Life in the jungle is frightening! There are too many hungry creatures with fangs and with claws that can come out of nowhere and eat you!! That’s why monkeys love trees more than anything. Up in them is safer than in the bushes beneath them and they can easily find all the fruits and the bugs they love eating. Monkeys just love it! …But even up on the treetops a monkey can swing into danger. Nowhere is totally safe in the jungle! The monkeys are often surprised from the green maze of branches by huge birds that hunt with long claws and especially by huge tree-snakes. Yes, there are snakes that hide in the branches waiting for food to come by them instead of hunting like others, and quite often a monkey falls prey to these lurkers. They are the fear!! They are the reason why monkeys and really all beasts in the jungle are always a little bit edgy about surprises. It is because in the jungle surprises are nothing but scary and deadly.
The tale of the scary monkey begins on a very wet, stormy morning. The winds shook the branches like never and the lightning and thunder had every beast taking extra precautions. Above it was darkened with storm clouds and with the downpour; it was too much of a slippery day to be hopping about in the branches. Nonetheless, the monkeys were up and about taking chances. They were sifting the treetops for waterlogged bugs that taste great and that always cling to the branches for shelter.
That’s when one of them, a clumsy little baby monkey fell off from a branch while he was wrestling his biggest bug ever for breakfast.
In his panic he desperately reached for his mother’s tail, which was the only thing near him that he could reach at the moment.
He grabbed it and pulled it so hard and he screeched so terribly loud that he gave mother monkey the scare of her life at the same time.
Her fright was so harsh that she leaped up in the air with a scream of her own sending all other monkeys to scamper in fear away from her. She also brought him back up from the fall still attached to her tail and still screeching. She saved him!
Back on a branch the baby monkey was safe and he hugged it. …But that baby monkey was also laughing like crazy about the horrible scare that he gave to his mother. He just kept on laughing and laughing instead of being grateful that she had saved him.
Meanwhile mother monkey was furious. No monkey likes getting pulled with a screech by the tail and much less by surprise. That’s just frightening! Still, to the baby monkey the scare was a much different story. To him it was the funniest thing ever and he could not help himself but to keep laughing at her. He loved her reaction so much that he wanted to see it again and again more and more.
From that day on, the little monkey made it his hobby to scare the life out of all other monkeys. He would sneak from behind or below or from above and he would let out a horrible screech with a yank to their tails while unexpected. He scared them while they were eating, while they were sleeping, even while sitting on branches enjoying the peace of the treetops he scared them. He had them all shaking and twitching so nervous, holding their tails all the time and always looking out for him to come out of nowhere and scare them. They even gave him the nickname of Scary Monkey.
Meanwhile he kept on scaring monkeys and he loved life so much that way. Then he loved life even more after one day he woke up from his funniest dream with a brand new idea. It was something much greater than just pulling the tail of his fellow monkeys, which was really beginning to bore him after having scared each one of them every day for the longest. What that little monkey had in his mind was to yank on the tail if he could of every beast great and small in the jungle, even if it took him a lifetime to do so. He was in awe at his little brain for such an amazing idea.
He thought it was genius! He had already dreamt about a hippo’s reaction and a leopard’s to getting pulled by the tail with a scream while unexpected and it was incredibly funny. He had to go ahead and do it.
That same day and without wasting a moment, he left all the monkeys behind and he embarked on his quest to scare the rest of the jungle. Then right away he came across a great beast as it peacefully grazed while off guard near the edge of the jungle. It was a huge mountain rhino.
He silently leaped tree to tree and branch to branch and he swung, until he was just close enough for the scare. He had not even scared the poor creature just yet and he was already bursting to laugh since he could already picture the funny reaction.
Then he yanked on the tail of the beast at his hardest and he screeched too at his loudest. He scared the rhino so bad that he sent it to scamper in screams tearing down all little trees in its path until it rammed into one of the big ones.
“I will get you back for this some day, scary monkey!!” the rhino yelled at him, “I swear I’ll get you!!!” He was so awfully angry after he looked and he saw that the monkey was laughing like crazy about him.
Meanwhile, the satisfied little monkey just laughed on and on and he rolled on the dirt like being tickled. He was now completely convinced that his idea of scaring more than just monkeys was in deed something genius. It was a whole lot more fun and he loved it!
Then he went on to scare the trumpeting screams out of elephants.
He scared the leopards that napped on the trees catching breeze after eating!
He scared all the snakes!
One by one he scared every fish in the lake and the river!!
He even scared all the hippos too and he sent every one of them back splashing to water and screaming in tears, all with the fright that some hungry creature had snuck out of nowhere to eat them!!
That scary monkey was better than no other beast ever was at the scaring. He was the best of the best and he went on scaring better and better.
…Until at last came the time when he had scared every beast great and small in the jungle, just like he had set out to do after he got bored of scaring only the poor little monkeys.
Nevertheless, his legendary achievement was to be no triumph at all for the scary monkey. …And this was not only because soon he was bored of the same over again after running out of fellows to scare in the jungle, but because everyone he had scared in the place wanted to get back at him very badly.
Things changed a lot for the scary monkey since then. He had no reason to laugh like a nut anymore or to be proud of being naughty. …And everywhere that he went whether it was on the ground or the treetops, or even if he went to the lake or the river, he got yanked very hard by the tail with a scream or a roar or a screech from whatever the beast trying to get even with him.
As a result he became a terrible wreck of nerves. He was so scared that he could not even sleep. His eyes became red and they cracked. He spent his days shaking and twitching in fear and holding his tail all the time so that no one would pull it and scare him.
That scary monkey had also gotten what he deserved for scaring around all the others. He sure did, and to this day he can still be heard screaming all day and all night in the jungle. He screams terrified for his life whenever some other beast gives a yank to his tail while unexpected and scares him…
…And that’s the end of the story behind those screams that you hear all the time in the jungle, little one. Now you know! Written and illustrated by Angel Lebron
For Melaine, Tiffany, and my little man Angelo Lebron. I love you!!