Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Story of Juan and the Monkey

Juan was a farmer, a farmer so poor that he had only one shirt and
one pair of trousers. Juan was much annoyed by monkeys, who stole his
corn. So he set a trap and caught several of them. These he killed
with a club until he came to the last, which said to him, "Juan,
don't kill me and I will be your servant all your life." "But I will,"
said Juan. "You are a thief and do not deserve to live." "Juan, let me
live, and I will bring you good fortune, and if you kill me you will
be poor all your life." The monkey talked so eloquently that Juan let
himself be persuaded, and took the monkey home with him. The monkey
was true to his word, and served Juan faithfully, cooking, washing,
and hunting food for him, and at night going to distant fields and
stealing maize and palay which he added to Juan's little store.

One day the monkey said to Juan, "Juan, why do you not marry?" Said
Juan, "How can I marry? I have nothing to keep a wife." "Take my
advice," said the monkey, "and you can marry the king's daughter." Juan
took the monkey's advice and they set out for the king's palace. Juan
remained behind while the monkey went up to the palace alone. Outside
he called, as the custom is, "Honorable people!" and the king said,
"Come in." The king said, "Monkey, where do you walk?" and the monkey
said, "Mr. King, I wish to borrow your salop. My master wishes to
measure his money." The king lent him the salop (a measure of about
two quarts), and the monkey returned to Juan. After a few hours he
returned it with a large copper piece cunningly stuck to the bottom
with paste. The king saw it and called the monkey's attention to it,
but the monkey haughtily waved his hand, and told the king that a
single coin was of no consequence to his master.

The next day he borrowed the salop again and the coin stuck in the
bottom was half a peso, and the third day the coin was a peso, but
these he assured the king were of no more consequence to his master
than the copper. Then the king told the monkey to bring his master
to call, and the monkey promised that after a few days he would.

They went home, and as Juan's clothes must be washed, Juan went to
bed while the monkey washed and starched them, pulling, pressing,
and smoothing them with his hands because he had no iron.

Then they went to call on the king, and the king told Juan that he
should marry the princess as soon as he could show the king a large
house, with a hundred head of cattle, carabao, horses, sheep, and
goats. Juan was very despondent at this, though he was too brave to
let the king know his thoughts, he told his troubles to the monkey,
who assured him that the matter was very easy.

The next day they took a drum and a shovel and went into the mountains,
where there was a great enchanter who was a very wealthy man and also
an asuang. They dug a great hole and then Juan hid in the woods and
began to beat his drum, and the monkey rushed up to the enchanter's
house and told him the soldiers were coming, and that he would hide
him. So the enchanter went with the monkey to the hole and the monkey
pushed him in and began with hands and feet to cover him up. Juan
helped, and soon the enchanter was dead and buried. Then they went
to the house and at the first door they opened they liberated fifty
people who were being fattened for the enchanter's table. These
people were glad to help Juan convey all the money, cattle, and all
the enchanter's wealth to the town. Juan built a house on the plaza,
married the princess, and lived happily ever after, but his friend the
monkey, having so well earned his liberty, he sent back to the woods,
and their friendship still continued.

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