Slavery in the United States became illegal in the 1860s. Before that, many slaves found their way north by following the Big Dipper, or the Drinking Gourd as they called it. Our story begins in 1880 with Old Ellie and Old Sam, two escaped slaves who share their brave story along the path to freedom called the Underground Railroad.
La Llorona (The Crying Woman) is a sad and haunting tale from Mexico. Parents have told the story for hundreds of years to misbehaving children and to guard against vanity. Some say the story is about Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and a native Mexican woman who served as his translator. Her loss can be compared to the loss of native Mexican culture after the Spanish conquest.
In the early 1800s, white settlers and missionaries were intent on bringing the English language to the illiterate Native Americans. Sequoyah was intrigued by these leaves of paper with strange marks that talked. Doing what no one had ever done before, Sequoyah set about creating a written Cherokee languagehelping preserve the tribe's history and culture even today.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass's first autobiography became a bestseller. Many readers could not believe that such a brilliant writer was ever a slave. When Douglass wrote the book, slavery had not yet ended so he kept secret how he escaped from Maryland. By 1881, the Civil War had ended slavery and Douglass felt the time was right to reveal how he escaped. This play is adapted from Douglass's own words from The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
When the king dies, the queen and her three daughters must work to survive. A giant steals from their garden, and then steals the daughters. The princesses outwit the giant to return home. Themes: ingenuity, perseverance.
The Lord of Luchow was a kind man, but his people are threatened with war. A loyal servant finds a way to protect his master and bring peace to the lands. Themes: bravery, intelligence, devotion.
Day after day, a poor young girl discovers a lion who needs her help. In time, her care for the lion-in-need and her dreams of a better life intersect.
When the north wind blows away the flour carried by a baker's young son, he sets out on a journey to insist it be returned. This Norwegian tale shows the value of perseverance nd gifts of nature.
When a princess learns a terrible secret about the man she loves, she marries him in spite of the news. Her devotion pays off when she is granted a wish.
When a village is terrorized by a lion, the hunter Kambili wishes to track down the beast. But his wife Kumba warns that the lion is an evil wizard. This is an adaptation of a Malinke story.
The king, who loves adventures, is imprisoned during one of his journeys. But when the queen dets out to find her husband, she must travel in disguise. This is a story of ingenuity from medieval Russia.
Tokoyo, a skilled diver, is devoted to her father who has been banished by the emperor. She goes in search of him and in the process kills a sea dragon, breaking an evil spell. Tokoyo and her father are reunited and return to their village. Themes: bravery, devotion.