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The Donkey’s Tale

This is a story about a young girl that owns the donkey used by Mary to travel to Bethlehem, and what she learns traveling with Mary and Joseph.

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The Donkey’s Tale

This is a story about a young girl that owns the donkey used by Mary to travel to Bethlehem, and what she learns traveling with Mary and Joseph.

Author:    Delvyn Case


This is a story about a young girl that owns the donkey used by Mary to travel to Bethlehem, and what she learns traveling with Mary and Joseph.

The Donkey’s Tale


 A Story of Christmas


Delvyn C. Case, Jr.

The Donkey’s Tale
Copyright ©2010 by Delvyn C. Case, Jr.
All Rights Reserved
CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that THE DONKEY’S TALE is subject to a royalty.  It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union.  All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign language are strictly reserved.
    The amateur live stage performance rights to THE DONKEY’S TALE are controlled exclusively by Drama Source and royalty arrangements and licenses must be secured well in advance of presentation.  PLEASE NOTE that amateur royalty fees are set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances.  When applying for a royalty quotation and license please give us the number of performances intended, dates of production, your seating capacity and the admission fee.  Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Drama Source Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.      
    Royalty of the required amount must be paid whether the play is presented for charity or gain, and whether or not admission is charged.  For all other rights than those stipulated above, apply to Drama Source Company, 1588 E. 361 N. St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.
    Copying from this book in whole or in part is strictly forbidden by law, and the right of performance is not transferable.
    Whenever the play is produced, the following notice must appear on all programs, printing and advertising for the play, “Produced by special arrangement with Drama Source Co.”
    Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.

No one shall commit or authorize any act or omission by which the copyright or the rights to copyright of this play may be impaired.

No one shall make changes in this play for the purpose of production without written permission.

Publication of this play does not imply availability for performance.    Both amateurs and professionals considering a production are strongly advised in their own interests to apply to Drama Source Company for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Jessica, teen

Roman Soldier, 20’s–30’s

Joseph, late teen–20’s

Mary, teen

Innkeeper’s Wife, 30’s—40’s

Balthazar, 40’s–60’s

Gaspar, 40’s–60’s

Melchior, 40’s–60’s

Shepherd #1, 20’s

Shepherd #2, 20’s

Baby Jesus


Days of Jesus’ birth


ACT I, Scene 1:   Nazareth
ACT I, Scene 2:   Nazareth
ACT I, Scene 3:   On the road in Galilee
ACT I, Scene 4:   On the road in the Judean hill country
ACT I, Scene 5:   On the road near Jerusalem
ACT II, Scene 1:  Outside Inn, Bethlehem
ACT II, Scene 2:  Outside Inn, Bethlehem
ACT II, Scene 3:  Outside Inn, Bethlehem
ACT II, Scene 4:  In Stable, Bethlehem
ACT II, Scene 5:  Outside Inn, Bethlehem
ACT II Scene 6:  Outside Inn, Bethlehem


ACT I, Scene1:  Facade of humble house with door way, left of center stage
ACT I, Scene 2:  Facade of humble house with door way, left of center stage
ACT I, Scene 3:  Bare stage
ACT I, Scene 4:  Bare stage
ACT I, Scene 5:  Bare stage
ACT II, Scene 1:  Facade of Inn with door and bench
ACT II,  Scene 2:  Facade of Inn with door and bench
ACT II, Scene 3:  Facade of Inn with door and bench
ACT II, Scene 4:  Interior of Stable with bales of hay, manger
ACT II, Scene 5:  Facade of Inn with door and bench
ACT II, Scene 6:  Facade of Inn with door and bench


Roman Soldier:  Roman soldier outfit with shield and small sword
Mary, Joseph, Jessica, and Wife:  Simple Bible-era robes, sashes, head-pieces, and sandals
Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior:  Ornate robes and crowns
Shepherds (#1 and #2):  Simple robes and sandals


ACT I, Scene 1:  rope for donkey, pregnancy enhancer for Mary,  scroll for Roman Soldier
ACT I, Scene2:  Travel bags for Mary, Joseph, and Jessica
ACT I, Scene 3: Twigs for campfire, travel bags for Mary, Joseph, and Jessica, travel bag for                 Wife
ACT I, Scene 4:  Camp fire and twigs
ACT II, Scene 1: Broom for Wife
ACT II, Scene 2:  Crooks and purses for Shepherds
ACT II, Scene 3:  Ornate boxes for Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior
ACT II, Scene 4:  Ornate boxes for Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior, swaddling cloths for Baby Jesus
ACT II, Scene 5:  Broom for Wife THE DONKEY’S TALE

ACT I, Scene 1

{As the lights come up, Jessica is standing downstage right near the top of the stage right stairs.  She is carrying rope for donkey.  Roman Soldier enters stage from stage right stairs.  He crosses to Jessica and speaks to her.  She answers him.  Roman Soldier opens up scroll he is carrying and looks at it.  He motions to Jessica that she must go stage right.  Roman Soldier crosses to house.  As he crosses Jessica looks off stage right stairs.  Roman Soldier stops in front of house and looks at scroll, knocks on door, and stands back awaiting response}

Roman Soldier:  {harshly}  Joseph, son of Jacob!

{There is no response.  Roman Soldier knocks again}

Roman Soldier {cont’d}: {harshly}  Joseph, son of Jacob!

{Joseph enters from door way and crosses to Roman Soldier}

Joseph:  {timidly}  Shalom, officer.

Roman Soldier:  {peering around Joseph}  Anyone in there with you?

Joseph:  Yes, officer.  My wife.

{Roman Soldier peers around Joseph and looks toward door}

Jessica:  {off stage right stairs}  I’ll have to go, too.  {pointing to toward Roman Soldier}   You heard him.

Roman Soldier:  {motioning toward him}  Get her out here.  

Joseph:  She doesn’t feel good.

{Roman Soldier laughs}

Roman Soldier:  Doesn’t feel…?  {stronger} Get her out here!

Joseph:  Yes, officer.

{Joseph enters into house.  Roman Soldier stands and taps scroll}

Jessica:  {towards off stage right stairs} To Bethlehem.  For the census. The Roman soldier told me.  

{Mary enters from door way.  Joseph enters behind her.  Mary crosses to Roman Soldier.  Joseph crosses and puts right arm around Mary.  Roman Soldier looks at her and is skeptical}

Joseph:  This is Mary, my wife.

{Roman Soldier waves him off}

Roman Soldier:  {with skepticism}  Not feeling good?

{Mary turns to reveal her advanced state of pregnancy}

Mary:  {holding abdomen} {in distress}  I’m having a contraction.

{Roman Soldier laughs}

Joseph:  She’s nearing her time.  

{Roman Soldier nods and sneers}

Roman Soldier:  {gruffly}  Are you Mary…{looking at scroll} daughter of Eli?

{Mary steps forward and nods.  Jessica steps forward}

Jessica:  He knew my family.  They’ve all left.  He knew I was Jessica.

Roman Soldier:  {folding scroll}  Why haven’t you left for the census?

{Mary is uncomfortable and rocks back and forward}

Jessica    :  You know why I couldn’t leave.

Mary:  {holding abdomen}  Joseph, I can’t stand anymore.

{Joseph puts arm around Mary}

Joseph:  {looking around}  On the bench.  {finding no bench}  {frustrated} Where’s the…?

Mary: {insistently}  I must…

{Mary starts to slump to the ground.  Joseph puts arm around Mary so she falls gently to her knees.  Joseph drops to his knees and keeps arm around her}

Roman Soldier:  {harshly}  Are you telling me…?

Jessica:  {holding up rope}  I had to take care of you.

{Mary rocks back and forth}

Mary:  {holding abdomen}  The pain, Joseph.  The pain.

Joseph:  {anxiously} If we could wait a week, officer.  Please.  Until she delivers.  We didn’t plan…

Roman Soldier:  Should’ve thought ’bout that before.  {with a sneer} Married three months and giving birth.  {wagging finger} Everybody in town knows.  What do the rabbis think?  {with a sneer}  What ’bout the…ladies ?

{Mary rocks back and forward}

Joseph:  It’s not safe for her to travel.  We’d be alone.  I’d have no help on the way if Mary…

Jessica:  {amazed} It’s safe.  I’m not going alone!

Roman Soldier:  {pointing to Jessica} {harshly}  Talk to her.  She’s going today.

Joseph:  But officer…

Roman Soldier:  {emphatically}  You must leave today.  It’s the last day.  Everybody’s gotta be out of their homes.

{Jessica is listening to off stage right}

Jessica:  {excitedly} I’m taking you with me!  I won’t be alone.

Joseph:  Can’t my wife stay?

{Roman Soldier looks carefully at scroll}

Roman Soldier:  You’re both of the house of David.  You both must go…{looking at scroll again} to Bethlehem.

Joseph:  {pleadingly}  She can’t!

Mary:  {calmly}  I’ll try, Joseph.  I’ll try.  I’ll go if I have to.

{Joseph pats her hand.  Joseph stands up and crosses to Roman Soldier}

Jessica:  I won’t have to walk either. {pointing off stage right stairs}  I’ll ride you!

Joseph: {whispering}  We won’t make it, walking all the way.  She’ll die.  The baby’ll die.

Roman Soldier:  {sternly}  Get her up!

Jessica:  It’ll be easy.  And fun!

Joseph:  But officer…

Mary:  {holding abdomen} {in discomfort} I must sit.

{Roman Soldier looks at Mary then at Joseph}

Roman Soldier:  {motioning toward house} {harshly}  Get her up and get your things!

{Joseph crosses back to Mary}
Jessica    :  I’ll get my things and we’ll leave.

{Jessica exits off stage right stairs.  Joseph stoops down and puts arm as  if to pick her up}

Roman Soldier:  {waving off} Not in there again!  I’ll never get her out.  

{Roman Soldier crosses hastily to Joseph and Mary.  He grabs head pieces off Joseph and Mary and tosses them to the ground in a pile}

Roman Soldier {cont’d} : {motioning to ground} {to Mary}  Sit there.  {motioning toward house and Joseph}  You get the bags and come right out!

{Joseph nods and lets Mary down to the ground gently.  She sits on pile of head pieces.  Mary looks up at Joseph kindly and pats his arm}

Mary:  What ever’ll happen, will happen.  God’s in this.

{Roman Soldier shakes head, spits with contempt, and crosses to stage left stairs.  Roman Soldier watches as Joseph exits into house.  Roman Soldier exits off stage left stairs.  Mary sitting on ground crosses arms in front of chest, closes eyes, hums quietly, and rocks slowly back and forth}

        {black out}

ACT I, Scene 2

{As the lights come up, Joseph enters from house carrying two travel bags.  He crosses to Mary and helps Mary up. Jessica enters from stage right stairs with travel bag and sits on the top of the stairs.  She stuffs clothing into travel bag.  Joseph looks at Mary knowing her feelings.  Mary nods at Joseph.  Mary holds her abdomen as they slowly cross to Jessica}

Mary:  Jessica, you’re going, too?

{Jessica stops stuffing clothes in the bag and turns toward Mary and Joseph}

Jessica:  {looking at them}{nodding}  To Bethlehem.  For the census.  My family’s of the house of David.

Mary:  {with a smile}  You’re too young.

{Jessica stands up}

Jessica:  {hands on hips} {a little sassy}  The Roman officer said I had to go.  I’m over fourteen.

Mary:  {looking around}  Not by yourself!

{Jessica points off stage right stairs.  Mary looks off stage right stairs, sees no one,  and then looks back at Jessica}

Jessica:  I’ll be fine.

Mary:  It’s too dangerous for a young girl to walk a hundred miles alone!

{Jessica puts hand on hip and cocks head in annoyance}

Jessica:  Don’t worry. I’m grown-up,  almost.

{Mary and Joseph look around and do not see anyone else.}

Jessica {cont’d}:  I’m sixteen…next month.  And I’m alone, most of the time.

{Mary slumps down.  Jessica crosses closer to Mary}

Jessica {cont’d}:  What’s the matter?

Joseph:  Mary’s near term.  {anxiously} How can she get to Bethlehem?  She can’t walk… for a week…in the wilderness.

Mary:  {holding abdomen and moaning} Joseph, I’m having a contraction.  Another one.

Joseph:  We have to get started, Mary.  {to Jessica}  The Roman soldier said we had to leave today…

Jessica:  Me, too…

Joseph:  {to Mary}  God knows where our baby’ll be born.  Where he…

Jessica:  He?  You know the baby’s a boy?  My cousins have used… {dramatically} everything to find out what their babies would be.  {shaking head} Nothing worked.

{Mary moans}

Joseph:  Mary was told by an angel she’d give birth to a son.

Jessica:  An angel?

Joseph:  An angel called Gabriel.  He told me, too.  Later.  {looking at Mary penitently} {sighing}  I didn’t believe Mary at first.

Jessica:  Why angels?  Why to…{pointing to Mary} Mary and…{pointing to Joseph} to you?

Joseph:  He’s a special child.  He’s Messiah.

{Jessica is shocked}

Jessica:  My aunt told me long ago every Jewish girl since Eve’s dreamed she’d be the mother of Messiah.  She hoped it’d be me.  Me too.  {shrugging shoulders}  I’m not married…yet.  {with a sigh} Now you’ve saying…

{Joseph helps Mary up.  Jessica helps Mary on stage right side}

Joseph:  We’ll make it, Mary.  God’ll make a way for us to get to Bethlehem.

{Jessica holds onto Mary’s arm}

Joseph:  The Roman soldier told us to talk with you.  If you come with us,  it’d really help me…us.

Mary:  You wouldn’t have to travel alone.  It’d be safer.

Jessica:  {with annoyance}  I told you I’m almost…

{Mary slumps down because of pain.  Joseph and Jessica help Mary up}

Mary:  Sorry.

{Jessica looks and Mary and thinks}

Jessica:  I’ll go with you.  I can help.

{Jessica makes a deep sigh}

Jessica {cont’d}:  {with sadness} Mary can ride.

Joseph:  Ride?

Jessica:  On my donkey.  {pointing off stage right stairs}  Over there.  Tied to the tall tree.  

{Mary and Joseph look off stage right stairs}

Jessica {cont’d} :  Aunt and uncle thought it’d be safe to me to go alone since I’d be riding my donkey.   I’m leaving her with my uncle in Jerusalem on the way back.

{Mary and Joseph look back at Jessica and nod. Roman Soldier enters from stage left stairs and crosses toward Mary, Joseph, and Jessica}

Joseph:  Then you’ll have to walk.  

{Mary holds abdomen and leans forward and back.  Jessica looks at Mary}

{Jessica sighs deeply}

Jessica:  I don’t mind.  {trying to smile} It’d be safer.  You’re right.  {waving off} I shouldn’t go alone.

Joseph:  It’ll be a big help, too.

{Jessica smiles and Mary pats Jessica’s arm. Roman Soldier reaches Mary, Joseph, and Jessica}

Roman Soldier:  {gruffly} Not gone yet?

{Joseph and Jessica turn Mary toward stage right stairs.  Jessica takes travel bags from Joseph and carries all three}

Joseph:  We going, officer.  {happily} Mary’s going to ride on a donkey…{pointing to Jessica} Jessica’s donkey.

{Roman Soldier smiles at Jessica then at Joseph}

Roman Soldier: {kindly} Good.  {harshly}  I don’t care how she gets there.  You must all leave…now! {Joseph and Jessica help Mary.  They start to cross toward stage right stairs}

Joseph:  This way, Mary.  To Jessica’s donkey.  She’s just over there.

Roman Soldier:  {harshly} {pointing toward stage right}  Go!

{Joseph, Mary, and Jessica exit off stage right stairs carrying travel bags.  Roman Soldier remains on stage watching Joseph, Mary, and Jessica exit.  Roman Soldier shakes head and taps scroll, crosses to stage left stairs and exits off stage left stairs}

{black out}

ACT I, Scene 3

{Mary, Joseph, and Jessica enter from stage right stairs, carrying travel bags.  There are twigs scattered about the stage.  Joseph has arm around Mary and helps her up the stairs}

{Mary stops}

Mary:  I need to stop for a minute, please.

Joseph:  {to Jessica}  Will your donkey be safe there?

Jessica:  She’s tied to a stump.

Mary: I can’t go very far without a break.  Sorry.

{Jessica nods}

Joseph:  You’ve done very well, Mary.

Mary:  I slow everybody down.

Joseph:  {holding Mary’s arm with his hand}  We’ve done fine…really.

Joseph {cont’d} :  {to Jessica}  We couldn’t have made it this far, if Mary had to walk.  

{Joseph smiles at Jessica and Jessica nods and smiles back.  Mary turns and puts hand on abdomen.  Jessica watches Mary and puts hands to mouth}

Mary:  What’s the matter?

Jessica:  You’re bigger than this morning!

{Mary looks at her abdomen.  Mary and Jessica laugh}

Jessica {cont’d} :  Sit here.  I’ll get twigs for the fire.

{Wife enters with travel bag from stage left stairs and crosses slowly toward center stage}

Mary:  I can help.

Jessica:  {motioning to ground}  Sit.  Sit.

{Joseph helps Mary down.  Joseph and Jessica put down travel bags to make a pile to sit on.  Mary sits on ground on top of travel bags at top of stage right stairs.  Jessica  looks for twigs and picks  up twigs.  She crosses toward center stage, and bends down}

Wife:  Shalom.

{Jessica looks up and stands up}

Jessica:  Shalom.

Wife:  {concerned} Why are you on this road?  It’s dangerous.  It’s getting dark.

Jessica:  For the census.  I’m going to Bethlehem.

Wife:  {looking around}  Not alone!

{Jessica shakes head}

Jessica:  {motioning toward Joseph and Mary} With my neighbors…and my donkey.  Mary’s riding my donkey.  I’m walking.  She’s expecting…very soon.

{Wife looks over at Mary and nods}

Wife:  I’m returning to Bethlehem.  I went to Galilee near Nazareth for the census…

Jessica:  We’re from Nazareth…

{Wife nods}

Wife:  My husband has an inn in Bethlehem.

Jessica:  We’ll need a place to stay in Bethlehem for Mary to deliver her baby.

{Wife looks over at Mary}

Wife:  {shaking head}  She’ll never make it.  She looks like she’ll deliver…here…{looking over at Mary again} tonight!

{Jessica picks up twigs}

Jessica:  Hope not.  I’ve helped with animals…but not people.

Joseph:  {calling over to Jessica}  Jessica, who’s there with you?  Are you talking to a stranger?  You shouldn’t…

Jessica:  {calling over to Joseph} A lady traveling to Bethlehem.  I’ll bring her over.  {to Wife}  It’ll happen wherever God wants it to happen.

Wife:  God?  God’s in this?

Jessica:  This baby’s special.  He’s Messiah.

Wife:  {with disbelief}  How can you be sure?

Jessica:  An angel appeared to Mary and told her.  Then to Joseph ’cause he didn’t believe Mary when she told him.

Wife:  {laughing} Can understand why.   An angel?

Jessica:  Gabriel.

Wife:  {looking askance} You’re serious.

Joseph:  {calling over to Jessica} All right, Jessica?

Wife:  The messenger angel.  

Jessica    :  {calling over to Joseph}  Fine.  I’ll be right there.  {to Wife}  Before they were married.  Before they had relations.  A special conception.  They told me.  On the way.

Wife:  {taken aback}  I hope there’s more proof.  Anyone… {pointing to Mary and Joseph} anybody can say an angel appeared to them especially…  A conception without intimacy?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Jessica:  {shrugging shoulders} I believe what she said.

Wife:  People will say…anything if they get pregnant before they’re married.  It’d have to be a miracle!

Jessica:  It is a miracle!

Joseph:  {calling over to Jessica} Jessica!

{Wife shakes head vigorously}

Jessica:  Shouldn’t I believe her?  {calling over to Joseph}  Coming.

Wife:  Conception without intimacy?  Angels appearing…?  Nobody’ll will believe them…or you.  {motioning toward Mary and Joseph} Your neighbors are calling you.  {whispering} They’ll say anything—they’re not family.

{Jessica and Wife start to cross}

Jessica:  They live ‘cross the street.  They’re close like family—I don’t have much family.  {thinking} Never heard them lie before.  

{Jessica and Wife cross to Mary and Joseph.  Joseph stands up as Jessica and Wife approach}

Wife:  {as crossing}  {pointing toward stage right stairs}  Nice donkey.

Jessica:  {with a slight edge}  I have to walk all the way.

Wife:  You’re doing a good deed.  {in a whisper}  Remember what I said.

Jessica:  {as they reach Mary and Joseph}  This is lady I met…{pointing back to center stage} She’s traveling like we are.

Joseph:  Shalom.

Mary:  Shalom.

Jessica:  {pointing to Mary and Joseph}  Mary and Joseph.

Wife:  Shalom.  {patting Jessica’s arm}  You have a gracious neighbor in Jessica.

Mary:  I couldn’t have made it without her donkey.  {holding her right abdomen} Ouch!

Joseph:  {leaning over Mary} {very concerned}  What’s the matter, Mary?

Wife:  What is it?

Mary:  {feeling her abdomen} A foot.  

{Wife, Mary, and Jessica laugh}

Joseph:  {anxiously}  I was worried.

{Wife, Mary, and Jessica smile.  Joseph stands up}

Joseph:  Are you also going to Bethlehem for the census?

Wife:  {shaking head}  Returning there.  I registered in Galilee.

Jessica:  I told her we were from Nazareth going to Bethlehem.

Wife:  Such a vast movement of our people.  For no purpose.  {hands up} Such trouble for…Rome.

Mary:  God has a purpose in this movement.  He must.

Wife:  God?  Must?

Mary:  He must want someone or some people to be somewhere very badly.

Wife:  {pointing to Mary}  This is a terrible hardship for you.  {surveying the stage} God wouldn’t want this.  He’d want you home.  {hands up} You could give birth out here!

Mary:  {shaking head}  No.  Not here.  It won’t happen here.

Joseph:  Mary!

Jessica:  I told her an angel…

Mary:  {earnestly}  He’s a special child.  He’s Messiah.  God’s working very hard to get him to Bethlehem.  We’re of the family of David.  David was born in Bethlehem.   {nodding}  That’s where Jesus is to born.  I’m sure of it.

Wife:  Jesus?

Mary:  His name.

Joseph:  Mary, you’ve not told me these…

Mary:  {to Joseph} {genuinely} I’ve been treasuring much in my heart since the angel Gabriel spoke to me.  (tapping chest)  This is something I feel deeply…very deeply.  Something I know very deeply

Wife:  {shaking head}  I don’t know much about such things…about angels.  Neither does my husband.  I’m sure of that.

{Mary holds abdomen with both hands because of pain.  Wife forces a smile}

Wife {cont’d} :  Many claim to be Messiah.  In Jerusalem I’ve heard them speak.  Standing on the street corners.  In the squares.  Some get a big crowd—especially if they say something outrageous.  

Joseph:  It’s happened many times in our history, yes.  Especially in dark days.  Like today…but…

Wife:  Our people need a deliverer.  We all know it.  We’ve been in bondage under Rome for generations.  We’ve been promised by God.   But angels…?  Your son…?.

{Mary rocks back and f

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