This story is set when the world had just been made. An old women (why are the characters always old?) had a big garden full of banana trees. It was too difficult for the woman to pick the bananas, so she asked the biggest monkey in the forest to do it for her. She told him that if he picked all of her bananas he could keep half of them. The biggest monkey agreed and picked every banana for her. He divided the bananas into piles. He gave himself the long, fat bananas and gave her the small, wrinkled ones. When the woman realised what had happened, she was determined to get her own back.
The woman took some wax and made a figure of a boy. She dressed him up, put bananas in a basket on his head and stood him by the side of the road. The biggest monkey swung by and although he already had a lot of bananas, he wanted more. He demanded some from the boy, but of course, the boy didn’t answer. The monkey reached out to knock the basket off the boy’s head, but instead his hand stuck into the wax. The monkey insisted that the boy let him go and give him a banana. He reached up with his other hand and that stuck too. He was so cross that he kicked the boy… of course, his foot got stuck and he fell down with a bump. The monkey insisted that the boy should release him before he knocked all the bananas out of his basket. He kicked hard with his other foot and got stuck in the wax!
The biggest monkey tugged so hard that all of the bananas toppled out, but he couldn’t reach a single one. He howled and yelled until other monkeys ran out of the wood. He demanded that they should release him, but they could not release the monkey. The smallest monkey had an idea. The monkeys climbed to the top of the trees and asked the sun to melt the little wax boy. They did just that and the sun began to melt the wax boy.
The woman was impressed with how clever the monkeys had been, she gave up the banana trees to them. She decided to move to a place where she could grow something for herself. The monkeys claimed the trees!
An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)