Adventure of Spider Monkey living in the Amazonian Rain Forest
Long-long ago, deep in a South American tropical rainforest, there lived a cheeky little red faced Spider Monkey called Kiki. He was very kind and good natured monkey but because of a certain deformity, found it hard to fit in. You see he had been born with a growth on the side of his left hand that looked a lot like of a thumb.
“Thumbs have no place in our community;” King Flinchkin had decreed “Spider Monkeys do not have thumbs... It will have to be bitten off!”
King Flinchkin was “The Dominant Alpha Male" or leader of the troop; chosen so because of his strength and ability to rule. His word was law, but that had not stopped Seechan and Vliddlevark, Kiki’s parents, from refusing to obey the decree.
This infuriated King Flinchkin whom banished them to the scraggly trees that grew in the southern sector of the forest. There they were to stay until they were willing to bring Kiki to Flinchkin’s private quarters to have the growth “removed”.
The deformity did not seem to hinder Kiki in the slightest and he could tumble and swing and bark and screech with the best of them. He liked to get into mischief and was often confined to the trees for days at a time because of his misbehaviour. Yet, no matter how bad he had been his parents would always forgive him and allow him to frolic freely round the forest again; just as long as he did not stray past the array of tree stumps to the far-end of the Western Sector, bordering the Spider Monkey Domain from the rest of the forest.
Beyond these stumps was a grassy embankment leading to the edge of a wide raging river. Across the other side of this river was a dark and evil forest from whence it was said that no monkey had ever returned. Often in the dead of night Kiki could hear strange and chilling cries coming from within that forest and become so terrified that he would not be able to sleep.
As has already been stated, Kiki was quite outgoing and friendly. Because of this fact he had been chosen by a special spider monkey committee to be the official greeter to creatures that happened to pass through their sector of the forest. However, showing hospitality to such creatures as tigers and other predators was of course strictly forbidden.
Kiki took his job seriously and welcomed the visitors with a pleasant smile. Most of them returned his greetings, but there were the odd ones that either ignored him, or grizzled about being bothered by a silly little spider monkey. Kiki never let such rejections dampen his spirits, his lot in life was to greet visitors what they chose to do with such a greeting was up to them.
When he first started his greeting duties he would merely jump up and down, patting the top of his head with his hands and made screeching noises that tended to freak out a lot of timid creatures and encouraged aggressive visitors to scratch or bite him.
Concerned for his son’s safety, Vliddlevark made arrangements with the local owl to teach his son how to greet visitors in other languages. The owl accepted and over time Kiki learned how to speak other tongues, though he still at times had trouble with pronunciation and some sentences tended to get lost in translation.
For instance he once told a Kinkajou that “a slug in the treetop is worth a stone in the peanut head bug” and a fishing-bat that “underwater rocks jump westward at night time.” He even once told a passing Alligator to “hurry up dung-face and eat my tail,” with near fatal consequences.
Kiki tried his best to prove himself worthy of both the owl’s time and Vliddlevark’s sacrifices because such education was not free.
“And nor should it,” Vliddlevark had expressed sternly to Kiki “Such knowledge did not come to the owl without many years of study, so why should he give it away without some sort of payment? I only hope, my dearest son, that you do not waste his time.”
“I won’t daddy,” Kiki had answered and for once in his life he was determined to make good on his promise. “I will make you proud or even prouder.
“I hope so, son…I really do.”
The owl was a very patient teacher, seldom scolding Kiki and never mocking or laughing when his young student answered a question wrong. He would just gently pat Kiki on the back with his wing and then explain the lesson once more.
“He has a slight learning disorder.” he heard his mother tell the owl one night when she thought Kiki was asleep.
“Kiki’s just a late bloomer, Seechan. I see great potential in him” the owl had answered. “Everyone learns at his or her own rate. He is doing very well with his studies.”
“You really think so Mister Owl?”
“But of course…owls never tell lies.”
“Sometimes I wish he would listen to his father and I, as well as he listens to you.”
“Most young monkeys have what we in the teaching profession call “selective hearing” - he hears only what he chooses to hear. He’ll grow out of it.”
“He will if he knows what’s good for him.”
Whilst eavesdropping on their conversation he found his mind wandering to the many afternoons when he would sit in front of the owl, daydreaming of the various weird and whacky creatures he had met whilst on greeting duties. Creatures like the whip snake he once greeted and tried to pat. Unfortunately the snake had not been as friendly as he had hoped and he had ended up spending the rest of the day feeling very sick and nursing a stinging hand.
But not all of the owl’s lectures went in one ear and out the other, some stayed with him, mainly because he thought them interesting. He found himself fascinated by stories and descriptions of far off animals and birdlife. Lectures about creatures he would dearly love to encounter and those he was glad he would never meet.
Creatures from lands so far away, according to the owl, that he would surely die of old age before reaching. Lands that were only reached by swimming vast oceans and rivers, or by flying and Kiki had neither gills nor wings, so he stayed where he was, using his imagination as best he could.
“Tell me more about elephants, Mister Owl” prompted Kiki late one summer’s afternoon. “How did they get such long noses?”
“It is said that a long time ago there was a peaceful land full of all sorts of animals. Most were friendly except for one mean old animal called the Elephant. The animals soon got sick of its grumpy behaviour and sent a duck and a rabbit to speak on their behalf to the great and mighty Rock God, who had was leader of all the animals in that land.
"”Oh Rock God,” said Duck "we need to put a stop to Elephant’s madness”
“I agree,” replied Rock God “I shall think up a plan."
“Days passed and finally Rock God came up with a plan. That night, just as Elephant was going to sleep, Rock God collected several rocks and stretched Elephant’s stout nose out as far as it would stretch and placed rocks on it. When the elephant woke he found his nose was throbbing and cried out for help. He struggled to get free but the more he struggled the longer his nose got.
“Grumpy elephant,” said Rock God taking pity on the trapped elephant “I will release you only if you promise not to be so grumpy and demanding in the future.”
“I promise I will be more-friendly…anything, Just please get these rocks off my nose.”
“Okay but if you break your promise I will put the rocks back on your nose and never take them off again.”
“Rock God released the elephant but until this day their noses are still long to remind them of their promise.”
Kiki looked at the owl with wide eyes amazed at what he had heard. It sounded almost impossible but he also knew that owls weren’t known for telling lies, unless the owl had been lying to Seechan that night.
“Do you reckon I will ever get to see the elephants, Mister Owl?”
“Elephants live far-far away, across the other side of the world. I’m afraid neither of us shall ever see them.”
“How do you know they exist then?”
“Certain birds that come from the land of elephants have told me. I have no reason to doubt them. Now come, young Kiki. We still have much learning to do.”
At the end of each lesson the owl would write a short note for Seechan and Vliddlevark, regarding their son’s progress, and hand it to Kiki to give to them. He would then ask Kiki if there was anything he want to go over once more and then they would part company, Kiki to the warmth of his loving family for tea and the owl to its secret home that only the owls of the forest knew of to continue in its own affairs.
Seechan and Vliddlevark always insisted in reading the owl’s notes as soon as Kiki got home. They rewarded him with extra food whenever the note spoke of good progress and punished him if it hinted he was not trying hard enough or had somehow misbehaved. But it was not the threat of an early night or an empty tummy or even both, it was more the warm-fuzzy feeling he got when his parents expressed how proud they were of him that encouraged him to study hard. It made it all worth it.
However there were a few subjects the owl had forgot to cover, or perhaps skipped over, assuming Kiki already had a basic understanding of matters close to home, so to speak. Matters such as tigers and just how much of a threat they were to the troop of spider monkeys living by the stream. And the one question no one had ever bothered to ask Kiki was if he knew what a tiger looked like.
Alas he had no idea and had been too ashamed and embarrassed to consider asking the owl, but soon, very soon, that would change.