Jataka: The King of the Monkeys

In the foothills of the Himalayas, there was a beautiful fruit tree which was home to some monkeys and their king. One day, the monkey-king saw that a branch of the tree had grown out over a river. "Oh no!" he thought. "If the fruit falls into the river and is carried downstream to the humans, they will want to come take the fruits for themselves." Worried, the king warned the monkeys to watch the branch carefully so that no fruits ever fell into the river.

The monkeys tried to be careful, but one fruit fell into the river and was found downstream by the king of the humans. He had never seen such a beautiful fruit before. The taste of the fruit was also marvelous, so the king decided that he must have more of the fruit. He led his soldiers up the river and, as soon as they saw the tree, they began to attack the monkeys with their arrows.

The king of the monkeys realized that they were trapped. "If we cannot get away, we will all die!" he thought. Looking up at the peak of the nearest mountains, the monkey-king stretched out his arms. By a miracle, his body grew longer and longer, becoming a bridge that the monkeys used to make their escape. As the last of the monkeys climbed over the bridge and reached the safety of the mountain, the king of the monkeys collapsed and fell to the ground, dead. The king of the humans was amazed by the monkey's act of sacrifice and declared that the tree and its fruits would be reserved for the monkeys forever, vowing that no human would ever disturb the land of the monkeys again.

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