St. Nicholas

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 A Boy Named Nick, a Trek from Constantinople

by Christina VanRegenmorter and the First Day School, Nashville Friends Meeting


Characters

Narrator
Nick
Nick's Mom
Nick's Dad
Villager 1
Villager 2
Villager 3
Villager 4
Little sibling
Nick's Uncle

Props

3 cardboard huts for village with cut-out windows
Table & chairs for Nick's house
Sheets for all characters to be used as cloaks, head coverings, and shrouds as needed
Jewelry
Gold covered chocolate "money", both coins and in bags
Table for musical instruments

Student plays the shofar or trumpet.

Narrator: Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there lived a young man named Nick.

Nick: "Hi, I'm Nick! And you're wrong. It was a LONG time ago. 1800 years ago to be precise."

Narrator: Nick lived in the country we now call Turkey, in a small town called Patara, a bit of a trek from Constantinople.

Villagers: "Istanbul was Constantinople; Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople; Been a long time gone . . . ."
Student plays the harmonica while villagers sing.

Narrator: "Ah hem! Nick was fortunate enough to have very wealthy parents who were followers of a very new religion of people who tried to follow the words of Christ."

Nick's Dad, counting chocolate money on a table: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal."

Nick's mom, giving fruit & bread rolls to Villagers: "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

Treasure = Heart

Nick's Mom & Dad together: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
[holding a sign with "TREASURE = HEART" on it]

Narrator: Nick was raised with the best education in the world at that time and loved learning.

Nick: "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit."

Narrator: One day, some people in the village of Patara got very sick.

Villagers [running around, coughing and sneezing on each other]

Villager 1: "I feel sick!"

Villager 2: "Argh!"

Villager 3: "I feel sore all over!"

Villager 4: "I'm coughing up blood!"

Villagers, in unison: "It's the plague!"

Villagers start walking slower and slower and start falling down on the floor, groaning softly.

Narrator: Most of the people in the village who had food and water stored up did not leave their homes for fear of catching the plague. However, Nick's parents chose to go out into the village and care for sick families. They made Nick stay at home.

Nick: "I want to help, too!"

Nick's Dad: "This is a very serious illness. Many people are dying. We may get sick ourselves, and there need to be healthy people available afterwards to help the people of the village. Please obey us and stay at home so you can be one of those healthy people."

Nick: "Okay——but please be safe and wash your hands! I don't want you to get sick."

Nick's mom: "Jesus said that we were to bring water for the thirsty, food for the hungry, and to love others the way we would like to be loved. This is what we need to do. Thank you for staying at home and honoring our wishes."

Villager 1: "I'm so thirsty."
Nick's mom brings water to that person

Villager 2: "My mom and dad died, and now I'm so hungry."
Nick's dad gives that person a roll.

Villager 3: "I am so lonely. Will someone hold my hand?"
Nick's mom and dad hold that person's hand and close their eyes.

Villager 3 closes her/his eyes, and they cover that person with a sheet.

Villager 2 closes his/her eyes, and they cover that person with a sheet.

Villager 1 closes his/her eyes, and they cover that person with a sheet.

Narrator: After caring for all of the sick people of the village, Nick's mom and Dad got sick themselves and died.

Nick's mom and dad make sick movements, then lie down, holding hands. Villager 4 comes out of his/her hut and covers them with his/her sheet.

Nick [sitting at the kitchen table]: I wonder when my mom and dad are coming home. . . .

Knock knock. Villager 4 knocks on the door.

Nick opens the door.

Villager 4: "I'm so sorry, Nicholas, but your parents got sick and were too weak to walk home last night. They died last night. Do you want me to take a letter to your uncle in Constantinople? He needs to know that you're an orphan now."

Nick starts to cry, and starts writing a letter.

3 months later

THREE MONTHS LATER. The Villagers are alive but wearing different shirts & sheets.
They carry the sign "
3 MONTHS LATER".

Narrator: Three months later after the plague, the village was in a very difficult place. The plague, instead of killing the weak and the old, killed some of the strongest, healthiest adults. Many kids didn't have parents anymore, and some families hadn't been able to care for their farms. Winter had started, and some families didn't have enough to eat. Nick didn't have much to do after his parents died, and he spent a lot of time walking through the village and listening.

Nick is walking behind the houses quietly, crouching and listening as people talk.

Villager 1, knocking on Villager 2's door: Do you have any food?

Villager 2: No. I only have enough for my family. I can't help you.

Villager 1, knocking on Villager 3's door: Do you have any food?

Villager 3, interrupting: No! I'm hungry myself! All we're eating is millet!

Villager 1 goes back to his hut and talks to his little sibling: I don't know what to do!

Narrator: Back in AD 280, if you got really, really poor, and really, really hungry, you could sell yourself as a slave. This would mean your family would get some money, and it meant that you would never be free again—though you would most likely always have enough to eat while you were young and strong.

Villager 4: "You should sell me as a slave. That would give you enough money to make it for the winter."

Villager 1: "I can't do that!"

Villager 4: "If you don't, we both are going to starve.

Nick walks home and sits down at the table with his uncle. He opens up a Bible.

Nick: Look, Uncle, Jesus says here—'Fear not, little flock, because your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide for yourselves moneybags that do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' I think I need to give away all of the money and jewelry that my parents left me to people who need it. I don't need it!

Nick's Uncle: Nick, that is so good you have such a good heart, but you need to think of yourself, too. If you become homeless and penniless, then that is no gift to others. Where would Jesus have been if Mary and Lazarus hadn't had homes he could have lived in or enough money to buy him and his disciples food? He depended on wise, frugal people like your parents.

Nick: I have you as my Uncle. I could always stay with you when I run out of money and food. I'm healthy and young and strong. I can always work for my daily bread. There are little children here who are starving! Also, my parents always taught me it was a blessing for people to be generous. If I become poor, too, I can bless other people if they have to take care of me. Anyway, it will take years for me to become poor!

Nicks Uncle: Well, it's your decision—but remember what Jesus said. Just like you need to pray in secret, you should give in secret. You should give because God is telling you to give—not because you want people to admire you.

Nick: I think I already have a plan.

Night Comes

Sign: "NIGHT COMES" (lights fade & candles are lit). The huts are turned around so you can see the people inside of them easier.

Villager 4: "It was so wet today! My socks are soaked!"

Villager 1: "They stink, too."

Villager 4: "I'll wring them out and hang them on a nail by the window so they can dry out. I talked to Marcus Terribles today. He's going to come by tomorrow to pick me up. He said that they need some slaves further south in Tyrus to help work the vineyards. He said that even though I'm small, I'm worth 4 gold pieces. That will be plenty to get you and little sister through the winter."

Villager 1: "No, let him take me instead."

Villager 4: "You can't do that! You need to take care of little sister!"

Villager 1: "Yes I can!"

Pillow fight ensues. After it ends in a draw, both Villager 1 and Villager 4 fall sound asleep. Nick prepares a sack and puts bags of money in it and sneaks out of his house. He tiptoes around the village until he gets to Villager 1 and 4's hut. He then slips a whole bag of gold in the sock that Villager 4 put by the window. He leaves more gold and some oranges in the person's shoes by the doors of Villager 1, 2 and 3. He tiptoes back to his house and goes to bed.

Villager 1 wakes up and yawns: What do you want for breakfast? Oh, wait. We have no breakfast.

Villager 4: Why did you wake me up so early! It's my last day of freedom!

Villager 1: It's my last day of freedom.

Villager 4: No, mine! Anyways, I'm hungry. Maybe if we went to Nicholas' house, he'd give us a roll. Remember his mom? When things would get hard, she'd always come bringing us fresh bread. Maybe he could give us a roll.

Villager 1 looks outside: OH MY GOODNESS! THERE'S AN ORANGE IN MY SHOE!

Villager 4: No way! An orange?

Villager 1: Yes, way.
He tosses it to Villager 4, who just got to the window and is taking down his socks.

Villager 4: Wait. There's something heavy in my socks. I wonder if it's another orange! Villager 4 takes out the bag of gold. It's gold! It's gold! It's more than what Marcus Terribles was going to buy me for! We are going to make it through the winter and not have to starve! We could even buy more food for the chickens with this and maybe they'd start laying again! This is amazing!

Villager 1: This IS amazing! Who could have done this?

Villager 2 and 3 hear the commotion and start waking up and looking out of their huts. They see the oranges and gold near their shoes.

Villager 2: Oranges!

Villager 3: Gold!

Villagers 1-4, all together: Thank you, whoever did this!

Narrator: The villagers never knew for sure who gave them money and food when they most needed it, but they had their suspicions that Nick was just as generous as his parents. After a year had passed, the villagers used the money that they were given very wisely, and they were able to save up extra money. Some of them, late at night, would . . .

Villagers sneak around at night, hiding presents in socks and shoes.

Narrator: Everyone always said that Nicholas did it. Stories grew out of [what is now] Turkey of a very generous man named Nicholas. After 100 years, they started calling him a saint. Now, 1800 years later, people still talk about St. Nick . . . but most don't know that all of that gift giving started in [what is] Turkey, in a small town called Patara, a bit of a trek from Constantinople.

Villagers: "Istanbul was Constantinople; Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople; Been a long time gone . . . "

Student plays the harmonica while villagers sing.

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Istanbul

Narrator:"Ah hem!"

THE END


Audio sample from The Four Lads

"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" words by Jimmy Kennedy, music by Nat Simon. Purchase sheet music from Virtual Sheet Music.

Christina VanRegenmorter and the First Day School, Nashville Friends Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee (special thanks to Jacob & David Myers). Used by permission.

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