Friday, 5 February 2010

Amichi the Thoughtful Monkey (#fridayflash)

Amichi is a thinker.  Snakes, he's figured out, turn on the charm and act like your best pal until you let them close enough to snap at you with their poisonous fangs.  Elephants, Uzura the wise one aside, are boring conversationalists, but are good for a ride when your arms are tired from swinging branch to branch.  Trees without leaves are vengeful, their branches liable to snap anytime you sit on them.  Parrots, especially the blue and yellow ones, speak mostly nonsense. And monkeys, of course he knows this best, they live for the good times, and most days, for Amichi at least, is good times.

Sometimes, Amichi feels he isn't like the other monkeys.  Yes, bananas are his favourite food, he finds tasteless jokes hilarious, and he loves treetop parties.  But he also likes spending time alone, thinking.

"Monkeys don't think," Imja, his mother, always chides when she catches him staring into space.  "Monkeys live."

Uzura the wise one is more encouraging.  "A good thought is better than a good lunch," he says wisely, "and a good deed is best of all."

Also, Amichi is different because he feels bad when his monkey friends bully the smaller monkeys.  He'd felt especially guilty when they'd played a practical joke on blind Dimitri, the most ancient elephant in the jungle, telling him to follow them because they had a special treat lined up, then ran away, leaving Dimitri lost and miles from his herd.  He joins in when they throw stones at the hummingbirds because he doesn't want to be called a wussy, but he hates when a bird is hit, especially when it moans and struggles before it dies.

Today, Amichi is sitting alone in a tree by the river, watching the water and thinking.  Under the water he notices a small fish struggling to swim against the flow of the river.  He feels sorry for the little fish, and he works out that if he can climb onto the low branch, hold on with his tail, and reach down into the river, maybe he can help.

This is precarious.  The branch over the river is leafless, and Amichi doesn't have the best balance when he dangles from his tail. 

Amichi tries anyway, and he succeeds.  He grabs the fish in his paw, climbs back along the branch, then puts the fish on the ground beside the river.  At first it wriggles in grateful excitement, then it goes still.  Amichi watches it sleep peacefully after its exhausting day of swimming against the current.

Amichi is delighted.  Inside he feels glowing and proud.  He has done a good deed, he has helped another animal, and not at small risk to himself.  He is not like the other monkeys: rude, self-centred, obnoxious.  He is a helpful monkey.  Tonight, he will find Uzura and tell him what he did, and how good it feels.


23 comments:

  1. I like this! Very original, and almost fable-like. Good world-building.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is superb and I agree with Carrie that it reminds me of a fable. I sometimes use the phrase "smart enough to be dangerous". You've captured that here. The writing is strong as well. Really enjoyed this one! You need a retweet button.

    ReplyDelete
  3. such a shame it ended there, I was really getting into this

    Good stuff - please write more

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good stuff. Great voice in this. Funny how a good dead on one end is certainly not so on the other.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really liked this story, full of jungle fun yet you deal with very human issues; bullying, guilt etc. This would be brilliant to tell to children and to discuss afterwards.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really enjoyed the end. It was a surprize and very funny.

    ReplyDelete
  7. David this is terrific. Firstly, the set up, you have the anthropomorphism of Monkey and all the others off to a "T". And then the ending is just heartbreaking. Thinking he'd helped when he hadn't. A lovely fable. Brilliantly written.

    ReplyDelete
  8. And aren't we all helpful monkeys?
    Charming story, well-told.
    I liked the little fellah immensely.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a great story - love the monkey. So many people do just the wrong thing when trying to help, had a bit of a fable feel about it.

    Only thing that tripped me up was towards the end you switch between "Amichi" & "Amitri" back and forth.

    ReplyDelete
  10. CJ, thanks for pointing that out, I've corrected it now.

    Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nice fable-like style gives this a friendly lighthearted feel. This might be a good story for children. I can see a good storyteller using voice and gestures to entertain while the children learn.
    -David G Shrock

    ReplyDelete
  12. These words are worthy of Uzura the wise one: "A good thought is better than a good lunch," he says wisely, "and a good deed is best of all."

    A lovely fable (I agree) and so sad. A real loss of innocence piece. This also made me think that frames of reference constrain us and accessing new knowledge is like accessing new worlds. Very well done.
    Simon.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is an honest and straightforward tale, which is why it works so well. Loved your Amichi. Fabulous fable indeed! Peace, Linda

    ReplyDelete
  14. As the others have said, this so very charmingly written allegorical narrative--with its cautionary point--does place it in fable land.

    Enjoyed it very much.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Poor Amichi, he's going to be so sad when he finds out what he's done. What a lesson you've wrapped in a whimsical little piece. Very unique & magical!

    ReplyDelete
  16. How utterly sweet - and very well done.
    I love Uzura's wise words.
    That ending was brilliant

    ReplyDelete
  17. How sad when he finds out he chose wrong at the end. This was quite fable-like, David. I wanted to keep reading more!

    ReplyDelete
  18. As others have said, this does have a fable-like quality to it. Your tone fits very well into such a framework. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I really enjoyed this! Poor fish, but at least Amichi is trying!

    ReplyDelete
  20. As I read I thought it felt like a great fable for modern children, but hesitated, expecting a twist. You delivered the twist, and still kept it a story that could be told to a child.

    Great lesson, but I don't think any of us have learned it to its full extent. (smile)

    You did a fine job with this one.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nicely done -- I really enjoyed this fable about smart but proud Amichi.

    CD

    ReplyDelete
  22. As others have said David, this has a great fable-feel to it. I feel so sorry for Amichi thinking he done a good thing when he did the direct opposite. :( I love the names too. Very well written, great work!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thats the kind of thing you imagine a child to do ... when I was a about 3 I used to take my pet fish (Bully) out of it's tank every day and kiss it. Sounds silly but I was showing him I loved him. Anyway, one day I forgot to put him back and he died. Cautionary tale for everyone there lol.

    I loved this story and although the piece was short I think you built the characters nicely and I actually felt sorry for poor blind Dimitri! This was really good.

    ReplyDelete