Story Written by Bertie for Storynory
And read by Jana Elizabeth
It’s Monkey here. Now, before Jana starts spinning yarns about what a trickster of a fella I am, I just want to let you know I’m not as bad as she makes out. There are animals in this very jungle, my home, who would love to have me for their Christmas dinner - so if I play a little joke on them now and then, that’s only fair isn’t it? Anyway don’t worry. Because they can’t catch me!
Well we’ll see about that Monkey. On with the story.
Christmas in the Jungle
One fine day, late in the year, Monkey sat perched in a tree, his eyes peeking over a towering fence into the man’s garden. This garden was a feast for any monkey, brimming with fruits, nuts, vegetables, and flowers. The fence was touted as "monkey-proof," of course, no match for our smart friend.
Today, something extraordinary caught Monkey’s eye. There stood a tree unlike any other he had seen. A green, pointy, triangle-shaped wonder! Its branches bore the most marvelous fruits of many colours, most of them shimmering in the sunlight.
“Hmm, I wonder if those fruits taste as good as they sparkle?” mused Monkey. With a swift swing on a long branch and a daring leap, he found himself inside the garden. The peculiar tree wasn’t the easiest to climb, but Monkey, determined as ever, managed to grasp a lower branch. He reached up, plucking the oddly shaped fruits, which were surprisingly well-secured. After a bit of a tussle, he had a bundle of them tucked in the crook of his arm. He scampered back over the monkey-proof wall just as the man emerged, shaking his fist.
Back in the safety of the jungle, Monkey inspected his haul of brightly coloured fruit. “Yuck! These don’t taste good at all,” he grimaced. “Not juicy, not soft, not tasty.. But don’t they look just lovely. If I can't eat them, at least I'll have the snazziest tree in the jungle. Everyone will be green with envy!”
And so, he decorated his tree with the bright baubles. True to his prediction, all day long, animals paraded by, their eyes wide with wonder.
“This is a rare and mystical Kaleido Tree,” Monkey boasted, spinning a tall story. “Each colour holds a different magic. But they aren’t ripe for eating yet. On the longest night, under the full moon, their magic will come alive. Just you wait!”
Most animals were quite taken in by Monkey's fantastic tale, but Bear and Tigress? Not so much. They were always wary of Monkey’s antics.
“These ‘marvelous fruits’ are just another one of his monkey shenanigans!” declared Tigress, her eyes narrowed in suspicion.
“You plucked the fruits, er, words, right out of my mouth!” agreed Bear, nodding his large head.
Puzzled by Monkey's latest scheme, they decided to seek wisdom from the old owl, who was conveniently perched in a nearby tree.
“Mr. Owl, what's the story with these glitzy fruits in Monkey's tree?” asked Tigress. “They shimmer and shine, and they even sparkle in the moonlight!”
“I noted them,” replied Owl, his eyes wide and knowing.
“I did too! Noticed those twinkling fruits a mile away, I did,” said Bear, trying to sound just as observant. “But what’s the deal with their super shininess then?”
The owl explained: “Ah, those are from a special tree in the man’s garden, called a Christmas Tree. The humans are celebrating a very special time of year—a time of kindness, gift-giving, and joy.”
“Gifts? Oh, I do love gifts! It’s just that... well, no one ever seems to give any to me,” Bear mumbled, a little forlorn.
“Christmas, you say?” purred Tigress, sounding interested. “Do tell us more.”
“Humans mark the birth of a special baby. It's a time of great cheer, where they are kind to one another and steer clear of mean tricks for a whole week. In some places, the world turns white with a glittering white carpet called snow. It sparkles in the moonlight and is chilly to the touch. Children bundle up in hats and gloves, play with the snow, tossing fluffy snowballs, and even rolling giant snowballs into frosty figures called snowmen, complete with carrot noses! And then, on Christmas night, a jolly old man named Santa Claus rides his sleigh, delivering presents far and wide. It's truly the most magical time of the year!”
“But we’ve never seen anything like that in the jungle before,” grumbled Bear, feeling a bit left out of the magic “What was that cold carpety stuff you mentioned? Does it grow in the jungle?”
“It’s called snow,” tooted Owl. “And actually you have seen it, only from afar. You can observe snow on top of the Big Mountain all year round. Some say that Santa stores his presents in a secret cave up there, hidden away from thieving paws.”
“Intriguing, most intriguing,” commented Tigress.
Tigress and Bear were very pleased with this information, and they told the animals all about this wonderful thing called Christmas, and how Monkey had managed to steal only a few tiny bits of it, and was keeping them to himself.
“Typical monkey behaviour,” said Tigress. “He can’t help stealing and he doesn’t even know what he has stolen. Christmas is a time of giving, not taking, but he’s not smart enough to understand that.”
Soon the other animals lost interest in Monkey’s shiny stolen baubles. And Monkey, who lived to be the centre of attention, felt annoyed.
“I know,” he thought. “I’ll find Santa’s secret cave up on the Big Mountain, and I’ll steal lots of presents and give them away to the other animals. We’ll celebrate Christmas here in the Jungle and I’ll be the most popular monkey of all time! I’ll be more popular than Santa! At least here in the Jungle.”
And so Monkey set off on a long expedition up the Big Mountain. He was an expert at climbing trees, but climbing mountains was a whole deal harder. How his hairy legs strained and ached as he climbed higher and higher, scrambling over rocks and scree. Every now and then he looked back and saw the tops of the trees of the jungle way below. He was so high up! At last he reached the snow line. BRRRRRR…his feet were frozen, but on he plodded, determined to find Santa’s cave. The air grew misty and he shivered.
“I wished there was somebody up here - maybe a bird or goat who could give me directions. But I don’t see anybody… Hang on a moment, something moved. “Hello, anyone there? Is that you Santa?”
Gradually, a small figure appeared out of the mist. He, she or it, walked on two legs, and wore clothes and shoes like a human, only it had green skin and a very large nose.
“Who are you?” Asked the monkey. “I haven't met anyone like you before.”
“I’m a Christmas elf,” replied the figure.
“And what are you doing up here?”
“I work for Santa. And I was about to ask you the same question. What are you doing up here?”
“As it happens, I’m looking for Santa’s Secret Cave where he keeps all his presents. Can you give me directions?”
“After presents, are you?” Asked the Elf. “Only good monkeys get presents, and good monkeys are very rare. In fact, I can tell you that there are hardly any monkeys on our Christmas delivery schedule, because they are all so naughty.”
“Well meet The Exception!” That’s me! I’m not naughty or tricky!” Fibbed the Monkey. “So can I have lots of presents to take back to the jungle? I will give them all away to my friends and relatives, and even to my enemies.”
The Elf was suspicious.
“Hmmm… You are not lying are you? Because we don’t reward monkeys who tell fibs.”
He fixed Monkey with his green elf eyes, and Monkey felt all strange. Do you know what? He had an urge to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In short, he felt honest. This was some powerful Christmas magic that the Elf was using!
“Well actually,” confessed Monkey as if speaking in a trance, .“I did play one or two little tricks this year. Mostly I played them on the Bear and the Tigress which is only fair because they want to eat me.”
And Elf replied:
“What sort of tricks?”
“Well one time,” replied Monkey, trying not to laugh, “I told everyone that there was gold buried just outside the bear’s cave, and all the greedy jungle animals started digging for gold all around where he lives. It made him so cross, he packed his honey pots moved to a different cave.
And then another time, I told the bear and the tigress to go into the laughing bush, which was actually full of angry bees who stung them both so bad, they didn’t come near me for a whole month! aaah ha haa! That was really funny and they both deserved it!”
“Oh you did, did you? So now the truth is coming out. Tell me, did you play any mean tricks on any animals who weren’t trying to eat you?”
“Err well,” said Monkey, feeling rather guilty, another novel feeling for him, “There was one time when Baby Bush cat wanted to be a monkey, so I tied his tail to a branch and he cried for his mummy. I suppose that was rather mean of me really,” confessed Monkey.
The Elf shook his head. “That was very, very mean, indeed, I would say it was spiteful and cruel. No presents for you this year, Monkey. But if you work hard at being good for the coming year, maybe there will be a small gift for you next Christmas.”
“What’s the point of a present if you have to work for it?” Demanded Monkey angrily. “Isn’t there anything for free at Christmas?”
And Elf replied calmly, “There’s not much that’s free these days, I’m afraid Christmas has become very materialistic and commercialised.”
“You mean there’s nothing that’s free at all?”
“I wouldn’t say that. The snow is still free! You can take some snow back to the jungle with you if you like!” Taunted the Elf laughing, who didn’t seem like a particularly kindly elf at all.
And Monkey turned around and headed back down the mountain before he froze. At least it was warm back in the Jungle at Christmas. But as he trudged, he had an idea. “Do you know what? Perhaps I will take some free snow back with me. They’ve never seen snow up close in the jungle before, and everyone will think it’s amazing!”
So he began to pick up snow and rolled it into a ball. “Hmm I’m not going to be able to carry much of this with me,” he thought. Then he remembered how the Wise Old Owl said that human kids rolled snow up into giant snowballs and made snowmen out of them. So he rolled some snow along the ground, and it grew bigger and bigger, until it was almost as big as he was. The snowball was so huge it was hard to push over the stones, so Monkey put his shoulder into it and shoved it as hard as he could. The elf, who had been watching and laughing at his antics, joined in and helped him push. Perhaps he used a little magic, because the snow ball began to roll down the slope growing as it went. When the giant snowball reached the edge of the snow line, it began to pick up speed rolling all the way down the path to the bottom of the mountain. As it happened, bear lived at the foot of the mountain. And just as he was coming out of his cave, stretching and yawning, the enormous snowball rolled right over him and carried on rolling with him inside it all the way to Tigress’s lair where it crashed into a tree. Tigress, hearing a thunderous noise pounced out of her lair, and roared in amazement as a giant snowbear emerged out of the heap and bellowed at the top of its voice.
“Monkey! I know this is one of your tricks!”
And Monkey, who was watching all this from high up the mountain called out!”
“Typical monkey,” said the Elf. “That was a mean trick you played on Bear and Tigress!”
“I didn’t mean to, honest!” Exclaimed Monkey. “Besides you did help me roll the snowball so you can’t talk. But here’s and idea. If you give me two little presents I promise to deliver them to Tigress and the Bear in the true spirit of Christmas!”
“Mmm” said the Elf. “That is a nice Christmassy idea… but if you don’t keep your promise you will be struck off Santas Christmas list permanently…which means for ever in case you don’t know.”
“You can trust me, Monkey’s honour” promised Monkey.
And so Elf reached into his magic sack and handed over a little pot of manuka honey for Bear and a bottle of eau de catnip for Tigress to dab behind her ears.
All the animals were amazed to see snow in the jungle for the first time, and were particularly surprised to see a giant snow bear. But that was nothing compared the sight of the monkey giving Christmas gifts to his old enemies the bear and the tigress. They really had seen nothing like that before, especially when it turned out there was no trick involved.
And guess what! For one entire week the animals were all kind to each other, and didn’t play any mean tricks, or hunt each other. That was some special kind of Christmas magic. Bear and Tigress ate Christmas dinner of nuts and berries and Monkey made a promise to be good for an entire year… Except for a few little tricks now and then of course.
That was the story of Christmas in the Jungle.
We wish you a very Happy Christmas and holiday season!
Until next time, Merry Christmas, Happy holidays & a Wonderful New Year!
From me Jana.. and me Monkey at Storynory. com. Come back soon!