MONKEY AND DUCK PREQUELS TO THE BUNNY SIDE OF EASTER
How the Monkey and the Duck Got Caught in the Forest
Bend your head backward on your neck, and let your eyes play among the leaves of this tall, tall tree. You’ll see a furry little hand, then another, and another, a furry little face and another, and another.
Monkeys, monkeys were everywhere all in one tall tree, and that is how it was in a far-off land on the day before the first Easter a long, long time ago. There were many monkeys playing high among the leaves. One was very small, and her name was Madeline.
“How fun,” she thought, “to be high above the ground.
How fun to be able to look all around.
How fun to poke her face through green leaves up there
and say ‘boo’ to give her friends a scare.”
Madeline’s friends were all older than she, and they began to climb up, up into the top branches of the tree. Madeline, pretty little Madeline, climbed too. She swung from branch to branch as she saw the other monkeys do.
Madeline’s mommy and daddy picked bananas from a nearby tree. They saw her swinging high up in the tall, tall tree. They called to her and said:
“Madeline, come down. You have gone too high.
Madeline, you are not a bird. You cannot fly.
Madeline, Madeline, you will surely fall if you don’t obey.
Madeline, the tiger roams tonight. You cannot stay.
Madeline, please obey.”
But Madeline liked being high above the ground. Madeline liked doing what the older monkeys did. So she pretended that she did not hear what her parents said. Up, up to the very top she went swinging from limb to limb and singing:
“A wiggle and a squiggle and a giggle
And a fiddle-ee-crew.
And a wiggle and a squiggle and a giggle.”
As Madeline sang so merrily, she forgot to watch the older monkeys in the tree. When she reached the very top, she found no one there but Madeline. The other monkeys had swung to other trees, and Madeline was too small. Madeline didn’t know how to swing from tree to tree, only from limb to limb. She tried to climb back down again, but she had climbed too high. The ground was too far down. Her head began to spin. Poor Madeline began to cry. But no one heard. Only the dark night came. So on Easter eve Madeline, sitting up in the tree, was all alone.
That same day there was a splish, splash, splash in the pond at the edge of the sea. Seven brother ducks swam about happily. Dasper was fourth oldest. He was also fourth youngest. That put him just about in between Darryl, Dennis, Darby, Dilly, Drew, and Denton.
They swam back and forth from north to south and then from south to north all in a line of Darryl, Dennis, Darby, Dasper, Dilly, Drew, and Denton. Then Dasper saw something shiny in the grasses on the bottom of the pond. Dasper poked his face under the water to take a look at the shiny treasure. But he saw only the glitter and sparkle of something gold. So, kicking his little webbed feet, he dove down, down, down. And at the bottom he saw a tiny golden chest filled with tiny golden toys for girls and boys. There was
a golden coin,
a golden bell,
and a tiny golden cup.
There were little golden animals…
a tiger and
Then splish, splash, splash,
Six little ducks dove down to the bottom to find their brother Dasper.
“What is it that you’ve found?
We were sure that you had drowned,
for without a sound
you dove down, down, down.
What is it that you’ve found?”
“Nothing,” he said,
and pushed the chest down
into the grasses again.
Then he swam up
to the top,
Up came Darryl, Dennis, Darby; up came Dilly, Drew, and Denton swimming back and forth from north to south and then from south to north all in a line.
When the brother ducks went to take their naps, Dasper paddled back, back to the pond, back to the tiny golden chest. He carried the golden chest under his yellow wing out of the pond, through the grass, and deep into the forest . . .
where he could play with the toys that he had found with no one else around.
As he waddled along, he sang a silly song:
“A quackle and a crackle and a chuckle
and a diddle-ee-do.
and a quackle and a crackle and a chuckle.”
The chest was very heavy. It was hard to hold it straight. So Dasper held it cockeyed, then upside down, and as he hurried along, little golden toys fell along the ground.
Deep in the forest light turned into night, and Dasper tried to see with all his might, but all was night. He stumbled here and there. He dare not cry. Finally he sat beneath a tree and found a teardrop in his eye.
He wanted to go home, but it was dark, and it was night, and night had caught little Dasper in the forest where the tiger roams, the same forest in which we began, the forest of the poor, poor monkey Madeline.
For the rest of the story, read The Bunny Side of Easter. As you join the adventure of Madeline, Dasper, and the bunny Hal, you’ll discover how the Easter Bunny came to be and how he got into the moon.