The Little Prairie Hen

Reader's Theater

Main Characters:

Little Prairie Hen
Prairie Dog
Horned Toad

Secondary characters (at the fair):
Baking Tent Judge
Possible characters:
Golden Wing Dragonflies and Mockingbirds
Bull at the rodeo

Group characters:
Audience at beauty contest,rodeo, seed-spitting contest, pie contest

Act 1
Little Prairie Hen, Prairie Dog, Buffalo, and Horned Toad are outside, standing near a pecan tree.

Narrator: The Coastal County Fair and Rodeo was finally here. The prairie dog, the buffalo, and the horned toadwere as exited as bucking broncos busting out of their gates.

Little Prairie Hen: Hmmph. A waste of perfectly good time if you ask…

Narrator: But before she finished, a pecan fell to the ground.

Little Prairie Hen (shouting): Howdee! Now, I can make my pecan pie.

Prairie Dog: Sounds as good as a horseback ride in the countryside.

Buffalo: Good as a ticket to the tractor pull.

Narrator: The horned toad spat.

Horned toad (spitting): Pttt, pttt, pttt.

Little Prairie Hen: Who will help me gather the pecans?

Prairie Dog (fluffing hair): Oh, I wish I could, Honey. But I’m fixin’ to do my do. I’m gonna be the Coastal County Queen, you know.

Buffalo: Now Darlin’, I want to help. You know I do. But every rodeo has to have a clown. And I want to be the best clown ever.

Narrator: The horned toad sat and spat.

Horned toad (sitting and spitting): Pttt, pttt, pttt.

Little Prairie Hen (in a tiff): Y’all are some friends. I’ll just gather the pecans myself.
(Little Prairie Hen begins collecting pecans.)

Narrator: She collected pecans one by one until her burlap bag was as heavy as a handful of horseshoes.

Little Prairie Hen: Now, who will help me shell the pecans?

Prairie Dog (lining her lips): I wish I could, Honey, but I might break a nail.

Narrator: The buffalo galloped around and around on his stick horse. The horned toad sat and spat.

Horned Toad (sitting and spitting): Pttt, pttt, pttt.

Little Prairie Hen (in a tiff): Y’all are some friends. I’ll just shell the pecans myself.

Narrator: So she shelled and shelled until her feathers ached.

Little Prairie Hen: Who will help me make the pie?

Prairie Dog: I wish I could, Honey, but I’ve got my queenly duties. (Parades past the prickly pear cacti, the Golden Wing Dragonflies, and the Mockingbirds.)

Narrator: The prairie dog paraded past the prickly pear cacti, the golden wing dragonflies, and the mockingbirds by the fence posts.

Buffalo: Later gator.

Narrator: The buffalo ran and jumped into a barrel. The barrel fell over and rolled down the hill faster than a roadrunner racing a jackrabbit.

Buffalo (in barrel): Ay yi yi!Narrator: The horned toad sat and spat

Horned Toad (sitting and spitting): Pttt, pttt, pttt.

Little Prairie Hen (in a tiff): Y’all are some friends. I’ll just make the pie myself. (Goes inside and makes the pie.)

Narrator: She rolled the dough and crimped the edges with a fork. She filled the pie shell and placed the pecans on top. By the time she put the pie in the oven, the little prairie hen had worked up a sweat. She wiped her brow with her bandana, poured herself a glass of iced tea, and plopped down into her chair.

Little Prairie Hen: Whew! That was hard work.

Narrator: When the little prairie hen took the pie out of the oven, the sweet, fresh-baked aroma floated out the window and covered Coastal County like bluebonnets and bees; like monarchs on milkweed; like sunflowers in summertime. Just as she put the pie on the table, the prairie dog, the buffalo, and the horned toad burst into the room. The little prairie hen was not surprised. She knew her pie could make ‘possoms drool and coyotes howl.

Little Prairie Hen: I wonder, who will help me eat my pie?

Prairie Dog: Oh Honey, I’ve got to squeeze into my bathing suit.

Buffalo: Not I.

Narrator: The horned toad shook his head.

Little Prairie Hen: I guess I’ll just eat the pie myself.

Buffalo: Why don’t you come with us? It’ll be more fun than a hayride in the moonlight.

Narrator: She looked at her pie. She looked at her friends.

Little Prairie Hen: Oh, I might as well go.

Narrator: The three friends winked at each other and smiled. (Buffalo, Horned Toad, and Prairie Dog look at each other, wink and smile.)

Act 2
Little Prairie Hen, Buffalo, Horned Toad, and Prairie Dog are at the fair.

Narrator: As soon as the little prairie hen saw the roller coaster, she was glad she’d come. She rode the Ferris wheel with the buffalo, shared cotton candy with the horned toad, and played carnival games with the prairie dog. She even won a goldfish named Fred.

Little Prairie Hen: This fair is some fun!

Narrator: She had forgotten all about her pecan pie. At the beauty contest, the little prairie hen cheered when the prairie dog twirled her baton like a Broadway star.

Little Prairie Hen: Howdee! That’s my friend, the Coastal County Queen.

Narrator: The little prairie hen held her breath when a bull named "Texas Tornado" snorted and stomped his feel at a cowboy he’d thrown. She cried out when the buffalo tiptoed up to Texas T. and pulled his tail.

Little Prairie Hen: Oh no!

Narrator: That bull, steam coming out of his nostrils like an old-time train, turned and charged. The buffalo jumped inside a barrel. (Kaboom!) Horns hit the barrel like lightning splitting an old oak tree. Texas T. pushed the buffalo around the arena like a tumbleweed blowing through town.

Buffalo: Ay yi yi!

Narrator: The cowboy climbed to safety.

Little Prairie Hen (hollering): Whoo hoo! That’s my friend, the bravest rodeo clown in the arena.

Narrator: At the watermelon-seed-spitting contest, the Armadillo was in the lead.

Little Prairie Hen: Go H.T.!

Narrator: The horned toad puffed his cheeks like he was filling a hot-air balloon, and he spat.

Horned Toad: Pttttttttttttttttt!

Narrator: His seed flew like a rocket ship shooting into space, forty-five feet and three inches, a new Coastal County record. The little prairie hen clapped and clapped.

Little Prairie Hen (clapping): That’s my friend, the seed-spitting champ.

Prairie Dog: Come on y’all. Follow me.

Little Prairie Hen, Buffalo, Prairie Dog, and Horned Toad go the Baking Tent.

Narrator: They arrived at the Baking Tent just in time to hear the judge to announce the winner.

Judge: And the winning entry for the Best Recipe Contest is Miss Little Prairie Hen for her pecan pie.

Narrator: The judge handed her the biggest blue ribbon she’d ever seen.

Little Prairie Hen (beaming): Why, I never. Y’all are some friends.

Narrator: When the pictures for the newspaper had all been taken, the prairie dog was hungry.

Prairie Dog: Now, I will help you eat your pie

Little Prairie Hen: Hmmmph. I gathered the pecans myself. I shelled the pecans myself. I made the pie myself. I worked my feathers to the spine, all by myself.

Buffalo: Pretty pleassse with ice cream and dewberries on top.

Narrator: She looked at her pie. She looked at her friends.

Little Prairie Hen: Well, who will help me clean up the mess?

Prairie Dog: Oh, I will.

Buffalo: I will.

Horned Toad (spitting): Me pttttoo.

Narrator: So the four friends shared the best blue ribbon pecan pie in all of Coastal County. As soon as they finished, the little prairie hen kicked off her boots, fluffed out her feathers, and relaxed on the porch swing all by herself.

Little Prairie Hen: Why bless their hearts. I have some sweet friends.

The End

Special thanks to Rhonda Walker!