traditional story retold by Jennifer McCormack
Once there was a man who made himself a red cap. It was long and pointy and had a bell on the end of it that went ting-a-ling! He wore it everywhere and everywhere he wore it, people admired his red cap. Soon people started asking him to make a red cap for them to buy, and so he did. He made so many red caps with bells on them that he couldn’t carry them all. He put them in a sack and started walking to market to sell them.
It was a long way to market and he had to walk for one day and one night through the forest. He enjoyed the walk during the day because there was lots to experience. He loved looking at the light dancing through the leaves and the shadows making patterns on the ground. He loved to hear the crunch of leaves and twigs under his feet, to spy the hiding animals and listen to the birds. It was a pleasant walk, but when the sun went down the man couldn’t see where he was going anymore, and he so he found a tree that looked like it had cozy roots and made himself comfortable there for the night. He had a little something to eat and he put on his red cap and went to sleep.
He had a great sleep, and when he woke up in the morning he stretched and yawned and looked around for his bag of caps, but the bag was empty! There was not a single red cap inside it? All his hard work was gone!! He looked everywhere – he looked all around the tree and all the trees around him. He looked under leaves and twigs but he couldn’t see his caps anywhere – just the empty bag!
“OH NO!” he groaned.
And then he heard some groaning coming from up in the tree. When he looked up he saw some monkeys sitting in the branches – and each one of them was wearing a red cap!
“Give those back to me!” he yelled, shaking his finger at the monkeys.
“Chee, chee, chee, chee, chee!” the monkeys yelled back, shaking their finger at the man.
“I need those caps! Give them to me now!” yelled the man, this time stamping his foot.
“Chee, chee, chee, chee, chee!” yelled the monkeys, stamping their feet so that the leaves shook and fell from the branches. All the monkeys laughed.
“Give me my caps right now!” yelled the man again. He was so frustrated his pulled his own cap from his head and threw it on to the ground at his feet.
“Chee, chee, chee, chee, chee!” yelled the monkeys, and they took off their caps and threw them on to the ground too, all the little bells going ting-a-ling as the caps landed all around the man.
Quickly he gathered up all the red caps and put them back in his bag. He put his own red cap on his head again, his little bell going ting-a-ling as he strode through the forest to the market. The cheeky monkeys all giggled to each other as they watched him go.
Snip snap snout – this tale’s told out!