Monkey Tai the Great

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

In an ancient forest, there is a little monkey whose destiny changes after a devastating fire. Does he sink into despair or does he accomplish the impossible to fulfil his dream?



By Annie L.


 Monkey Tai lived in his own designated, small parcel of land among his large clan. Every day his untrained singing voice echoed in the mountains. He sang the song his father taught him, swinging gaily, and bouncing up and down, practising his dancing among the trees. Tirelessly, he practised every day on the small branches and the large. On the high trees and the low. He chanted the words of praise his father used to say, “You are great, Tai, remember that.” 

Monkey Tai recalled peeking out from a bush near a stage, once when he was little, and seeing a group of professional monkey dancers pirouetting across it. His eyes had widened in amazement and his heart had beat fast as his legs and arms involuntarily copied the movements of the elegant dancers. The melodic rhythm of the music, drifting from gentle sounds to dramatic drumbeats, had sent chills up his spine and moved him to the core. His passion for dancing, and his desire to be trained professionally and hold his own choreographed dance concert grew stronger every day as he practised on his own. 

 But to his dismay, he could not afford to pay for dance tuition. So, Monkey Tai spent his days picking fruit and nuts on his tiny piece of land and trying to sell them to his fellow monkeys at the local market. Unfortunately, the other monkeys picked their own fruit and nuts on their own land, and had little need for Monkey Tai’s supply. This meant that he found it extremely difficult to make any Monkey Money at all to save for his dance training. 

There must be a way to earn more money, he thought. 

Then, on the day of the bushfire, most of the trees in the mountainous area where the clan lived were left charred, and only a few nuts and berries were left dangling here and there. To make matters worse, some of the other monkeys snuck into Monkey Tai’s plot of land and stole the remaining nuts and berries from his trees.

"What am I going to do?” he shrieked. “What am I going to eat now? How am I going to save money for my dance dream? Whaat can I dooooooo?" His cries echoed throughout the mountains.

Eventually, he climbed a tree and perched on a branch. He was stunned by the magnificent sunset. He sensed the calmness and peace of the evening sky. 

 “There must be a way,” he sang to himself. These were the lyrics his father taught him. Monkey Tai began his descent. Halfway down the canopy of trees, he came across a patch of slippery bark, lost his grip and tumbled the rest of the way, hitting the ground at the bottom with a thud. 

"Ouch!" he shrieked. He sat up, rubbing his aching bum. Raising his head, he saw a pinecone hidden beneath a layer of thick leaves, a quarter of it sticking out like an ostrich’s backside. He rushed over and picked it up. 

“Voila!” he exclaimed. "Pine nuts! Precious!" 

The monkeys were in the habit of looking for food in the trees, but nuts could also be found on the ground. And they too could be eaten. Monkey Tai darted about, gathering more and more pinecones. 

"There is a way!" he yodelled. He explored the forest looking for a cave. To his delight, he found a small one nearby. One by one he carried the cones, cautiously placing them inside the small cave. He discreetly covered them with big branches and leaves. The sun had sunk below the horizon. His body was aching and heavy, so he climbed a tree and settled himself into a comfortable spot to sleep. 

"There is a way, and tomorrow will be better," he murmured to himself. 

He was woken by a laughing kookaburra. 

“A new day, a new way," he hummed along with the kookaburra. Then he flung himself down the tree and made a detour to his cave. When he got there, he fished out two pinecones, picking out the nuts and stuffing them into his mouth. He closed his eyes as he chewed, savouring the taste of their nutty sweetness. He was still holding the pinecones even after the nuts were all gone. 

“Yummmmmy …” He leaped up and tossed the pinecones into the air. One landed with a thud on his head. “Ouch,” he said, rubbing his head and looking at the pattern the pinecones had made on the ground. Suddenly, an idea came to his mind. "Yes! Yes! I can create artwork from these pinecones! I can make Monkey Money! I will be able to afford a dance teacher! And hold a dance concert!" He laughed and danced around the cave.

Monkey Tai became very busy. He devoted himself to designing and making pinecone treasure boxes, pinecone swings, and pinecone artwork. In the beginning, he sold his creations at the monkey market, but as his artwork became famous, monkeys from far away flocked to buy his art pieces. Gradually, he filled a second secret cave with his Monkey Money. Then a third. Then a fourth. 

 Finally, on the Monkey's New Year's Eve, an enormous stage was set up and a band came to play. Monkey Tai performed his professional dance routine on the huge pine branch stage of the Monkey Mountain Theatre. His skilled ballet dance moves were so gracious that they captured the whole monkey audience. He began with a slow plié, then surprised the audience with a jeté, and finally ended his dance performance with a high prance and a fast pirouette. The monkey audience clapped for more, shouting, “Encore! Encore!” He was implored to dance to his heart’s content. After landing from the final pirouette, Monkey Tai felt a surge of inspiration. He lifted his head and sang his beloved song. 

“There must be a way, my father would say. There is a way, and if you believe, your efforts will be repaid.”


 I would like to dedicate this little piece of work to my dear teachers, Veronica W. and Nadia H., who helped to make this possible. Many thanks to them.



Submitted: March 30, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Annie L. All rights reserved.

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N. Holiday

Monkey Tai the Great is a fun-filled story to remember! Full of aspirations and positivity. His enthusiasm is contagious. A highly recommended read.

Fri, April 2nd, 2021 6:42am

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