Children

Sniffing a MYSTERY

The rhesus monkeys have piqued the Hopper detectives’ interest with the strange case of the mystery fragrance.

The rhesus monkeys had done it again. They had persuaded Rock, a penguin, of the Hopper, Hopper and Hopper Detective Agency and his team to come to Bhutan.

“It’s a strange mystery of a fragrance that seems to come from nowhere. In fact, the writer of the letter I received says it follows him like a shadow. You guys must join us to solve the mystery,” Asadu had spoken with urgency to the detectives.

After much discussion, Rock, Rana and Let-it-be hopped their way to the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan where Asadu, Achchu and Pichchu joined them on their mission.

“Asadu, you did not tell who wrote you the letter and what the mystery was all about,” said Rock.

“That’s because there is no letter and there is no mystery,” scoffed Rana, the frog. He rolled his big eyes in despair.

“That’s not correct, Rana,” said Let-it-be, the grasshopper, as he glanced through the letter Asadu had given him. “It is from someone who has not given his name but it seems something that smells good follows him, no matter where he goes. That seems to have spooked him out. I am curious to know who he is,” he continued as he hopped across the rocky, hilly landscape.

The climb up the mountains was not easy for the Hoppers, but the monkeys had no difficulty in doing so.

“We are nearly 2,500 metres above the sea level, and yet, we have no clue how much further up we have to go or whom we are meeting,” grumbled Rana. Just then, they heard a whisper from behind a boulder. “Maybe you are here to meet me? Are you the Hopper detectives?”

Oh dear!

“Yes,” said Rock, “Who are you? Come out from where you are hiding and speak to us.”

Achchu and Pichchu nudged a small, shy deer from behind the rock. “What’s your name? What’s your problem?” asked Asadu.

The tiny two-foot tall deer stood looking at them with anxious eyes. His forelegs were shorter than his hind legs and he had no antlers. “I am a musk deer,” he replied softly. “I have a unique problem. I smell perfume all around me even though there are no flowers, no trees and no animals nearby. I am afraid I may be losing my mind.”

Rana retorted, “I think you have, since you asked for help from these monkeys!”

Rock nodded. “You are right. I too smell something pleasant here.”

Asadu scratched his head and spoke aloud, “Perhaps, he is wearing musk-scented deodorant or perfume.”

“Nonsense! Only humans use those things!” exclaimed Rock. He hopped from one boulder to the other, sniffing the air to find the source of smell. Achchu and Pichchu too sniffed the air around the deer and then the deer itself.

“Yes, yes, yes, we solved the mystery! It’s coming from his belly area. Check it out, detectives!”

It was the grasshopper who had a good explanation for the poor deer’s confusion. “My dear deer, why do you think they call you a musk deer?” he asked with a smile. The poor deer shook his head in puzzlement. “The male musk deer has a special gland in his abdomen that secretes musk. He smears it around to mark his territory up in these mountains. Human beings are attracted by this heady perfume. They kill the deer to make perfumes and medicines. Sadly, poachers kill the musk deer in large numbers, that’s why he is an endangered species today.”

Rock nodded in agreement, as he checked the information on his iPhone. Everybody except Rana was happy that the mystery was solved. “Will monkeys ever become endangered species?” he wondered gloomily.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 11:42:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/Sniffing-a-MYSTERY/article16735517.ece

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