Catch You Later
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Catch You Later

May 28, 2023


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Have you ever had to think on your feet?

“Thinking on your feet” doesn’t mean you ponder something over on your tootsies! It means you use your brain to make quick – and quick-witted – decisions about what to do next.

In today’s story, we’ll meet a character who definitely thinks on her feet – and winds up putting her best foot forward!

Our story is called “Catch You Later.” Versions of this tale come from Bengal, a region of South Asia that overlaps two countries: India and Bangladesh.

Voices in this episode include Evan Casey, Dawn Ursula, and Nazneen Contractor.

Nazneen Contractor co-stars in Canada’s number-one comedy, “Children Ruin Everything.” She’s also voiced characters in “Star Wars Resistance” on Disney+ and “Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters” on Netflix. Her upcoming Hallmark series “Holidazed” premieres this holiday season.

This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. It was edited by Nora Saks. Original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.

Coloring Page

ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes, click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.

Things To Think About After Listening

You can be a barber by making a Paper Bag Haircut!

You’ll need a paper bag, something to draw with, and a pair of scissors; make sure you have a grown-up with you to help you out.

First, take your paper bag and with the open side of the bag as the top, draw a face. (Be sure to leave plenty of room for what will soon become the hair!)

Once you’ve given your bag a face, it’s time to give it a haircut! Snip the open part of the paper bag however you’d like. Then you can decorate your Paper Bag Haircut with any materials you have on hand: glitter, yarn, etc.

When you’ve finished, show your Paper Bag Haircut to someone you have fun with. And, if you’d like, show it to us! Grown-ups, you can snap a photo of your kiddo and their Paper Bag Haircut and email it to [email protected].

Musical Spotlight: Dilruba

The bowed stringed instrument known as the dilruba (also spelled dilrupa) originated in India. Its name comes from the Persianized Hindustani word دلربا/दिलरुबा (dilrubā), which translates to "that which ravishes or steals the heart.”

Traditionally, you play the dilruba in a seated position, with the lower part of the instrument placed on or in front of your lap; the top of the instrument rests against your shoulder. To make sound, you use a horsehair bow against the strings. The dilruba has four main metal strings, twenty “sympathetic” strings (i.e. additional strings that give extra resonance) and nineteen frets (thin strips of material along the neck that specify positions for your fingers).

Fun fact: the dilruba became more widely known outside India in the 1960s when Western artists started using it in their music. One famous example is The Beatles’ use of the instrument in George Harrison’s song, “Within You Without You.”


NARRATOR: Some time ago, there lived a barber. But the barber didn’t have her own shop where customers came to get their haircut and their beards trimmed. Instead, she carried her shop with her, in the form of a canvas bag containing all of her tools: a pair of scissors, a razor, and a round handheld mirror.

Canvas bag in hand, the traveling barber journeyed from town to town, in hopes of finding work.

BARBER: Haircuts! Quick, quality haircuts here! Just three copper pieces a cut!

NARRATOR: The barber was very gifted at her trade, so in every town she visited, customers lined up to receive her services.

If they could afford to pay full price, the barber charged them full price.

BARBER: That’ll be three copper pieces, please!

NARRATOR: But if they were a few coins short…?

BARBER: Not to worry, friend; this haircut’s on me!

NARRATOR: So as you can see, not only was the barber gifted; she was good-hearted, too.

The barber didn’t make a whole lot of money cutting hair and trimming beards. Yet as she traveled around she managed to earn enough copper pieces to pay for food each day and lodging each night.

Until one summer, when things took an unexpected turn.

Summers were always rainy in the barber’s part of the world, but this summer was the rainiest yet! Torrents of water poured from the sky, and swift, mighty floods swept across the land, washing out all the crops.

Food became scarce and people began tightening their belts. Haircuts were soon viewed as a luxury: something only the very, very wealthy could afford. So as the barber traveled from town to town…

BARBER: Haircuts! Quick, quality haircuts here! Just three copper pieces a cut!

NARRATOR: …customers no longer came flocking her way.

BARBER: Oh dear. I haven’t cut a single hair or trimmed a single whisker in weeks! Seems nobody can afford a haircut these days – which means I’m on the verge of going broke.

NARRATOR: The barber thought about other trades she might learn.

BARBER: Maybe I could become a potter! Or a cobbler? Oh, who am I trying to kid? Cutting hair has been my life! It’s all I’ve ever known! And besides, people are pinching their pennies so tightly these days, barely anyone is spending money on anything – save for the occasional cup of rice or loaf of bread. Ugh! Whatever will I do?

NARRATOR: In the past, the barber always spent her nights in a boarding house or hotel or inn. But with business so slow, it wasn’t long before she was down to her last copper piece.

BARBER: Ugh! One copper piece won’t get me a room anywhere! Guess I’ll have to camp out in the forest tonight.

NARRATOR: So the barber made her way into a tangled thicket of trees that seemed to stretch on for miles.

BARBER: Yikes! This forest is so dense I can barely see the sky! The moon is out tonight, but you’d never know it: it’s dark as a dungeon! I’ll spend just one night in the woods, then get out in the morning.

NARRATOR: The barber found a great big banyan tree with a deep round hollow in its massive, twisted trunk. She stuffed her bag of tools inside the hollow, then curled up on the ground and went to sleep.

But she hadn’t been snoozing long when…

GHOST: Hmmm! What have we here???

NARRATOR: …a strange voice jolted her awake!

GHOST: Could it be a mortal?! Mmm! What a tasty snack this mortal will make!

NARRATOR: The barber snapped open her eyes. And what should she see floating in the air before her… but a ghost!

BARBER: Uhhhh, I’m sorry... Did you just say “snack”????

NARRATOR: The ghost smiled a hair-raising smile.

GHOST: Why yes! I did say “snack”! You mortals always make the most delicious morsels!

NARRATOR: The barber felt her blood run cold. Growing up, she had heard stories about hungry ghosts who haunted the forests. Famished phantoms who would feast on anything… including people! She had never known these stories were actually true.

But one thing she did know?

She refused to become this ghost’s next meal!

The barber’s heart was racing a mile a minute. But her mind was racing even faster as she began to think up… a plan.

BARBER: Okay, ghost. I know you want to eat me, but I have to tell you: that’s really not a good idea.

GHOST: Oh? And since when is a hungry ghost satisfying his hungry appetite “not a good idea”???

BARBER: Well, it’s not a good idea when you’re dealing with someone like me! I know you think you’re the scary one… but trust me, ghost. Once you realize what I can do, it’s you who will be running away scared!!!

NARRATOR: The ghost scoffed.

GHOST: Me?!? Scared of a mortal like you?!? Never!

BARBER: I wouldn’t be so sure about that!

NARRATOR: The barber reached for her canvas bag – the one where she kept her scissors, razor, and handheld mirror. She held it up toward the ghost.

BARBER: You see this bag? This is the bag I use… for catching ghosts!

GHOST: Catching ghosts??!??

BARBER: Yes! And it’s funny, because the last ghost I caught looks an awful lot like you. Have a look!

NARRATOR: The barber yanked the bag open. When the ghost peered inside, he recoiled in terror!

GHOST: Yahhhhhh!

NARRATOR: Because what should he see staring up at him from inside the bag… but a gruesome, ghastly ghost!

Or so he thought…

What do you think the ghost really saw inside the barber’s bag?

We’ll find out what it was – and what happens next – after a quick break.


NARRATOR: I’m Rebecca Sheir. Welcome back to Circle Round. Today our story is called “Catch You Later.”

Before the break, a poor barber was sleeping in a dark forest when she was awoken by a hungry ghost who wanted to eat her!

Thinking fast, the barber showed the ghost her canvas bag, and told him she used it to catch ghosts just like him. When she held the bag open, the ghost could have sworn he saw another ghost inside!

GHOST: That ghost in your bag! He’s so gruesome, so ghastly! Please don’t catch me and put me in your bag with him!

NARRATOR: The barber felt a rush of joy – and relief. Her plan was working! Because unbeknownst to the ghost, when the barber opened up the bag she had held her round mirror across the top, with the reflective side facing up. The ghost had never seen a mirror before, so when he spied his own reflection, he mistook it for another ghost!

BARBER: Okay ghost. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t catch you and put you in my bag! After all, I catch all the ghosts I find! And I stuff them in my bag, where they’ll never escape!

NARRATOR: The barber could have sworn she saw the ghost shiver.

GHOST: Oh please, mortal! Have mercy! If you keep me out of that terrible bag I’ll do anything you say. Anything! We ghosts can work all kinds of magic, you know – and I’ll gladly work my magic for you. Just please don’t put me in your bag!

NARRATOR: The barber pretended to think it over.

BARBER: Well… if you’ll really do anything, then fine. Here’s what I want. It’s the middle of the night, so I am going back to sleep. But by the time I wake up in the morning, I want you to bring me one-thousand gold coins. Otherwise, into my bag you go!

NARRATOR: The ghost bobbed his head up and down.

GHOST: Yes, mortal! Whatever you say, mortal! I’ll be back in the morning with one-thousand gold coins!

NARRATOR: And with that, he flew off in a frenzy.

The barber breathed a sigh of relief, then went back to sleep beneath the banyan tree.

And when she opened her eyes the next morning…the first thing she saw was a large brass-bound chest… and it was filled to the brim with gold coins! Hovering above the chest was the ghost.

GHOST: Good morning, mortal! I’ve brought your one-thousand gold coins, just as you requested!

NARRATOR: The barber tingled with excitement. With such a fortune, the goodhearted woman knew she could hold on to just a fraction of it, and still have plenty left to share with friends and strangers in need.

BARBER: Well done, ghost! Very well done. But I have one more request. As a traveling barber, I don’t have a home. So I want you to build me a house – just outside this forest. Can you do that? Or do you want me to stuff you inside my bag…?

NARRATOR: The ghost responded without hesitation.

GHOST: Of course I can do that! Give me a few days and you’ll be living in the comfiest, coziest house there ever was!

NARRATOR: The barber furrowed her brow.

BARBER: “A few days”…??? A few days? Oh no, ghost! I want my house much sooner than that!

NARRATOR: The ghost’s eyes widened.

GHOST: How much “sooner”...?

BARBER: Well… you did say you can work all kinds of magic. So I want you to use your magic to build me a house! By nightfall! Or you will live in my bag forever!

NARRATOR: The ghost knew better than to put up a fight.

GHOST: Very well, mortal! Whatever you say! I will build you a comfy, cozy house by nightfall!

NARRATOR: And with that, he flew off in a flurry.

Once the ghost was out of the forest, he went to work building the barber’s house. Using his magic, he erected the floors, and just as he was starting the walls, who should come drifting by…


NARRATOR: …but his mother!

MOTHER GHOST: What in the name of all things ghostly do you think you’re doing?

GHOST: What does it look like I’m doing, Mother? I’m building a house!

MOTHER GHOST: I can see that! But why? What do us ghosts need a house for? Unless of course we’re going to haunt it!

GHOST: Well we’re definitely not going to haunt this one! This one will be home to a ghost catcher!


GHOST: A ghost catcher! A powerful mortal who catches ghosts so they can never get free! I must finish building her house by nightfall. Otherwise the ghost catcher will lock me in her bag with the other ghastly ghosts she’s already captured!

NARRATOR: The ghost’s mother could hardly believe her ghostly ears.

MOTHER GHOST: Son! Do you hear what you’re saying? Who ever heard of a mortal being that’s more powerful than a ghost? Take me to her. I will teach this foolish person to treat us ghosts with the respect we deserve!

NARRATOR: So the ghost led his mother back into the forest, where the barber was waiting beneath the banyan tree. The ghost’s mother let out the ghostliest cackle she could muster.

MOTHER GHOST: So this is the “powerful mortal” who thought she could catch you, son? Nonsense! I say we show her what’s what – and gobble her up for breakfast!

NARRATOR: The barber felt her stomach twist. If she didn’t come up with another clever idea, she would wind up in the ghosts’ stomachs!

BARBER: You say you wish to eat me for breakfast. But that won't be possible. Because YOU are about to become my prisoner! Along with this frightful ghost here!

NARRATOR: The barber grabbed her bag and yanked it open. Just like she did the last time, she held her round mirror across the opening – hoping the ghost’s mother would fall for her trick. And wouldn’t you know it… she did!

MOTHER GHOST: Ohhhhh! That ghost in your bag IS frightful! Whatever you do, please don’t put me in your bag with that dreadful creature! I’ll do anything you want. Anything at all!

NARRATOR: A sly smile crossed the barber’s lips.

BARBER: Well… if you’ll really do anything I want… then I want you to help your son build my house! Have it finished by nightfall, and I will let you both go. Otherwise it’s into the bag you go!

NARRATOR: The ghost’s mother knew better than to push back.

MOTHER GHOST: Alright, mortal! We will have your house finished by nightfall! Come on, son. Let’s get to work!

NARRATOR: And with that, both ghosts flew off in a fluster.

The two ghosts got to work using their magic. By nightfall, they had constructed a comfy, cozy house for the barber. And the barber finally spent the night under her own roof.

She enjoyed it so much that she decided to turn the front room of her comfy, cozy house into a comfy, cozy barbershop. And just like before, if customers could afford to pay full price, the barber charged them full price.

BARBER: That’ll be three copper pieces, please!

NARRATOR: But if they were a few coins short…?

BARBER: Not to worry, friend; this haircut’s on me!

NARRATOR: Once word spread about the barber’s new shop, customers came flocking from across the country to get their haircut and their beards trimmed by the gifted, good-hearted woman.

As for the ghosts… the barber never saw them again. They did their best to steer clear, because they knew that up against such a talented ghost catcher, they didn’t stand a ghost of a chance!