The Great Manger Mystery

by Justyn Walker


Five animals enter their barn after a hard day of work to find there’s a kid lying in their food trough. But who is he? And where did he come from? Is it a conspiracy, or something far greater?


Sheep, Camel, Donkey, Ox, Chicken.


Animal masks, manger, baby doll, water trough etc.


Part I
(Enter tired animals.)
Sheep: Phew! I’m exhausted!
Camel: And so ends another day working for the man.
Donkey: Time to hit the hay.
Ox: Time to eat the hay, I’m starving!
Chicken: I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!
Donkey: Don’t even joke about that.
Sheep: Hey, I noticed you carrying in a couple of humans back there. I bet they’re all curled up snug and cozy in their little hotel room by now.
Donkey: What about it?
Ox: (Examining manger) Er, fellas …
Sheep: It’s just that they get all the creature comforts, while we’re cooped up in the barn like animals.
Chicken: We are animals!
Sheep: You’re missing my whole point here.
Ox: (Getting anxious) Fellas …
Camel: It’s your typical ‘I’m too good for the barn’ mentality that’s making this country the segregated, capitalist regime that it is.
Sheep: Exactly! You know these humans have been pulling the wool over our eyes for too long.
Ox: (Trembling) There’s something in the manger!
Donkey: You know, you’re right. Just once I’d like to see one of them out here in the barn on a cold night.
Sheep: Now you're talking!
Donkey: I lugged that fat lady all the way from Nazareth! And what have I got to show for it?
Sheep: Absolutely nothing!
Animals: What?
Ox: Something’s swimming in our food!
Animals: What!
Donkey: You’re smelling things.
Ox: I’m telling you it’s right here in black and white for all to see!
Sheep: Let me see that … Well call me Little Bo Peep!
Camel: You mean it’s true?
Ox: Somebody check the water trough!
(Frantic running about)
Chicken: All clear!
Ox: False alarm, nobody panic.
(They gather around)
Donkey: Now I’ve seen everything!
Chicken: What do you suppose it is?
Camel: It doesn’t even have fur!
Sheep: Wait till the guys in the flock get a load of this!
Ox: Maybe it’s a piglet?
Camel: A pig, here in Israel? Wash your mouth out with swill!
Chicken: I think it’s cute.
Donkey: Oh for crying out loud! Doesn’t anyone here have a brain bigger than a walnut?
Chicken: I resent that!
Donkey: For your information, flea-brains, it’s a baby - a human! I should know, I’ve been carrying them around all day!
Ox: No need to get your tail in a knot.
Chicken: Yeah don’t have a cow, man.
Ox: What’s that supposed to mean?
Sheep: Boys, I’ll tell you what this is. The humans are sending us a message.
Donkey: What message?
Sheep: That living in fancy houses and sleeping on cushy beds isn’t enough for them. Now they’re moving into the barns!
Ox: Is nothing sacred!
Camel: You know what they say, the grass is always tastier in someone else’s backyard.
Sheep: Make no mistake gentlemen, it’s back to the wild for us.
Ox: But I’m domesticated!
Camel: It’s just another example of your ruling class taking advantage of unskilled workers.
Chicken: You think that’s bad, get this: every morning I leave an egg in my roost, but every evening when I get back … Poof! It’s gone!
Ox: You’re joking?
Chicken: I’m beginning to think there’s something funny going on.
Donkey: Guys, guys, don’t you see what’s happening here?
Animals: What?
Donkey: Try this on for size. Two strangers, one of them an overly large woman, ride in from out of town, but there’s no room in the inn, see. Next thing we discover this baby lying conveniently in our manger.
Animals: So?
Donkey: So, I think somebody’s trying to set us up.
Ox: You mean frame us?
Donkey: That’s exactly what I mean.
Chicken: But why would anybody want to do that?
Donkey: Could be somebody wants the kid out of the way. Could be this kid’s somebody important.
Chicken: You mean like a king or a priest or something?
Donkey: That’s exactly what I mean.
Sheep: Yeah, yeah, now I see it. They stick the kid in the food trough. In come five hungry animals after a hard day of work. Chomp! Chomp! Who’s to say what’s hay and what isn’t? Next thing all that’s left is a pile of swaddling clothes.
Ox: I think I’m going to be sick!
Donkey: But they made one fatal mistake.
Chicken: What’s that?
Donkey: We’re all herbivores.
Chicken: Actually I eat worms.
Sheep: I wouldn’t go telling that to too many people.
Camel: Oh-oh, look out, it moved.
(They stare at the baby. Baby noises.)
Chicken: If it is a king, this is a funny place for it to be born.
Ox: Funny or not, it can’t stay here. I can’t eat with someone watching me.
Donkey: I know what you mean, I can’t eat while I’m watching you either.
Ox: What are you talking about?
Donkey: You throw up all over the place, it’s disgusting!
Camel: He’s right.
Ox: It’s called chewing the cud! It’s what cows do!
Donkey: Four stomachs - you’d think you could hold something down once in a while.
Ow: Well I never!...... Well, somebody has to move it!
Sheep: Don’t look at me, I hear they bite.
Chicken: I sure would like to know what he’s really doing here.
Donkey: What are you a chicken?
Sheep: No I’m a sheep, he’s the chicken. I would have thought that was obvious.
Chicken: And you think my brain’s a walnut?
Sheep: Really - four legs, a woolly fleece - it doesn’t take a rocket scientist.
Ox: Well the donkey brought it here, I say he gets rid of it.
Donkey: I carried a fat lady half way across the country today, it’s someone else’s turn!
Camel: Oh, for heaven’s sake, I’ll do it.
Chicken: Careful, they can smell fear!
Camel: Coochie-coochie-coo …
Sheep: It’s a baby, not a dove.
Camel: Do you want to do this?
Sheep: (Backing off) It’s all yours pal.
Camel: Coochie-coochie-coo … coochie-coochie-coo.
Baby: WAAAA!
Chicken: Look out, it’s going into attack mode!
Ox: I think I’m going to be sick!
Camel: Oh no, somebody’s coming!
Sheep: I told you not to touch that thing!
Chicken: Is it a pig?
Donkey: No, it’s the fat lady! Boy has she lost weight - there must be a gym in this hotel. Hold on, there’s some shepherds with her!
Sheep: Oh-oh, that doesn’t sound good.
Donkey: And three guys on camels!
Camel: They’re on to us!
Ox: What do we do?
Donkey: Let’s make a break for it out the back door! If anyone asks, we blame it on the pigs, got it?
Animals: Got it!
(Exit animals. Pause for a moment. Chicken runs back on stage.)
Chicken: Wait I left my egg!
(Checks the roost – Gasp! The egg is gone!)
Chicken: (To audience) ‘Poof!’ The plot thickens. Hey fellas wait for me!
Part II
(Baby gone. Enter amazed animals.)
Camel: Do you mean to say the King of Kings was born in our barn?
Sheep: That’s what the shepherd said.
Camel: The Christ, the chosen one … the guy, was born right here?
Ox: He was sleeping in our manger?
Sheep: What can I say, the kid has class.
Chicken: Well pluck my feathers and call me baldy!
Donkey: Fellas, fellas, you do know what this means don’t you?
Animals: We’re famous!
Ox: Ooo, I feel all tingly!
Sheep: You know I always liked that kid, from the moment I laid eyes on him.
Donkey: And to think I carried his mother all the way from Nazareth! You know they chose me out of several qualified applicants - though it wasn’t so much a journey as a labor of love.
Ox: I could swear this hay tastes better now that he’s been lying on it!
Camel: You can’t eat that hay - it’s like, holy hay ... or something.
Sheep: Think of the headlines, this story could be huge!
Chicken: Yeah, well I donated him an egg - you watch that go down in history. Gold, frankincense, myrrh, and an egg. It just rolls of the tongue!
Donkey: I can’t believe the Christ was born here!
Sheep: Think of the publishing rights!
Donkey: U-hum! Gentlemen, may I propose a toast of swill to the new born King.
(All lean over water trough. Guzzel, guzzel!)
Animals: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Sheep: I’ve got to call my agent.
Chicken: Me too.
Camel: Oh look, isn’t that cute, the little guy threw up over here.
Ox: Er – no that was me.
Donkey: You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Copyright © Justyn Walker, Nov 2002, all rights reserved.
This script may be used free of charge, provided you notify the author. He may be contacted at
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