The jungle is always alive with many different sounds. There are chewing and cracking of bones by large cats, chirping of myriads of birds, screams of the eagle, the roar of lions, the slithering of reptiles, the squawking of parrots, the buzzing of insects and the “WHOOP-WHOOP” of the male monkeys. They jump up and down shaking the branches or swing like seasoned acrobats through the treetops as they make a OOK-BRAK sound to scare away any predators.
The plant life is luscious and green. Vines creep silently winding their way from bottom to top entangling vast areas so completely only the wildlife dare to call this tropical forest home. Flowers bloom with such rare beauty yet they are often only seen by those who live there. Human eyes seldom see them open and close to natures own time clock.
Mushrooms of red, yellow, brown and orange push their way up through the moist earth to add a splash of color to the lower areas providing food to some. Deep rivers and shallow streams are home to fish, reptiles, and exotic creatures still hidden from man. The rains come and go at will. The sun gives its light so all forms of life can multiply and continue to become a part of the circle of life.
High in the treetops in a very thick secluded area lives a troop of twenty-five or more monkeys. They call themselves a family much like yours and mine. Mothers watch over the young babies protecting them from other forms of life who target the helpless as easy food.
It is here that one particular spider monkey lives. His name is Keichi and he is just one of hundreds of spider monkeys in the jungle. He loves to show off his skills to anyone at any time. He swings through the trees grabbing branch after branch as his long tail curls around them to assure his safety. Often times he swings by his tail only so that his feet and hands are free to eat the fruits and green tender leaves. He moves as fast as the human eye can see and is as sure-footed as any animal.
Keichi has seen so much in his life both good and bad. His one desire in life is to keep his family safe. In order to protect the baby monkeys he has to be strong and intelligent. He wants to learn from all the stories the old monkeys tell and he doesn’t mind how long it takes or how hard it might become. He is aware that in order to be the very best protector he will have to be diligent, watching and listening to those who have experienced far more than he has. Some of the older monkeys have lived up to fifty years in the wild and they have hundreds of spine chilling stories to tell.
For weeks he sits at the feet of the elder monkeys. He listens to the tricks of the older ones and each day he learns more and more. Week by week he grows stronger in his physical body and strong in his mind.
“I’m so very hungry. All of this studying is giving me a very hardy appetite. I’ll just swing down below and see if I can find some insects or some flowers to munch on. Then I’ll scamper on down the way and look for honey and nuts. Maybe I’ll run across some fresh berries or juicy fruit.” He said as he jumped from limb to limb. “I suppose we do favor the spider when we crawl around on all fours and use our tails as an extra hand or foot.” He mumbled to himself remembering some of the things he had just been taught. “It just makes me very angry to see these companies coming into our homes tearing them all apart thinking little of all who live here. All of these beautiful trees will be gone before long not to mention the fact that they will eat us for dinner.” He squealed displaying his dislike for the humans that occasionally walked into the area.
“I think I will be a WATCH MONKEY and warn all the other monkeys of all approaching enemies. I can swing higher, grip tighter, jump further and I’m much stronger than all the other monkeys.” He barked hanging upside down by his long tail. “I’ll be a legend in the monkey world.” He boasted.
Now being a WATCH MONKEY requires staying on duty for long periods of time and being fully alert always. One quick nap might be a deadly mistake.
So it was with Keichi. At first he was very ambitious as most of us are. He stood watch like all good soldiers warning with his loud voice when he saw predators in the area. After a while be began to be somewhat careless as his mind and thoughts became lost in his daydreams.
Quietly below him ever so slowly moved a huge snake. He had caught the scent of Keichi and was prepared to have him for his dinner. Keichi was totally absorbed in seeing himself as a knight tapped by a famous king. He could hear the applause from the crowds as they cheered for him.
The snake continued to move slowly. It slithered inch by inch making absolutely no sound at all.
The sun was lowering in the red and orange-colored sky. It had been a very long hot day. Keichi’s eyes were so very tired and in desperate need of rest. Suddenly there came a sound from above the tree top. Before Keichi could jump from the branch, a huge bald eagle’s talons tightened around his shoulders. The pain was excruciating. He was being lifted out of the treetops by one of his greatest enemies. He began to scream as loud as he could scream hoping to scare the eagle into dropping him. As he was lifted above the trees he could see the ground beneath him becoming smaller and smaller. The eagle had struck without warning and was taking Keichi high into the sky.
Keichi’s heart sank for he knew he was no match for the eagle’s sharp talons. Dread and fear swept over him like a sand storm. He was doomed and it was his own fault for allowing his pompous pride to get the best of him. The wind whistled past him as he swung from the sharp painful talons. It was the last time he would catch a glimpse of his home below him as he would soon become a part of the circle of life his elders had cautioned him about.
The snake watched hoping the eagle’s talons would lose their grip but it was not to be on this day. Slowly he turned his attention to another smaller challenge on the forest floor. He would have to settle for less today but he would eat before the darkness filled the jungle.
Sometimes plans are not fulfilled by some quirk of fate and so it happened on this day. The eagle dropped Keichi on a ledge almost touching a huge nest. Keichi was hurt badly but he lay there as if he were dead. This might be his last hope of survival. The eagle had dropped Keichi as food for his mate who was not present at the moment. His black eyes searched around the area but he did not move a muscle. The giant eagle bellowed forth a deadly scream that could be heard for miles. He then turned and flew down from the ledge.
This was his last opportunity to escape and he would not be slow to grasp it. He scuttled like a spider on all four legs using his tail to grab hold of any and everything. Suddenly his black body vanished into the dark foliage and the rocks far below. He had just been taught a very important lesson by his greatest enemy, the eagle. He would never make the same mistake again.
No one knows for sure exactly what happened to Keichi. Did his wounds heal? Did he become something else’s dinner? It was too dark to see anything in the jungle but sounds could be heard coming from the treetops and they sounded something like this. “WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP!”
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Question: What snatched Keichi from the trees and why?