Frankie the Monkey and Compassion

A couple years ago, Ashley Face started telling Monster stories about Frankie the Monkey.  Frankie the Monkey is a young Capuchin monkey who lives a big tree house in the middle of the Amazon rain forest. Below is a written version of the story I told him last night.

Frankie woke up in his tree house one morning to a big surprise: There was a new family of baboons moving into the tree next store!

Frankie saw that there was a young baboon about his age. He quickly wolfed down his banana and grub breakfast and scampered down the tree trunk for a closer look. He watched the family unpacking all their possessions.

The young baboon was unpacking all his things into his very own tree branch room – it looked just like Frankie’s room! He had cool shiny rocks on display, just like what Frankie had found by the river bank. He put out some cozy matting for his tree branch bed, just like what Frankie built earlier in the year. He put up some mud paintings on his bark wall, just like what Frankie had made at monkey school!

In fact, the only thing that seemed different to Frankie between him and this young baboon is that they looked different. Soon, the young baboon got tired of unpacking and went to explore the forest. Frankie quickly followed him, wanting to say hello and welcome him to the neighborhood.

Frankie jumped up on a tree branch and called down to the little baboon. “Hello! I’m your new neighbor!” he called out excitedly.

The young baboon turned and looked at Frankie. “Oh… hi! I’m Billy. Billy the Baboon. I’m looking for bugs. Want to help?”

“SURE! I know the BEST spots!” exclaimed Frankie. “Look here! The best bugs are under the heaviest rocks!”

Frankie and Billy hopped along the riverbed, looking under old logs and rocks for little bugs to eat. They quickly became fast friends. They hung out the rest of the afternoon, sharing stories and giggling. Finally, it was getting late.

“I have to go home now,” said Billy. “Bye until tomorrow!”

“Goodbye, new friend!” exclaimed Frankie.

Frankie went home and rushed through his dinner. He was so excited about his new friend he could hardly sleep that night! He woke up extra early the next morning. “I should bring my new friends a welcome basket!” he thought. Hee climbed up his tree and picked a whole bunch of the best and ripest bananas from his best banana growing branch. He had been saving them for a special occasion, and this seemed to be just that. He scooped them all up and put them in a banana leaf basket. He made a mud painting on a piece of bark that said ‘Welcome to the neighborhood!’ and had a picture of a banana tree.

“I hope billy likes bananas,” Frankie thought to himself. He brought the basket over to their house and knocked on the door. Billy’s father, Lester answered the door.

“WELCOME TO THE –,” Frankie started to say, but Lester cut him off.

“No monkeys! We don’t like monkeys in this house and I won’t have you hanging around my son! You stay away from us, you hear?”

Lester then reached out and smacked the banana basket right out of poor Frankie’s hand! His prize bananas tumbled out of the basket onto the forest floor. The force of the blow had ruined all of them. Frankie turned around, tears in his eyes, and ran away scared.

Frankie was so angry with Lester. He went home and seethed and seethed about what had happened. Frankie went to bed that night sobbing, and wishing that Lester would just let him and Billy play together.

The next morning, Frankie looked over at the baboons house and heard Billy and Lester arguing.

“But… dad! He’s my FRIEND! He’s really nice and likes all the same stuff I do! Why can’t I hang out with him?” sobbed Billy.

“Because he’s a MONKEY! You’re a BABOON! Our kind doesn’t mix and that’s FINAL!” yelled Lester.

Frankie heard the argument and was sad. “But at least Billy likes me!” thought Frankie. “All I have to do is show Lester how kind monkeys can be. He’ll come around.”

      So, Frankie began to study everything he could find about baboons. He assembled a food basket of the best things that baboons like to eat. He found the best and plumpest grubs under the heaviest rocks.  The shiniest and tastiest bark from the best trees. The juiciest grass from the lushest riverbanks.

Once again, he put all the tasty treats in a basket with a mud painted note, and once again he brought it to the door. And… once again, Lester answered, and once again Lester smacked the basket from Frankie’s hands. Frankie was devastated. He went home and collapsed in his bed, sobbing and sobbing. He stayed there for hours and hours.

But then, suddenly, he smelled something that puts any rain forest animal at full alert – Smoke! He looked out in horror to see a fire that was engulfing the baboons house! Lester and the rest of the family were outside battling the blaze, but poor Billy was stuck up in his room! Frankie sprang into action. He grabbed his trusty bark bucket, lined with moss and banana leaves to hold water, and rushed to the river. He scooped up a full bucket of water and bee lined it for the fire.

Frankie ran right past Lester and the other baboons, and right into the burning front door! He threw his bucket of water right on the fire that was blocking the stairs up to Billy’s room and then dashed up the path he had made! Grabbing Billy by the hand and shouting “Let’s go,” Frankie and Billy ran back down the stairs, through the living room, and out the front door.

The instant they cleared the doorway, the whole tree house collapsed in flames – and so did Frankie. Panting and coughing, but safe, Billy ran over to Lester and gave him a big hug.

Lester slowly walked over to Frankie, who was standing up again. “You… you saved Billy. You saved my boy. Even after I was so mean to you. Why?”

“Because…” Frankie coughed between smoke-filled breathes. “Because that’s what friends do.”

That day, Lester’s heart was changed about monkeys. He welcomed Frankie as part of his own family. Billy and Frankie are fast friends. They play together every day and find only the best bugs under the heaviest rocks.