Daddy Monkey and the Banana Xylophone
One night Emma woke up and shouted “The xylophone! The huge xylophone!”
Mummy and Daddy got up straight away and rushed to give her water and put her back to bed.
“It was just a funny dream,” said Daddy as they went back to sleep.
“It was a huge xylophone,” said Mummy, “and I don’t think the banana trees helped.” She stopped suddenly and covered her mouth with her hand. “Oops!”
But it was too late. Daddy Monkey had heard about the banana trees. He pretended to still be asleep, until Mummy and Daddy were snoring again. “Hee hee!” he thought. “A xylophone that grows bananas! I’m going to get there and chomp until Wednesday!”
The only problem was, he didn’t know where this amazing xylophone was. He had to think about what Mummy, Daddy and Emma had said about where they had been that day. He thought and thought, until Mummy and Daddy’s room was filled with monkey brain-steam.
Then he remembered – something about trilobites, dinosaurs and a dark and gloomy place. The dark museum behind the Daddy Museum! He was so excited he blew a tune on his waking-people-up-early-in-the-morning trumpet.
“What’s going on?” asked Daddy, sitting up with very surprised hair.
“It’s a cheese festival,” said Daddy Monkey.
“Oh, that’s lovely,” said Daddy, and went back to sleep to dream about cheese.
“Oops!” said Daddy Monkey. “Time to go.” He jumped out of bed and then down the stairs. As he went, he called Carla Wingcase on his mobile phone.
“What’s going on?” asked Carla sleepily.
“It’s a cheese festival,” said Daddy Monkey.
“Oh, I don’t like cheese,” said Carla and put the phone down.
“Bott – oops!” said Daddy Monkey looking round to check that no one had heard him. He rang Carla again.
“It’s not a cheese festival, it’s a xylophone that grows bananas! And it’s in your museum!”
“What?” said Carla. For a while all Daddy Monkey could hear down the phone was rattling. “Sorry,” said Carla after a while. “I was just putting my shoes on.”
“I suppose it takes a while if you’ve got six feet,” said Daddy Monkey. “Anyway, I’ll get to the museum as fast as I can.”
“Sally and I will find out where the xylophone’s kept,” said Carla. “They won’t be able to hide it from the greatest beetle detective in the world!”
“And his wife!” shouted Sally.
“Great!” said Daddy Monkey. “See you soon!”
In the kitchen he searched around for his shoes, but in the dark accidentally put Daddy’s shoes on instead. Then he put on Emma’s big red rainjacket, and Mummy’s huge sunhat. He looked like a big tomato with massive feet and a flower on its head!
He soon realised what was wrong, and took all the wrong clothes off. Then he found the right shoes and furry coat, and got on his tricycle. He tricycled to the front door and posted his wheels and himself through the letterbox. “Whee!” he shouted, and pedalled superfast along the pavement, past the allotments and towards town.
Uncle Snail, who was chewing a cabbage in the allotments, thought “What a silly monkey, going so fast.” Daddy Donkey looked out from his field and brayed, “Good luck, cute little monkey!”
“I’m not a cute little…”
“What did you say?” said Daddy Donkey, but Daddy Monkey had gone past so fast he didn’t have time to finish his shouting.
Tom Monkey was up in the top of the Story-Telling Shop, making stories in his big cauldron.
He heard a zooming noise and went to the window. There seemed to be a small creature whooshing by on a tricycle. “I hope that Daddy Monkey’s not being naughty,” he said to himself.
But then a dragon flew out of the story stew in the cauldron, and he had to put it in a story jar before it set fire to the roof.
Before too long Daddy Monkey was knocking on the door of the Daddy Museum. The big door opened slowly, slowly, and two beetle heads poked out into the night.
“We’ve found it,” said Sally Wingcase, “But we can’t find any bananas.”
“Oh, they probably come out when you bang on the keys,” said Daddy Monkey, striding in.
“Sssh!” said Sally. “The T. rex is stomping about. You won’t be able to eat any bananas if you’ve been chomped up.”
“This way,” whispered Carla, sitting on Daddy Monkey’s head, and pointing with a spiny leg. Sally sat on the monkey’s left ear.
Daddy Monkey went as quietly as he could up the steps and into the museum. Even his cheeky grin was quiet. They couldn’t see or hear the T. rex in the gloom. The only sound was the trilobites playing cricket with the ammonites in a distant corner.
But then Daddy Monkey’s tum realised it hadn’t had any bananas for ages. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrumble! All the dinosaur bones in the museum rattled. Suddenly the beetles and Daddy Monkey could hear big bones going clomp! clomp! on the tiles, and some BIG TEETH appeared out of the dark.
“Eek!” they all shouted, and Daddy Monkey ran around with his hands on his ears, bumping into things. Whumpf! A big pile of woolly animals fell down onto him.
“Who’s making all that noise?” said a scary voice.
“Not me!” Daddy Monkey shouted, although he was muffled by a spiny echidna.
“Hmph! OK then,” said the T. rex. “I’m going to find those noisy people and eat them all up!”
Off he went. Daddy Monkey and the beetles dug their way out from under the animals. Carla and Sally got hold of Daddy Monkey’s ears. They buzzed their wings and carried him as fast as they could to the room in the dark museum where the xylophone was kept.
“Push the door!” panted Carla (Daddy Monkey was very heavy). The big-tummed monkey stuck out his big tum, and the door swung open.
Carla and Sally flew into the room, but Daddy Monkey was too heavy, and down he went, wheee BONG – onto the xylophone.
“Eek!” said Daddy Monkey, and ran up and down with his hands over his ears. BONG – BONG – BONG went the xylophone. Then, a big BONNNNNG as he sat his big bottom down. Carla found the light switch, and then they could see what was going on.
“It’s the xylophone!” said Sally. Daddy Monkey opened his eyes and took his hands away from his ears. He looked very hard at the xylophone.
Each key was made out of a long piece of wood, most of them bigger than Daddy Monkey. Some were even longer than both his long arms if he stretched them out. In the middle a bowl shape was cut out. “Nice seat,” he said, squishing his bottom into one. The end of each key was a bit bashed. Daddy Monkey thought that this was because someone had been chewing the keys while waiting for the bananas to come out.
“Let’s get playing!” he shouted.
But Carla had found a piece of paper with writing on it. “Wait a minute, let’s see what it says.”
“Oh, it’s probably boring, saying ‘Don’t eat the bananas’, or ‘Please don’t chew the xylophone’,” said Daddy Monkey, who was feeling hungry and was quite keen on chewing the xylophone until he got hold of some bananas.
“It says,” said Carla, “that this xylophone comes from a country in Africa called Uganda, and it was specially made there. It’s called an mbire, and you play it by hitting the ends of the keys, which is why they’re a bit basked. And – in Uganda, they rest the keys on the trunks of banana trees, and they have festivals with banana beer.”
“Banana beer!” shouted Daddy Monkey, taking a xylophone key out of his mouth. “Quick!”
He rush to a table by the wall, and picked up a xylophone-playing stick. BONG-a-DEE-DEE-DEE-a-BONG went the xylophone, while Daddy Monkey ran up and down with his mouth open to catch the beer when it came.
“Join in!” he shouted. Sally and Carla looked at each other for a moment, then picked up sticks with their legs, flew over and start to play.
Well, the noise was amazing. It echoed off the roof in the Daddy Museum, and all the dinosaur skeletons ran to hide in case it all fell down. The T. rex tried to put its claws in its ears – but couldn’t, because its arms were too short. Soon Daddy Monkey and the beetles were getting tired.
“Where’s” BONG “the banana” BONG “beer?” gasped Carla.
BONG “It must be stuck,” BONG said Daddy Monkey. While the other two carried on BONG-ing, he climbed underneath the xylophone.
“There’s no banana beer!” he shouted. The beetles dropped their sticks in surprise.
“Oh no!” said Sally.
“Oh dear,” said Carla.
“Bottoms!” said Daddy Monkey.
They sat on the floor feeling glum. In the rest of the museum, all the dinosaurs and animals felt cheerful because the noise had stopped.
“No bananas!” said Daddy Monkey.
“Not quite!” said Carla. “Follow me!”
He buzzed out into the main museum, until he reached a hatch in the floor. “Lift this, Daddy Monkey.”
Daddy Monkey heaved and pulled and heaved, and pop! the hatch opened. Out wafted the smell of bananas.
“It’s the guards’ secret stash,” explained Carla. “I just remembered where it was.”
“Woo!” said Daddy Monkey, and rushed inside. After a short while bunches of bananas started to fly up out of the hatch. All the museum animals gathered round, amazed. Even the T. rex couldn’t believe it.
The trilobites and ammonites started to carry some bananas away, but Sally shouted, “Wait for Daddy Monkey!”
It wasn’t long before the monkey in question appeared, with the cheekiest grin ever! “Eat! Eat! Eat!” he shouted. And he did.
Later on, surrounded by banana skins, Daddy Monkey and the beetles remembered the xylophone. They called the animals to go with them, and they all played the loudest tune the old museum had ever heard. Then most of them fell asleep under the xylophone, and the iguanodon and spider monkey had to put them all back in their places before the museum guards arrived in the morning.
But what could they do with Daddy Monkey? He had no case to go in, and the guards wouldn’t want a snoring monkey lying on the floor. Carla had to do a huge “buzz!” in his ear to wake him up. “Waaagh!” he said, and sat up.
“Time to go!” said Carla.
As the guards opened the museums door in the morning, a small monkey on a tricycle zoomed past them and off towards south Oxford. “What a cute little monkey,” said one – but then he saw what was written on the museum floor in enormous letters made out of banana skins: I’M NOT A CUTE LITTLE MONKEY!
“Tee hee!” said Carla and Sally.
Back at home, Daddy, Mummy and Emma were just getting up when they heard a big banana-filled tum being squeezed through the letterbox.
“Where have you been?” asked Daddy.
“Have you been a naughty monkey?” asked Mummy.
“Is that banana on your face?” asked Emma.
But Daddy Monkey said nothing. He just put the kettle on and made a big pot of banana tea.
“Never mind,” said Daddy, taking a large drink. Daddy Monkey smiled, and decided he would build his own banana xylophone.