Today I have been plagued by “the lazies,” I have only read ten pages more of the book I am reading than the 100 pages I read yesterday of “The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.” Nonetheless, there is this one line that resonates in my mind. It is part of a children’s “story” quoted from another source. Of course, when I say “children’s” I mean a child told it, not that it was written for a child. Probably if the child knew the property I was stealing, and understood the import, the poor thing would be devastated. I can only say that I am acknowledging my debt to the unnamed child, and that if I knew her–or him–I would reassure them that as my muse I am recognizing them, and that they may move on to tell other stories, perhaps becoming a Shakespeare or Dickens based on this piece of precocity.
The first line of the child’s story is:
“The monkeys, they went up the sky. They fall down.”
And my version is:
There were a group of spider monkeys who climbed the sky, using the rainbow after a great rain. That rain was like the forty days and forty nights of Noah’s flood, and the rainbow as big and beautiful as any rainbow ever was. They started at the rainbow’s foot–these monkeys were exceedingly lucky that the found it by accident–and though there was no leprechaun or gold there they felt the beauty of walking atop the world was worth it. Yet then it started to rain again because the clouds resented having to share the sky, with somebody other than the bright sun or elegant moon. The clouds were petulant in their tears, like selfish children who would not share a toy. And so the spider monkeys fell to the earth. Yet the monkeys were glad in this: they had scaled the Great Heavens, and shared Father Sky with the clouds and the sun, and wondered if there were any Spirit beyond these things, who formed them for a divine purpose, which transcended their or human understanding. They never regretted climbing the immortal Father Sky, even when they fell to Mother Earth below.
So you see that children are mythmakers, and adults simply follow in the footsteps of little boys and little girls in their ability to play make-believe.
Perhaps this evening I shall type up another story from the Sefer ha-Aggadah.