A Balinese Folktale: Prince and His Monkey
In a splendid palace surrounded by beautiful garden and a moat, there lived a prince with his retainers, and servants who mostly confined to their respective quarters, he had a constant and boon companion – the apple of his eye – a darling pet monkey.
The darling monkey’s name was Lutung, he was very clever. Practically, he can do anything. Besides doing all the things that monkey usually do like racing up trees, leaping people heads, shredding flower buds, smashing pot, and biting small children, this remarkable creature could also make conversation, wield a weapon, play the flute, paint abstractions, smoke a pipe, drink wine, and stand on his head for hours. But he was able to perform all of these amazing feats, and more, only at instigation of the prince.
Every evening the prince would dine alone with his precious pippin all got up in the best bib and tucker and seated at the table on his special gilded chair. And after dinner, Lutung would engage his doting master with an infinite variety of tricks until gales of laughter swept the room and tears rolled down prince cheeks. The resultant mess and wreckage mattered not one whit, and, and when the performance was end , prince and chattering jackanapes would go hand in hand to bed.
The prince devotion to his fury friend tended in time to become an obsessive infatuation, and what had first been dismissed as mere privileged eccentricity began to give his subject cause of consternation. And as the prince was now marriageable age, his minister went into a huddle, to plan how they might find and introduce a suitably well-born girl and, hopefully, restore some measure of sanity to the palace precincts. At length the right girl was found and the prince prevailed upon to fulfill his bounden duty to the realm.
At last the day was set and, with great fanfare and ceremony and much rejoicing, the nuptial took place. The ritual ended, an immense feast was laid and attended by thousands in palace grounds. And where was Lutung all this time? Surely the matinee idol would be summoned to a command performance on an occasion on such moment! But no, overruling the prince’s tearful protestations, his ministers and courtiers had banished the miserable monkey to an antechamber of the household, where he was tied with a length of twine and locked up for the duration of the proceedings. It did not take Lutung very long to gnaw the cord into two. He hid under a chair and bided his time. From the outside he could hear the sound of mirth and merry-making. Someone would unlock the door before long. In that certain knowledge, he resumed his introspection.
Meanwhile the prince was growing weary of the day’s events. To tell the truth he was thoroughly boot-faced and bored by the whole business. His eyes roved up and down distinguished assemblage, finally coming to rest on his bride. But he soon averted his gaze. Where, oh where his favorite true friend? The moment this beastly party was over and all these awful people had gone home, he would be reunited with his only darling. Now he felt drowsy and his head aching. He got up from table and mumbled some excuse to those in immediate attendance, then sauntered off to find a quiet alcove in the garden where he could rest a while. His wife hovered anxiously at some distanced behind.
He approached a sheltered spot near a waterfall and was on the point of removing his silken slippers, when all of a sudden, he felt a tug on his skirt. Glancing down he saw to his great joy the little jewel of his life. But he was so overcome with fatigue and his head was aching so dreadfully that, for once, he did not feel inclined to indulge in any games or ask his precious to proceed with the usual repertoire of tricks. Instead, the prince lay down and stretched out on the grass. He commanded his manikin to ward off intruders and put to flight anyone or anything that might disturb his rest, and, of course, Lutung understood only too well.
The worried bride drew nigh, and Lutung sprang at her and bared his fangs, and so she kept distance. The he began to dance, circling slowly round the sleeping lord, his arms raised above his head in the manner of a pugilist who has flattened his opponent, and uttering strange guttural cries.
a fly appeared out of the still summer afternoon, buzzed about the prostate prince and settled on his neck. He stirred, and that moment, Lutung snatched his master’s sword and, taking careful aim, brought the blade down with a vengeance, bisecting the fly and severing the prince head.