Colby lived far away, in the Jungle of Nool with his family and friends—and he was very cool. He could jump over a river in one big leap. He was great at swinging vines, even in his sleep! He and his friends played games up high in the forest to see which chimpanzee could throw things the farthest– nuts, wads of paper and stones—whatever they found on the ground. Colby was the best thrower around!
Well, now one day Colby and his family and friends received invites to a party that weekend. The Purpleberry Birthday Bash happened each year as a joint party for all the monkeys living near The Purpleberry Bushes of Nool. Everyone was thrilled, especially Colby! He had turned one that year, so he could finally go to the party everyone had told him about.
He could hardly wait, but soon the day came and the party began! It ran from Friday morning to Sunday night and everyone enjoyed purpleberry fruit punch and purpleberry cake and purpleberry soup and danced and played throwing games and laughed at jokes and they partied and swam in Purpleberry Creek.
That day Colby woke up, brushed his teeth and started to swing his way to the Purpleberry Bushes, dreaming about all the fun he would have at the party.
“Fruit punch and cake, swimming, games, friends—I can hardly wait!”
But then, as he swung by one tree, he looked and saw…
“Could it be? A purpleberry just for me? Aww Yeah!”
He jumped to the tree and peered inside a hole. He saw a bright purple shape and was filled with hope.
“I don’t have to share berries with anyone else. Yes! I can enjoy this berry all to myself!”
The hole was deep but the opening was tiny, so Colby squeezed his monkey hand inside.
He snuck in his fingers, one by one, til his whole fist made it in and he could touch the berry he wished he could keep and eat and enjoy all to himself. He wrapped his fingers around it and pulled, and… well…
“It won’t budge!” he screamed.
His fingers could fit, but his fist was stuck, it seemed.
He pulled and he pulled and he pulled with all his strength. His arms got tired, his wrist became sore, his hand ached.
“I won’t let go, can’t let go, will never let go! This purpleberry will be mine!” Colby bellowed.
The music from the Purpleberry Birthday Bash floated into his ears—He got angry and mad!
“This silly berry is making me waste my time! I just need to pull it out, then all will be fine!” He heard laughing and splashing and singing nearby, but he was determined—“This berry will be mine!”
The sun began to set, the pale moon filled the sky. And still Colby sat and squirmed and tried, tried and tried to pull out the berry he thought lay inside the little hole in the tall tree of the branch where he wasted the hours and squandered his time when he could have been partying with friends and his family.
Saturday came, and still he remained, clutching his prize inside its cage, thinking up the ways that this berry could be his—oh what bliss! Who cares about games or music or swimming or family. No doubt this berry would be worth all his time and effort, so he kept holding on to his treasured dessert.
Before Colby knew it, it was nighttime again and he heard all the voices of all of his friends calling “Colby! Where are you? You’re missing the fun! Colby, we’re worried— where are you? what have you done?” But he couldn’t let go, not after all this time. He ignored their calls and let the hours fly by.
The sun disappeared and the stars filled the sky and the sun reappeared—it was Sunday morning and the party kept going, and Colby kept holding, hoping his other hand could break up the hole. He was so hungry, so tired, so ready to quit.
“But I love this berry—I can’t let go of it!”
Evening came, and the party started to die down. Still pulling on his fist, Colby heard a soft sound…
“Colby! Let go—there is nothing there worth keeping. It’s time to go home and catch up on your sleeping.”
“Momma! Help—I’ve got to have this purpleberry!”
She looked at him and said, “Let go and I’ll help you.”
Colby looked sad—it was so very hard to do, but finally, he released his grip, and every sore finger was free to rest. They felt so heavy as he pulled them out, one by one, until his whole hand, tired, cold and shaking, was out of the hole.
Momma Becky reached over to a nearby vine and carefully she broke off a long pointy spine. She used the thin thorn to dig into the hole. She dug and she dug until the purple shape finally came poking out of the entrance.
She turned to her little son and said, “Go on, retrieve your treasure!”
And with tears in his eyes, he hugged his sweet mama, let go of the trash, and let it fall… fall…… fall……….. fall…………
Sweet mama Becky wiped away the tears, and said, “Sweet boy, you’re free of that trap—rest your weary head on my shoulder. Still time left at the Birthday Bash. Time for you to enjoy a purpleberry at last.”