Monkeys

Once there was a young wombat named Benson who lived in a nice little wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

One day Benson and his mother were sitting outside under a tree, shelling peanuts. They cracked open the peanut shells and put the peanuts in a bowl and the shells in an old basket. When the basket was overflowing with shells, Benson’s mother carried it to the compost heap and tipped the shells out. When she came back, there were not as many peanuts in the bowl as when she left.

“What happened to the peanuts?” she said to Benson.

Benson said, “What do you mean, what happened to the peanuts?”

“There were more peanuts in the bowl when I left,” she said.

“Oh,” Benson said. “As a matter of fact, as soon as you went, two monkeys came out of the bushes over there, and they ran up to the peanuts and grabbed two big handfuls each, and stuffed them in their mouths.”

“What monkeys?” Benson’s mother said suspiciously.

“Two kind of brown monkeys, with monkey tails, and little monkey hands full of peanuts. They ran away again.”

“What did they look like?” Benson’s mother said, more suspiciously.

“Like monkeys. Kind of brown, and with monkey-type faces and little monkey hands.”

“Monkeys,” she said.

“Monkeys,” Benson agreed.

They took the peanuts inside. “I thought I’d make some peanut biscuits with these,” Benson’s mother said.

“I can help,” said Benson. Together they mixed butter and brown sugar together, and flour and cinnamon and peanuts, until it made a nice soft dough. Aunt Moss came out to watch them.

“Ooh, peanut cookies! I love peanut cookies,” she said. “Did you put the cinnamon in?”

“Mm-hmm,” Benson said.

Benson’s mother bent down to the cupboard to find some trays to cook the biscuits on. When she stood up again, some of the biscuit dough was missing.

“What happened to the biscuit dough?” she said.

“What do you mean, what happened to it?” Aunt Moss said.

“I mean, there was more dough a minute ago.”

“You’re not going to believe this,” said Aunt Moss, “but just as you bent down, two monkeys came into the kitchen and grabbed up some of the dough and stuffed it into their mouths, and ran out again.”

“Monkeys?” Benson’s mother said.

“Monkeys,” Aunt Moss nodded. “Isn’t that right, Benson?”

Benson nodded.

“What did these monkeys look like?” Benson’s mother said.

“Oh, you know, like regular monkeys. Furry, with little cute faces like monkeys.”

“I didn’t hear anything,” Benson’s mother said.

“They were very quiet,” Aunt Moss said. “Silent monkeys, on tiptoe.”

“Hmm,” said Benson’s mother.

They rolled out the dough and cut it into nice round biscuits and put them on the trays. They put them in the oven. Then they washed the bowl and the spoons and tidied up. By the time they were finished, a beautiful smell of freshly-baked biscuits was filling the whole kitchen. Suddenly everyone was hungry.

Aunt Lillibet smelled the biscuits cooking from her room and came out. “Peanut biscuits?” she said. “My favourite!”

Another five minutes and the biscuits were ready. Benson’s mother took them out of the oven, golden brown and hot.

“We’ll let them cool for five minutes, and then we’ll be able to eat them,” she said.

“Why don’t I make a cup of tea while we’re waiting?” Aunt Lillibet said.

When she had finished making the tea, she looked at the pile of biscuits. “What happened to all the biscuits?”

“What do you mean, what happened to the biscuits?” Benson’s mother said.

Aunt Lillibet said, “There were a lot more biscuits a minute ago. Someone must have eaten some of them.” She looked hard at Benson’s mother and Aunt Moss and Benson.

Benson’s mother said, “You’re not going to believe this, but while you were making the tea, these monkeys came into the kitchen, brown monkeys, with tails and little cute faces and hands, and they grabbed a biscuit in each hand and stuffed them in their mouths, and ran away again, very quietly, on tiptoe.”

“Monkeys?” said Aunt Lillibet.

“Monkeys,” said Benson’s mother and Aunt Moss and Benson together.

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