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A long time ago, an old man lived in India. Everyone called him Topiwala. He lived all by himself in a small house – alone that is except for a little cat he called Billy. All week long he made hats. He made red hats, yellow hats, green hats and blue hats. On Mondays he cleaned his little house. On Tuesdays he bought his cloth. On Wednesdays he cut the cloth into shapes. On Thursdays he sewed the hats. But on Fridays he stopped making hats. Friday was the day to take the hats to market.
One Friday, Topiwala filled his barrow with hats. He was going to the market to sell them. Topiwala wanted to sell all his hats. He was saving up to visit his daughter and her family in England. He set off for the market. As he walked along, some of the village children waved to Topiwala and called his name. But Topiwala did not hear them. Topiwala was thinking about his daughter in England. He was happy and the sun was shining.
Topiwala walked along slowly. He was still thinking about his daughter in England. He wanted to see his grandchildren. The sun got hotter and hotter. Topiwala was boiling hot. He still had a long way to walk to the market.
Topiwala pulled his barrow along the road. The sun was beating down and he got hotter and hotter. He was very tired. Soon he came to a tree. The sun was high in the sky. It was very, very hot now.
Topiwala looked at the tree. He saw a cool place in the shade under the tree. It was a good place to sit down and rest.
Topiwala pushed his barrow up to the tree. He lay down under the tree for a rest.
It was lovely and cool in the shade of the old tree. The old man closed his eyes for a few minutes.
Topiwala was so tired that he soon fell fast asleep.
Some monkeys lived in that tree. They watched Topiwala. When they were sure Topiwala was asleep, one little monkey climbed carefully down the tree. The other monkeys watched. The little monkey crept up to the barrow. The other monkeys watched. The little monkey took a hat.
The little monkey put it on his head. All the other monkeys climbed carefully and quietly down the tree. They took all Topiwala’s hats. Every monkey had a one. There were big ones and small ones, tall ones and wide ones.
The little monkey took a hat that was far too big for him. The monkeys were having lots of fun while Topiwala slept soundly.
Eventually Topiwala woke up. He looked up and saw all the monkeys wearing hats. He looked in his barrow. There were no hats left. Topiwala was very cross. “Give me my hats now!” he shouted.
The monkeys jumped around in the branches. They did not give the hats back.
Topiwala was getting angry now.
He put his hands on his hips. He looked furious.
All the monkeys put their hands on their hips and looked furious too.
Topiwala shook his fist. All the monkeys shook their fists. Everything Topiwala did, the monkeys copied him. Topiwala noticed that all the monkeys were copying him, so he thought he would try to trick them.
Topiwala scratched his head. All the monkeys scratched their heads. He lifted his hat up. All the monkeys lifted their hats up. He dropped his hat on the ground. All the monkeys dropped their hats on the ground.
Topiwala smiled and thanked the monkeys. He quickly picked up all his hats and put them in his barrow. The monkeys scratched their heads.
They knew that Topiwala had tricked them.
Topiwala laughed. ‘I’m going to the market to sell my hats,’ he told them. ‘I’ll see you all again soon’.
The following week Topiwala stopped to rest under the same tree. But he did not fall asleep this time!