Short Stories: The Greedy Monkey

One day in the rainforest, The Monkey was having a difficult time finding a banana to eat. He climbed up and around all the trees in search of a piece of the sweet golden fruit, but there were none anywhere to be found. It had been a tough morning of swinging and searching that left him more hungry than he was in the first place. His stomach groaned with pain. How could he get a banana? Steal one? Nah. That wouldn’t be fair on his friends. Keep looking? Nope. Not anymore. He was too hungry for that.

With an angrily groaning stomach, he climbed up a tree to sit and figure out a plan. As he sat, one of his friends walked past with a mouth-watering banana in hand. The Monkey stared, he was jealous of his friend. Where did he get that banana? He was certain there were none to be found. His friend hadn’t opened it yet, so The Monkey considered it as good as his.

His hunger made him cunning; he was desperate for food. His friend was getting further away, so the monkey had to act fast. He picked five leaves from the tree and swung down. His friend was startled by a thud, but realised that it was just The Monkey. He shown his friend the five leaves and explained that he wished to swap the five leaves for the banana. At first, his friend was confused and skeptical, until the monkey explained that he had more leaves than his friend had bananas, so it really was a great deal. It all made sense now, and his friend happily swapped the banana for the leaves and they parted ways.

He was so proud of himself! Five leaves for a banana was a great deal, he thought. This banana was special – the first he’d had all day – so he ate it next to the waterfall with pride. He pinched the bottom of the skin, twisted the nub, peeled it, and discarded it before chomping down. After his delicious snack, he rushed to the nearest tree and picked all the leaves he could and kept them in a pile in a hole beside the waterfall.

The next day, he carried ten leaves with him and went on the search for more of his friends. Soon enough, he found one of them sitting up a tree with a delicious, golden banana. The Monkey swung his way up and offered his friend five leaves for the banana. His friend was confused by the offer, but was convinced on how good it was after The Monkey explained that he was to give his friend more leaves than he has bananas. His friend snatched the leaves and gave The Monkey the banana, success!

Later that day, he saw another friend sitting with his son, daughter, and mate in the sun where there were few trees. He was about to give his only banana to his crying daughter, until The Monkey bombarded over and explained that he wished to give his friend five leaves in return for the banana. At first, his friend was confused by the strange offer, until The Monkey explained that his friend would have more leaves than he has bananas if he participated. At the thought of this, he swapped the banana for the leaves and shared them with his family, leaving him with no bananas. The Monkey made his way back to the waterfall to collect leaves.

As days passed, The Monkey continued to use leaves to swap for bananas and ate them without the effort of going to find them in the trees, meaning he was also picking a big sum of leaves. He was stuffing himself on about six a day! All in return for exactly five leaves.

Eventually, six bananas wouldn’t fill his growing stomach, and he couldn’t get more than that at the rate he was going on his own. He tracked down two of his closest friends and explained to them his strategy for getting bananas. They thought it was strange, but were convinced because it worked. The Monkey offered his close friends some of his leaves in return for their help. At first, they were baffled at the value of the leaves, until The Monkey explained to them that they would own more leaves than they currently have and all they had to do was swap them for bananas. After this, they agreed to help The Monkey. They would each be rewarded with five leaves for every banana they contributed.

They stuck to this system for many days. The Monkey gained a heap of bananas – more than he could eat by himself – and his friends were left with a pile of leaves that they didn’t know what to do with. With this, he explained to all of his friends that they could get two bananas by swapping nine leaves. They were happy to participate as this was clearly a good deal.

Over more days, The Monkey realised that he was left with too many leaves. Since he was in a more powerful position, he asked more of his close friends to travel far and wide to get bananas from strange monkeys. For those, he swapped a banana for a total of six leaves each, and gave them two bananas in return for eleven leaves. All of the monkeys were happy to be part of this system.

Many more days past, and The Monkey had grown fat and lethargic from stuffing himself. He tried to climb a small tree to pick leaves but it collapsed under his weight. As he sat in the ditch, a few of his close friends returned to him, and he was happy at the thought of bananas they would bring.

Unfortunately, they explained to The Monkey that they were unable to get bananas because his friends were struggling to find any. Not only this, but they were growing hungry as they didn’t have enough leaves to swap for bananas. What a dilemma this was; The Monkey was too fat to get leaves, and his friends were too leafless to get bananas. It seemed like it was about time he give it all up and start searching for bananas himself. However, he was hungry, greedy, and cunning, and explained to his close friends the solution.

The Monkey told them he will recruit more of his friends to climb trees and pick the leaves from them and would give them a leaf each out of every five they picked, leaving three for himself. At first these friends were unsure, until he explained that they would be left with more leaves than they have now. Soon enough, they were pleased to be a part of the deal.

The Monkey had another idea. From this moment on, he would sit beside the waterfall and manage the leaves, bananas, and monkeys, instead of doing the trade. After all, somebody needed to run the scheme. He felt as though the stash needed a close eye kept on them at all times. Even more, The Monkey decided he would now give his friends in the immediate area six leaves for their bananas, and would give them two bananas for an amount of eleven leaves. The monkeys that lived further away would get a banana at the cost of seven leaves, and two bananas for twelve. On top of this, he hired strange monkeys from another rainforest to acquire bananas and return them to him. He would give these unknowing monkeys three leaves for each banana they gave him.

The Monkey was enjoying a pleasurable life. He had all the bananas and all the leaves he could ask for, without having to do any work. Every monkey in the surrounding rainforests were pleased because they could get bananas and leaves in order to survive with less effort than before.

The next day, The Monkey’s close friends delivered the sad news that some of his friends were getting thin from lack of bananas as they didn’t have enough leaves purchase them. The Monkey was tired from sitting next to the waterfall eating, and explained to his close friends that if the monkeys wanted more leaves, they would have to find more bananas for them. He didn’t feel as though he was to blame for the fact that they were low on leaves and bananas. With that, he continued to rest next to the waterfall and eat bananas.

The next day, The Monkey’s close friends disturbed him and explained that it was getting difficult to find leaves as the trees were dying out; they were being picked bare. The Monkey was irritated as he was finding it difficult to relax by being constantly disturbed with bad news. He explained that they should give every monkey one less leaf for each banana they trade, to account for the loss of trees. The monkeys thought this was a good solution. It made a lot of sense to give their friends less leaves for the bananas considering they were running out of trees.

Another day passed. The Monkey was furious with the disruptions. His friends nervously approached him to explain that because the trees were dying from lack of leaves, there were less bananas to be picked. Most of the monkeys in the rainforest were without leaves and bananas, and some had been found dead. The Monkey rampaged and claimed that he can’t be to blame for the fact that the monkeys weren’t pulling their weight and finding enough bananas. He dismissed his friends, and they desperately tried to find more leaves to bargain with.

Another day passed; The Monkey was feeling ill. He lost the ability to move, and could see the horizon as there were no trees to hide the landscape. A gang of monkeys were running over, probably with bad news. He was too ill to feel angry with them at the moment. The gang gathered around him and each of them explained that there were a small amount of living trees in the rainforest. Because of this, there were hardly any bananas left either, and lot of monkeys had died along with a number of other animals. They hoped The Monkey would share some of his remaining bananas, but he dictated that he had rightfully earned them and would keep them for himself.

They were quick to react, and angrily stated that it was not fair that he wouldn’t share his bananas. They said it was his fault the rainforest is dying, that there are no more monkeys, bananas, or leaves left for the scheme to continue, therefore he should be noble and share what he has left. The Greedy Monkey wouldn’t do this as he loved bananas too much. Instead, he explained that he was to die soon and that he didn’t need to care about the their welfare of his friends since he would be gone from the wasteland soon enough. This aggravated the gang, and they demanded a reason why he allowed the catastrophe to occur, but The Monkey did not respond.

Another day passed, and The Monkey’s friends gathered together on the floor as they were too tired to continue looking for bananas and leaves. They thought it was time to think of a new plan. The rainforest was unrecognisable, all of the unique scents and colours of flora had almost completely gone. Their fur was shaken by the wind like it had never been before, and it was becoming damaged by the blazing sun that was no longer shadowed by the canopy. There was a few a half-rotten fruits on the ground, but soon enough there would be no food left at all. After great discussion, they realised that they’re only option was to leave and find a new home.

They approached The Monkey and explained that because of their actions, the rainforest was soon to die and it could no longer offer the peaceful habitat it once could. There must be other places to live if they journeyed towards the horizon, they explained, and they were soon to leave. The Monkey understood them clearly, but due to his pain and lethargy his only possible response was an incomprehensible groan. The Monkey involuntarily closed his eyes and was motionless. His friends watched for a moment as The Monkey was still. Although they blamed him for implementing the system that ultimately destroyed their home, his resting form reminded them that he was always one of their kind, a brother.

The group of remaining monkeys carried their sleeping friend as they wondered across the desolate land. They were no longer made comfortable by the familiar trees, delicious fruits, and friendly animals that once coexisted in their Eden. They didn’t know where they were going or if they’d make it there before starvation attacked, but far in the distance, across acres of dying wood, they were almost convinced that they could see a smudge of green on the horizon.

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