The Ugly Turkey
By: Alecia Dixon
Adapted from "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christian Andersen.
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This play can be shortened or lengthened to suit the needs and skill levels of the children participating. Props can be simple puppets made from lunch bags or more complex marionettes. Use a large cardboard box for the backdrop. Paint, or draw with crayons, rolling hills, trees, a farm house and fence.
Narrator: There were once five turkeys, all born on the same day, but one turkey was not quite like the others.
Turkey #1: "Isn't it a beautiful morning? It is GREAT to be a Turkey today!"
Turkey #2: (Strutting around) "I am so proud to be a Turkey, don't you think we are beautiful?"
Turkey #3: "I think we are the most handsome creatures on earth!"
Turkey #4: "The four of us are definitely gorgeous to behold, but what happened to you (speaking to the Ugly Turkey)? You do not look like the rest of us, you are not as beautiful as we are."
The Ugly Turkey: "It is true I do not look like you, but won't you be my friend anyway? Are looks all that is important? I am a good friend, a good listener, and I would help any of you if you were in need."
Turkey #1: "Honestly, I don't think I want to be friends with someone who is so different from myself."
Turkey #2: "Yeah, you aren't cool like the rest of us."
Turkey #3: "We don't want to play with you."
Turkey #4: "Go away."
The Ugly Turkey: "I am sad that you will not be my friend. I will go away, surely there is someone who will like me for who I am and not what I look like."
Narrator: So The Ugly Turkey turned and walked away. He wandered over the hill and through the trees and the four Turkeys thought nothing of it. As time passed the four Turkeys grew bigger and fatter! They grew and grew until they were so round they could hardly walk. They were not quite so cute as they were when they were little. When the farmers grandchildren came to visit they would stop to look at the horses, the cows, the puppies and kittens. They would giggle as the ducks waddled by and squeal with delight as the sheep scampered over the hills, but when they saw the Turkeys they just kept walking, some even looked a bit scared. Then one day a strange animal showed up on the farm.
Turkey #1: "Who's that strange bird over there on the hill, does anyone know?"
Turkey #2: "He's beautiful isn't he? Look at his tail feathers, they're rich in color and intricately patterned."
Turkey #3: "Did you see the plume atop his head, like a crown of glory? He stands tall and perfectly trim."
Turkey #4: "Do you think he will want to be our friend, we are not near so grand as he is?"
Turkey #2: "Let's go introduce ourselves and see if he will join us."
Narrator: As the four Turkeys approached the beautiful bird on the hill they noticed that the bird looked familiar.
Turkey #1: "Hello. We were wondering if you would like to join us? You are so beautiful we would be honored to have you for a friend."
The Ugly Turkey: "Do I not look familiar to you? Once I tried to be your friend but you all rejected me saying I was ugly and different."
Turkey #3: "I remember. That was so long ago. You are definitely not ugly now! You are the most magnificent bird on this farm."
Turkey #4: (With head hung low) "If you do not want to be our friend we understand, we are not nearly so grand as we thought we once were."
(The four Turkeys turn to walk away)
Turkey #5: "We do not want to embarrass you, we will go away."
The Ugly Turkey: "Please don't go. Have you not learned anything while I was away? It is not what you look like on the outside that matters but what you are on the inside that is important. I would be happy to be your friend."
Narrator: So the four Turkeys and the Peacock took a stroll over the hill and through the trees. They were often all seen together strolling about. When the farmers grandchildren would visit they would often stop by the five birds, talking excitedly. The four Turkeys knew that that the children were looking at the beautiful Peacock, but it didn't matter. It didn't matter because they were all friends and they were all equal.
(All participants say, "THE END" in unison and take a bow)
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