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The Fingers and the Thumb

Author Barry Stewart Mann
Air Date 2/28/2007

The Finger and the Thumb Transcript

According to a story from West Africa, the thumb wasn’t always off to the side of the other four fingers. Long ago, the thumb was next to the other fingers, and they used to play together happily. 

“La la la la la la.” 

One day, the Mama and the Papa said, “Fingers, we need to go out. You stay inside while we’re gone.” “All right,” the fingers replied. Then the Mama and the Papa kissed them goodbye, mw-mw-mw-mw-mw, and left. 

The fingers played for a while, “La la la la la.” Then Pointer said, “Hey, you uys. Look. Outside, over the fence, in the woods, I see some berries.” 

Little Finger said, “I love berries!” Third Finger said, “Let’s get some.” And Tall Finger said, “Yeah, come on.”

But Thumb said, “No, you guys. Mama and Papa said to stay inside.” 

“Aw, Thumb, you’re no fun!” “You ruin everything.” “We’ll just go without you.” “Who cares about you?”

Thumb’s feelings were hurt, so he went off by himself. The other fingers went outside, over the fence, and into the woods. And they gobbled up all the berries they could. 

Suddenly, Pointer said, “Hey, you guys. Look! The sun is going down. We better hurry home.” 

So they went out of the woods, over the fence, and back inside. But Thumb was still off hiding. 

Who came home but the Mama and the Papa. They looked at the fingers and said, “What’s that juice around your mouths?” “Did you go off into the woods and eat berries?”

The fingers had to confess. Then the Mama and the Papa looked around. “Hey!” “Where’s Thumb?” 

Thumb came out. “Mama, Papa, I told them to stay inside. But they wouldn’t listen.” 

The Mama and the Papa looked at each other and said, “Thumb, you’re the only one who followed directions.” “So, from now on, you’re in charge.” 

Ever since, Thumb has kept his distance from the other fingers. And ever since, Thumb has been in charge. That’s why there are a lot of things your fingers just can’t do without the help of your thumb. 

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