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The Monkeys on the Great Tree
In a field located somewhere in South Africa, there lived a family of monkeys. Abana, the mother, was a very loving one. She never wanted harm near her children – Ana, Abda and Abino. Ever since their father was captured when they were still infants and bought to another land by humans, she stood as both their mom and dad – a hard task she was set upon with.
One night, as the monkeys were lying on thick branches of the tree, she narrated a story to them.
“Ana, Abda, and Abino,” Abana started, stroking their fur as she talked. “I will tell you a story about a monkey that I once knew.”
The three monkeys looked at each other with puzzled expressions. Who could be the story about? They can’t tell. So, they made noises, eager to listen to their mother.
“One day, Anko set his foot down this very tree,” Abana spread her arms across their eyes, “He was a brave monkey. He went down to gather food for his family, but something unexpected happened.” Her eyes grew big as she narrated, gaining full attention from them.
“What happened mama?” Abino asked.
“Yes. What happened then, mama?” the two monkeys asked in chorus.
“It was a time of crisis in these trees. There was no food, so he had to go to the other side to sustain his family. He didn’t mind the dangers he was about to face on land. And, aside from being a brave monkey, he was also a skillful one. He managed to hide from predators and get to the other side swiftly. However...” Abana’s voice trailed off and pain was evident in her eyes as she looked away. However, she didn’t want her children to worry, so she continued, “Just as he got to the other side, he was shot by two-legged creatures and swept him away from this land. Since then...I’ve never heard of him.”
“Mama, does it have to end that way?” Ana asked, somehow disappointed.
Abana poked her nose and smiled sadly, “Unfortunately, it ended that way.”
Silence filled the air and the nightly ritual of crickets were the only sound heard. It was a short moment of reflection, before their mom spoke again. “So, I tell you: Do not go down from this tree, my dear children. Your lives are far more important to me than any other thing in this world. Understood?”
“Yes, mama.” They said in unison.
Abana, satisfied with their response, kissed their foreheads and hugged them goodnight. She went down to a lower part of the tree and slept as well.
A new day had come and the sun was shining ever so brightly in the sky. The three monkeys were playing tag around their home, swaying on every branch of the great tree.
“Come and catch me!” Abda shouted, looking back at her brother and sister. She was the fastest and was always the hardest to catch. “You’ll never catch me!”
While swaying from branch to branch, Abda noticed that her brother was missing behind her; only Ana was following. She wondered why, for Abino was always faster than Ana.
But Alas! When she looked back in front, Abino surprised her with a push on the chest, “Tag!”
Abda didn’t expect that to happen and thus, she fell off the tree and rolled down on land. When she got hold of herself, she shook her head and looked at her surroundings. It was completely different from above. She cannot see clearly with tall grasses everywhere, unlike when she was up on the tree’s branches.
Scared, she called for help. She didn’t know how to climb up the tree again. She wanted to cry, but she told herself to be brave. But, all courage slipped from her when she heard a growl – a loud growl. She cried while she searched for the terrifying sound.
Meanwhile, Abino and Ana called their mom as soon as Abda fell. They were afraid that something bad might happen to their sister and they couldn’t bear thinking that she will share the same fate as Anko’s.
“Mom!” They shouted. “Abda fell! Abda fell!”
Hearing this, Abana’s eyes grew wide. Her face held a mixture of fear and worry. Abana swayed her way down the tree and saw Abda. She was relieved. However, fear rushed in her system seeing a tiger surrounding her daughter. She had enough losing Anko, her husband. She cannot lose her daughter, too. No, never.
Abana jumped down the tree. Abda was happy to see her mom.
“Mom!” She cried as they hugged. “Mom, I’m scared!”
“Shh...” was all her mom said, now hearing the growl of the tiger. “Hold on to me.”
Abda embraced her mom around her neck, crying silently. The growl was getting louder and panic started to eat both the monkeys alive.
Just when Abana was climbing the tree, the tiger that instilled fright in their hearts jumped out of nowhere with a loud growl that scared, not only Ana and Abino, but also the birds that nestled on their tree.
The two monkeys closed their eyes and embraced each other as they cried for their mom and sister’s lives. Abino was crying, “I’m sorry, Abda! I’m sorry!”
They wept their hearts out. They were all alone now. They had not lost just one, but two most important people in their lives.
“I forgive you. It wasn’t your fault,” a voice reached the two monkey’s ears. They rubbed tears away from their eyes. When they were able to see clearer, smiles graced from their lips to see their mom and sister Abda, alive. It appears that they had outsmarted the tiger below.
They ran towards them and they all hugged each other.
That night, the three monkeys fell fast asleep. They needed rest from their seemingly tragic day. However, Abana was still awake. She climbed the highest branch of the tree and stared at the brightest start in the night sky.
“Anko, wherever you might be right now, I promise you, I’ll take care of them. I will never let you down.”