A young man's pet seeks to give his master the best birthday gift ever.
|Alex’s pet chimpanzee, Banjo, held the bars of the cage staring at his master. Banjo recalled the tall plump circus trainer that sold Banjo to Alex for nine gold coins. He treated Banjo like a best friend. Alex would often talk to Banjo.
One day, Alex came home from working in the wheat fields and ran to talk to Banjo.
“Banjo! My mom is getting me something worth twenty gold pieces! I heard her talk about it to her friend Griselda.”
Banjo’s eyes brightened. He was so happy to see Alex so glad. Banjo wanted to give Alex something too. It would have to be a gift so special and unique. Banjo had twenty-one days to decide until the birthday celebration.
Night came and Banjo was awake thinking about a great gift to give his master. Banjo’s mind drifted about Alex and his mother discuss the ban on religion after the civil war from two apposed religions.
He recalled being in his cage set outside as guards broke into houses, including Alex’s, and carrying out small black books with crosses on them. People cried out and wept as they pleaded with the armed men not to take the books. Banjo remembered the great sadness that followed. Even he felt a strange emptiness. He recalled Alex’s mother having her little black book being wrenched from her hands.
Ah, that was it. Banjo would get Alex another black book with a across on it. Where could he get one? Perhaps in the castle. Banjo thought of how to get into the castle. He thought long and hard for two weeks until he got an idea.
The morning sunlight came through the window and into Banjo’s cage that lay on the ground with the keys hanging on a nail three yards away. He used his long tail to reach the key and bring it to him.
He broke out and snuck out of the house and into the streets. He sprinted to a wagon with a bushel of apples in it and covered himself with apples. The wagon began to move and Banjo peaked out and saw two horses pulling the wagon.
It was brought into the castle through a gate. Banjo jumped out and scampered behind a brazier. He looked around; the castle was enormous!”
Banjo heard two barking dogs come from his left and he saw a man gripping a leash tied to the dogs. The dogs had smelled him out!
Banjo ran out from behind the brazier and made for a tall lamp stand. His little heart thumped as the dogs ran after him. They were inches away until Banjo climbed up the lamp stand. The dogs scratched and pushed at the lamp. It tottered and began to tip over. As it fell, Banjo leapt onto a hanging cloth with blue fringes. The cloth ripped and he grabbed a horizontal rod, which the cloth hung on.
The dogs barked at Banjo. He made gawking sounds, laughing at the dogs. Banjo jumped onto a wooden beam attached to the high ceiling. There were more beams and he hopped from beam to beam, obscured by darkness.
Below, a man in a blue robe with books and a scroll approached a door. Maybe he knew where a little black book was. Beside the door, a small cranny with polished armor stood in it. Banjo hid in it and just as the man opened the door, Banjo slipped through.
The room was full of hundreds of books of different size that sat on shelves and tables. How was he to find a little black book with a cross on it?
Banjo hid in a wooden chest with scrolls and jewels in it and peaked his head out. The man in the robe stood in front a table with glass containers with multicolored liquids.
Banjo moved and an emerald fell out of the chest, making a clink on the ground. The man turned and made a contorted face.
The robed man said a string of strange words and fire shot out of his hands. Banjo jumped out of the chest, missing the fire attack. The man kept dispersing fire balls at Banjo who fled through the room and hid behind a shelf. He breathed heavily and looked around the corner.
He felt his body lift into the air and hover. The robed man had his hand tensed like he was holding something. He cackled, grasping a fireball. Before he could set Banjo aflame, he urinated on the man’s face.
He grabbed his face with his hands and Banjo fell and scuttled away. A metal chest all by itself on a shelve caught his curiosity. He leapt onto it and saw the man hold lightning in his hands. He thrust his palms forward and once again, Banjo jumped away as the lightning attack blasted open the metal chest.
Banjo looked; a little black with a cross on was inside! He hopped to the chest and took the book then ran out of the room with the man attacking Banjo with lightning and fire attacks.
Banjo went for the gate with glorious sunlight pouring in. He outran the robed man and exited the castle! He ran straight home and in five minutes he burst inside the house. Alex and his mother were still asleep.
Banjo ran for his cage and hid the little black book with a cross under some sawdust. There the book lay for six days. On his twenty-first birthday, Banjo placed the book on the table in his and Alex’s room.
Hours later, Alex came in and was wide eyed with a gaping mouth. He called for his mother and she came running in. Both were in tears and fell to their knees and clasped their hands together began uttering things.
Banjo was proud of himself. It was the best gift Alex could have gotten.