man of earth, wish to marry the Sky Maiden, your daughter.”

NARRATOR 1:  The Sun Chief said,

SUN CHIEF:  How can this be?

NARRATOR 4:  He went to the girls who fetched water.

SUN CHIEF:  (holds out letter) Did you bring this letter?

NARRATOR 4:  The girls said,

GIRLS:  (stop working) We did not. (start working again)

NARRATOR 2:  He went to his wife, the Moon Lady, and read it to her.

SUN CHIEF:  What should we do?

NARRATOR 2:  The Moon Lady said,

MOON LADY:  Don’t ask me! Ask your daughter!

NARRATOR 5:  He went to his daughter. The Sky Maiden said,

SKY MAIDEN:  Let us see if he can bring a wedding gift.

NARRATOR 3:  So the Sun Chief wrote a letter and set it on the bench. Then he went away.

NARRATOR 1:  Frog came out and put the letter in his mouth. Then he climbed into an empty jug.

NARRATOR 4:  The next day, the girls took the jugs and climbed down to earth, singing their song.

GIRLS:  (come singing)

Good day to you, my sister.
Good day to you.

NARRATOR 2:  They lowered their jugs into the well, and Frog jumped out.

NARRATOR 5:  Then the girls went back to Heaven.

NARRATOR 3:  Frog took the letter to Kimana, and Kimana read it.

KIMANA:  “You may marry my daughter if you bring a purse of money.”

NARRATOR 3:  Kimana said,

KIMANA:  This I cannot do.

FROG:  Then I will bring it for you.

NARRATOR 3:  Kimana laughed.

KIMANA:  (laughs) You took a letter to Heaven. But can you bring a purse of money?

FROG:  Whatever it is, I can do it. But only if I try.

NARRATOR 1:  Kimana gave Frog a purse of money. Frog took hold of it with his mouth and carried it to the well. He climbed in and waited.

NARRATOR 4:  The girls from Heaven came to the well.

GIRLS:  (come singing)

Good day to you, my sister.
Good day to you.

NARRATOR 2:  Frog got into one of the jugs.

NARRATOR 5:  The girls returned to Heaven and left him in the room.

NARRATOR 3:  Frog set the money on the bench. Then he hid.

NARRATOR 1:  The Sun Chief came and found the purse.

SUN CHIEF:  How can this be?

NARRATOR 4:  He went to the girls.

SUN CHIEF:  (holds out purse) Did you bring this money?

GIRLS:  (stop working) We did not. (start working again)

NARRATOR 2:  He went to his wife. The Moon Lady said,

MOON LADY:  Don’t ask me! Ask your daughter!

NARRATOR 5:  He went to his daughter. The Sky Maiden said,

SKY MAIDEN:  Let us see if he can come fetch me.

NARRATOR 3:  So the Sun Chief wrote a letter and left it on the bench.

NARRATOR 1:  Frog put the letter in his mouth.

NARRATOR 4:  He climbed into an empty jug.

NARRATOR 2:  The next day, the girls carried him to earth.

GIRLS:  (come singing)

Good day to you, my sister.
Good day to you.

NARRATOR 5:  He jumped back into the well, and the girls went back to Heaven.

NARRATOR 3:  Frog brought the letter to Kimana, and Kimana read it.

KIMANA:  (reading) “You may marry my daughter if you come and fetch her.”

NARRATOR 3:  Kimana said,

KIMANA:  This I cannot do.

FROG:  Then I will fetch her for you.

NARRATOR 3:  Kimana laughed.

KIMANA:  (laughs) You took a letter to Heaven. You brought a purse of money. But can you fetch a bride?

FROG:  Whatever it is, I can do it. But only if I try.

NARRATOR 1:  Frog climbed back into the well.

NARRATOR 4:  The girls came with their jugs.

GIRLS:  (come singing)

Good day to you, my sister.
Good day to you.

NARRATOR 2:  They carried him to Heaven.

NARRATOR 5:  Frog jumped out. He spit in all the jugs of water.

FROG:  (spits in jars) Ptui. Ptui. Ptui.

NARRATOR 3:  Then he hid in an empty jug.

NARRATOR 1:  The people of the house came and drank the water.

NARRATOR 4:  They all got sick.

SUN CHIEF, MOON LADY, SKY MAIDEN, GIRLS, OTHER SKY PEOPLE:  (come and dip cup in water, drink, get sick)

NARRATOR 2:  The Sun Chief called for the spirit doctor. The doctor told him,

DOCTOR:  You promised your daughter to a man of earth, but she has not gone. He has sent an evil spirit with a sickness. The evil spirit is in the shape of . . . a frog!

NARRATOR 5:  The Sun Chief went to his wife. The Moon Lady said,

MOON LADY:  Don’t ask me! Ask your daughter!

NARRATOR 3:  He went to his daughter. The Sky Maiden said,

SKY MAIDEN:  I will go.

NARRATOR 1:  The next day, the Sky Maiden went with the girls down to the well.

GIRLS:  (come singing)

Good day to you, my sister.
Good day to you.

NARRATOR 4:  The girls filled their jugs, and Frog jumped out. Then the girls left the Sky Maiden and went home.

NARRATOR 2:  Frog jumped out of the well.

FROG:  I will lead you to your husband.

NARRATOR 2:  The Sky Maiden laughed.

SKY MAIDEN:  (laughs) Can a frog lead a woman?

FROG:  I took a letter to Heaven. I brought a purse of money. I fetched a bride. Whatever it was, I could do it. But only since I tried.

SKY MAIDEN:  Then it is you I will marry!

NARRATOR 5:  She took Frog back to Heaven and married him.

NARRATOR 3:  They lived on and on.

NARRATOR 1:  And Kimana is still waiting for his bride.

About the Story
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