The Clever Boy

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This play is based on a folktale from Vietnam. It tells how a boy outwits a greedy man. The Clever Boy cHARAcTERS: Narrator Mr. Kien, a money lender Minh, a boy Judge ScENE I: Outside of the hut of Minh’s parents NARRATOR: Mr. Kien was known throughout the village as a very greedy man. He would lend money and 5 Mr. Kien starts swatting at a fly buzzing demand that borrowers pay back around his head. The fly finally lands their loans plus a large amount of on a fence post and stays there for the interest. This morning, he is calling entire conversation between Mr. Kien 25 on a poor farming family. The farmer and Minh. borrowed money from Mr. Kien to 10 MINH: I’m sorry, sir, but my father buy a cow to replace one that had is not home. He is chopping down died. The farmer and his wife are live trees and putting dead ones in not at home, but their son Minh is the ground. playing outside the hut as Mr. Kien 30 approaches. 15 MR. KIEN (Annoyed): You speak nonsense, boy. Where is your mother? MR. KIEN (Firmly): Boy, I have She will do just as well. business with your parents. Where are they? They have not paid back the MINH: I’m sorry, sir, but my mother money they owe me. I have come to is not home. She is selling the wind to 35 collect. If they cannot pay, I will take 20 get enough money to buy the moon. your farm. ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only. MR. KIEN (Very annoyed): You make agreeing to pay back the money plus 70 no sense at all, boy! (Stops talking the interest by a date that had already for a moment as a thought comes to passed. Then he listened as Minh’s him. Then he smiles and continues 40 parents pleaded for more time to pay pleasantly.) I’ll tell you what. If you back the loan. Finally, Minh took the can explain where your parents are, stand and told how Mr. Kien agreed to 75 I’ll forget about the money they owe forget about the debt in exchange for me. But, if you can’t, I will double an explanation of Minh’s riddles. the amount. 45 MR. KIEN: Judge, that conversation MINH: That sounds fair. My father never happened. The boy is making it is clearing trees in the forest and up to help his parents. Are you going 80 building a fence. So, he is chopping to believe a small boy or a respected down live trees and putting dead ones businessman like me? 50 in the ground. JUDGE (To Minh kindly): I wish I MR. KIEN (Visibly upset): What about could believe you, but there are no your mother? witnesses to confirm your story. 85 MINH: She went to the marketplace to MINH: That’s not true, Judge. There sell her fans. With the money she gets, was a witness. There was a fly who she will buy oil to light our lamps at 55 heard everything that was said. He night. So, she is selling the wind to was sitting right on Mr. Kien’s head. buy the moon. MR. KIEN (Angrily): Now I’ve got you! 90 MR. KIEN (Exploding in anger): You You are lying, boy! That fly was on the are too clever for your own good, boy! fence post and not on my head! 60 This is not over yet! JUDGE (to Mr. Kien): So, you admit Mr. Kien storms off and Minh continues that you did have the conversation to play. with the boy. It makes no difference 95 where the fly was, you cannot go back on your agreement. ScENE II: Inside a courtroom NARRATOR: Mr. Kien regretted his NARRATOR: Minh and his parents bargain with Minh and took the farmer 65 were very happy and went home to court. The judge listened as Mr. to celebrate. As for Mr. Kien, he 100 Kien explained about the money he learned a valuable lesson—not to was owed. Mr. Kien showed the judge underestimate the cleverness of young the contract that the farmer had signed people. ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only.

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