Clever Lucy

by Deedra Bebout

Characters: (8)  Narrator 1        Narrator 2         Narrator 3       Narrator 4     
                 John              Lucy               Cat              Rooster
Narrator 1: There was a time in this country when most people made their livings by farming.  
            Some farmers did well; some barely scratched out a living.

JOHN:       I was one of the farmers who had a hard time feeding his family.  My name is John 
            Carver.It has been many years since we lived, but my friends and I would like to 
            tell you a story.

Narrator 2: John's farm was quite small, and though he toiled in the fields everyday, his crops
            were always brown and scrawny.

Narrator 3: It just so happened that John was married to Lucy, and Lucy was a mighty clever lady.

LUCY:       My husband was not a very good farmer, but he loved his work.  So I decided that as 
            long as he was happy, I would make sure we had enough to eat.

Narrator 4: One winter day, when the wind blew very cold and the snow drifted very high, Lucy 
            sent John to the chicken coop to fetch dinner.

JOHN:       This is the last chicken we have, Lucy.  I don't know what we will eat tomorrow, so
            roast it with care.

Narrator 1: When the chicken was cooked, Lucy set it on the table.  John said:

JOHN:       What a grand chicken you have prepared!  It looks so brown and crispy, and it smells
            delicious.  It is a shame we have not even a crust of bread to go with it.  Oh well,
            we cannot dwell on what we do not have.  Let us call in the children and eat.

LUCY:       Do not call the children.  I am going to take this chicken to the baron who lives in
            the fine house on the hill.

JOHN:       I do not understand you at all, Lucy Carver.  Why do you want to give away our last
            morsel of food?

LUCY:       Never you mind.  I have an idea.

Narrator 2: Lucy thought that if she gave the chicken to the baron, he might give her something 
            even better in return.

Narrator 3: So she set off for the baron's house.

Narrator 4: When she got there, she was shown into the parlour where the baron sat with his 
            wife, two sons and two daughters.  Lucy gave the chicken to him.

LUCY:       I hope you will accept this gift, sir.  It is all I have to give you, but you are 
            welcome to it.

BARON:      There is nothing we like better than juicy, roasted chicken.  It smells delicious. 
            I would like you to divide it among us so that each gets a fair share.

Narrator 1: Lucy picked up the knife and looked around the room.  All eyes were upon her.

LUCY:       Let me see.  There are six of you altogether.

BARON:      Don't forget yourself.  You shall share it with us.

JOHN:       Dividing one chicken seven ways so that each person was satisfied was the task set 
            out for Lucy.

Narrator 2: The baron made himself comfortable in his favorite chair as Lucy looked at the bird.
            The first thing she did was cut off the tail and give it to the baron's wife.

LUCY:       Here, ma'am, you shall have the tail because it is your job to sit in the house and 
            see that it is properly run.

Narrator 3: Then she pulled off the two legs of the chicken and handed one to each of the 
            baron's sons.

LUCY:       Because you fine, strong boys walk your father's fields every day, it is fitting for
            you to have the legs.

Narrator 4: Lucy then gave a wing to each of the baron's daughters.

LUCY:       You lovely girls get the wings because each of you will someday marry and fly from 
            your father's care.

Narrator 1: Finally, Lucy cut off the head of the chicken.

LUCY:       There can be no question that this is the right part for you, sir, because you are 
            the head of the house.  And since I am just a poor farmer's wife, I will be happy 
            with the leftovers.

JOHN:       Of course, that meant Lucy got most of the chicken!

Narrator 2: Wasn't she clever?

Narrator 3: The baron laughed and slapped his thigh.

BARON:      Bless my soul.  You are a sly one, Lucy Carver!  I have enjoyed myself so much I 
            want you to take this jug of nectar and this loaf of bread along with the chicken.  
            I hope our paths will cross again some day.

Narrator 4: Lucy took the food back home. That night she and her family ate until they were full.

JOHN:       The next day I was in town and told some other farmers what Lucy had done.

Narrator 1: One of those farmers was Amos Green.  Amos was a greedy man and was always looking 
            for a way to get the best of a deal.

Narrator 2: Amos saw no reason why he couldn't do what Lucy had done, so he went home and roasted 
            five, fat geese. Then he took them to the baron.

Narrator 3: Here, sir.  I would like you to have these five fine geese.

BARON:      I thank you, farmer.  If you don't mind, I would like you to divide the geese between 
            my family and yourself so each of us gets a fair share.

Narrator 4: Amos took the knife, but just as he started to make a cut, he stopped and scratched
            his head.

Narrator 1: No, that won't work.  Let's see.  Maybe it would be better if I cut here.  No, that
            won't work, either.

Narrator 2: Amos thought and thought.  He stood on one foot and then the other.  But he could 
            not think of a way to divide the five geese fairly between the seven people.

Narrator 3: Finally the baron grew tired of waiting.

BARON:      Send for Lucy.  She will know what to do.

Narrator 4: When Lucy arrived, the baron said:

BARON:      Here is the problem.  We have five geese to be divided fairly between me, my wife, 
            my two sons, my two daughters, and you.  Can you do it?

LUCY:       Why certainly, sir. Here is a goose for you and your wife. Now you, your wife, 
            and the goose are three.  And here is a goose for your daughters and one for your 
            sons. Now they are threes.  If I take the two remaining geese, then I am three, 
            also. You see, it's really very simple.

Narrator 1: The baron roared with laughter.  When he stopped, he turned to Amos and said:

BARON:      Do not come back to my house until you are as clever as Lucy.  And since I do not 
            think that will ever be, I bid you a final farewell.

AMOS:       I left the baron's house with nothing but my hat.  There was no gift of bread and 
            nectar for me.

Narrator 2: The baron was so pleased with Lucy he rewarded her with three gold coins and 
            promised to teach John how to be a better farmer so the family would never go 
            hungry again.

JOHN:       The baron kept his promise, and slowly but surely, I became a good farmer.  My crops 
            grew high, and my family grew strong.  All because of Lucy.