By Joshua Ingram
In the deepest jungle of Africa, there lived a family of monkeys. There was a Mama Monkey, and a Papa Monkey, and they had a young daughter named Hannah.
The monkey family lived very happily swinging and playing in the trees and vines. But unfortunately, it wasn’t all play. Papa Monkey had to make sure their home in the canopy was warm and protected.
Mama was responsible for the sewing and cooking of the family’s meals. Hannah helped with the cleaning, but her main chore was to collect all the bananas and other fruit for the monkey family’s meals.
One morning, Mama Monkey said to Hannah, “Tomorrow is your Papa’s birthday. I want to surprise him with his favorite, Banana Rama Lama, Tootie Fruit Cake. I need you to gather all the special ingredients.
Hannah smiled at her mother. She was excited about going on an adventure. “Okay, Mama, what do we need?”
She was so happy that she could barely sit still. Mama pulled a small piece of paper
out of her apron. It was a list of ingredients for the cake.
“Try to be back before the moon goes down,” Mama said. Hannah took the list and kissed her mother. She creeped around her sleeping Papa and disappeared into the jungle.
Hannah Banana swung through the trees from vine to vine. She was a very quick little monkey, and she gained speed as she climbed. Hannah pulled out the list and read the first ingredient. She needed three Wala-Wala Berries from the Great Wala-Wala Tree. She knew the jungle quite well from traveling with her father and reached the Great Wala-Wala Tree in just under an hour.
Wrapped around the tree was a huge snake named ‘Seth’. He was munching on the Wala-Wala Berries as Hannah came near. Hannah grabbed a branch and started to pick a few berries. She pulled and pulled, but the berries would not come off the branch. “Stop, says I,” whispered the snake.
“Please, sir,” pleaded Hannah, “I need three Wala-Wala Berries for my mother’s cake.”
The snake squinted at Hannah. “Swell,” said Seth, “Certainly showing some singing skill should salvage some delicious, succulent berries from Seth’s stock.” Seth started to sing and Hannah repeated… “Sweet Wala-Wala Berry Tree… Sweet Wala-Wala Berry Tree… Won’t you share a song with me? Won’t you share a song with me? Swing your branches, make it funky. Swing your branches, make it funky. Drop three berries for this monkey.”
As they finished singing, the wind started to blow and the branches at the top of the Great Wala-Wala Tree began to swing. Three plump berries fell from the branch above Hannah and landed in her pouch. She smiled at the sly snake and said, “Thank you for your help, good sir.” The snake smiled at her. “Sure, sister. Singing silly songs has saved your celebration snack. Safe travels. So long.”
Hannah waved to the snake one last time as she swung away through the trees. She looked at her list again. Her next special ingredient was a handful of Tiki Grass which she knew only grew at the bottom of the Great Tiki Lake. The lake was only a few miles away, so Hannah raced through the jungle as fast as she could.
The animals were all waking up as Hannah climbed. All around her, she could hear the colorful birds singing, and below her, the tigers were growling and the frogs were croaking to each other. When she reached the Great Tiki Lake, she heard loud roaring and big splashing. It scared little Hannah Banana at first, but then she saw that it was just a family of hippos bathing and playing in the lake. The hippos were diving down into the depths to reach the long bushels of Tiki grass that
grew at the murky bottom. Hannah walked up to the shore and all the hippos stopped playing and stared at her. A very large, very grumpy hippo floated over to where Hannah was sitting. “How dare you disturb our…” The hippo paused and rolled his head back in the water, roaring, “RAARRR! My tooth! The pain! It hurts!” The huge hippo glared at Hannah and rubbed his mouth.
But Hannah, being a very smart, very crafty little monkey, saw a way she could get some Tiki Grass from the bottom of the hippos’ lake.
“Please, sir,” said Hannah Banana, “Maybe I can help your tooth if you do me a favor and get me a mouth-full of Tiki Grass.”
The hippo squinted at Hannah and started to laugh. “Ha! How can a little monkey help a big strong hippo? Ha, ha!” The hippo continued to laugh with his mouth wide open. The other hippos laughed with him.
Hannah suddenly jumped into the mouth of the big hippo. She immediately saw the tooth that was causing so much pain and she pulled it out, using all her strength. When the tooth popped out, Hannah flew backwards into the water. The huge hippo roared in pain, but once the sting was gone he had no more pain at all. The wet monkey climbed out of the lake and shook herself dry on the shore. She put the big hippo tooth in her pouch and turned around to see five hippos with mouths full of Tiki Grass. They dropped the bushels of grass in front of Hannah. One hippo said to her, “Thank you so much, little monkey. Our father has been complaining about that tooth for many months.”
Hannah grabbed a handful of Tiki Grass and set out on her way, waving goodbye to the happy family of hippos.
The third and fourth ingredients were easy for Hannah to find. She grabbed twelve bananas and plucked fifteen flower petals from some Papola Plants. The last ingredient was a stalk of Bona Cane, the special sweet sugar that could only be found at the top of the Great Mount Conanai. Little Hannah Banana was afraid because of all the scary bedtime stories she’d heard about the Mountain from her Mother and Father. The sun was setting and the jungle was getting darker and scarier. Hannah grabbed her pouch and started to move. The sounds she heard in the jungle were much creepier than those she’d heard earlier in the day. After traveling a few miles, she reached the base of the Great Mount Conanai. It was a very steep climb. She knew she couldn’t take too long or she’d miss her Father’s birthday. For twenty minutes, she climbed straight up. After a while, she became tired, being a small monkey and carrying three juicy Wala-Wala Berries, a handful of thick wet Tiki Grass, twelve plump bananas, and fifteen Papola petals.
When she reached the halfway point, she looked up into the sky. The moon was rising over the Mountain. A colorful parrot with a long beak flew down and landed on a branch near Hannah.
“Would you like a ride to the top?” asked the parrot.
“Yes, please,” said Hannah with appreciation.
“I’ve been following you all day, young one. Your mother asked me to watch out for
Hannah was happy to see the bird and she grabbed his feet. They slowly flew to the top of the Mountain. At the summit, there was ample sugar cane growing everywhere. Hannah cut off some Bona Cane and stuffed it in her pouch. She said to the friendly bird, “That’s the last ingredient. Now we can go.” Just as the bird was about to speak, a loud buzz came over the Mountain.
The colorful parrot immediately flew away, as well as all the other birds on the Mountain. The buzzing got louder and closer. It seemed as if the inside of the Mountain was buzzing. Suddenly, a swarm of giant bees came up from the ground. It appeared as if the whole top of the mountain was one big beehive. Hannah was terrified. She ran into the thick of the sugar cane and hid her pouch.
“BUZZZZ…bring back our Bona Cane. BUZZZZ! Little monkey, how dare you steal our sacred crop? BUZZZ!” Hannah came out from her hiding place.
“Please sir,” she cried, “I need just a small amount of your special sugar for my Father’s birthday cake.”
The Chief Bee scowled at little Hannah Banana. This time, the monkey’s polite manners would not be enough to convince the giant bee clan. So she started to think about a crafty way to get out of her bad situation.
Suddenly, the bees’ buzzing was drowned out by a great chirping and flapping of wings as every bird in the jungle rose over the Mountain to help little Hannah. They were led by the friendly parrot who had helped Hannah up the mountain. Five small birds flew down and picked up Hannah. The other birds attacked the army of giant bees, and the red parrot snuck into the sugar cane thicket and snatched up Hannah’s purple pouch. The birds carried Hannah high above the jungle.
She saw the Great Tiki Lake, but the hippos were all asleep. She saw the Great Wala-Wala Tree, and the snake was singing himself a lullaby and having a bedtime snack. Finally, they reached the monkey family’s canopy and the small birds dropped Hannah onto a branch above her home.
She climbed down and tiptoed around her sleeping Father. Mother was waiting up for little Hannah Banana.
“Welcome back, my child,” her Mother said. But Hannah did not smile.
“I failed you, Mother. All the ingredients are stuck on Mount Conanai.”
But her Mother pulled from behind her back Hannah’s empty pouch. A tired bird sat by the oven, helping to bake the cake. He said to Hannah, “I forgot to tell you, little one, that Banana Rama Lama Rootie Tootie Fruit Cake is my favorite too. I get the second largest slice after your Papa!”
Hannah Banana yawned a little monkey yawn, closed her eyes, and fell fast asleep.
When she awoke the next morning, they celebrating her Father’s birthday. The colorful parrot handed her a piece of the special cake and it was the best thing she had ever tasted.
The monkey family enjoyed the birthday thanks to Hannah Banana. They lived happy monkey lives in the deepest jungle of Africa.
“Hannah Banana” Copyright © 2001by Joshua Ingram, All Rights Reserved