Long ago in our villages

there were peace and great content

people followed the good teachings

practised it in their daily lives

there was no difference in any creature

all obeyed the highest law

although there were arguments and quarrels

yet they never ended in strife

with quiet reason, these were sorted out

attempts were made to keep it so

maybe that's why forest animals

spoke to each other like you and me

oh, how wonderful would it be if that was even today?

Act 01: The Forest

Once upon a time, there was a fox who wanted a wife. Into his jungle habitat there came one day a mother and a daughter to collect firewood.

The fox seeing the girl wished to make her his wife, so young and attractive was she. Unconscious of her strange admirer she moved away from her mother, singing to herself of the beauty of the flowers and the birds. When the mother saw her thus she berated the girl that she was lazy, good-for-nothing, not fit to be the wife of any man save a fox.

Act 02: At the farmer's house

Days passed and the girl’s parents who wanted to give her in marriage engaged a marriage broker as is the custom in our villages. They were surprised however when the fox came to them to confront them of the fact that the girl’s mother had already pronounced her daughter’s hand in marriage to him. The girl’s father was an honourable man and thought unwilling he realised his daughter was bound to marry the fox. The marriage broker present persuaded the girl’s father to give the dowry too, which it was suggested would be sent in due course. Overjoyed at the turn of events the fox returned to his jungle habitat with his new wife.

Act 03: At the fox's den

The following day a large retinue from the village came bearing a large box, which they said contained the fox’s dowry. Curious to see what his dowry was, the fox opened the trunk to find that there confined was a large mastiff.

He hastily rejected his dowry but the girl’s father and the marriage broker insisted that if he got the girl as wife the fox was obliged to take the dowry too. They had kept their contract and the fox should keep to his, Realising the futility of the arrangement the fox was forced to return the girl to her parents and shut away deeper into the jungle in shame.

Deloraine Brohier
(written for Nalu Kirthi Sabha Theatre Group’s Playbill in October 1977)
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