Appleseed, Gentle Hero
Appleseed, Gentle Hero is
a one-person play written and performed by Marc Levitt. The performance
takes audiences (Grades1-8) on a forty-minute journey into the life and
times of the man whose real name was John Chapman. Mr. Levitt presents
Chapman as both mythical and real, depicting the doubts, successes and
philosophy of America’s great planters, travelers and philosophers.
Mr. Levitt weaves together comic moments as well as theme music written
by storyteller/musician, Bill Harley.
Who was John Chapman or Johnny Appleseed?
According to Richard Price, the only biographer of John Chapman, he was
born in Leominster, Massachusetts on September 26th, 1774. He left home
at fifteen to travel west, starting in Warren, Pennsylvania, where he
began to plant apple trees. A devotee of the philosopher, Emanuel Swedenborg,
John saw planting apples as part of a spiritual journey in a time when
many in the United States were interested in philosophies that emphasized
the importance of ‘nature’. Apples were also a smart to plant
financially. They could be eaten fresh, used in pies, dried and made into
cider, hard and not hard. In many ways Johnny Appleseed was indeed an
ecologist, realizing that planting trees was not only good for pioneers
but for the environment
A Map where Johnny Appleseed traveled
Questions and answers about Johnnie Appleseed
1. Did he really where a pot on his head?
As far as I know Johnny Appleseed never traveled with a pot on
his head. This idea seemed to be the creation of the Walt Disney studios
2. Did he have a pet wolf?
From what I read, Johnny Appleseed never had a pet wolf
but he did seem to have a very special relationship to animals
3. Did he really stop wearing shoes to punish his feet for stepping on
Hard to say, but he was a vegetarian
4. Was he ever married?
Nope. He didn’t want anyone to live the kind of rugged life
5. Did he get to California?
No, but his legend did.
6. Where did you learn so much about Johnny Appleseed?
I visited the John Chapman archives in Leominster, Massachusetts
Ask your students if they would like to live a life like Johnny Appleseed
did? Why or why not?
2. How many different kinds of apples do you know about? Were there ever
other kinds available and if so, why aren’t they available now?
3. What was different about the way Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio
and Indiana looked in 1830 than they do now?
Marc Levitt’s CD Johnnie Appleseed: Gentle Hero
person performance with music and audio effects)
If you’d like to purchase Marc Levitt’s audio tape or CD,
Johnny Appleseed, Gentle Hero please write to: MarcLevitt@aol.com
Audio Tapes: $12 plus $2.50 for postage
| storyteller | educator
| radio host | filmmaker
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to Bill Harley’s Johnny Appleseed Song:
these gifts from just one seed,
The apple, soul and body feed,
Plant a seed and time will show,
That from one seed a tree will grow.
Oh the glorious apples.
In the fall we pick the trees,
All these gifts for you and meet
We eat them cooked. We eat them raw,
We string them; dry them, in the fall.
Oh the glorious apples.
They hang from rafters in your house,
Away from dog, away from mouse
When the winter winds do blow,
You stir them and a sauce will grow,
All the glorious apples
When the snow is on the ground
And there’s no food left to be found.
The work you’ve done will make you glad
For apple butter’s, what you have.
Oh the glorious apples