Near the school garden, and particularly near the plot of land assigned to our class, there was a very big tree that was home to a school of monkeys.
I don’t know if those monkeys were jealous of us for being more evolved and therefore better looking. Or maybe they just didn’t know better, once again owing to the fact that they were less evolved primates.
Whatever the reason, those monkeys were very rude, and on top of that, they were unrepentant thieves.
They had a horrible habit of stealing crops from our garden. They didn’t have the decency to hide the evidence. Even when we caught them red-handed, they would just run away with the loot in their hands and then climb the tree and eat right above of us in plain sight.
At first, we took the high road. We understood that since the monkeys couldn’t grow their own food, they were stealing for survival. Moreover, after learning in a Biology lesson that we were related to monkeys, we had decided to start calling them Cousins.
So we would have been glad to share because that’s what families do. In fact, we considered the possibility of buying bananas and inviting Cousins for a roundtable about that particular issue.
Someone would give the “we are all primates, let’s live in harmony” speech. There would be tears and hugs.
But the last time a class decided to share bananas with our Cousins, they ganged up on the class and robbed them of all their bananas. It was clear that there was no reasoning with them. We had to make the difficult choice of making them leave our crops alone.
The next time we found the monkeys stealing our crops, we ran after them until we captured one. Then we pinned all four limbs of the captive to the ground and started to administer discipline to it in a bid to teach a lesson to the others.
As we caned the captive’s bottom with a stick, it screamed in agony. We knew it was exaggerating the magnitude of its pain because the same method of discipline had been administered to us as children.
We had thought that the other Cousins would look on in fear and then forever live to remember us and fear to go near our garden. We thought that in their own language, they would pass on the story of that day from one generation to another about how their own cousins once attacked them.
That belief was of course born out of foolishness. As soon as the captive started to scream, the other monkeys surrounded us armed with all manner of weaponry. Some had sticks, some had stones and some others were bold enough to hold their own excrement in their hands.
The battle didn’t last long. Their defense completely caught us off guard and we panic. We tried to intimidate them but they retaliated by hauling their weapons at us.