34. Teddy’s Progress 3
(with apologies to John Bunyan)
Props: Toys as above and below or similar. Also a tiny book, a white robe for Teddy, and a painted carton for a dungeon.
Boys and girls, today we are going to continue with Teddy’s adventures. who can tell me what happened last time?
[Review story briefly.] Now I'm not sure about this RudeDolly. This is church and we have nothing rude here! I seem to remember Miss NicelyDressed Dolly warning Teddy about the lions. No? Well, we won't remark on your bad memories!
Teddy had a problem. He knew he had to follow the Straight and Narrow, but there were two mean and hungry lions ahead, and he didn't want to be their dinner! Then beyond the lions he saw Mr BrownBear calling him on. “Come on Teddy, it is quite safe. Just stay in the middle of the road.” “It’s all very well for you,” mumbled Teddy, but plucking up his courage he darted nimbly between the lions. ROAR, ROAR! He could feel their hot breath on his face. “You were quite safe Teddy,” said Mr BrownBear. “Look, the lions are chained.” And Teddy say that they were; in the darkness, he hadn't noticed before. “Why are they there?” asked Teddy. “It’s a test of faith for the pilgrims,” answered Mr BrownBear. “Many of the pilgrims get this far and then turn back, never reaching the Celestial City.” “Yes, I know one,” said Teddy, thinking of RudeDolly ... oops! Miss NicelyDressed Dolly!
Mr Brownbear lived with his daughter Pinky in a lovely house called the Palace Beautiful. Teddy had such a good time there, with lots to eat, and lots to see, and later he went up to his bedroom and slept soundly. In the morning he got up and looked out his window and saw an amazing sight. There in the distance was a beautiful city, gleaming golden in the morning sunlight. “Oh!” said Teddy, “the Celestial City! It is for real!” He rushed down to eat his breakfast and be on his way. When he said Goodbye to Mt Brownbear and Pinky, Pinky gave him a mysterious little parcel which Teddy put in his pocket, and some play lunch. And Teddy set off on the Straight and Narrow.
After a time, mountains started to appear on the right hand side of the road, and then on the left. And then on the right between the road and the mountains, a deep, steep gorge. Teddy couldn’t see the bottom. “I mustn’t fall down there,” he said to himself. And then on the left of the road there was a smelly bog, a festering mish-mosh, with the mud going ‘Splut! Splut!’ “If I fell in there,” said Teddy, ”I’d be sucked under and never be seen again.” It was very scary. And then Teddy thought of his little book. He pulled it out and read: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ... “That’s me!” exclaimed Teddy ... I will fear no evil, for you are with me. “Oh!” said Teddy, “even in this terrible place I don’t need to worry because God is with me.” And he set off again in a much happier mood.
After coming out of the valley, Teddy sat down to eat his play lunch. Then someone called out his name. Turning he saw his old friend Pandy, from way back in the City of Destruction. They hugged each other: it was so good to see a familiar face. “Where are you going?” asked Teddy. “To the Celestial City,” said Pandy, “the same as you. After you left, I thought, Teddy is doing a good thing here, I think I'll go too.” And Teddy was very pleased. Doing the right thing, and then having others follow your good example gives a great feeling!
A little further along the road became very rough with sharp stones which hurt the friends’ feet. Just there, there was afance along the left of the path with a stile, green meadows, and a smooth sandy path that went along by the fence. “Let’s go over here,” said Teddy. “We can still see the straight and narrow, and it will be much easier.” [Do you think this was a good idea? Noooo ... ] Pandy didn’t either, but Teddy was already over the stile, so Pandy followed his friend. Well of course the sandy path wandered away from the fence and they soon lost sight of the straight and narrow road. They came to an area where there had been some mining, where there were big holes in the ground, and both Teddy and Pandy nearly fell in. Also a great storm came up with heavy rain and thunder and lightning. And there was a Voice saying “Go back! Go back to the straight and narrow.” So the two retraced their steps. Teddy was very upset at having led his friend astray. Finally they came to a little shelter by the path, where at least it was dry, so they lay down and went straight to sleep.
Now Teddy and Pandy didn’t know it, but when they crossed the fence they came into the grounds of Doubting Castle where a fierce, mean giant lived, Giant Despair. He especially hated pilgrims travelling to the Celestial City. Next morning he was walking in his grounds seeing if the storm had done any damage when he came to the shelter and the two sleeping figures. “What’s this?” he roared. Teddy and Pandy awoke with a start. “We're sorry Sir,” stammered Teddy. “We haven’t done any harm. We are lost.” “You are trespassing on my land,” roared the Giant, “and you are my prisoners!”
And he picked up the two friends under his arms, and marched off to his castle, and threw them in the dungeon. [I had the box open up, threw the toys in, and then tipped the box over.] He slammed the door and locked it with his key. Then he went home to bed.
The dungeon had thick stone walls and a steel door. It was dark inside and cold, and there was nothing to eat or drink. Teddy was so sad. “We’ll never get to the Celestial City now,” he cried, “and it is all my fault. I’m so sorry Pandy.” Pandy wasn’t feeling the best either, but he comforted his friend.
Now I wonder if they are ever going to reach the Celestial City? How can they possibly get out of this mess? We’ll see ... 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.]