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Zuke The Monkey

by Nikhil Jaisinghani

There was once a monkey named Zuke who lived in a little town called Littleville. Littleville was a teeny weeny town in the jungles of Brazil. Zuke had lots of very close friends where he lived and used to go out and play games every day after school until late in the evening when his mother would call him in for supper. In the evenings his mother would tell him stories about when she and Zuke's father were young.

Each morning Zuke would wake up and eat breakfast with his family before he went to school. During breakfast, though, Zuke would not eat bananas like most monkeys did. Instead he had taken a strong liking to mangos because they were sweeter and juicier. In fact Zuke ate mangos at every meal! Nobody in Littleville minded at all though, and Zuke continued to eat mangos as often as he liked.

Soon after Zuke's eighth birthday Zuke's mom and dad decidedto move to a new section of the jungle called Bigville. Bigville had more jobs for Zuke's parents to work in and it had more little monkeys for Zuke to play with. Bigville was a very busy place with lots of shops and houses everywhere. Wherever Zuke went there were crowds of monkeys running about. Zuke soon missed the quiet life of Littleville. He also missed his friends, which he had had to leave behind when he moved. Zuke felt very lonely in his new home and was very often alone. He ate alone at lunch and did not go out to play in the afternoon after school. Instead he would just come home. Zuke's mother began to get very worried.

"What will become of him?" she said one night to her husband. "I'm afraid he might never be the same. Every day he becomes a bit more unhappy and a bit more grumpy. I do hope he makes friends and becomes his old self again."

"I'm sure in due time he will recover. He just needs a few weeks to adjust. He'll be fine. Don't worry. You'll see", he responded.

Grumpy indeed! Zuke's temper had shortened and he often walked around complaining about anything he could. Weeks turned into months, and the school year was just about over. His mother was losing hope and even considering moving back to Littleville.

The school camping trip was coming up and like anything else Zuke used it as an excuse to complain. Zuke didn't want to have anything to do with the camping trip. Lucky for him his mother insisted upon his participation.

The day Zuke's class was to go on their camping trip his mother made him a special lunch with twice as many mangos as usual. It was heavier than usual of course and Zuke complained about the weight but he was happy to have the extra mangos. He caught the bus to school and met his class mates outside his classroom.

"Hey, it's Zuke the mango monkey!" the others laughed. Zuke just frowned and walked slowly onto the bus. As the other young monkeys boarded the bus they all chose a seat next to their friends, but none of them sat next to Zuke. He sat on the bus all alone for the whole trip.

When the bus finally stopped all the monkeys anxiously jumped off the bus to take a look around the woods.

"Everybody grab your lunches, we're going on hike!" the teacher exclaimed. So the all grabbed their lunches and raced off onto the trail. As all the other monkeys skipped along the path singing songs and having fun Zuke slowly made his way up the trail wishing it would rain so they could go home.

"Where have you been, Zuke? I've been worried sick over you. I thought you might have disappeared into the woods," the teacher said as Zuke finally made his way into the clearing the others had stopped at for their lunch break. "Okay, everybody, you can all eat your lunches now." They were all hungry and excited to eat their bananas, but as they opened their lunch bags they found that they were not the only hungry ones in the woods. Suprisingly squirrels liked their bananas too. Each and every one of the bananas had been eaten by squirrels. As Zuke opened his bag he was thankful to find that the squirrels had left his mangos alone.

"What shall we do? All of our bananas are gone and we're all very hungry," said one of the monkeys.

Zuke looked into his bag of mangos. And then without even thinking he said, "If I split the mangos in half we should have enough for everyone. That is, if your willing to try them."

None of them liked the idea, but what else could they do? It was a long walk back to the bus and they all wanted to eat. So each of them reluctantly accepted a piece of mango from Zuke. And to their surprise they liked mangos too. In fact they liked them so much their wasn't a morsel to spare when thay had finished. And all the monkeys were very glad that Zuke had brought the mangos along.

"I'd much rather have had a mango than a banana for lunch, Zuke. I'm sorry I made fun of you about them. I'm going to ask my mom if I can have mangos for lunch from now on."

"Me too. Mangos are delicious!"

All the other monkeys were very sorry they had made fun of Zuke. After lunch they all decided to play a game of follow the leader - and Zuke got to be the leader. Zuke made lots of friends playing games and singing songs with his classmates. And for the first time all year Zuke even smiled.

When summer finally came Zuke's old friends from Littleville came to visit. "How do you like life in Bigville, Zuke?" one of his old friends asked him.

"Well," he replied "it took some getting used to but there sure are a lot of nice monkeys."

The End