‘Round and ‘round the mulberry bush
The Monkey chased the Weasel
The Monkey thought ‘twas all in good fun…
“Stop!” goes the Weasel. “There’s got to be a way that we can make a deal here.”
“Weasel!” replied the Monkey.
“That’s right, I am Weasel. Now, are we just going to run around this stupid bush again and again until something unfortunate happens to one of us? Because I’m not interested in ending my story any time-”
“Weasel!” interrupted Monkey.
“Yes,” sighed Weasel. “Now, I notice that a fellow your size has to do quite a bit of stooping down to get around these bushes.” Monkey sat down with a shrug and began to fidget with his toes. “I may have something to offer you that will help.” Weasel reached deep into the bush and pulled out a large floppy hat. Monkey scratched his belly and looked quizzically at the foreign object being offered. “You put it on top of your head,” explained Weasel patiently.
“So you can walk through the bushes with your head held high, and this marvelous hat will keep the branches from smacking you in that handsome face of yours.” Monkey grinned and Weasel continued, “You will be bigger and taller and you won’t have to be so careful of where you walk.” Monkey accepted the gift and placed it on his head. He stretched his back to stand as straight as he could, puffing out his chest proudly. He looked ridiculous, even for a monkey. Weasel beamed with satisfaction. “Now you can look around as you walk and enjoy the scenery far and wide… or turn your attention to chewing on your shoulder,” which was what Monkey was doing. He looked up innocently.
“Thanks Weasel!” And Monkey bounced off into the forest without a care in the world, shaking bushes and breaking branches as he went.
So Monkey lived, always wearing his fancy floppy hat and walking tall through the forest.
“Weasel!” exclaimed Monkey upon seeing his friend some time later.
“Monkey, hello,” answered Weasel sunnily. “Looking good mate! How have you been in your dapper chapeau?”
“Weasel, I can’t see up! That Bird swoops down and steals the fruit right out of my hands! Squirrel drops things on me when I pass beneath him! Everyone laughs and makes fun of me.”
“Monkey, Monkey, Monkey. They’re all just jealous of your newfound swagger and style,” Weasel surmised.
“I’m hungry and dirty, and it’s all your fault!” Monkey began chasing Weasel around the mulberry bush again. Weasel dove under the cover of the lowest branches, squirming all the way to the trunk where he knew Monkey could not fit in his big floppy hat. Monkey screeched in frustration and beat at the bush uselessly.
“Now, friend, listen to me,” Weasel pleaded from his leafy sanctuary. “If you will just calm down I can teach you a trick that will fix your troubles, I promise.”
Monkey plopped down dejectedly. “Fine,” he pouted. Weasel crawled with caution out of the bush and brushed himself off.
“What you need is a house, somewhere to be protected from all those jealous, uncouth beasts. Look here Monkey,” and Weasel began breaking branches off of the bush and stacking and tying them together with ribbons of bark. Monkey did the same and in no time they had assembled four strong walls and a roof made watertight with interwoven leaves. These they erected in the nearby clearing and Weasel invited Monkey into his new shelter. “Now you can eat and sleep and the other animals can’t bother you at all, you see. You can even grab extra food when you have a chance and store it inside to eat later. The others will be very jealous indeed, but what can they do? What can they do to this proud, handsome Monkey who is safe and sound in his very own house?”
So Monkey lived, hanging his floppy hat by the door of his very enviable home.
“Weasel! Weasel!” A forlorn Monkey cried out into the forest before long had passed. “There you are you scoundrel! I see you hiding in there!” Weasel emerged from the thicket in which he was napping.
“Yes Monkey, what is it now? Is everything alright in your sturdy chateau?”
“Oh Weasel, nothing is right! They’re all so jealous of my house that no one will talk to me anymore. Rabbit snuck in while I was out and ate all my food! Spider and Bat keep trying to move in whenever I’m not looking. Last night Bear came and shook the walls so hard while I was sleeping that I jumped up and ran scared all the way across the woods before I knew what happened! I can’t live like this!” Weasel pondered this for a moment.
“The real trouble,” he opined with a haughty air, “is the company you keep. Lower orders, as they say. Someone needs to put them in their place. It’s been a long time coming, it has. And you know what Monkey? You may be just the one to do it!”
“Oh no, not me,” said Monkey peeking out from under his floppy hat.
“Oh yes, you,” replied Weasel convincingly. “Who else around here can walk so tall and proud? Who else is so clever to live in a big, fine house? That Bear and the rest are nothing but stupid beasts. They need someone to call the shots, so they’ll know how things really are.”
“But me? How?”
“You just need a way to control them. Hmmm. I know! Ah, it’s so simple! We must cut off your tail.”
“Don’t worry Monkey. Don’t you trust me by now?”
“I guess so, but-”
“But nothing my friend! Watch.”
And without further debate Weasel darted around Monkey. Monkey yelped and jumped, but it was too late; Weasel had bitten his tail clean off and was twirling it around
with dark glee. He explained, “Now your tail has become a lash. Anyone who steps out of line can be put in their place.” With a flick of his wrist he cracked the air with Monkey’s tail.
“Oh, no. I couldn’t do that, not ever!” Monkey fretted.
“Well you may have to!” snapped Weasel. “But if you prefer, it also works as a leash.” He spied Squirrel eavesdropping from behind the stump of the old bush and deftly flicked the leash at him. It wrapped around Squirrel’s neck and held fast, despite all of his struggling. “Now you’ll do as I say!” Monkey flinched as Weasel yelled at his captive. Squirrel’s eyes and shoulders sank as he saw that he had no choice but to obey. “You see Monkey? Now if Bear shakes your house again, you can make him fix it for you himself, bigger and better than ever.” Weasel jerked Squirrel’s neck cruelly with the leash.
“Weasel, I wanna try now,” implored Monkey. Weasel gave Squirrel a stern warning about running away and removed the leash. He handed Monkey his tail. Monkey took a tentative step toward the cowering Squirrel then quickly spun to face Weasel. “You Weasel! I’ll show you!” He snapped Weasel with the lash and began to chase him around and around the stump of the old mulberry bush, whipping andcracking his tail at the rascal. Weasel tripped and fell and Monkey wrapped the tail around his neck, holding him tight until he gave up fighting and cringed pleadingly. “It works, Weasel! It really does!” With that he tied the other end of the leash to the stump and Weasel was stuck.
They left Weasel there for a long, long time, to think about the trouble he had caused Monkey and the others. Bird swooped down to steal the food that Monkey had brought. Squirrel threw acorns down on him from the treetops. Bear came by to shake the leash at night. Rabbit and Spider and Bat walked by to laugh at him every day.
So Monkey lived, storing food in his house to share with everyone and never missing an opportunity to show off his fancy floppy hat.