(This sketch may be performed without obtaining further permission from us provided there is a verbal or written note that it is copyright Joe Story, The Unboring Book Company.)
One large table; four chairs; one post box; some large books; pen and writing paper; imaginary door; imaginary tree.
Jim, Fred, Sue, Mary (all brothers and sisters) and a Messenger. It is quite OK to swap male and female parts around to suit available cast.
Note: All stage instructions are in brackets.
(Centre stage, four brothers and sisters sitting round a table. MESSENGER enters stage right and hands a letter to JIM who opens it.)
JIM: It’s from Dad.
FRED: What does it say?
JIM: Not a lot. All it says is “Will you please dig over my field? See you in a fortnight. Love from Dad.”
SUE: Of course we’ll do that. Better send him a note telling him that’s OK.
MARY: Speak for yourself. I don’t want to do it!……..(Rises to leave through door stage left)
See you!……..(Goes through door, sits down under tree and starts reading a book)
JIM: Well we’ll do it……..(Starts writing a letter) “Dear Dad, Sue, Fred and I will dig your field but Mary says she won’t.”………(Rises from table and starts going to post box stage right)…..I’ll just put this in the post…..(Puts letter in the box and sits down again)……That’s that. Let’s see what Dad says again.
FRED: We want to get it right……(Reading letter)……“Will you please dig over my field. See you in a fortnight. Love from Dad.”…….(Rubbing chin thoughtfully)……I suppose it is from Dad. Do you think we ought to check? After all we don’t want to be silly do we?
JIM: I’ll drop a quick line to make sure…..(Starts writing)…..“Dear Dad, about your letter asking us to dig your field. Did you write it? Love from Jim.”…..(Jim rises, goes to the post box, posts letter and returns).
FRED: While we are waiting, perhaps we ought to check up exactly what Dad wants us to do.
SUE: Yes, I was wondering whether I understand the word ‘dig’. We must make sure that we get it right.
JIM: You look that up. I’ll check ‘field’ and perhaps Fred had better look up the meaning of ‘my’
……(They all get out large books, pens and paper and begin studying.)
(While Fred, Sue and Jim are doing this, Mary puts down her book, stands up thoughtfully and as if coming to a decision says…)
MARY: Bah! I can’t concentrate on my book. I know I ought to be digging dad’s field even though I don’t want to……(pauses)…..Ah well let’s get on with it…….(takes up spade and leaves stage left).
(Fred, Sue and Jim look up from their books.)
SUE: Hey this is really interesting. It say that to dig can mean –To excavate –To turn over with a spade –To poke or thrust –To scoop out –To burrow and to mine –To…….(Jim interrupts)
JIM: Yes, and it says here that ‘field’ is sometimes used for ‘an area where a battle takes place’ or ‘open pasture used for sports activity’
FRED: All it says for ‘my’ is ‘of or belonging to’. What does that mean?
JIM: As I was saying, do you think that Dad means something about thrusting with swords on the field of battle?
SUE: Well it certainly says dig ‘over’ my field. ‘Over’ means above so it can’t mean putting anything into the soil can it?
FRED: I think you are right. One thing I’m certain of, he can’t mean us to get our hands dirty or to do any hard work. I mean, that’s so, so demanding. Surely, Dad wants us to be happy and, well, careful. I mean, if we used a fork or spade on the earth we could injure ourselves and get tetanus. I mean, well, we must be responsible mustn’t we.
SUE: Absolutely! No one today would ever do anything like that. People would think we were being foolish. Fancy risking our lives digging in… (With disgust)…dirt!
JIM: I’ll just drop a quick note to Dad to ask him to explain more clearly……(Jim quickly writes, takes letter to post box and returns)….. I’ve just been thinking. Do you think that there is any significance in the fact that Dad says ‘see you in a fortnight’? I reckon it could mean that we are to wait until he comes home.
FRED: It would certainly make more sense
SUE: He could tell us what he wants us to do then.
JIM: Maybe he means that he will do it and that we are just to prepare ourselves to help him
FRED: Or maybe just watch him…….(Jim jumps to his feet and shouts.)
JIM: That’s it. Don’t you see? In his letter he says ‘will you please dig my field’…’will you’. He doesn’t want us to actually do it……(Fred interrupts)
FRED: Of course not.
JIM: No. he just wants us to be willing to do it……(All three lean back on chairs with a look of satisfaction. They pause for a few seconds. Then Jim leans forward)
JIM: Of course, we must be honest and examine our motives
FRED: No one today could possibly want to do what Dad is asking.
SUE: But we are willing to be made willing
JIM & FRED: Oh yes! We are willing to be made willing
JIM: I’ll just write another letter to Dad……(He writes as he speaks)…..“Dear Dad, as we wrote earlier, Fred Sue and I will obey your letter though Mary has said she won’t….(He smirks at the others)…… but we realise that the most important thing is for our motives to be right. Please therefore make us willing to be willing to help you do whatever it is you are going to do when you come home. Your obedient son, Jim.”……..(He gets up, post the letter and returns to the table)
SUE: I’m really glad we got that sorted out.
JIM: Yes, I’ve been really blessed studying Dad’s letter
FRED: I know that’s been good, but I think that we have missed the most important bit. Look! It says “Love from Dad”. That’s the important thing. Dad loves us.
SUE & JIM: You’re right. That’s absolutely super!…….(All three lean back on their chairs looking happy and satisfied)
JIM: I think that this is one of the best letters Dad has ever written us………(enter Mary from stage left with the spade over her shoulder)
MARY: Hi there. You look happy and contented. What gives?
JIM: We’ve been really blessed by studying Dad’s letter. What have you been doing?
MARY …….(sitting down to relax)….. I’ve just been digging dad’s field.