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Once upon a time, there was a monkey, a banana and a bamboo cage. One afternoon after a long nap, the monkey was hungry and wanted something to eat. So he set off for a nearby banana plantation that he and his monkey troop would frequently raid. Walking along a dense jungle trail, the monkey suddenly eyed a banana. But this banana was in a sort of contraption that the monkey couldn’t quite name because monkeys have a very limited monkey vocabulary. Suffice to say, the banana was in a small bamboo box with long wooden slats. The box was fastened to a chain, which was tied to a nearby tree. Read on…
The banana was large and delicious-looking. A perfect afternoon snack.
The monkey looked around to make sure the coast was clear. The banana was easy pickings. It wasn’t even hanging from a tree and didn’t have to be ripped from a bunch. The monkey was so delighted he let out a quick little monkey squeech and dashed to the box.
The monkey picked up the box and gave it a little shake. He rattled the box, hoping the banana would slide right out, but the narrow wood slats prevented the large, delicious banana from exiting the box. Intently focused on getting exactly what he wanted, the monkey slipped his paw into the box and firmly gripped the banana. He tried to pull the banana out, but the banana would not budge. He was a smart enough monkey to know that if he pulled too hard, he would squish the banana. And if there was one thing this monkey did not favor, it was the taste of squishy banana. Besides, even if he tried to pull a squishy banana out of the box, he still couldn’t get it out because his paw was in a fist and a fist holding a squishy banana could not fit through the narrow wooden slats.
This conundrum made the monkey angry, though the monkey didn’t quite know what a conundrum was. All the monkey knew was that he wanted the banana and this box was keeping him from his delicious afternoon snack. Never mind that a whole plantation of box-free bananas was just down the jungle trail, the monkey was now fixed and determined to have this banana. So, not only did the monkey become angry, he also became anxious. What if I can’t get my banana? The more the monkey looked at the banana, the more he became fearful. What if this is the last banana I find today? The monkey then went through a complex panoply of emotions, namely jealousy, resentment and covetousness. I found this banana and no other monkey shall have it! Shaking the box harder and harder, the monkey began to worry what the rest of the monkeys might think of him. What if the troop comes along and sees me on the verge of failure? Now, overwhelmed with pride and a sense of urgency, the monkey tried to take greater control by redoubling his efforts to get the banana out of the box. I don’t need anyone’s help…I can do this all on my own! But soon, after many fruitless attempts to finagle the banana out of the box, the monkey became overwhelmed with disappointment, depression and despondency. I’ll never get what I want.
If the monkey was a gorilla, we all know the gorilla would have just swung the chain to smash the box against the tree and be done with it. For it’s common knowledge that a gorilla doesn’t care about a squishy banana. But since a gorilla is not the primary primate in this story, let’s get back to monkey business.
So focused now on his banana and caught up in all the emotion of trying to get what he thought he really needed, the monkey failed to see what was really going on around him. Suddenly, the owner of the nearby banana plantation leaped from the bushes, grabbed the monkey and promptly plopped him into a burlap sack.
Imprisoned now far greater than before, the monkey no longer considered the banana a perfect afternoon snack.
And that, my friends, is the story of The Monkey, the Banana, and the Bamboo Cage.
Questions: What banana is keeping you a prisoner? What is the one thing you think you must have? What are you afraid to let go of and why?
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