32. Teddy’s Progress 1
(with apologies to John Bunyan)
Props: Toys as above or similar. Also a tiny book. Teddy has a small black ‘bundle’ tied around his neck.
Boys and girls, I want to tell you a story today. It’s about Teddy of course – he’s our hero! Would you like to come on an adventure with Teddy?
Actually, Teddy wasn’t very happy. He lived in a rather bad city called The City of Destruction, and he was carrying this load, or burden, on his back, and he couldn’t get it off. But he had been given a little book which told him that there was a way for him to lose his load. The book also told about a wonderful city called The Celestial City where the streets were paved with gold. There was no sadness or crying in this city, and God lived there.
Oh, thought Teddy, that sounds a wonderful place, and I do want to get rid of this load I’m carrying. So he decided to set off to find the Celestial City. He talked to his family who of course were very upset. ‘Oh don’t leave us!’ cried Mrs Teddy. ‘Don’t go away Daddy!’ cried baby Teddy. But Teddy was firm. ‘Don’t cry my dears,’ he said. ‘It won’t be for long, and when I find the Celestial City, I’ll come back and show you the way.’ So Teddy set off.
He had only gone a little way when two of his friends ran up after him. ‘Where are you going, Teddy?’ asked Brownie. So Teddy told them the story. ‘Oh, come back with us,’ cried Brownie, ‘stay with your friends and family. This is a silly idea!’ But Teddy wouldn’t change his mind, and Brownie went back home saying 'Silly bear! Silly bear!'
Pandy then said to Teddy, ‘I’d like to go with you. I like the sound of all that gold, and besides this adventure sounds like fun to me!’ Teddy was pleased – it’s always good to have a companion when you’re going on a big adventure! And they set off together. They were busy talking about all the great adventures they were going to have, and not really looking where they were going, when suddenly ...
They both fell into a great bog – a swamp. It was cold and wet and muddy and yukky, and the more they struggled the deeper down they went. ’Oh,’ gasped Pandy, ‘I thought this adventure was going to be fun! This is no fun at all! I’m going home!’ And he struggled back to the edge of the swamp, dragged himself out, and sloshed his way back home. And what about poor Teddy? He had this big load on his back, and was just about going under for the third time. Actually, he was just about across the swamp, and there was a house nearby in which lived our old friend Noddy. Noddy was a helper who kept an eye out for travellers who fell in the swamp. (That’s why his neck was a bit funny!) He ran over to the swamp and pulled Teddy out. ‘Why didn’t you use the stepping stones?’ he asked Teddy. ‘Oh,’ sighed Teddy, ‘my friend and I were so busy talking that we didn’t even notice the swamp, let alone any stepping stones.’
‘Well,’ said Noddy, ‘straight ahead is the way to the Celestial City. Follow the straight and narrow path, and you’ll come to that gate you can just see in the distance.’
So Teddy set off, rather more slowly now. He was feeling very tired. Finally he came to the gate. It was more like a big wooden door, set in a high wall. It was the only way through. Teddy turned the handle and pushed and pulled but the door remained closed. ‘What now?’ thought Teddy. Then he looked up, and above the gate was a sign which read, ‘Knock and the door shall be opened to you.’ So Teddy knocked loudly on the door. Suddenly ...
The door flew open, Teddy saw a blue blur, he was pulled inside and the door slammed behind him. He was with a nice blue bear. ‘Thank you Bluey for pulling me in,’ gasped Teddy, but did you have to do it so quickly?’ Bluey led Teddy to a high window which looked back on the path Teddy had travelled on. To one side was a big ugly fortress that Teddy hadn’t noticed. Bluey said, ‘A lot of baddies live in that castle, and they look out for travellers on the road, and fire poisoned arrows at them.’
Then Teddy was so pleased not to be a pin cushion full of poisoned arrows! He had a hot bath, a good meal, and a good night’s sleep. The next morning he was ready for lots of exciting adventures on his way to the Celestial City. But boys and girls, we have run out of time, so you’ll have to wait until next time!
[Parents, this talk may or may not bear any resemblance to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress ! There are several children’s versions of this story. You might like to buy a copy and read it to your children.]