In Rainforest Symphony, Hourani tells this story about the rainforest animals. We have reproduced it here in case you would like to retell it to your class or perhaps use it in an assembly. However, it would be great if you could wait until after the programme has visited your school before using the story so that we can maintain the surprise!
Everything and everyone has its place. There is an old, old story that has been passed on by my people. You see, as long as we can remember it has always been the animals’ job to wake up the sun in the morning so all could see to find food. So the moon would go to sleep and the day would always begin with the gentle flutter of the Butterfly’s wings.
Then the snake, which had twisted itself around a tree, would uncurl itself and…hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss…
And the Toucan, with its huge colourful beak and graceful feathers, would swoop down and join in with the bees…squawk, squawk
Not wanting to be left out the slow, steady Sloth wanted to be a part of the morning song too…yaaaaaaaaaaaawn, Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn
The cheeky little monkeys came swinging and twisting and leaping through the trees. They were so excited about waking up the sun that they just…chatter, chatter, chatter, chattered.
Last of all was the sleek smooth jaguar, who let out a mighty Grooooooooowl. The rainforest was alive with the sound of every animal you could think of, all working together to wake up the sun. And you know what? They did. The sun would wake up, kiss the tree tops with its warmth, and send a glow of light to the forest floor. And all was as it should be.
But then one day the Jaguar decided that he and he alone should wake up the sun. Well, he was the loudest, strongest, and bravest animal in the forest, so he should have this very important job. So, as the moon was going to sleep, and all the animals gathered to wake up the sun, the Jaguar shouted. “I and I alone will wake up the sun today. After all, I am the loudest, I am the strongest and I am the bravest animal in the forest. Do you all agree?”
Well, the animals were all too frightened of the Jaguar to say anything so they all stayed silent. The Jaguar took a deep breath and let out a huge growl…but the sun did not wake. He growled again, but nothing. The forest remained in darkness. Jaguar quickly realised he needed help. So first he went to the Snake. “Snake, help me! For us to live the sun must rise. Hissing Snake, help me please?” So the Jaguar growled and the Snake hissed (sounds come from the children). But nothing. Jaguar needed more help.
“For us to live, the sun must rise. Toucan, help us please?”
So, the Jaguar growled, the Snaked hissed, and the Toucan squawked. But nothing!
They needed even more help
“For us to live, the sun must rise. Sloth, help us please?”
So the Jaguar growled, the Snake hissed, the Toucan squawked and the Sloth yawned. But still nothing!
“For us to live, the sun must rise. Monkeys, help us please?”
So the Jaguar growled, the Snake hissed, the Toucan squawked, the Sloth yawned and the Monkeys chattered. The forest was alive with nearly every animal you could think of, but still the sun did not rise.
“Who is missing?”, the Jaguar thought. “I have spoken to every animal in the forest. If the sun never rises, we will all die.” Just then. the Jaguar saw a beautiful blue butterfly sitting so still on a flower. Jaguar slowly prowled over to it and gently whispered:
“Butterfly, dear sweet Butterfly, I have been so foolish. Please, for us all to live the sun must rise…”
But before the Jaguar could finish, the Butterfly fluttered its beautiful wings, the Jaguar growled, the Snake hissed, the Toucan squawked, the Sloth yawned, the Monkeys chattered. The sound of all the animals filled the forest, and the sleepy sun woke up and began a new day. It kissed the tops of the trees with its warmth, and sent light streaming to the forest floor. And all was as it should be in the forest again.
What this story teaches us is that no matter how small we think we are we all have our place in the world.