One with a horse and a monkey

Once upon a time there was a horse named Harold. His best friend was a monkey named Fred. Yes, that’s right, his best friend was a monkey.

Now, you might not think that a horse and a monkey would make very good friends, but that’s just because you aren’t thinking it through. A horse had four legs and the ability to run very fast and look majestic while he is doing it, but he is somewhat lacking in the arms department. He can find himself fresh grass to eat anytime, but what if he wants something sweeter, say, an apple? He’s hard pressed to get it down from the tree, and so he ends up waiting around until the apples fall on the ground, by which time they are inevitably bruised and mushy and not nearly so crunchy and delicious to eat. That’s where having a monkey friend can be very handy. Monkeys can easily climb to the top of any tree and pluck off the sweetest apples with their clever little hands. And in return for this apple delivery system? The horse can carry the monkey anywhere he wants to go, so his desire for adventure can be satisfied in a way that swinging in trees could never do.

So, as I was saying, Harold the horse and Fred the monkey were best friends. Every day Harold would trot up to the tree where Fred slept and wait for his friend to some swinging down. They would head off to seek adventure and apples anywhere their hearts desired.

One of their favorite places was a little hill quite some distance from the forest which had a cluster of lovely apple trees at its crown. The apples from those trees were the sweetest apples Harold had ever tasted, and Fred quite agreed.

But then one day it all went wrong. Harold and Fred arrived at their favorite hill on just the day when the apples should be at their sweetest for picking. It was a long trip, even for a strong horse like Harold, but he had been dreaming of apples the whole way, until he could just about taste their juicy crunch in his mouth. But as you will have guessed, when they got there, all the apples were gone from the trees. Harold was heart-broken (not to mention hungry and thirsty). Fred was irate. He jumped off of Harold’s back with a screech and swung to the very top of each and every tree, looking for those apples. But not even one was left. Fred’s shrieking was so loud that Harold wanted to cover his ears, but of course, he had no hands to do that, so he just stood as patiently as always and wondered with all his might what had happened to those apples.

When Fred finally calmed down a little, he looked down from his perch at the top of the tallest tree and saw something strange. Swinging quickly down, he discovered a single apple core lying at the bottom of the hill. A few feet away, he found another and then another. It was a whole trail of apple cores, leading away from the hill in the opposite direction of the forest. Fred was terribly excited about his discovery. His enthusiastic dancing caught Harold’s attention and in no time, Fred was showing him what he had seen and making plans to follow the trail of apple cores. Harold was very tired. But he found it difficult to say no to Fred when he was so worked up, and he kept thinking of those delicious apples, so his ducked his head, and they were off.

And then…

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