The Tale of Two Bananas

Deep in the jungles of Borneo, there is a pristine valley. The valley is surrounded by high mountains inaccessible to other animals of the jungle what more humans. That is why this valley is unexplored by humankind. It is so secluded that it has its own micro-climate and flora and fauna. In this valley, the most dominant of the animals were the monkeys. There were two types of monkeys in this micro-ecosystem; the brown-faced monkey and the pale-butt monkey.

In terms of population, the pale-butt monkeys are eight times more than the brown-faced monkeys. Character-wise, the brown-faced monkey is quiet, thoughtful, observant and industrious while the pale-butt monkey is the showman of the valley – flamboyant, convincing, highly energetic and always in a hurry. With such contrasting characteristics, there is bound to be one that is admired above the other; albeit slightly.

The pale-butt monkey is the life of the party; everyone loves them. They are great public speakers and showmen. A natural entertainer, the valley animal folks love them. They are popular while the brown-faced monkey is revered silently by the valley animal folks.

The monkeys’ favourite staple was yellow bananas. They are tasty, easy to find and in abundance; in fact overflowing. That is why it is their favourite especially for the pale-butt monkeys. Since they are very busy strutting around, they have very little time to be bothered to look elsewhere for food.

In the valley, there was only one place that the bananas grew; in a piece of land between the waterfall and the rapids. This is where you will be able to meet all the pale-butt monkeys, especially during meal times.

This is not so for the brown-faced monkeys. Even though some of them do eat the yellow bananas, the majority of them prefer to travel a little bit further up a hill where there are delicious red bananas. These red bananas are definitely more tasty than the yellow ones however takes slightly more effort to peel. This factor added to the travel time to get up the hill makes the red bananas undesirable to the pale-butt monkeys.

As the story goes, one fine day, without warning, without fanfare, a terrible foul-smelling mustard coloured haze swept down the mountains and engulfed the whole valley. No one knows where it came from. It is the first time ever such a haze descended upon the pristine valley. For two days and two nights, the valley was wrapped in this terrible mustard haze.

Even though it is unpleasant to the nose, it did not bring with it an obvious side effect; so we thought. However, the animal folks of the valley decided to keep themselves indoor fearing that being exposed to such a haze might jeopardise their health.

After two days, the haze lifted and the valley once again was back to its normal pristine, fresh and green self. Once the haze has gone, the monkeys came out and made a rush to their favourite yellow bananas. Once there, they ate till their heart content and enjoyed the chance to play along the riverbank.

Things were the same the next week. On the eight days of the departure of the haze, the monkeys notice that the banana trees are not flowering and bearing fruit fast enough.

Among the pale-butt monkey, this did not raise any concern. However, the brown-faced monkey saw a similar trend among the red bananas as well and this concerned them. They tried to warn the pale-butt monkeys about being more concern about the situation and start making plans in case the yellow bananas cease to bear fruits.

The pale-butt monkeys decided that the situation is temporary. Why panic? Chill and let’s wait and see what happens. Most probably, things will return to normal. That was the strategy the pale-butt monkey settled upon.

The brown-faced monkey didn’t subscribe to that strategy. They begin to look around by sending scouting parties all over the valley observing what was happening elsewhere. Upon the return of the scouting parties, the brown-faced monkey decided to seek a more stable source of food.

One of the scouting party has reported that they heard that a new breed of red bananas is growing at the top of the mountain. This was reported by the doves because they were the ones who saw it flying over the mountain into the valley.

The brown-faced monkey shared this finding to the pale-butt monkeys yet it fell on deft ears. Excuses they hear from the pale-butt monkeys are like it takes too much effort for just a banana, even though it is a red delicious banana. Another popular excuse is that it takes too long to climb the mountain just to eat. Might as well wait at the yellow bananas. There is also the excuse that they don’t know how to get there and that they are monkeys and are not equipped to hike up mountains. And the most famous excuse of all; why would I spend the energy from the yellow banana to go find a red banana. Many of the pale-faced monkeys even laughed at the brown-faced monkeys for wanting to harvest the red bananas up the mountain.

With that snub, the brown-faced monkey set in motion their plan to increase their food resource. They started by gathering intelligence and confirming the existence of the red bananas on top of the mountain. The search yielded proof that not only red bananas were up the mountain, but they are also of a hybrid that is resilient to the mustard-haze, full of nutrients, easy to grow and very delicious!

The brown-faced monkeys seek the help of the mountain goats to teach them how to hike up the mountain, the dove for navigation lessons, the wild boar for trail building and the buffalo for stamina and strength lessons.

They also hired the beaves, paying them with red bananas to relocate their home from the hills of the red bananas to a place nearer to the mountain so that they are ready to hike the mountain anytime they need to.

In the meantime, the pale-butt monkeys looked at the efforts of the brown-faced monkeys and continued mocking the idea of going for the red bananas on the mountain.

Days go by and weeks goes by. Suddenly, one day, a heavy downpour descends onto the valley. This is indeed a rare occasion because even though it rains in the valley, but the rain is always small; can also be described as drizzles.

Right after the rain, the yellow bananas grew in abundance to the delight of the pale-butt monkeys. This became the brunt of the teasing of the brown-faced monkeys by the pale-butt monkeys. The brown-faced monkeys were not deterred. They kept to their plan.

Alas, the false fortune of the pale-butt monkeys did not last. After two months, the yellow banana yield decreases tremendously, almost to a nought.

By now, the brown-faced monkeys have established their home in between the hill and the mountain; enjoying the red bananas of the mountain.

I wonder what will happen to the pale-butt monkeys in the months to come?

Current news: Till today, the pale-butt monkeys are still waiting at the yellow banana trees hoping, praying and waiting for the heavy rain to come again or the yield of the yellow banana trees will return to normal.

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