Monkey business in D’land - Part 2

Din Din and Dazel set off early Saturday morning. The sky was overcast and gloomy, reflecting the mood of the two friends who were off to the Monkey colony down south. It was not a social visit they were paying. On the contrary, they were going to this unfamiliar area of D’Land for the first time to confront the monkeys.

“What if the monkeys deny that they have been ransacking my garden and stealing my bananas?” mused Din Din dejectedly as they went down the slopes of the Fruit Park towards where the rainforest lay.

“We will have to speak to them tactfully, Din Din,” reminded Dazel. “They can get violent and we will be outnumbered. We must ask them. Not accuse them. Remember we have no proof that they are the ones stealing bananas from your garden.”

Din Din nodded.

They finally reached the tropical rainforest where the monkeys lived. But instead of the lush trees they expected to find, Din Din and Dazel found charred, burnt remains of trees and bushes. Some vegetation had begun to sprout from the ground.

“Oh my! What’s happened here?” whispered Dazel.

“The tornado caused a forest fire,” came a lethargic voice. It was the voice of a sloth hanging off a tree branch. “All the animals have left the rainforest after the fire in search of new habitats,” explained the sloth. “What brings you here?” asked the sloth peering at the two friends through hooded eyes.

“We came in search of the monkeys,” answered Din Din.

“Why would you want to meet them?” the sloth inquired lazily. When the two friends didn’t answer he shrugged and continued. “The mandrill monkeys left for the savannah grassland. Let me warn you mandrills are the largest species of monkeys and now that they have lost their home they have become even more aggressive.”

Din Din and Dazel thanked the sloth and went in the direction of the savannah which was eastwards. “From what I know of the savannah, there are hardly any trees there. It’s mostly grassy land. Maybe they stole from my garden because all the banana trees also got burnt in the forest fire and the mandrill monkeys are hunting for bananas,” Din Din discussed with Dazel.

“Yes, that’s a possibility. I am devastated that all these rainforest creatures have lost their homes,” Dazel said, shaking her head morosely.

“Yes, such a tragedy!” agreed Din Din.

“What should we do? Do you still want to go ask the mandrill monkeys if they’ve taken the bananas?”

“Let’s just go and see. I am concerned about how they must be surviving in the savannah,” said Dazel.

It was late afternoon when they reached the savannah. A few acacia trees dotted the grassy landscape. They could see hordes of the mandrills scampering around.

“The males have an orange or yellow beard and a bright red and blue snout and rump. Females and the young have a dull blue snout and a buff beard,” whispered Dazel as they hid behind a tree. “That’s what we learnt in Science class.”

“See how they are fighting over a few roots to eat,” Din Din pointed to a group of females. “It must have been so difficult for them to adjust to this new habitat.”

It was nearly sundown and suddenly Din Din whispered to Dazel. “Let’s go home.”

Dazel nodded.

It was dark when they reached Fruit Park. “Oh Din Din! Dazel! I’m so glad you both have returned,” exclaimed Mrs. Dee, Din Din’s mother.

“Did you get to speak to the monkeys?” asked Din Din’s father.

Din Din and Dazel sat at the rock dining table in Din Din’s cave home as Mrs. Dee served them a hot plum stew. Din Din retold what they had seen.

“The rainforest animals have lost their homes. The mandrill monkeys have started living in the savannah. We did not have the heart to confront the monkeys,” confessed Din Din. “Even if they stole the bananas, they probably did so out of desperation and hunger.”

Din Din’s family listened in silence. They, too, were aghast at the plight of the monkeys.

“I have an idea,” said Din Din’s grandfather. “Let’s take as much fruit as possible from Fruit Park to the monkeys in the savannah as a gesture of goodwill. I will take permission from Old Rex,” he continued referring to the senior leader of the dinosaurs.

“What a wonderful gesture, Grandpa,” Din Din said smiling for the first time in two days.

The next day — a Sunday — a group of dinosaurs laden with fruit baskets made their way towards the east to the savannah.

The mandrill monkeys saw them approaching and quickly became defensive. They gathered quickly in hordes and scampered towards the dinosaurs.

“What are you doing here? This is our home! You are not welcome,” cried one of the females.

Din Din came forward and chose his words carefully. “Hello friends. We have come bearing gifts. We recently heard of the forest fire caused by the tornado which hit D’Land and we would like to help. This fruit is just a gift. Please do not consider it charity.”

One of the monkeys stepped forward, his blue snout gleaming in the sun, his orange beard ruffled by the breeze. He appeared to be older and calmer than the rest of the horde. Gesturing for the others to stay back, he glanced at the fruit baskets wearily.

“There are only a few bananas,” Din Din apologized. “But I am sure you will like the other fruit too.”

“We are in no position to be picky I guess,” the large monkey finally answered. Some of our young monkeys have been stealing bananas from Fruit Park,“ he admitted. “When I heard about it I was expecting the dinosaurs to attack us. But I was not expecting you all to help.”

“Think nothing of it,” Din Din said hastily. “We understand your situation. In fact I can plant banana trees for you here in this savannah. I am a gardener.”

The monkeys chattered to each other in surprised glee on hearing Din Din’s words.

The elder monkey bowed, “If you can do so, we will be eternally grateful. Come join us for a meal then.”

So the monkeys and dinosaurs dined on fruits and roots in the tall grass of the savannah. Yet again, kindness had melted the hardest of hearts.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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