Relax, close your eyes and picture a band of very naughty monkeys. Every night the monkeys would creep into the King’s orchard and steal his delicious apricots, plums and peaches. Would you like to know what happened? Listen carefully to their story.
The head gardener stood before the King in the great throne room of the palace. “I’m sorry Your Majesty,” he said. “We laid traps and nets but these monkeys are slippery devils. They got away again last night.”
“We must try to solve this problem together,” replied the King. “Remember, I don't want to hurt the monkeys, I just want to stop them eating my fruit.”
There was silence in the throne room as all the King’s staff thought hard. Finally Buttercup, the cook’s daughter, came forward and bowed to the King. “Your Majesty, doesn’t eating fruit make you fit and healthy?”
“Yes, I believe it does, Buttercup,” said the King.
“I like fruit, but I love cake,” Buttercup continued.
“But when I eat too much cake my tummy feels heavy and sometimes I even feel sleepy.
“Yes, I also feel tired if I eat too much cake”, laughed the King, “but I don’t get your meaning.
“If you could tempt the monkeys to eat a lot of cake, they would become sleepy. Then they wouldn’t be able to run so fast and they might be easier to catch,” explained Buttercup.
“And Your Majesty,” added Basil, the son of the King’s shoemaker, “we’ve all noticed how vain these monkeys are. They love anything bright and sparkling, and they steal jewelry and bright clothing. I’ve seen them hang necklaces around their necks and bangles from their arms. I’ve even seen them trying on shoes!”
“That’s all very well,” said the King, “but I don’t see how that helps us to catch those rascals.”
“I can create the most beautiful pairs of sparkling high- heeled shoes that the monkeys won’t be able to resist,” Basil continued. “If their tummies are full with cake and they are wearing high-heeled shoes they’ll never escape us.”
At first the King just laughed at these plans. But when the monkeys continued to steal his fruit for the next three nights in a row, he was ready to give anything a try. He ordered his finest pastry chefs to create the most delicious array of cakes. The cooks spent an entire day whipping cream, mixing chocolate sauce and spinning sugar.
By late afternoon they were ready to lay out an enormous, mouth-watering spread on a huge cake stand in the middle of the orchard. The stand groaned under the weight of cream-filled cupcakes, iced buns, chocolate sponges, cherry pies and apricot tarts. The wonderful aroma floated over the orchard.
Meanwhile Basil was creating the most beautiful monkey shoes that had ever been seen. When they were finished he hung them from the branches of the trees in the orchard. The trap was set. The King’s guards hid among the trees and waited.
As afternoon wore on toward evening, the monkey thieves crept through the trees “Mmm, what is that delicious smell?” asked Snout.
“It’s cake! I love cake!” cheered Lugs and Peeper.
“Stay still,” hissed Wit. “This could be a trap. We should leave and come back another time.”
“We don’t like it either! It all feels a bit suspicious,” said Gob and Peck.
But no-one made a move to leave. Everyone was too busy staring at the cream cakes and tarts.
The more they stared at the yummy delicacies, the harder it was to believe in any trap. The smell of fresh baking was intoxicating.
The monkeys’ mouths began to water and their bellies rumbled. “I’ll take a closer look,” volunteered Snout, and ran off to the cake-laden stand. He broke off a small piece of cake and slipped it tentatively into his mouth. It melted on his tongue.
“Heaven,” he murmured. Looking up into the trees he saw dozens of pairs of dazzling shoes sparkling like stars. “Ah, how beautiful,” he gasped. He reached up with his long arms and unhooked a pair of gold twinkly platform shoes from a branch. Snout had completely forgotten about the possible danger and the others waiting for him.
At the edge of the orchard, Wit, Peeper, Peck, Lugs, Gob, Nit and Bruno were bickering. “So what if it's a trap? It doesn't matter - no trap can hold us for long!” said Gob, arrogantly.
“I’m worried, Snout hasn’t come back!” said Nit.
“Snout’s probably stuffing his face with cake and leaving none for us,” said Bruno.
At these words the monkeys threw caution to the wind. They found Snout parading around the orchard in golden shoes eating a big piece of pie. A mad scramble ensued as they fought for the most beautiful shoes and stuffed handfuls of cake into their mouths.
The monkeys ate all the delicacies, every single crumb. What a sight they were, faces covered with icing and tummies bloated with cake as they staggered around trying on glittery shoes. They were soon feeling so tired and full that, one by one, they lay down and fell fast asleep.
The guards now crept up very quietly and pounced. The monkeys awoke in a panic. They'd no chance of escape. They were too full and heavy with rich food and couldn’t run in their high-heeled shoes. It took no time at all for the guards to catch all of them in their nets.
The King had the monkeys placed in his private zoo, but as soon as they came back to their senses they worked out how to escape.
From that day on they stayed in their forest home. Wit spoke for them all when he said: “We’ve plenty of food in the forest and no need of silly high-heels. Let’s stay happy and safe just where we are.” We can all be tempted by greed to do things that are silly and even dangerous. As long as we’re safe and well, there's no reason to take more than we actually need.