Beware of the Dragon!
by Teresa DiNicola
One hot jungle morning, Monkey hopped out of her hut in search of breakfast. Soon after, Elephant thundered by, shaking the earth. He knew Monkey was out gathering bananas. So when a mango rolled out of Monkey’s hut, he trumpeted.
“Who is inside the house of Monkey?” he asked.
A voice echoed loudly off the walls. “I…I…am the dragon from the king’s castle. So…So you better keep out!”
Just then, Monkey returned home with an arm full of bananas. “What’s all of this noise?” she screeched, swinging her tail.
“The dragon from the king’s castle has taken over your house,” snorted Elephant. “Everyone knows that royal dragons breathe fire. I’m going to head for the hills before I’m burnt toast!” He pounded a fly off one foot and stomped out of sight.
Monkey trembled when she imagined the ferocious dragon. “A royal dragon has taken over my house!” She yelled to Hippopotamus. “Will you please help get him out?”
“WHOA!” Hippopotamus grunted, squatting low in the tall grass. He called, “Who is inside the house of Monkey?”
A loud voice hissed, “I am the dragon from the king’s castle. So you better keep out!”
“Royal dragons have silver-spiked tails strong enough to yank trees out of the ground like a hurricane,” Hippopotamus hollered. “I better make like a tree and leave before I’m yanked!” He vanished quicker than one of Monkey’s ripe bananas.
Monkey’s heart sank. “It looks like no one will help me fix this royal mess.”
Finally, she turned to a tortoise she had seen relaxing under the shade of a palm tree when she left to find breakfast.
Desperate, Monkey introduced herself. Then, she cried, “My big friends were frightened away. Could you possibly make the royal dragon leave my house?”
Tortoise crawled to the edge of the hut. “Who is inside the house of Monkey?” she asked.
“I am the dragon from the king’s castle. So you better keep out!”
Tortoise shouted back, “I wear heavy armor on my back. I am mightier than a royal dragon, and I am coming in to pull you out!”
A quivering, teeny voice cried, “Please don’t hurt me! I didn’t mean you any harm.”
SWIPE! Tortoise snatched that royal dragon by the tail and pulled him out.
Monkey couldn’t believe her eyes. “You’re not a dragon! You’re an itty bitty lizard no bigger than a banana.” She gasped. “What were you doing in my house?”
“I’m new to the jungle,” said Lizard. “I brought you these mangoes for breakfast, hoping to make friends. But when Elephant shook the ground while walking by, I got scared and ran into your house.”
Monkey had a good laugh because someone so tiny had caused such a huge commotion. Then, she split open a mango, peeled a banana, and shared them with Tortoise and Lizard.
By the time their bellies were full, the threesome had become fast friends with a silly story to tell about the day they first met.
1. What frightened Elephant and Hippopotamus?
2. Why wasn’t Turtle afraid of the dragon?
3. Who was inside Monkey’s house?
4. What had the newcomer brought to make friends?