Meow Meow Monkeys

Book 1

Ume lives on a forested island with her brother and their friends. How they came to live there in tree-houses they built themselves, is a story for another time… Today, Ume is collecting some plants and flowers from the understory to study. She loves discovering new kinds she has never seen before. 

“Ume! You have to come quick!” Carrot calls.

“What is it?”


Ume and Carrot run back to the treehouses where their older brothers are waiting with Citron. 

“Where did you see them?” Citron asks Carrot’s brother.

“There were three sea-dogs down by the beach,” Aka says. 

“What should we do?” Carrot asks.

“This is a big forest,” Cole answers. “The council decided that if we carefully stay hidden, the pirates will never know we are here.”

“I will keep an eye on them,” says Aka. “Then I can warn everyone if they get too close.”

Cole and Citron agree because they know Aka is stealthy. Ume and Carrot are very nervous waiting until it is safe to go out again.

Meanwhile on the beach, the sea-dogs have made a camp. Aka wonders what the pirates could be after on their island. Is it treasure, or just supplies? 

A fourth sea-dog runs up to the tent carrying a cloth sack. “I caught one!”

“The captain will be pleased,” says another peering into the sack.

“Not until we have a lot more,” says the tall one taking a fruton out of the bag and eyeing it.

“What does the captain want with these things?”

“To sell them as pets to rich folk,” The short one explains. “These frutons are cute and docile and rare! They only live on this island, so they’ll go for a good price.”

Aka runs to tell the others what he has found out. 

“What can we do?” Ume cries.

“I’m not sure we can help. To keep the village safe, we have to make sure the pirates don’t see us. ” Cole doesn’t like it but he feels responsible for everyone’s safety. 

The next day Carrot and Ume are cautiously heading to the waterfall to collect some fresh water when they see a hurt fruton.

“Oh no!” Carrot gathers the small creature up just as they hear someone tromping through the understory. They jump up into the nearest tree as two sea-dogs emerge.

“I set the trap up this way,” one says and unknowingly leads the two little monkeys to a pit with several frutons caught inside. “You just cover the hole with leaves and balance the fruit on top, then BAM! they fall right in!”

The hurt fruton in Ume’s pouch begins to shiver and she holds it closer. She looks to Carrot. They have to help but they would talk to their brothers first.

Citron makes a bandage for the fruton’s hurt foot. “The kits are right, the frutons are defenseless against the pirates. They’ll be wiped off the island in no time!” 

“Then we’ll have to be careful to not be caught!” Cole says. Cole goes to the council and all the Meow Meow Monkeys come up with a plan together to save the island’s frutons. 

When the pirates next go to check their traps. They find them full.

“YUCK!” Squeals the sea-dog for he had reached in and grabbed a slimy banana slug. The other pirates peer down into the pit. There were no frutons. It was as though they had all transformed into the slugs.

“Were the cute things able to climb out after all?” asks the tall pirate.

“These slugs must have something to do with it. Maybe they’re attracted to the traps?”

Sure enough all the traps were full of the colorful drippy slugs and there wasn’t a fruton to be found anywhere.

“I don’t get it!” One declares looking down. So, he doesn’t see Citron and Cole in the tree above him almost drop a fruton from their pouch.

All the Meow Meows gather back at their town hall treehouse. Inside they have hidden the frutons they rescued as well as any others they could find around the island. There were so many you could barely see the floor. They are safe for now. 

Even Aka has to admit the frutons are cute. Yet everyone knows, inside is no place for the little critters to be. They are not suited to be anyone’s pets.

The pirates hate the slimy slugs so much they refuse to empty the traps. Which means they have to keep digging news ones. Only to have them fill up with more slugs! FInally one sea-dog falls over exhausted. “I quit!”

From the canopy near the coast, Ume and Carrot watch the pirate ship pull away from the island. Everyone can go out again, but most importantly the frutons can be released back into the forest. As for the slugs, they lazily slink out of the pit traps and back to the undersides of leaves. 

After the past couple of days of excitement, Ume is glad to go back to exploring the forest but now she is extra careful not to disturb the helpful slugs. 


Book 2

Every now and then Ume finds strange signs in the forest. Things like big broken branches, a half eaten fruit rind, and paths pushed through bushes where she thought no-one had been. As far as she knew, the Meow Meow Monkeys were the biggest things on the island. Banana slugs couldn’t move stones. At first she told her big brother Cobalt but he didn’t seem to be paying that much attention. 

It wasn’t Carrot doing anything either. Ume already thought of that. So, when she finds the giant footprint in the mud, Ume is surprised and then she kinda isn’t. “I knew it!”

“Citron, come see what I found!” 

She listens. In fact Citron is a bit concerned. “We should find your brother and Aka. What if the pirates are back?”

Citron picks up a big staff-like branch, just in case.

When the others come to look there is barely anything left to see. 

“I believe you saw something,” Cole says. “But maybe your imagination helped a little.”

Ume doesn’t argue or try to change his mind. She knows she just needs to find better evidence. 

“I’ll help you look,” Carrot says. But soon the whole thing is forgotten by everyone but Ume. 

The next time she is out studying flowers, Ume gets caught in a rainstorm. She isn’t too worried and starts looking for a dry spot to sit and wait. Just above the sound of the rain, she thinks she hears crying. She rushes over to the river where she sees a little furton trapped by the rising water. Soon its little sand bank will be underwater!

Ume wants to help but the water is moving so fast and it isn’t safe. If she got hurt she couldn’t help the fruton either. There is no time to go get her brother or friends. What can she do? She knows sometimes in nature little animals die but it was too awful to have to stand by helpless. She starts to cry.

Then out of the rain emerges a giant shadowy figure. The furry monster passes by her and easily steps into the rushing water. It scoops up the trapped fruton and brings it back to shore. Ume stands in shock. The monster before her reaches out to give her the fruton. Carefully she takes it in her arms.

“Who are you?” Whispers Ume in awe.

“I am the watcher of this forest. Let’s go under that tree out of the rain.”

She sits down and releases the fruton, which squeaks happily before skittering off into the rain.

“I saw the day you and the others crashed here on the island. I have observed you all carefully and decided you mean this place no harm.”

“Why didn’t you ever say anything?”

“It is easier to see one’s true intentions when they don’t know they are being tested,” the Sasquatch says.

“Can I tell anyone that I saw you?”

“Hmmmm. I suppose you should. It isn’t good to keep secrets from your family.”

“Will you come meet everyone?” Ume asks excitedly.

“No, not right away. But someday…”

“They will never believe me!”

“Have you made up false stories before?” Sasquach asks.

Ume thought hard. Sometimes she exaggerated, true, but she never made things up (though sometimes Carrot did!). She shakes her head.

“Then I think they will trust you. But if they do not… you will know the truth. Is that enough for now?”


“The rain has eased. You should head home now.”

Ume starts to leave and then remembers she hasn’t thanked the Watcher for saving the fruton. She turns around quickly, but he is already gone!

Ume runs all the way back to her treehouse and on the way she sees Citron. She grabs her hand and pulls her along. “I have something to tell everyone!”

They all listen carefully to Ume’s story, then look around at each other. Aka says, “If Carrot told this story I wouldn’t buy it.” Even Carrot laughs, but Ume is most worried what her brother Cobalt will think.

“I’m glad he was there to help you today. I look forward to meeting this mysterious Watcher myself,” Cole says.





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