"This banana is not ripe. I donít
like green bananas," Chipo said. She sat in the banana palm, her long tail
wrapped around a branch.
"Why do monkeys always eat bananas?
Why canít we eat coconuts, or papaya, or termites?" Chike wondered.
"Weíre monkeys; thatís what we do.
We swing from trees and eat bananas," Chipo replied. She swung down to the
ground and sat on the roots, looking across the river. "I wonder whatís on
the other side of the river. It looks like there are a lot of banana trees
over there. Maybe there are so ripe ones with yellow peel."
"Iíve never been across the river,"
Chike answered. He swung down next to Chipo. "Letís cross it and find
"Chike, how do we get to the other
side? The river is moving fast. Weíll drown."
Tabansi came down to the river to
get a drink. He spotted the two monkeys sitting at the bottom of a tree.
"Hello," he shouted. "Why are you on that side of the river? There are a
lot of banana trees on this side."
"I knew it!" Chipo exclaimed. "That
giraffe just said there were. How do we get to the other side?" she
Just then a bright-colored toucan
landed on a branch near Tabansiís head. "Squawk! Why are you monkeys
sitting over there when all the banana trees are over here?" Abiba asked.
Zaid, the snake, slithered to the
riverbank. "The bananas are yellow and ripe. Come across," he hissed.
"How do we get across to the other
side?" Chike yelled.
"Swim across. The waterís not that
swift," Abiba answered. "Iíve got a better idea. Iíll fly over there and
you can hold onto my talons and then Iíll fly you back over." She flapped
her wings and flew over to the other side. "Grab on tight, Chike," she
said and took off. Chike was much heavier than sheíd thought and felt
herself going lower and lower. "Let go. I canít carry you any more."
They were right in the middle of the
river, just a few feet above it. "If I let go, Iíll drown," Chike cried.
"Let go or weíll both drown," Abiba
Chike let go and fell with a splash
into the river. He started to swim and made it to the other side. He
coughed and gasped for breath after swallowing a lot of river water. "I
did it. I made it to the other side. Come on over Chipo. Itís not that
bad!" he shouted.
Chipo watched in horror as Chike
fell into the river. She was relieved to see him pull himself onto the
muddy bank on the other side. Tabansi, Abiba and Zaid called, "Come on
Chipo. You can do it!"
She stood on the tree root and dove
into the water. She was very scared, but kept swimming as fast as she
could. The water was cool and Chipo worried that there were crocodiles
lurking about. "Iím getting tired," she called to the others. "There
arenít any crocs in this river, is there?" She swam faster just in case.
When she felt she could go no further, she started to sink under the
water. Tabansi lowered his long neck and grabbed Chipo by the tail. He
lifted her into the air and dropped her in the grass near Chike. Both of
the monkeys lay still for a few minutes, coughing all the water out of
their lungs. A few minutes later Chipo sat up and said, "Now, where are
those banana trees?" She was suddenly feeling very hungry.
Tabansi started to laugh. "Is that
all you monkeys think about?"
Zaid hissed, "Follow me. Iíll show
Abiba squawked and flew off to find
some fruit and seeds. Chipo and Chike ran behind Zaid as he slithered into
the bushes. "Here they are."
Chipo and Chike climbed the nearest
banana palm and filled themselves on ripe fruit. When they were full and
their tummies fat and stuffed with food, Chipo remembered something. "Chike,
Mama said we werenít allowed to cross the river. Sheís going to be angry
with us. Weíd better get back."
Chike grabbed an armful of bananas
and the two ran down to the river. Their mama was standing on the other
side calling to them. "Chike, Chipo, what are you doing over there. Come
back to this side right now."
"But Mama, how do we get to the
other side?" Chike screamed.
Tabansi was standing near a tree
nibbling on its tender leaves. "Here we go again!"