Animal Nativity with knock-knock jokes & talking animals — UK

A Cat, Rat, Mouse and Spider bring the nativity story to life as they meet Mary, the Innkeeper, Shepherds, an Angel and the Magi.

Full of knock-knock jokes, carols and talking animals, the Joyful Animals’ Nativity is a delightful Christmas nativity drama ready for you to use.  

Download ready-to-print scripts:

PDF Joyful Animal Nativity script

WORD Joyful Animal Nativity script

Adapted by Ana Gobledale from “The Cat’s Cradle” by Brian Mountford, Vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.  The original version appears in Brian Moutford’s book, Stars of Wonder: Five Christmas Plays for Children, Tufton Books.   Ana Gobledale adapted the story, with the permission of the author, and put it to rhyme in 2013 for the annual Nativity Service at St Andrew’s United Reformed Church Brockley, London.  This version is updated for a Christmas in July service at Andover United Reformed Church, Hampshire UK, incorporating names of the congregation in the knock-knock jokes.

Characters/readers:  Storyteller (Narrator), Cat, Rat, Mouse, Spider, Innkeeper, Shepherds, Angel, Magi, Mary

Suggestion: create new knock-knock jokes using names from your congregation.


Greetings old and young!
Welcome to our show,
About a Once-upon-a-time,
two thousand years ago,

Some friendly beasts reside here.
Bethlehem’s the town.
One cat, one rat, one spider,
And one mouse who clowns around.

Mouse So that’s me! That’s who I am,
Mathew the mighty Mouse,
I live here in Bethlehem,
This stable is my house.

I earn my cheese by making jokes
And juggling with perception.
I’m good at making babies laugh
When they’ve got indigestion.

Mouse: Knock Knock!
All: Who’s there?
Mouse: Mavis.
All: Mavis who?
Mouse : May-vis be a tale you won’t forget!
All: Ahhhhhhh.

Cat: I’m Simon Stupendous, the Bethlehem cat,
I pad from door to door,
know each shadow of the town,
And go to bed at four.

Spider: I’ve got eight legs, and like to spin;
I’m Sister Dorcas Spider.
I weave the most amazing cloth
From thin to much much wider.

Narrator: They manage to co-habitate
the stable very well.
A friendly group behind the gate,
All tolerate the smell.

Mouse : We mice and rats, sleep under the straw,
where it is snuggly warm.

Spider : And I, the spider, sleep in cracks,
Wherever I can squirm.

Spider: Knock knock
All: Who’s there?
Spider: George
All: George who?
Spider: George not, or ye shall be judged.

Cat : And I, the cat, meow!
I’m usually out at night!
And in the day while others wake,
I sleep curled nice and tight.

The cows, the sheep, the donkey, too,
They sleep inside their stalls.
No problem sharing with our furry friends.
There’s plenty of room for all.
Rat : They eat their yellow hay.
While we rodents snatch the seeds.
Here inside the barnyard
Each and all have what we need.

Spider : When God created spiders,
God was very wise.
For it is I who deftly keep
the stable free of flies.

Mouse : Knock knock!
All: Who’s there?
Mouse : Marian
All: Marian who?
Mouse : Merry-an’ grateful are we!

Narrator: Join us singing the first verse of: O Little Town of Bethlehem
SONG O Little Town of Bethlehem (145)

Rat: The town where we live, dear Bethlehem,
Is really rather dreary.
Nothing too exciting happens.
It makes me rather weary.

Cat: Indeed it can get boring
Way out here in the sticks.
I think I’m more a town cat.
Jerusalem’s where life kicks…
and clicks! (click fingers, and act jazzy)

Narrator Each of the barnyard friends
A special talent has.
Some weave, some sing, some dance.
Each makes some raz-ma-taz!

Mouse: I, the mouse, like to juggle.
At least I like to try.
I earn some extra shekels
entertaining passers-by.

Spider : Articles of softest silk
we spiders like to spin.
Here’s one I’m making for my aunty.
Oh, how she’ll smile and grin!

Rat: We, the rats, great dancers are.
Our audience we capture.
My brilliance is like the stars,
I’m a Middle Eastern treasure.

I do a bit of break-dancing
And then some Kossack-kicking.
Some leaping, jumping prancing, too,
And then some tail-flicking!

Cat : Cuddly warm, I like to stay
I’m just a kitten , truly.
Wool’s the thing with which I play.
But never too unruly.

Cat : Knock knock
All: Who’s there?
Cat : Tom.
All: Tom who?
Cat : Tom to put the kettle on, it’s cold in here!

Narrator: Join us singing the first verse of:
SONG It came upon a midnight clear (144)

Narrator One day my friendly Mideast beasts
something strange perceive.
There in Bethlehem’s deep sleep
Amazing news receive.

Cat : Nothing goes unnoticed here;
I are the stable’s ears and eyes;
I watch the turning of the year,
And see the movements in the skies.

Last week I saw a golden star,
Appearing in the east.
It burned and sparkled like a fire,
And frightened all the beasts.

Spider : In the blackness of the night
Last night I saw a vision;
Reflected in my web strings tight,
A donkey on a mission.

On the donkey rode a girl,
And ‘round her saintly head,
A ring of light shone like the moon.
From which all darkness fled.

And then I heard a voice sing out,
`The Prince of Peace is coming!’
So what’s the vision all about?
I hear the harp strings strumming.

Narrator: Join us singing the first verse of :
SONG Hark the Herald Angels Sing (159)

Rat : Something’s up. There’s something wrong.
I’ve listened to the chatter.
The shepherds heard a heavenly song.
I wonder what’s the matter.

A prophet, with a hairy chin,
Has said the time draws near
For God to put an end to sin,
And God’s son to appear.

Narrator: So what do you think of that?
Do you trust this message from a rat?

St. Luke My name is Luke,
And trust me you may.
For I have written it all down.
There’s truth in what I say.

About the year ‘nought’
the Roman Emperor decides
to make a list of all the folk
who in his land reside.

Everyone must return
to the city of their birth.
To place their name upon the roll
of citizens of worth.

Joseph and Mary travelled
A hundred miles or so
from Nazareth to Bethlehem,
a long, long way to go.

Cat: It was a long and dangerous journey
many days of travel.
Through hard and hilly countryside.
O’er rocky ground and gravel.

Joseph: Really, I don’t want to go.
For Mary is with child.
And travel means weeks out of work,
No income for the while.

Who do these Romans think they are?!
They care not of my need.
No thought for all the little folk.
Of us they take no heed.

The law’s the law, and I must go.
Or prison’s door will greet me.
Upon my donkey she will ride.
And as for the baby, we’ll see.

Narrator: Join us singing the first two verses of:
SONG Once in Royal David’s City (167)

Rat: When they arrive, the market throng
Clatters noisily as they walk along.
Exhausted, hungry, nearly due,
Grateful that their journey’s through.

Mary Where shall we stay? The baby’s near.
Such a crowd. Oh, Joe, steer clear.

Narrator People here, and people there,
talking, shouting, selling beer,
herding sheep through dusty streets,
changing money, on the cheap.

Mouse: Mary, anxious and a bit queasy,
Wishing that the journey was easy,
Worries over Joe’s sore feet,
And wonders…
Mary: Where are we to sleep?

Cat: I know a place. Just follow me.
It’s my master’s guesthouse. Come and see.
Round a corner, to the right,
through an archway . See the light?

Innkeeper Ah, my dear, I’m terribly sorry.
The inn is full, but not to worry.
The beds are taken, we’re out of bread,
But I have a place out back, like a shed.

You and your husband can sleep in the stable,
Join the stock, if you don’t mind the smell.
The sounds are soft, the cattle are lowing
But morning light will soon be glowing.

Innkeeper Knock knock!
All Who’s there?
Innkeeper: Wendy
All Wendy who?
Innkeeper When-dey tell me a baby is coming,
I’m so excited!

Narrator During the night the babe is born,
Joe, while proud, looks weary and worn.
Dad washes babe in the water trough,
wraps him in a towel, not too rough.
And lays him in the straw-filled manger.
There he lies, no more a stranger.

Rat: Knock, knock!
All: Who’s there?
Rat: Joyce?
All: Joyce who?
Rat: Joy…ce to the world!
All: Groan.
Rat: Ah, c’mon. Let’s sing it! Joy to the world!

Narrator: Join us singing the first and last verses of:

Cat: It is an amazing wonder–filled night,
with the moon shining so bright.
And all of us furry stable residents,
honoured to be in the new baby’s presence.

Spider 1: On the hills outside the city
the shepherds are acting a choir,
Singing loudly their little ditty,
having a singsong ‘round the fire.

Narrator: Join us singing the first four verses of:

Narrator As they sing, they think they hear
other voices, bidding good cheer!
At first afraid, for none they see,
The shepherds ask, “Who can it be?”

Shepherd: That star shines bright!
The skies afire!
I think I hear an angel choir!

Angel ‘Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day,
in the City of David,
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
You shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.’

Cat: Knock! Knock!
All: Who’s there?
Cat: Ana
All: Ana who?
Cat: Ana baby will be a sign to you!

Narrator: Join us singing the first two verses of:
SONG: Angels from the realms of glory! (163)

Shepherd Is it real? Is it true?
What to think? What to do?
Let us down to Bethlehem travel.
Go and see, this mystery to unravel.

If this child is so important,
why put him in a manger?
What puzzles me is that it seems
He really is in danger.

King Herod’s in an awful stew
About the rumours spread.
He thinks there’ll be a palace coup –
His face is raging red.

Shepherd As shepherds we’re poor but generous,
Creative with our gifts.
We have no jewels or brocade cloth,
But knowledge of our craft.

We’ve collected honey from wild bees,
humble, sweet and good.
And carved some wooden baby’s toy
From local olive wood.
We bring as gifts a bit of wool,
coarse and warm, three bags full.

Mouse: We watch them bring their humble gifts
The stable gets quite packed.
They stand like sentries beside the babe.
For nothing does he lack.

Spider: The star continues shining bright,
All basking in the beaming light.
Mother Mary, Joe, the Dad,
And in between the little lad.

Cat 1: And then arrives a caravan
three wise folk from the East.
Led by the star, they’ve travelled far
by foot and on their beasts.

Magi: We come upon the family scene.
Hello to Mum and Dad.
Our gifts we share, with joy and praise
As if a king, that lad.
Both shiny gold, and incense pure
we place beside his bed.
Then kneel in adoration,
nothing needing to be said.

Magi: Knock Knock!
All: Who’s there?
Magi: Frank
All: Frank who?
Magi : (singing) Frankincense to offer have I.

Narrator: Join us singing the first verse of
SONG We three Kings of Orient are

Cat: All the gifts brought to the babe!
We want to join in.
We animals have our humble wealth,
Our love to usher in.

Spider : I’ve woven him a special gift,
Of cloth made with the finest thread,
And beaded it with morning mist,
To hang beside his humble bed.

Narrator: Join us singing:

Jesus my brother, kind and good
Was humbly born in a stable rude
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus my brother, kind and good.

“I,” said the cow all white and red
“I gave Him my manger for His bed;
I gave him my hay to pillow his head.”
“I,” said the cow all white and red.

“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm;
He wore my coat on Christmas morn.”
“I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

“I,” said the dove from the rafters high,
“I cooed Him to sleep so He would not cry;
I cooed him to sleep, my mate and I.”
“I,” said the dove from the rafters high.

Thus every beast by some good spell,
In the stable dark was glad to tell
Of the gift they gave Immanuel,
The gift they gave Immanuel.

Rat : Man, it’s cool to be here,
To witness God’s great love.
God is really with us,
Emmanuel from above.

Cat : But then we start to wonder,
Is that the end, the all?
Or is there more for each of us,
Great beast or mouse so small?

Mouse: We know, we see, and we believe,
But more is yet to come.
For each of us there is the call
To catch the tune and beat the drum.

Spider: Wait wait!
Knock! Knock!
All: Who’s there?
Spider: Pam
All: Pam who?
Spider: [sing] Pa-m ram-pam pam pam, me and my dram…Drum!
No, no, no. Let’s try again.
Knock, knock!
All: Who’s there?
Spider: Ron
All: Ron who?
Spider: Ron, ton, ton, ton, me and my dron…Drum!
Oh, I give up!
Blame Ana, she wrote these silly jokes!
Back to the story!

Mouse: Christ the child of Bethlehem
The babe is just the start.
Each of us is called to do
Our fair and loving part.

Cat: This story Once-upon-a-time,
two thousand years ago,
Is ours to share with others,
So all God’s love will know!

Narrator: For on this day a babe was born
A king who yearns for peace.
To follow him, may we be sworn,
To serve him like these beasts.

These friendly beasts of Bethlehem
Remind us of God’s call.
A cat, a rat, a spider,
And a mouse, God bless them all.

I hope you are inspired
By our tale in the stable
I hope your hearts are fired
To do what you are able!

Join us singing the first and last verse of:
SONG O Come all ye faithful (160)

Narrator: I thank you for your listening ears.
And now for all,
(gesture toward the actors)
give a great cheer! [YEAH!]

And to our congregation,
Now that our show is done,
Thank you for your faithfulness,
God bless you everyone!

Cat, Rat, Spider, Mouse: God bless you everyone!

Spider: Last one, I promise. Knock, knock!
All: Who’s there.
Spider: Peter
All: Peter who?
Spider: I’m peter-ing out on these knock-knock jokes!
But the good news lives on!
Christ is born!
Please hop up and share the good news with everyone around you saying, Christ is born!
And responding “Christ is born today!”

Everyone: Greet one another

Mouse: I’ve got one! I’ve got one! Knock! Knock!
All: Who’s there?
Mouse: Lettuce
All: Lettuce who?
Mouse: Lettuce sing another carol!
Spider: Carol who? (falls about laughing)
Narrator: Carol, please Maestro!
Lettuce start with the chorus of “Go tell it on the mountain,” number 164. Then sing verse 3 followed by the chorus one final time!