often do you feel helpless? What do you feel helpless about?
We all have times when we're faced with a situation we don't like. Sometimes we
can do something about it, sometimes it's more difficult. Sometimes it's something
really frightening, too big for us. But sometimes we just have to do something
anyway. Think of Jack the Giant Killer - or David and Goliath.
Alanna, the heroine of this story, is faced with something that threatens her
whole way of life. The greedy developers threaten to destroy the rainforest where
she lives. She knows that she must do something to stop them...
meets the Tree
the daughter of rubber tappers, living in a village in the middle of the forest.
She hears that a road is being built that will destroy her village and much of
the surrounding forest. She sets off for the big city to find the President
she is sure will stop the road and save the trees.
On the way she meets a tree who is terrified of being cut down. "Come with
me" she says, "Come and see the President."
"Oh no!" says the Tree
"I'm much too frightened for that!"
Alanna persuades him to pull up his roots, but at first he has difficulty walking.
Soon, however, he is dancing along with Alanna towards the city. They settle down
for a rest, but their sleep is interrupted by a
his chain-saw, intent on cutting down the Tree. The Tree runs away but comes back
with his friend, the Snake, who coils round the logger and chases him away.
meets the President
in the city and meet a fussy bureaucrat
who tells them that no-one will ever get to see the President. They do discover,
though, that the President lives at the top of a tall building.
"How tall are you?" Alanna asks the Tree.
"Very tall, when I want to be," says the Tree.
"Can I climb up you?" Alanna asks.
"I suppose so," replies the Tree.
Alanna climbs up and knocks at the window at the top of the building.
"WHO'S THERE?" booms a huge voice. The whole building shakes and Alanna
falls out of the Tree in fright. Hesitantly, she explains why she has come.
"What do you expect me to do about it?" says the voice, but it is not
so huge now.
"Stop the road, of course," says Alanna.
"I can't do that," says the voice, quite small now.
"But you're the President, you can do anything!" says Alanna.
"No I can't," says the voice. Alanna is suspicious by now. She opens
a little door in the front of the building and finds a small woman in her pyjamas....
meets Mr Big
you're not a giant, you're only a little person!" she says. "Yes"
admits the President.
"But why can't you help me?" says Alanna. The President explains that
her hands are tied - a certain
controls everything - he is boss of a company which owns industries all over the
world, and he pays members of her government lots of money to make sure they do
what he wants.
Alanna and the President are interrupted by the arrival of Mr Big, riding his
limousine. He makes it clear that he doesn't care at all what Alanna says and
expects the President to do just what she is told. Alanna is furious. She asks
the crowd of people if they would vote for a President who wants to cut down all
the trees and destroy homes and kill animals.
Mr Big also appeals to the crowd: "I can give you everything you want - hamburgers,
video games, blue jeans, milkshakes...."
But Alanna says, "What's the point of all that if there's no air left to
She starts to sing a song: "Stop, stop the road" and the crowd joins
in the chorus. Eventually the President, feeling braver now she knows the people
are with her, joins in and together with Alanna, drives out Mr Big.
The President, Alanna, the Tree and the Snake dance a jubilant carnival dance
in celebration. Finally, they sing a song:
Trees breathe our breath
They are our brothers and sisters
Our mothers and our fathers
We must look after them like our children.