Dr. Ralph F. Wilson                              Approximately 2100 words
Joyful Heart Ministries            Copyright © 1985, 2001 Ralph F. Wilson
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SQUANTO'S THANKSGIVING www.joyfulheart.com/holiday/squanto_play.htm A One Act Children's Play Play Time: About 15 minutes By Ralph F. Wilson Permission is granted to make enough copies to perform this play for church, school, and community settings only. The play may not be distributed, published, or sold without explicit permission from the author. See a related article for children at www.joyfulheart.com/holiday/squanto.htm CHARACTERS NARRATOR SQUANTO, An Indian CAPTAIN THOMAS HUNT, an evil English sea captain SLAVE TRADER FRIAR CAPTAIN THOMAS DERMER, a compassionate English sea captain SAMOSET, an Indian MILES STANDISH, military commander of Plymouth colony WILLIAM BRADFORD, Governor of the Plymouth Colony   PILGRIM HUMILITY, older Pilgrim girl MARY, young Pilgrim girl RESOLVED, older Pilgrim boy SAMUEL, young Pilgrim boy MASSASOIT, Indian chief INDIAN BRAVES SCENE I TIME: Fall, 1615. SETTING: Slave auction in Spanish town square. AT RISE: CAPTAIN HUNT and SLAVE TRADER, enter state right, pushing INDIAN BRAVES and SQUANTO, who are tied with ropes. FRIAR enters stage left. NARRATOR: Thanksgiving began long before the Pilgrims and Indiana sat down to dinner at Plymouth Colony. The year is 1615. We are witnessing a slave auction. Indians, cruelly seized from the coast of New England, are being sold in Spain as slaves. SLAVE TRADER (Mounts box, with Spanish accent, heartlessly): Senores, what am I bid for these fine savages, recently captured in the wild lands of America? Twenty reales (re-AL-es)? Ten reales? Who will make the first bid? (Pauses, then gestures to CAPTAIN HUNT.) This is the sea captain who brought them from the New World. CAPTAIN HUNT (Evilly): Indians have strong backs. They work hard in the fields. One of them, this Squanto (Points), can even speak English. These slaves are worth a great deal of money. FRIAR (With Spanish accent, angrily): Why do you bring such evil on these poor heathen savages? Don't you care for their immortal souls? Here (Digs for bag of money), I will purchase them. (Counts out coins and gives to SLAVE TRADER.) here are eight reales for each Indian. (Leads SQUANTO and INDIANS to stage left, CAPTAIN HUNT and SLAVE TRADER exit stage right.) Be seated, good braves. (SQUANTO and INDIANS sit cross- legged. While speaking, FRIAR unties them.) You are free now. We will take care of you. Together we will serve Jesus at the monastery. SQUANTO: That wicked captain took us from our homes and families. Why are you so kind? FRIAR: We try to be like our Master, Jesus. He is the Son of God. SQUANTO: I want to be like this Jesus who makes you so kind. FRIAR: We died for all our sins because He loved us. Now we can have everlasting life and go to heaven when we die. SQUANTO: I want to know about this Jesus and His heaven. Tell me all about Him . . . (ALL exit stage left.) * * * * * SCENE II TIME: June 1619. SETTING: Longboat on beach at Plymouth Bay. AT RISE: CAPTAIN DERMER and SQUANTO are seated in longboat (stage right). NARRATOR: Squanto became a Christian with the help of the kind Friars in Spain. After a while he made his way to England. Here Squanto was hired as the scout and guide for a New World expedition headed by Captain Thomas Dermer, a good and compassionate man. Four years had passed since he had been kidnapped. After reaching America, Squanto is eager to return to his village, his family, and his friends. The gracious captain anchors his ship offshore Squanto's village and rows in the longboat with the Indian, landing on the beach. CAPT. DERMER (DERMER and SQUANTO get out of longboat): Well, we're here. Where is your village? SQUANTO (Point towards audience): Over there. It looks deserted. Where are my people? (SAMOSET enters stage left.) CAPT. DERMER (Points at SQUANTO who approaches): Here comes an Indian along the beach. Maybe he can tell us. SAMOSET (Lifting hand in greeting): Ho, Squanto. Welcome back. Sit down, my brother. I have bad news for your ears. (SAMOSET gestures to be seated. SAMOSET and SQUANTO sit cross-legged. CAPT. DERMER remains standing.) SQUANTO: What word have you, 0 Samoset? Where are all my people? SAMOSET (Somberly): Two years ago a whiteman's disease came to many of our villages. Braves, squaws, little children die.. All in your tribe are dead. I am sorry, my brother. SQUANTO (Desperately): Did not even one escape? Where is my mother, my wife, my little daughter? (SAMOSET shakes his head) They are all dead? (SAMOSET nods. SQUANTO, almost hysterical, kneels.) Lord Jesus, what am I to do now? (Gestures toward heaven.) I have no tribe. I have no people. Why should I go on living? What purpose is there for my life now? Help me, dear God! (SQUANTO kneels with head bowed. SAMOSET puts his arm on his shoulder. They rise. ALL exit stage left.) * * * * * SCENE III TIME: March 22, 1621. SETTING: Main street of Plymouth colony. AT RISE: STANDISH, BRADFORD, and PILGRIM standing stage right. NARRATOR: It is a blustery March day, 1621. Two years have passed. The Pilgrims, who landed four months ago in the dead of winter have already lost nearly half their number to disease. Forty-four new graves have been dug in the cold New England ground. Despite their hardships the Pilgrims have begun to construct buildings and establish a colony. The new town of Plymouth is built on the very site of Squanto's deserted village of Patuxet (paw-TUX-et). STANDISH: Mr. Bradford, how can we ever survive? Perhaps -we should return to England when the Mayflower sails next month. BRADFORD: The Lord will help us, Mr. Standish. lie has not led us to the New World just to abandon our heritage. lie must trust in God. PILGRIM: (SAMOSET and SQUANTO enter stage left. STANDISH, BRADFORD and PILGRIM reach for their weapons--swords and muskets. PILGRIM shouts.) Indians! To arms! Protect the women and children! SAMOSET (SAMOSET and SQUANTO lift right hands as sign of peace): Have no fear. I, Samoset. I bring my friend, Squanto (Points). He lives in this place many moons. He speaks whiteman's tongue. (STANDISH, BRADFORD, and PILGRIM lower weapons.) SQUANTO: My name is Squanto. Welcome to Patuxet (paw-TUX-et), the village of my father and his father before him. STANDISH: I am Miles Standish, commander of the army of Plymouth Colony. This is Mr. Bradford. (Gestures to BRADFORD.) Do you come in peace? SQUANTO: Yes. In peace. BRADFORD: We also desire peace. How is it that you speak our mother tongue so well? SQUANTO: Twice I was taken prisoner and brought to England where I was taught English. BRADFORD: We are sorry for your misfortunes. We wish you no harm. Why have you come to us? SQUANTO: I have served as a scout and a guide on trips to the New World. While I was gone all my tribe perished from a great sickness. I alone am left. (Drops head, pauses, then continues with conviction.) God has let me live for some reason. Now I know what it is. I have come to help you. This town will be my village. You will be my tribe, my people. BRADFORD (Visibly moved, removes hat): Surely God's providence is great. (BRADFORD takes SQUANTO'S hand. All exit stage right.) * * * * * SCENE IV TIME: Late spring, 1621. SETTING: Corn field. AT RISE: SQUANTO, HUMILITY, MARY, RESOLVED, and SAMUEL enter from stage right. SQUANTO begins to dig in the ground with a hoe, showing Pilgrim children how to plant corn. NARRATOR: Squanto proved to be a tremendous aid to the struggling Plymouth colony. His knowledge of hunting and fishing was invaluable. His skill at planting maize, or Indian corn, enabled the Pilgrims to grow enough food to last them through the next terrible winter. HUMILITY: Mr. Squanto, why did we go fishing before we came to plant corn? What are these fish for? (Gestures toward fish.) SQUANTO (Leaning on the shovel): The corn is hungry. This ground has been used by my tribe for many years. The land is tired. Without fish, corn grows only very small. (Resumes shoveling.) My mother taught me how to plant corn when I was just your age. MARY: You dug a hole. (Points.) What do we do next? SQUANTO: Here, take these kernels of corn and out them in the hole. (SQUANTO hands kernels to MARY which she places in "hole".) Now, Mary, put these fish with the seeds. (SQUANTO hands fish to MARY who leans back to avoid touching it.) MARY: Oooo! Dead fish are so slimy! RESOLVED (Mimicking): "Oooo, slimy." Girls are such sissies! SQUANTO (Hands fish to RESOLVED): Here, great brave. You put the fish in the hole. RESOLVED (Leans back to avoid fish): Ah . . . Maybe Samuel should do it. HUMILITY (Haughtily): Boys are such "fraidy cats". (Reaches over, taking fish from SQUANTO'S hand.) I'll do it! (HUMILITY puts three fish next to the kernels.) SAMUEL (After HUMILITY finishes): Mr. Squanto, can I go with you to explore in the woods? (RESOLVED begins to fill hole using hoe.) SQUANTO: Maybe when you're older. Sometimes it's dangerous. Last week some of the men ran into a war party of Indian braves. They were ready to attack us if I hadn't called out in their language that we came in peace. (SQUANTO and CHILDREN dig and plant quietly for a few moments.) HUMILITY: Mr. Squanto, are you ever lonely? SQUANTO: Yes, many times. My wife and little daughter died of smallpox after I was kidnapped. I've told you the story, haven't I? HUMILITY: Yes, you told us. You must really miss them. I miss my Uncle Edward and Aunt Anne who died last winter in the "General Sickness". MARY: I miss my mommy. (MARY starts to cry. HUMILITY comforts her.) RESOLVED: My dad died, too. It's really hard. Sometimes I feel like quitting. SQUANTO: I felt that way, too. But God helped me. And now I know why I was spared. God kept me safe and caused me to learn English so I help you. Today, you are my family. Now I'm not so lonely. RESOLVED: My mom says that if it weren't for you, none of us would survive this next winter. SQUANTO (Meditatively): 'God really did have a plan for my life, didn't He? (SQUANTO and CHILDREN exit stage right.) * * * * * SCENE V TIME: Thanksgiving Day, November 1621. SETTING: Table laden with food. AT RISE: CHILDREN enter with SQUANTO. The others come in groups conversing silently. Gradually, the entire cast (in Pilgrim or Indian costume) gathers around the table. NARRATOR: The Indian corn Squanto and the Pilgrims planted that spring prospered and grew tall. After the harvest, the Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to join them for a celebration of thanksgiving to God. Chief Massasoit came to the feast with ninety hungry braves. Fortunately, the Indians shot five deer to help feed the large company. Governor Bradford greets the guests. BRADFORD (Speaking to ALL): When we've all gathered, we will pray and then begin. SAMUEL (Speaking to the other CHILDREN and SQUANTO): It sure is ,great to have all this food for a change. RESOLVED: Yes. Turkeys and venison and corn bread . . . . HUMILITY: and clams and eels . . . MARY: Oooo! I hate eels. They're so slimy. SAMUEL: You never like anything, Mary. HUMILITY (Continuing): . . . and goose and berries. MARY: I like berries the best. SAMUEL: You would. You always . . . SQUANTO: Now children! BRADFORD (Grandly): Before we partake of Cod's generous let us bow our heads in grateful prayer to oar Heavenly Father. (ALL bow.) Sovereign God, we thank Thee that in Thy great providence Thou hast preserved us through many dangers and kept T, safe unto this lay. We thank Thee for our Indian friends. And we thank Thee for Thy bounteous gifts of corn, fowl and animals. In Jesus' Name. Amen (AH-men) . ALL (In unison): Amen (AH-men) . MARY: And, dear God, thank you for Hr. Squanto. SAMUEL: thank you for our Friend, Mr. Squanto. ALL (In unison): Amen (AH-men). The End PRODUCTION NOTES 13 male, 2 female, and narrator PLAYING TIME: About 15 minutes. COSTUMES: Costumes need only be suggestive (a hat, a feather, a sword) or more elaborate, as desired. INDIANS have feathers, etc. CHIEF MASSASOIT may have full Indian headdress. CAPTAINS have till three-corner hats, swords, top coats with epaulets. FRIAR has brown, hooded robe. SLAVE TRADER has sword in sash around waist, hat with plume. PILGRIMS have hats or bonnets, white collars, buckles on shoes, etc. PROPERTIES: Scene 1--box, rope, money bag with coins. Scene 3--swords and musket. Scene 4--shovel, hoe, shocks of corn, basket with corn kernels and three fish. Scene 5--Table, baskets of food. SETTING: The play I., to be performed with a minimum of scenery, and without a curtain if necessary. Scenery need be only suggestive. Scene 1--A box to stand in. Scene 2--Prow of longboat painted on cardboard. Scene 3--Optional painted cutout of the "Big House" with thatched roof in background. Scene 4--Optional, a few shocks of corn, perhaps, to suggest corn field. Scene 5--Table with tablecloth, laden with baskets of food.

Historical Notes

The Patuxet Indian Squanto (or Tisquantum) was kidnapped in 1605 from the Maine coast, and again in 1615 from his home on Cape Cod Bay. He learned English under explorer and financier Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1605-1608) and seems to have been converted to Christianity under Spanish friars (1615). When he returned to his home in 1619 his village was completely deserted, victim to smallpox. The Pilgrims landed in November 1620. Squanto stayed with them for a year and a half, performing invaluable service to Plymouth Colony from March 1621 until his death of an Indian fever in November 1622. In his journal, William Bradford calls Squanto "a spetiall instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation." Squanto's last plea was for Governor Bradford "to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen's God in heaven." Reference: Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935-36), IX, 487.