Day4: Reading Snowball – CAPS FOR SALE by Esphyr Slobodkina

As a toddler this was my son’s favorite book. He was fascinated by the caps piled tall on the peddler’s head and giggled at the sight of a tree full of mimicking monkeys. The simple words made for great story telling and I had as much fun as he did, read-acting the words.

Years later I was intrigued by a similar story told by a local guide in Bali.

He’d cautioned us to secure our cameras and never ever put them down in view of the monkeys. Once, a photographer had carelessly rested his Nikon on a table in order to retrieve his lens cap.  It was a matter of seconds before a monkey whisked it away and fled up a tree.

The photographer tried everything to get his camera back.

He tried shouting at the monkey. It didn’t work. He tried throwing sticks at the monkey.  It didn’t work. He even tried jumping up and down. But that didn’t work either.

Finally the local guide took pity on him and offered him some bananas.

The photographer threw a single banana at the monkey. The monkey caught it with one hand and ate it while balefully holding the camera with the other.

Shaking his head at the photographer, the guide took all the bananas and threw them at the monkey.  The greedy monkey released the camera and scrambled for the bananas.

What do you think? Is it a true story or a urban jungle legend?

I don’t know. But it’s a good one, isn’t it?

Toronto, Canada. 2019


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