Stories For Thing

Orange the Orangutan

There once was a young Orangutan named ‘Orange’, which was a strange name for an Orangutan, but we will get to that.

You’re probably a smart kid who watches the National Geographic channel and knows that a male duck-billed platypus has poisonous spines on his front legs, but if you happen to be one of those outdoors types that actually prefers to be outdoors playing instead of playing at being outdoors, well, let me give you the short version.

An Orangutan is a large ape with reddish-brown fur and really long arms that lives in faraway places like Indonesia and the San Diego Zoo. ’Orangutan’ means ’Man of the forest’ and people probably called them that because they looked like…well…men of the forest. Granted, they are a bit on the furry side, but no more so than some poor fellow who has had to live in the jungle with no access to hot water and a razor to shave with!

Our friend Orange felt like neither an exceptionally hairy man nor a fruit but, truth be told, he didn’t feel much like an Orangutan either. You see, thanks to the fact that he was named ‘Orange’, and was twice as small as the other Orangutan children; the others would often make fun of him. Now how do you think that made him feel? You can choose from the list below. It’s what teachers like to call a ‘multiple-choice question’ which is fancy language for ‘pick one’:

a. Orange was thrilled the other Orangutan kids made fun of him.

b. Orange hated being made fun of and wanted to stuff their ears with bananas!

c. Orange would crawl into his Mommy’s arms and cry.

d. Orange decided he didn’t care, and played his own pranks on them all the time.

Which one did you pick? I’ll bet it wasn’t ‘a’! And you’d’ve been right…it isn’t ‘a’! The answer is actually ’d’. But whether you got the answer right or wrong doesn’t really matter since this is a story. If it helps, a university student probably wouldn’t have done any better.

So Orange loved pulling a fast one on his friends. Because he was so small, Orange could scamper up trees more quickly than his larger friends, and he could balance out on the thin branches of trees that wouldn’t hold the weight of the others, he could fit into tiny hidey-holes where no one would think to look for him, and he had tiny, clever hands with which he could come up with all sorts of clever things.

On this particular day, Orange was preparing his daily dose of mischief when his irate mother came upon him.

“Orange! I’ve just heard the most alarming story from Mrs. Fleabottom!” She exclaimed in a tone that you might well know from your own mother. You know, the one where she’s about to give you a telling off?

Orange, no stranger to stern words, was playing with his favorite toy: a small, man-made Orangutan. It didn’t really look like an Orangutan, Orange thought. Those humans clearly had something wrong with their eyes. To start with, it had absolutely no teeth. How was it supposed to eat?

“Orange! Are you listening to me?” trilled his mother.

“Of course, I am,” lied Orange, suddenly wondering if humans had any teeth.

“Mrs. Fleabottom said that her nieces threaded her fur through the twigs of her nest while she was sleeping!”

“Did they?” asked Orange innocently, trying to do his best not to chortle. “How rotten of them!”

His mother’s eyes narrowed dangerously, her voice growing icy, “And her nieces said that *you* tied her fur to the nest!”

Orange finally looked up from what he was doing, wounded innocence writ large upon his face. “They’re lying, Ma! I had nothing to do with it! Honest!”

“Orange. I happen to know that Mrs. Fleabottom’s nieces have four left feet and couldn’t tie a knot if you tied it for them and asked them to pull on both ends of the vine!”

“That doesn’t mean, *I* did it!” protested Orange.

“Mrs. Fleabottom’s nieces say they saw you.”

“Nu-uh!”

“You stuck your tongue out at them and dashed up a tree.”

“Wasn’t me!”

“When they chased after you, you sat out at the end of a narrow branch that wouldn’t hold their weight.”

“They’re lying.”

“It sure sounds like you, Orange.”

Orange looked sad and pouted his lip as only a young Orangutan can. “They were making fun of me!”

Orange’s mother sighed, “That’s no reason to do what you did, dear.”

“It is too! They make fun of me because I’m little and…and…”

Her voice softened tenderly,”…because I named you Orange?”

Orange nodded, a big wet tear forming in one eye. It broke his mother’s heart to see.

She said,”Do you know why I named you Orange?”

He shook his head. And so she told him.

Which reason do you think it is?

a. Oranges are his mommy’s favorite fruit!

b. Orange was a tiny baby Orangutan, and he looked just like a beautiful sun-kissed orange when he was born.

c. Orange is the color of the sun just after it rises, and just before it sets. A vision that fills Orange’s mom with hope, just as he does when she sees him.

d. All of the Above

You must’ve chosen the right reason! Because upon hearing his mother’s explanation, Orange stopped sniffling and ran to her to give her a big, happy hug.

“You’re the cleverest Orangutan in the forest, Orange. You should use those brains to help the other Orangutans, not taunt them. Otherwise, how are you any different from them?”

It did his heart good to hear that but, of course, he was still secretly proud of the mayhem he’d created!

His mother, knowing what he was like, closed the trap on him: “You know what you have to do, don’t you Orange?”

“Um,” he said, not wanting to say it.

“Yes?” prodded his mother hopefully.

“A-Apologize?” he asked.

His mother smiled.

Orange sulkily made his way (swinging through the trees with long Orangutan arms) to the nest of the grouchy Mrs. Fleabottom. As he slouched into the grove he was beset upon by Mrs. Fleabottom’s nieces.

“Hey there, fruity! Come to apologize to our aunt for that nasty trick you played on her?” said the one in a taunting tone.

“Awwww! What’s the matter?” tittered the other, “Did mommy give widdle Owange a spanking?”

“Actually,” Orange said slyly, “I’m here to collect my reward.”

The two girl Orangutans blinked. They couldn’t believe their ears!

“A-a reward?!” The biggest one sputtered as if a fly had buzzed into her mouth and she was trying to spit it out.

“That’s right,” said Orange, “a reward. Your aunt realized that anyone who could tie knots like the ones that tied her to her nest would have a very special place amidst the Orangutans.”

“But, but, it can’t be!” said the other niece. “You were supposed to get punished for being a terrible Orangutan!”

Orange gave them his most winning smile: “Sorry to disappoint, but I mustn’t keep your aunt waiting!”

As he prepared to go, the nieces hurriedly held him back.

“Wait! If anyone’s to have a reward it should be us: her loyal and sweet nieces! You stay here and we’ll sort this out!”

Orange smiled and waited for them to leave. Then grinning to himself contentedly he went back home.

Later that day, he heard the exciting news. Apparently, Mrs. Fleabottom’s nieces had confessed to the crime of tying her to her nest and, after being scolded very soundly, were being made to pick the fleas out of their aunt’s fur as a punishment!”

Orange chortled at this story for a few moments before he heard a blood-curdling noise of his own.  Can you guess what it was?

Indeed, his mother’s voice calling angrily,”ORRR-ANGGGEEE!!”

By Skate

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