You will of course remember this story. You will remember how poor General MacTiger discovered his stripelessness…..
and how he later found the rather stubborn python who had taken up residence in a basket-like nest woven from those stolen stripes.
And you will know that the sneaky snake won’t give them back!
What to do? A bit of bargaining perhaps. “What do you want in exchange for my stripes?” asked General MacT.
“A better nest. One woven from elephant grass would be good,” answered the python.
And so it was off to see the elephants. Who of course were not about to hand over any elephant grass without getting something in exchange.
“Well, we do have a small problem,” the elephants confided. “You see the snappy crocodiles keep nipping the ankles of our babies. We don’t want them in our stretch of the river!”
“Look here,” said the General, when he spotted the crocodiles lying still as logs in the sparkly water.
“And if we move?” croaked the crocs.
Hmm. How to get those sharp-toothed crocodiles to do what he wanted.
“Well, we do have a small problem,” the crocodiles confided. “You see the cheeky monkeys keep on throwing coconuts at us.”
Fortunately General MacTiger was not only handsome (in spite of his alarming - but hopefully temporary - case of stripelessness). He was also pretty smart. And it didn’t take him long to work out that cheeky monkeys (like some cheeky children) do the opposite of what you tell them. Tell a class of cheeky children to be quiet and to listen, and chit-chat, chit-chat, chit-chat! Tell a tree-full of cheeky monkeys to stop throwing coconuts at the crocodiles and, well, you guessed it. Coconuts continue to fly through the air.
But, tell a tree-full of cheeky monkeys to carry on throwing coconuts…..
and - problem solved!
I am sure you don’t need me to spell out the sequence of events that followed. Suffice to say, the python was so happy with his new house made from elephant grass that he happily slithered from between the silken, liquorice stripes and without further ado, General MacT slithered back into them.