Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 27, 1998

A monkey learns a lesson


This is a story about monkeys - big, little, old, and young. Most monkeys come from Africa, but other countries have them, too.

In this bunch of monkeys, there was one small boy. He got in so much trouble, we called him Trouble Monkey, or T.M.

Now, T.M. would take the food away from the baby monkeys and go around and hit the "old" monkeys. The caretaker would fill the water bowls and T.M. would go and dump them. The caretaker and his helpers said, "We have got to do something."

The caretaker, whose name is Jim, said, "Get some bananas. We will put red pepper on one and we will see if we can teach him not to take bananas from the other monkeys."

I gave a plain banana to T.M. and he grabbed it and ran off to eat it. He came back and the caretaker gave him one with red pepper on it. He ate it very fast, but nothing happened.

So I gave him another banana with red pepper on it. He ate half of it and started to jump and yell. He ran to the water bowl, but the bowls were empty because he had dumped them out earlier.

He came runnong back to the fence. He kept jumping and screaming. Then he ran to one of the big monkeys and tried to take a banana from him. But the big monkey just hit him. Nobody wanted to help him because he was always so mean to them.

Jim held out a freshn banana to T.M., but the monkey wouldn't take it. He remembered that Jim was the person who had given him the first peppered banana.

Jim took a bite of the banana and handed it back to T.M. When T. M. saw that the banana was safe to eat, he took the banana and finished it. His mouth felt much better now.

The next day Jim fed the monkeys again. This time, T. M. didn't try to take the other monkey's bananas.

Jim let T.M. out of the cage and put a chain around his neck. He let T. M. follow him while he put water in the monkey's dishes.

T. M. behaved very well and didn't try to dump the dishes out. Jim decided to let the monkey come to the office with him.

I gave T. M. a slice of apple. I told the others, "Ever since we gave T.M. the red pepper, he is a good boy. Take him out of his cage and play with him when you have time."

As we ate our lunches in the office, T. M. did tricks and made us laugh. The workers shared their lunches with T. M.

All at once, T. M. started to scream and he jumped on my back. I looked on the floor to see what had scared T. M. so badly. The only thing I could see was a tiny ant.

Monkeys eat ants in Africa, but T. M. just screamed every time he saw one. You could tell that he had never actually been to Africa like the older monkeys.

After that time, T. M. came out of his cage every day and rode on my back while I fed the other monkeys. He was a very good boy.

Boys and girls, don't fuss with your food. Your mother might decide to trick you like we tricked T.M.! 

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