Iktomi and the Kettles
Remember when you use the script, the instructions in the parenthesis () are just to tell the puppets what to do, you do not say those words out loud. Both Iktomi and Coyote are often regarded as tricksters in many Native American cultures. Iktomi is often referred to as a spider and a shape changer. The following puppet play is taken from a well known Lakota Legend.
Old Man's Hand
A bag of ducks
A copper kettle
A brass kettle
A beat up old kettle
Feel free to use sound effects. Every thime the Old Man's Hand gives a kettle to Coyote, there could be a different sound. Try a tambourine for the first, a rain stick for the second and maybe a clunking sound for the third. Or use your imagination and create your own sounds.
It is important to rehearse your play several times. Make sure that each character is interesting and exciting to watch. Spend time developing the voice of each character. And most of all, Have Fun!
Iktomi (There is a rock on stage-Iktomi enters carrying a bag of ducks, humming a happy tune and puts the ducks down) Ah for once I, the Great Iktomi, have lots of delicious ducks to eat! Not just one or two ducks, I have fifteen fat juicy delicious ducks. (Looks around carefully) And no one to share them with. Look here, this looks like the perfect place to eat them. (Looks to the left) There is no one to the east of me. (Looks to the right) There is no one to the west of me. (Looks all around) There is no one for miles and miles. Ah! That is the way Iktomi likes it, no one around, means no one to share with. I will get a fire started so I can enjoy my delicious dinner. (Looks around and puts his sack of ducks by the rock) Now no one will see my lovely supper while I gather wood to start my fire. (Exits looking for wood, humming).
Coyote Where is that scoundrel Iktomi? I know he is here somewhere. I have been following him without him knowing it for miles and miles. (Looks around but sees nothing-leans against the rock but still does not see the ducks on the other side of the rock) He was carrying a sack and I know it had food in it. I am so hungry I could eat you, Brother Rock.
Rock (The rock jumps a little).
Coyote No need to worry, Brother Rock, I was just kidding. But maybe you could help me, do you know where Iktomi's camp is?
Rock (Hops to the side and points to the sack of ducks).
Coyote (Follows the finger with his eyes and sees the ducks) So Iktomi does have food? What luck! A Lakota gentleman would share his feast with me and I am so hungry I can hardly move. But wait a minute. Iktomi is not a gentleman. He won't share. He is a scoundrel. He is tighter than the bark on a tree. How am I going to get part of Iktomi's feast? (Rests his head on the rock while he thinks-sits up suddenly) I have it! I will pretend to be injured. That will make Iktomi sorry for me. Then he will share his food. (Looks alert) I hear Iktomi returning to camp. I will hide and then come limping into camp. It will be fun to trick Iktomi for a change. (Looks both ways and disappears).
Iktomi (Re-enters) Everything is ready. I have started a fire down by the creek. That way, no one will see the smoke. Now there is nothing to do but wait for the fire to get good and hot.
Coyote (Sneaks in behind Iktomi-groans loudly) Oh me, oh my. My leg.
Iktomi (Jumps) What? Who? (Falls down on the sack-whispers loudly) Don't you worry my little ducks, I will protect you from all danger. (Looks cautiously around) Brother Coyote! Don't sneak up on me like that!
Coyote Oh forgive me Iktomi, it is just that I have hurt my ankle and the pain is driving me crazy. (Groans again).
Iktomi (Looks him over carefully) I see you are hurt. That is too bad.
Coyote Yes, yes I am hurt. I was hunting on that high cut river bank back a way, you know the one? (Iktomi nods) Well, I jumped from the cut bank after a rabbit and I must have landed wrong. My ankle is badly hurt. (Groans).
Iktomi (To the audience) Drat! Now that Brother Coyote is hurt I must help him and share my food. I don't want to share!
Coyote (Sneaks over to the sack and is looking at it hard) Iktomi, I see you have food and I am very hungry.
Iktomi Get away from my ducks! (Realizes he is being rude) I mean, uh, Brother Coyote I do have ducks and I will gladly share them with you but sadly, I do not have a kettle to cook the ducks in. If you would like to share you will have to go get a kettle. You must go back to the cut bank, you know, the one you fell from? When you get there, say 'I want to borrow a kettle." A man inside the bank will hand you one. Whatever you do, don't look at him! Just take the kettle and bring it right back here.
Coyote (Outraged) You want ME to get the kettle? I am injured and hungry!
Iktomi In that case, you better hurry. (Sits down to rest by the rock).
Coyote (Limping off) What a way to treat a Guest. And an injured one at that. (When he gets to the other end of the stage he speaks) Please, sir, could I borrow a kettle? (A copper kettle is put on the stage by a hand wearing a leather glove--Coyote is startled) Thank you! (Limps back to Iktomi) Hurt and hungry as I am, I still brought you a kettle. Now fix the ducks!
Iktomi (Looks at the kettle-pretends to be sorry) Oh Brother Coyote, I am sorry but this is the wrong kettle! This one is the Chief's daughter's kettle. You must take it back and get another one.
Coyote I am hurt! I am suffering! What do you mean-take it back?
Iktomi Take it back and ask for another.
Coyote (Mutters as he takes it back) I am wounded and should be treated with respect, but no......(Gets back to the cut bank) Please, I am sorry but this is the wrong kettle, could I have another? (The gloved hand comes up, takes the copper kettle and gives him a brass one, making an 'OK' sign with its hand) Thank you. ((He starts to limp back to camp) I have done so much walking, my leg is really beginning to hurt. (Arrives back at camp) Here, Iktomi, now let's eat!
Iktomi (Pretends to be very very sorry) Brother Coyote, I am so very sorry but this is still the wrong kettle. Take it back and ask for the Chief's mother-in -law's kettle.
Coyote What! You should have told me! I am wounded! I can hardly walk and you are making me run all over the place.
Iktomi Ah, but just think of those delicious, tasty roasted ducks! If you want to eat, get the kettle.
Coyote (Really muttering while he limps to the bank) Wrong kettles, making injured guest works, that Iktomi is really a scoundrel! (He is back at the bank) Please sir, I really hate to bother you again, but may I have the Chief's Mother-In -Law's kettle? (The hand takes the brass kettle and gives him one that is old and worn). Thank you I promise this will be the last kettle I will have to borrow from you. (Returns to Iktomi).
Iktomi (Still sitting by the rock, sees Coyote returning with the kettle) Drat! He is not going to give up. I must think of another trick to get him to go away. (He starts to get up but just as he does, the rock grabs him). Hey Brother Rock, what are you doing? Let me go.
Coyote Here is the kettle, now we will eat, isn't that right Iktomi?
Iktomi (trying to pretend like nothing has happened while he struggles to get free) Yes, yes but first let's sit and talk. (Whispers to Brother Rock) Please, Brother Rock, let me go and I will share my feast with you. (Turns back to Coyote) Now, tell me again, how did you hurt your ankle?
Coyote (Puts the kettle down and moves closer to Iktomi-all the while trying to figure out why Iktomi is acting so strange) Why Iktomi, you seem to be very busy talking to Brother Rock right now. I would not want to interrupt. No, I would rather take this sack of ducks and go have a feast with my coyote relative. Thank you Iktomi for sharing your feast. (Bows and runs off with the ducks).
Iktomi Brother Coyote, you can't take my ducks. Hey, you are not even hurt! Brother Rock! Let me go I want my ducks! (Struggles until the rock and Iktomi fall off the stage. (Says the last line off stage) I will get you Brother Coyote, I will get you!