The Story of the Monkey and the Spider

In response to the African folktales that I’ve become familiar with this week, I decided to write my own folktale inspired by the African tradition.

In a distant village deep in the Amazon, lived the Monkey and the Spider. They lived peacefully in the Forest amongst all the other animals. One day the Tree decided that only one animal could inhabit it and call it home. The Monkey, whose arms were made for swinging from branch to branch knew that the Tree was his rightful home. However, the Spider with its many tangled webs, knew that only the Tree provided enough hollows for it to create its beautiful silk. For months and months the two animals were determined to show the Tree which of them was more suited to call it their home. After all the parading of skills and talent, the Tree devised one test that will once and for all determine the true tenant of the Tree.

Both the Monkey and the Spider woke up at the break of dawn, ready to win their rightful home. For the task was a simple one, both the Spider and the Monkey should race to the top of the Tree, and whoever reached through the branches first, will be kissed by the Sun and can inhabit the Tree for eternity.

As the race started both animals hurried to reach the top of the tall Tree. They climbed and swung over branches and leaves, each determined to overcome the other. The Spider was a cunning fellow and he knew that what he lacked in size, he could gain in weaving. As they both neared the top, the Spider weaved white silk across the thumbs of the Monkey breaking them off and leaving behind in each hand only four fingers. The Monkey, with its four fingers curved in pain, grabbed hold of the Spider and pulled him in two. The Spider’s abdomen fell to the ground whilst he chased after it in shame. The Monkey reached the top of the Tree and was kissed by the Sun and christened with a new name, the Spider Monkey, as he had gained victory over the Spider.

This is why even today the Spider Monkey rarely touches the ground and in the night gather in large groups and sleep in the very top of the Tree, where they are safe from the vengeance of the Spider, who slowly crawls up each night in hope of reaching the top.

Thank you for reading.

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