As told by John C. Troskie (1922 – 2001) and written down by one of his grandchildren
Once there was a monkey who lived at the top of a very tall tree. Every day he would look down and watch the people that lived in the house next to his tree. His favorite thing usually happened at night. That’s when he would hear pop. …pop pop……pop pop pop, and there would always be a delicious smell. Sometimes, he would ask his mom and dad what the sounds were, and what made the smell. They always told him to eat his bananas and stop thinking about the people.
One day, when his mom and dad were visiting their friends in a different part of the forest, the little monkey climbed down, down, down, out of his tall tree, and slowly sneaked over to the house. He knew the house was empty – the family always left every morning and didn’t come back till later in the day. So he went into the house! Naughty little monkey!
He started to look around in the front room and even jumped on the couch for a minute. But that wasn’t what made the noise or the smell, so he started looking again. He was lucky, because next he found the kitchen. It was much more interesting – there were so many doors and drawers to open. Plus there were lots of smells. He decided he would smell everything until he found the smell he loved. First he started smelling everything in the fridge. The milk didn’t smell right, and the eggs weren’t it either. None of the fruits, vegetables, bread, or cheese had the right smell. Finally he tried some cupboards, way up high, and that’s when he found the popcorn!
Now he just had to get it to make that popping sound! He tried hitting it on the floor, he tried jumping up and down on it, and he even tried throwing it up in the air, but it didn’t pop. It was just lucky that he even tried the microwave (monkeys love pushing buttons) and then… pop! POP POP. Pop, pop, pop! Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop! Soon the popcorn was popping like crazy! The monkey got so excited that he got all the popcorn he could find and put it in the microwave. Big bags, little bags, a container full of kernels, and more. He kept the popcorn popping.
Well, there was lots of popcorn! It started coming out of the microwave and spilled out on to the counter. But it didn’t stop. More popcorn came out and it started to fill up the kitchen. Then it went out of the kitchen and down the stairs. Then it filled up the basement and started going upstairs. Soon the popcorn was filling up the whole house! Even the doors and windows couldn’t stop the popcorn. It started coming out of the house everywhere. That’s when the monkey knew he was in trouble!
He quickly ran into the forest. But he wasn’t running away! He was asking his friends for help. He got all of the animals he could find and told them to come help him eat all of the yummy popcorn. They all came as fast as they could and they all started eating. The bears were eating in the family room, the porcupines were in the bathroom, the birds were in the bedrooms upstairs and the deer were in the kitchen. Lots of animals were all over in the house eating as much popcorn as they could!
Luckily the animals finished just in time. As the little monkey went out the back door, the family came home. They all went inside the house and looked around. “Hmm” said the mom as she sniffed the air, “did somebody make some popcorn? What a good idea. I think I’ll make some right now.”
1. What was the little monkey’s favorite sound?
2. Why did the little monkey go inside the people’s house?
3. What did the monkey do to get rid of the popcorn that was filling up the house?
4. What did the mom say as she and her family come back home?
by Johann Troskie
Once there was a little monkey who lived in a very tall tree in a very large forest. His tree though, was on the edge of the forest, and from the top of it he could look out over a fence and onto the runway of a large airport, where planes landed and took off every day!
The monkey loved to watch the planes land and take off. Sometimes he sat for hours and hours, just watching. His friends and parents all thought he was a bit odd. “Don’t look at those people machines,” his father would say. “There’s nothing there for us. We can’t eat those things, even if they do look like big bananas.” Or Mother would say, “Son, come down and play with your friends. You’re not making enough noise, today.”
Even his friends tried to get him to come down by offering him snacks, games, and even the first ride on a new log they wanted to push down a big hill. All these things sounded like a lot of fun, and normally, the little monkey would have been gone in a flash to play with his friends. But today was different. Today, the little monkey had decided that he was going to go look at the airplanes up close, and see what made them fly! They didn’t flap their wings, like birds, so how could they stay up in the air? Well, he was going to find out, and today was the day to do it.
The little monkey climbed down his tree, and without even asking permission or looking back, he ran over to the big fence, climbed up one side and down the other, and ran across the runway to where a big, brown airplane was sitting. He looked around and made sure none of the tall people were around, and jumped up on the stairs that led into the belly of the great big bird-machine.
At first, all he saw were great big chairs where all the people would sit, but those were boring. So, instead, the monkey turned to the left, opened a door, and looked in wonder and amazement at all the buttons, knobs, dials, switches and lights! There was so much to look at that the little monkey jumped for joy and clapped both his hands and his feet together at the same time.
He ran over to the nearest button, and pushed it. Nothing happened. He flipped a large switch poking up. Nothing happened. He tapped his fingers on some of the dials, and still, nothing happened. That’s when the little monkey saw the red button. It was bigger than all the others, and it was right in the middle of all the other buttons and knobs. He pushed the red button, and suddenly a loud, rumbling roar sounded as the engines came to life.
The loud noises scared the little monkey and he pushed the red button again, hoping to turn the engines off, but that didn’t work. Frantically, he pulled knobs, turned dials, tapped screens and pushed even more buttons. That’s when the plane started to move. Now the monkey knew he was really in trouble. As the plane rolled down the runway, he knew if he didn’t stop the plane soon, it would take off into the big blue sky and he would never see his family or friends again!
He tried everything he could think of to stop the big plane, and just as the plane approached the fence at the end of the runway, the little monkey did the only thing he hadn’t done yet, and pulled back on the big stick coming out of the floor.
The plane soared into the air and only just cleared the fence. It barely cleared the trees, and the little monkey could see all his friends in their trees. He tried waving to them, but they weren’t interested in planes, and didn’t know he was there.
The little monkey sat down in the chair then, as the plane took him away from his family. He didn’t know where the plane was taking him, so he sat down and put his head in his arms and started to cry.
“Little monkey,” said a big voice inside the airplane. The little monkey looked around, but no one was with him in the airplane. “Little monkey, what are you doing?” It asked.
“I’m sorry,” said the monkey. “I just wanted to pretend. I don’t know what to do now. I want to go back home to my family.”
“Just listen to what I tell you,” said the big voice, “and you will be ok. I am the control man, in the big tower. Do you remember seeing the big tower?”
The little monkey nodded, yes.
“Good. I know how to fly these big planes,” said the man with the big voice. “I will help you come back home.”
The little monkey was overjoyed. He listened closely as the big voice told him which buttons to push, and which switches to flip. The little monkey pushed and pulled and flipped and switched. He turned and turned, and just when he thought there couldn’t be anything more the big voice could tell him, he heard the man say, “Now, there is just one more thing. You know those big wheels under the plane?”
Monkey nodded his head, yes.
“Good,” said the big voice. “Push the blue button on your left-hand side and those big wheels will come down. Now, push the stick coming out of ground forward. Good, little monkey, you’re doing very well.”
The airplane flew low, closer and closer to the ground until finally the wheels touched down on the runway. Screeech! The rubber made a loud noise for just a few seconds, but soon everything was quiet and the airplane was slowing down quickly. Before long, the airplane stopped and the little monkey hurried to the door. He climbed back down the stairs, and there, at the bottom, stood a very big man.
“Hello, little monkey,” said the man. It was the man with the big voice! “I will take you home to your family, now.”
The little monkey jumped into the big man’s arms and together they went to the fence, where the monkey’s family was waiting for him to come home.
1. What did the monkey like to watch from his tree?
2. Why did the monkey want to go see the planes up close?
3. What happened when the monkey hit the big red button?
4. Who helped the monkey fly the plane?