Fiddle Dee Dee!
Dianne Hofmeyr and Piet Grobler
This trickster tale featuring a clever monkey had its origins in a collection of South African folktales but for her retelling, Dianne Hofmeyr has changed the villainous wolf for a hyena.
Monkey comes upon a strange-looking object while digging around beneath a tree. As he plucks it out comes a sound, “Fiddle dee dee! Look what I see! / A musical bow. / Lucky monkey! Lucky me! / Luckiest monkey in the whole country,” he sings.
Along comes Hyena claiming the bow to be his and threateningly accusing Monkey of stealing it.
To solve their dispute,Tortoise advises them to consult Lion and off they go to find him.
Lion however, is not the fair and just creature he’s reputed to be and demands the bow for himself.
Monkey begs to be given a final chance to play the instrument and Lion accedes.
The music he plays enchants the other animals, including Lion and they start to dance. Monkey plays faster, the creatures dance faster and faster
and eventually as night falls, they’re all completely exhausted.
Taking advantage of the situation Monkey makes another request and finally secures the bow once and for all.
In her usual animated fashion with plenty of dialogue, Dianne Hofmeyr has refashioned this folk tale from the African continent that is a lively read aloud. Grobler’s scratchy characters are a mix of endearing humour and downright scariness. They certainly snare the attention and whether one is alarmed or amused, each scene offers a wealth of quirky detail to pore over.