Chimpu, what are you doing?” Champu Kaka, Chimpu Monkey’s father, shouted as Chimpu Monkey ran away with the box of rasgollas that was lying on the table. Chimpu Monkey chuckled. He knew that his sweet tooth had turned him into the naughtiest little animal in Champakvan.
“What?” Chimpu’s mother Champa Kaki said, looking very annoyed, when Champu Kaka told her about their son’s antics. “Chimpu ran away with a box of sweets again? How can we go to Lalluram’s house emptyhanded now? The rasgollas were for him. I told you to be careful of Chimpu. He’s become very greedy.”
Champu Kaka shook his head sadly. “Chimpu doesn’t realise that if he keeps eating so many sweets, he will fall ill someday,” he told his wife, sounding quite worried.
Champa Kaki was anxious too. She frequently explained the dangers of eating too many sweets to Chimpu and tried to persuade him to eat fewer sweets. But neither Champa Kaki nor Champu Kaka were able to control him. Chimpu would pick up anything that was sweet and gobble it up as soon as he could. He had also developed the bad habit of standing near kitchen windows and picking up sweets as soon as the house owners left their kitchens.
Everyone in Champakvan was tired of Chimpu’s bad habit. They tried to explain to him that sweets, when eaten in excess, could be harmful.
Even King Sher Singh, who was the King of Champakvan and liked to eat something sweet after his meals, had been deprived of his dessert on several occasions, thanks to Chimpu.
Whenever King Sher Singh would finish his meal, he would find Chimpu lurking in the palace, with his mischievous little eyes fixed on the plate of sweets.
Chimpu would try his best to steal the sweets without being noticed. But King Sher Singh would always catch him. Chimpu’s smiling face and naughty eyes would melt King Sher Singh’s heart, and he would simply smile at the little thief. Chimpu would use the opportunity to eat the sweets and walk away.
“Chimpu, too much of anything can be very harmful. Don’t eat so many sweets at one time,” King Sher Singh would often warn. But Chimpu would run off ignoring the King’s good counsel.
One day, it was time for the grand celebration that everyone in Champakvan, including Chimpu, looked forward to. It was King Sher Singh’s birthday.
The jungle was decorated beautifully and there was a huge feast being held in the palace in King Sher Singh’s honour.
This year’s feast, however, had a special attraction. Lambu Giraffe had taken special cooking classes, and had learnt how to bake a cake. But that’s not all. The cake was planned to be as tall as Lambu Giraffe himself!
The cake looked delicious when it was finally complete. It had many layers laden with rich cream. It had chocolate chips and chocolate sauce all over it too.
Chimpu sneaked into the palace. He could not stop himself from eating the cake.
“But it is King Sher Singh’s birthday cake,” he said to himself. “How can I eat it before he cuts it?”
Chimpu tried his level best to stay far away from the cake, but he just could not hold himself back. “I’ll taste just a little bit of the cake,” he said. “If I hang from the branch of a tree, I will be able to reach the top of the cake. No one will know if a small bit is missing from the top.”
Chimpu climbed up a tree and hung upside down, with his tail around one of the branches. He tried to reach the cake. However, Chimpu found that he had to stretch himself to be able to touch the cake. He kept on stretching and stretching. And then, something terrible happened.
Snap! The branch from which Chimpu was hanging broke. And Chimpu fell right into the cake, smashing it and spilling it all over.
Lambu Giraffe was furious when he saw what had happened. And so were all the animals who had gathered to see the cake. The news spread like wild fire. Everyone was sure that King Sher Singh would punish Chimpu severely.
When King Sher Singh heard the news, he got very angry. He immediately asked all the animals to assemble near the destroyed cake. He then roared loudly and everyone in Champakvan started to tremble.
Chimpu was very scared. He was sure that he would not be able to escape the King’s fury this time. And although everyone loved Chimpu, they felt that he needed to be taught a lesson.
“Chimpu, what you have done today is unforgivable,” King Sher Singh thundered. “You have become very greedy. You have ignored my advice and the fact that you were stealing my birthday cake. You have crossed all limits today.”
Chimpu started shivering. He had never seen King Sher Singh so angry before.
“As your punishment,” King Sher Singh roared. “You will eat what’s left of this cake. Right now, in front of all of us.”
Chimpu was surprised.
“Is that all?” he said happily, feeling certain that King Sher Singh had forgiven him yet again.
All the animals present were shocked. “King Sher Singh is being lenient with Chimpu instead of teaching him a lesson,” they told each other.
But Chimpu was thrilled. He started gobbling the cake immediately. All the animals watched as he ate mouthful after mouthful. In no time, he finished eating whatever was left of the topmost layer of the cake.
Chimpu felt quite full now and was about to walk away when King Sher Singh roared, “I didn’t tell you to stop, Chimpu. Please finish the whole cake.”
Chimpu was really worried now. He was already full and the cake was barely eaten. It had many more layers.
“How will I eat the rest?” he wondered. He looked at King Sher Singh and smiled but King Sher Singh looked at him sternly. Chimpu realised that King Sher Singh was serious about what he had said. He continued eating the cake till his stomach began to ache and he felt very sick.
Doctor Deer was called to examine Chimpu. He asked Chimpu to take some rest and stay at home for a few days.
All the animals felt very sorry for Chimpu. They knew how he hated being sick. They all visited him, one after the other, and gave him boxfuls of rosgullas, ladoos, burfis, gulab jamuns and other sweets. This, of course, was as per King Sher Singh’s suggestion.
Chimpu felt sick when he saw the sweets all around him. “I feel like throwing up,” he would say the moment he looked at the sweets. He swore that he would never eat sweets again.
When Chimpu felt better, he went to meet King Sher Singh. He apologised for destroying his cake and thanked him for teaching him a worthy lesson. He also told him about his decision to give up sweets.
“No, my dear,” King Sher Singh said. “The lesson was not that you should not eat sweets at all, but rather that you should eat them in moderation.
Moderation is the key to everything. If you eat within limits, you will never feel sick and everything would be fine.” Chimpu understood what King Sher Singh
Chimpu understood what King Sher Singh wanted to say. He promised to practice moderation in eating and never ate too many sweets again.