Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A young monkey called Velvet, a story

In the heart of Africa, not very far from a well traveled dirt road, there is a small lake. It is really more like a pond. And it has become a water hole for the wild game that lives in the area. It is home to some fish, sometimes a crocodile or two, and occasionally a small group of hippopotamus that finds there relief from the blazing African sun.
The area around the lake is temporary home to herds of impala and to a  small troop of Vervet Monkeys. Every day the monkeys gather around the lake to catch insects, seeds and tender grass shoots that they eat. They also drink water from the lake.
Among the young monkeys in the troop there is one whose face is particularly soft. His friends call him Velvet Face. Some call him Velvet. Others call him Face, but he does not like to be called Face. He prefers to be called Velvet. That is how his mother calls him.
It is very hot on this particular day. It is early in the morning but the sun is already very hot. Velvet feels thirsty. He thinks of the fresh water in the lake but decides not to drink from the lake edge. The lake is known to have crocodiles and he is not going to take any chances. He decides instead to lick the drops of water hanging from the blades of grass. This water is very fresh. It was left on the grass leaves by the previous night's heavy rain.
And so Velvet satisfies his thirst licking the rain water drops from the thin blades of grass. He notices that one of his friends approaches him and decides to sit near his tail. But Velvet knows him and does not care. He is happy drinking the rain drops. His friend picks up the tip of Velvet's tail in a tender gesture and starts to smooth the soft hair with his fingers. Velvet feels good with these gestures of tenderness and trust.
Then, all of a sudden, his friend takes the tip of Velvet's tail to his mouth and bites it. Not a ferocious bite, but a good bite nonetheless. Velvet is startled, screams, and jumps up in the air releasing his tail from his friend's grip. He lands right in front of his friend who decides to run away, just in case Velvet decides to bite him back.
Velvet chases his friend half way around the lake and back. He is ready to give his friend a good bite back but does not seem to be able to catch him. At the end of this run they are back where they started. Both are tired and both are now thirsty. They settle, not very far from each other, among the fresh blades of grass, and start to lick the water drops that were left there by the previous night's heavy rain.

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