The Smart Monkey

Once upon a time, there was a monkey whose name was Conner. Conner was a short monkey, with a shiny coat of orange-brown fur, and long arms to swing from tree to tree. Conner was fascinated by how the world worked and was thrilled at the thought of anything he could learn or discover. He lived in a mystical treetop village called Lightwood, where all the homes were built from cozy assortments of branches and leaves, high into the tree canopy. In the center of Lightwood was the school, built around the trunk of the tallest tree in the whole jungle.

Conner was a bright little monkey, who was always curious about everything going on around him. When he was at school, he always knew to answers to the questions, without even having to think very hard. This bothered his classmates, who always felt like they were behind in class, and couldn’t help comparing themselves to Conner, who could always say the correct answer so quickly, while they struggled to keep up.

Going into the 6th grade this year, the other monkeys had begun to resent Conner for his intelligence. Today, two weeks since the beginning of the year, class had just been let out for lunch break, and Conners classmates were especially annoyed, because while they were practicing their times tables, Conner got to do some more advanced math, learning how to times and divide using fractions. So when Ms. Lockwood gave special congratulations to Conner at the end of class, they were all a little annoyed.

After Conner grabbed his lunch, he started walking through the cafeteria looking for a place to sit. He saw an empty seat near Jeremy, one of the other monkeys in class, and walked over. Before he could even put his tray down on the table, Jeremy stood up from his seat and walked right up to him. He was a lot taller than Conner and made him feel small, especially when he pointed his finger at Conners chest. "This seat is reserved, Conner" He said with a nasty scowl. Conner didn't believe for a second that there was anyone else coming to sit there, but he got the message. As Conner was walking away he heard Jeremies friends laughing at him, and it took all of Conners effort not to cry. He didn't see any other seats in the cafeteria, so he decided to bring his lunch to the library, where he knew the librarian Ms. Nim wouldn't care.

As he walked into the library he saw Ms. Nim sitting behind her desk. She was a thin, tall, monkey, wearing a bright blue dress, and a pair of square glasses as she read her book. She looked up and saw Conner walking in and smiled kindly at him. Ms. Nim must have realized he wasn't in much of a mood for talking, so she quietly went back to her book, as Conner went to his favorite spot.

In the back of the library, there was a corner with a fluffy, dark red chair that was big enough it could have seated a gorilla. As Conner walked to the corner, he set his lunch down on the table beside the red chair, and fell down into the big chair, letting himself sink down into it as far as he could go.

He grabbed his book out of his bag, and eagerly picked it up where he had left off. Books were the only time he felt he could really learn something, without being judged for it. He could be curious and read about anything he wanted, and the book wasn't going to care. Unfortunately the time passed by too quickly as he read, and as if he had blinked, the bell for class rang, and he had to pack up.

The rest of the day passed by rather quickly, but none of the other monkeys would talk to him, and Conner got lonely. By the time school was over all Conner wanted to do was go home as fast as possible.

The next morning when Conner walked into the classroom, Jeremy and his friends were already there. Conner walked straight to the back where his seat was, and opened his book while he waited for class to start. Just then, Jeremy walked over and snatched the book out of his hands.

“Ooh, lets see what a loser thinks is cool" he said sarcastically to his friends, which got a chuckle out of them.

"Give it back, thats not funny!” Conner said as he reached to grab it. Conner was getting angry now, and he could feel his face getting red.

Jeremy held the book up above his head and said "come and grab it". Given that Jeremy was so much taller than Conner, he tried jumping to reach it, but couldn’t grab it. Right when he was going to give it another try, Ms. Lockwood walked in.

“Jeremy, give Conner his book back" she said, as she put her purse on her desk. And so, reluctantly, Jeremy returned the book, with an angry scowl on his face.

At lunch that day, Conner didn't even try to sit in the cafeteria, and headed straight for the library. Conner was feeling particularly overwhelmed today, because he couldn't figure out how to stop Jeremy and his friends from being mean to him. Conner had never done anything mean to them. He had certainly never called them names, like they called him. He just didn't understand why they all seemed to hate him so much.

His sadness must have shown on his face as he walked into the library, because Ms.Nim immediately asked “whats wrong Conner, did something happen?”

Conner immediately broke down and started crying. He didn't know why he was crying, but it all just felt like too much to deal with, and crying seemed like the appropriate reaction. Ms. Nim walked over and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder

“do you want to tell me what happened, maybe I can help?” she said. Conner thought about it for a second, and decided that if she had read as many books as he thought she had, she would probably be able to help.

“Okay, but I wanna sit in the big chair" said Conner.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way” Ms. Nim replied.

When they got the best corner, Ms.Nim pulled up a chair and said "so what happened?” With worry spread across her face.

"The other monkeys in my class hate me!, they won't talk to me, they wont sit with me at lunch, and today Jeremy took my book and the whole class laughed at me. He didn't give it back until Ms. Lockwood told him to.” Conner said with his face in his hands, sobbing. "I don't know why they’re all so mean to me, I never did anything mean to them, I don't deserve to be picked on like this."

Ms.Nim spoke very softly when she said "Conner, I think I know why the other monkeys are picking on you, and it’s not your fault”.

“why?" asked Conner.

“Because they’re jealous of you, you’re smarter than them, and they feel insecure” she replied.

“So what do I do to make them stop?”

“The most important thing that you can do, is making sure you never allow them to pull you down to their level. " Ms. Nim told him.

“what does that mean?” Conner asked.

"it means that no matter how mean they are to you, no matter how jealous of you they are, you won't become mean like them." she said.

"You must remain curious and you can never allow them to make you scared to show how smart you are." she added.

“But do you wanna know what the hardest part is Conner?" she asked.


"You have to let go of your anger towards them, because if you hold on to that anger, you are no better than they are."

"you have to forgive them, especially when they don't deserve forgiveness” Ms.Nim said.

"that seems… tough” Conner said apprehensively.

"it is, but your tougher”, Ms.Nim said with a wink.

Conner had stopped crying now, and was feeling much better.

"Thank you Ms. Nim” Conner said.

"Anytime Conner, and if you need anything else, you know where to find me" she said with a smile as she returned to her desk. Conner then got out his book and sat up a little straighter as he read his book this lunchtime. When the bell at the end of lunch rang, he was ready to face whatever his classmates threw at him, and even more than that, we was excited to learn again.

When he walked into the classroom and took his usual seat, he was delighted to hear Ms. Lockwood say that they were doing math again. Everyone in the class groaned, except for Conner, who was grinning from ear to ear. After Ms. Nim explained the assignment to the class, Conner walked up to her desk.

“Can you give me a challenge, Ms.Lockwood, I've done this math before."

She smiled up at him and said "sure, would you like to try learning algebra?, usually monkeys don’t learn this for a couple more years, but I think you can handle it."

“That sounds great!" Conner exclaimed.

Ms. Lockwood handed Conner some new worksheets that looked like math, but with letters instead of numbers. Conner walked back towards his seat, and ignored the glares coming from all of his monkey classmates. Now that he understood they were jealous, he was determined not to dumb himself down to make them happy. He realized that being smarter than the other monkeys was a good thing, even if it made him lonely while he was at school. He also learned that because he chose to be better than the other monkeys, it didn't matter what they said to him, because it was his choice whether he let what they said effect him.

So, at the end of the day, when the monkeys were leaving from school and some of them went up to Conner, he was ready.

“Hey, Conner, how does it feel to be such a loser? said Jeremy.

“Hey, Conner, I didn't know it was possible to suck as much as you do" said one of Jeremys friends.

This is when Conner surprised them. He turned around and looked them in the eye.

"I forgive you all, for everything, and if you want to make fun of me I’m not going to stop you, so, uh, no hard feelings from my end, alright?" Conner said with a smile.

The other monkeys didn't know what to say, so they just stood there confused.

Conner turned around and started walking home with his head held high, feeling good.