adapted by Tod Gobledale, UK
Narrator/storyteller, Eli, Samuel, God
Narrator: Let us go to the temple at Shiloh, in Israel, where the boy Samuel lives with the High Priest, Eli.
Eli: [Walks up the center aisle slowly, tapping his cane before him to find his way. At about the fourth pew from the front, he calls out to Samuel]. Samuel! Samuel!
Sam: [Hurry up from the back, take Eli’s arm.] Sir, here I am.
Eli: Samuel, my boy. Help me to bed. My eyes are dim. I am so old. [Go to the front, up the chancel stairs, turn to face the congregation]. Soon my service as High Priest of this temple will be through. [Sit down.]
Sam: What will I do then?
Eli: [Puts a hand on Samuel’s shoulder.] Your mother dedicated you to this temple. You will continue living and working here. You will serve my sons, as you have served me, when they become the High Priests.
Sam: [Samuel looking down, a bit embarrassed] But… but your sons…
Eli: I know. [Looks up, away from Samuel, a sad look on his face.] You do not like my sons. But in our tradition sons take over their fathers’ work. And, as I said, Samuel, your mother dedicated you to this work in the temple. Continue in your faith. God will show you what to do.
Sam: [Samuel covers Eli with the blanket and asks], Are you all settled?
Eli: Yes, thank you, lad. Now, you go to bed, too. [Eli settles down to sleep in the chair. Samuel at a distance from Eli, settles in his small chair to sleep, too.]
God: [Loud strong voice] Samuel! Samuel!
Sam: [Samuel awakes and stands up quickly, rubbing his eyes] Here I am. Just a minute. I am coming. [Goes over to Eli, reaches out to him, kneels] Here I am, you called me.
Eli: [Stirs, opens his eyes] I did not call. Go back. Lie down. Get some sleep.
[Samuel returns to his bed/chair and settles back to sleep.]
God: [Louder] Samuel! Samuel!
Sam: [Arises, listens again. Heads quickly to Eli] Here I am. You called me.
Eli: I did not call you my, child. Go. Lie down again.
Sam: [Returns to bed/chair and lies down.]
Eli: [Wondering aloud, but to himself, looking at the congregation] The boy is full of faith. I wonder […pause…] Could it be the voice of God calling to him? Nooo… in all my years, I have never heard God’s call. And Samuel is still a child. He does not yet know the Lord. [Eli settles back in his chair/bed].
God: [Loudly] Samuel! Samuel!
Sam: [Arises quickly and goes to Eli] Here I am, for you DID call me!
Eli: [Speaking to the congregation] It IS God calling the boy. [Speaking to Samuel] Go, lie down. If you hear the voice again, you shall say, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” [Eli and Samuel settle down in their respective chairs]
God: Samuel! Samuel!
Sam: [Stands up and looks our over the congregation] Speak, Lord, for your servant hears. Pause…
[Eli and Samuel return to their seats with the congregation]