NOTE: This story is a modern day fable that has been pieced together over the years and is inspired in part by G.R. Stephenson’s studies in the 1960s.

Five monkeys and a ladder with a banana at the top were placed in a room.

Each time a monkey climbed the ladder to reach the banana, the other monkeys in the room were sprayed with cold water. Eventually the monkeys realised they were only sprayed with cold water when someone tried to reach the banana. So whenever a monkey started to climb the ladder, the others would pull it down and beat it up.

After a while none of the monkeys dared to climb the ladder, no matter how much they wanted the banana. At this point, one of the monkeys was removed from the room, and replaced with a new monkey. This new monkey started to climb the ladder for the banana.

But the others quickly pulled it down and beat it up before the sprays of cold water could start. The monkey tried to reach the banana a few more times, but eventually stopped trying – even though it had never experienced the sprays of cold water, only the persistent beatings of its peers.

One by one all the other monkeys were replaced. Each time a new monkey was introduced, it would try to reach the banana. But the others would pull it down and beat it up – even the ones that had never been sprayed with cold water before.

In the end, none of the monkeys in the room had experienced the sprays of the cold water but still continued to beat up any monkey that tried to climb the ladder for the banana.

If the new monkeys could ask:
“Why do we get beat up every time we try reach the banana?”

The others would most likely answer:
“I don’t know, that’s just the way things have always been done around here”



  1. If there’s a tradition that will stop you from having the perfect wedding day, don’t let people bully you into following it just because “that’s the way it’s always been done”.
  2. Don’t be afraid to say no to traditions that mean nothing to you. Or at the very least, question them.
  3. A lot of wedding traditions were started when people decided to start doing things a little differently anyway, so why not follow that tradition instead?


So go get that banana.

    • vanilla images said:

      Thanks Laney :) It really is isn't it!