Monday, March 3, 2008

Montu's Talent

Once upon a time, a troupe of monkeys lived in a jungle. Among them was a young monkey named Montu. While Montu’s friends spent all their time jumping on trees and chattering at the top of their voices, Montu quietly listened to the sound of the jungle – the leaves swishing in the wind, the sound of the river as it ran over the rocks, the birds singing sweetly—and he tried to sing too. All the monkeys laughed at him. They told him that singing was not something monkeys did. Yes, his voice was not as shrill as that of the others, but then, who wanted to hear a monkey sing? Singing was for birds, that too, birds like the nightingale. They advised him to give up such useless activities and concentrate on being a good monkey.
Thus discouraged, Montu stopped singing in front of his friends and relatives. But he could not give up his love for music. So, he went to the riverbank when he knew it would be deserted, and sang to his hearts content. He observed how sounds were made by nature, and tried to imitate them using the reeds on the riverbank, bamboo shoots and hollow logs. As time passed, he became a better and better musician and singer.
One day, as he was singing, a tiny bird heard him, and stopped to listen. She was so impressed that she went to him and said “You sing and play so well, you should have a real musical instrument like humans do.” Montu was curious. He knew very little about humans, and had never heard of anything like that. The tiny bird told Montu that there were musicians in the village at the edge of the jungle, and took him there so that he could have a look. Montu was fascinated by them, and started going there everyday. He never troubled them, but simply sat and watched them practicing. He was very observant, and soon, he understood how those men used the various instruments. No one paid much attention to him, as he never disturbed them in any way. One day, the men went inside the house leaving their instruments unattended outside. Montu saw his chance, picked up the instrument he liked the most — a guitar—and ran away into the jungle before anyone could follow him.
Now Montu practiced with the guitar everyday. The tiny bird also joined him regularly. Soon they were singing and playing the guitar so well, other animals who heard the sound came to listen. In no time at all, the whole jungle had heard about the monkey who could sing and play a musical instrument, just like the humans. One day, some animals came to Montu and told him that the Lion, the king of the jungle, wanted to hear him. He was to play at the court. Montu was overjoyed. He and the tiny bird replied that they would be honoured to play at the court.
The big day dawned. All the animals had gathered to witness the amazing spectacle. There was a pin-drop silence as Montu began to sing, and when he stopped, the applause was deafening! They all wanted to hear him again and again and again!!!

When at last he was allowed to stop, the king himself got up from his throne, appreciated Montu, and announced that Mont would now be the court musician. Montu was so happy that there were tears in his eyes. He thanked the tiny bird, who was the only one to have encouraged him, without whom he could never have done it. Montu’s friends and relatives were ashamed that they had teased him and discouraged him. But he forgave them, and they all lived happily ever after.

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