Boni the monkey of Sundarban was extremely naughty. His pranks troubled everyone in the neighborhood. Many a times, his mischief caused great embarrassment to his parents. Everyone does some amount of mischief making, but if the mischief causes harm to others then people consider that person a nuisance. Parents, relatives, friends and neighbours – everybody advised Boni not to play pranks that cause harm to others. But Boni turned a deaf ear to all of them.
Last month, one morning, it was with great difficulty that Aunt Fox had arranged for four apples for her sick child. Her ailing child was demanding apples from a number of days. Aunt Fox met Boni on the way. She requested him, “Boni! I will be able to reach back home only by evening. I have to go for work. Please! Deliver these apples to my sick child. God will bless you!” Boni answered, “Don’t worry Aunt! I’ll give the apples right away.” Saying this he picked up the bag of apples and started for Aunt’s house.
Later that evening, when Aunt Fox reached home, she came to know that neither had Boni come to the house, nor had the apples reached. Aunt Fox was very disappointed. Her son’s desire of eating apples could not be fulfilled. The whole night she could not sleep. Early next morning she reached Boni’s house and asked him about the apples. Boni made an excuse, “Oh Aunt! What can I say! The moment I reached near your house, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the big bear Nanku Dada came out. He snatched the bag from me and gulped down all four apples in quick succession.” Everybody knew that Boni was lying. Aunt Fox became tearful. She said, “Boni! One day you’ll have to pay for your pranks.”
Boni’s mischief was unmentionable. Breaking a bird’s nest, or pushing down a bird’s chicks from their home were some of his daily doings.
One day he crossed all limits. While his cousin Tinku was sleeping, he tied his tail to the branch of a tree and then busted a loud cracker at some distance. Startled by the loud sound of the cracker, Tinku jumped up suddenly. As the tail was tied to the branch, it got pulled and there was a severe tear. The tail was miserably logged with blood.
Boni’s pranks were becoming painful for everybody in Sundarban. To put an end to it, one day some friends of Boni made a plan. They told him, “There is an orchard called Kanakban on the border of Sundarban. The mango trees near the boundary wall have very sweet mangoes. Tomorrow at night we all will go and pluck the mangoes from there.” “Why not during the day time,” enquired Boni. “The mangoes are so sweet that security guards of Kanakban are constantly on their guards. But at night time, only a few guards are there. So going at night is better,” clarified one of them.
Boni became restless. He thought, “I should go alone tonight itself and pluck a good number of mangoes. Tomorrow, there will be many of us with whom the mangoes will have to be shared.”
That night Boni reached Kanakban. There he saw a number of trees laden with mangoes. He carefully looked around but could not see any guard. He climbed a tree, plucked a mango and tasted it. “Awesome! Delicious! These mangoes are sweeter than honey!” words came out automatically from his mouth. Boni started shaking the tree. The mangoes started falling on the ground one by one making soft sounds– thud, thud, and thud. Then he went to another tree, held its branch and started shaking it too. But what was that! All of a sudden, he heard a buzzing sound. He looked all around him and saw some black insects flying and almost immediately felt hundreds of stings in his body. “H…E…L…P…! Someone H…E…L…P…! H…O…N…E…Y B…E…E…S…!” Boni shouted loudly. He jumped down from the tree and ran as fast as he could towards his house. But the bees were angry at being disturbed from their sleep. They were constantly stinging Boni.
Since it was night time and everybody was asleep, nobody heard Boni’s cries. He reached back home, somehow. But he was almost half dead by then.
His whole body had swollen because of the poison from bee’s stings. He could survive with great difficulty. It took weeks before he became completely alright. But during all his sufferings and pain, visuals of how bird’s chicks had cried, how Aunt Fox had felt, the blood soaked tail of Tinku and many more such incidents kept coming in front of his eyes. He realized that he alone was responsible for causing sufferings and pain to all these.
After four weeks, when Boni became fine, he stepped out of the house. But now he was completely changed. His pranks and dirty acts were all over.
After a few days, Boni came to know that sending him to Kanakban was a conspiracy against him. Those who had conspired, knew very well that there were uncountable number of beehives of dangerous bees near those mango trees. So, nobody went close to them. The conversation about guards was also false to make sure that Boni went there only at night time. During the day, anybody could have seen the beehives clearly even from far. And also in the plan, the night after was decided as they all knew that Boni would definitely try and go on that night itself to take as many mangoes as possible. Boni said, “The poison of the bees’ stings has removed the poison of naughtiness from me. My helpless condition reminded me of all whom I had troubled so much.”
Now, Boni is the most gentle, most benevolent, and most loving of all and has become the apple of everyone’s eyes.
- nuisance– a person/thing causing inconvenience
- unmentionable– too embarrassing to be spoken about
- benevolent– kind-hearted