The Real Reason
She settled herself gingerly against the tree trunk and waited.The elder monkeys continued to eye her, until she heard a throat being cleared from overhead. Looking up she saw a huge male, grey as against the dirty brown of the other langurs. His tail was held up by another, smaller brown fellow and it was he who was making the guttural sounds. “ Silence! His royal Highness is going to speak….” “Human, why do you venture into our forest and eat our fruit ?” The King asked, in a deep, lugubrious voice. Parijatam decided to humour him. The tiny ones who had tormented her earlier, were all grinning, showing strong yellow teeth, which gleamed disjointedly through the overhanging foliage. “You see,”she began. “Manners! His royal highness is addressed as my lord or your Majesty. Forgive the human, your majesty. They are an ignorant lot.” The King’s sidekick had suddenly developed a Voice. “You see, your, uh, Majesty, my eyes are too bright so the village elders banished me so they could sleep.” “ Oh, was that what it was? We were going to ask you how you did it.” The sidekick was breathless with the speed at which he had interrupted the interview.” “Hmmm…It certainly lights up this forest,” mused the King. “Yes, we can save on fireflies. Yay! We can use the time saved from catching them to play!” yelled the irrepressible tinies from above, but they subsided, when the sidekick yelled for silence.” Alright, you can stay here for some time. If you want to.” “ And that means, she is our guests and we will treat her with consideration.” The sidekick glared at the tinies, who shuffled up and down the branches, looking sheepish.
“ Time for dinner!” The sidekick clapped his hands and several furry brown hands parted the leaves, whizzing leaf bowls of fruits to the center where the branches of the wide-spreading papal tree had formed a flat surface. The king came down but the sidekick did not join them for sometime, being occupied behind the leaves. “The tinies want to join the table,” he reported,” and so do the females,” he gasped as a particularly well aimed kick from somewhere behind the leaves, jogged his memory. “ The King, nodded, “they may! It is honour of our guest.” The branches began to fill up as the females joined in, squealing and grunting, some with babies clinging to them and some with tinies hanging on their arms. “ They usually eat on the tree behind, more space to spread out and the King likes quiet,” the sidekick whispered. “ This is a big group!” Parijatham whispered back politely. “ My, yes! We used to live on the hill, you know, better trees, more fruit and more space to spread out, but the quads took it over.I know,” he dug her excitedly, in the ribs. Ignoring her cry of pain, he went on, “I think that’s it! That’s why the King wants you around, to help him get us back there.” Parijatham was astonished. The monkeys seemed to be having as many problems as humans.
To be continued…..