Sometimes when I decide what a story is really about, I find I have to remove some of what I’ve written, because it doesn’t relate strongly enough to my theme. That’s what happened to this scene from my mini-novel The Monkey King describing how Monkey won that title.—Aaron
On the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, the magic monkey wandered alone for several days, till he came upon a band of monkeys that welcomed him. From then on he sported and frolicked with the others, and feasted with them on the island’s fruits and flowers.
One day, the monkeys were swimming and playing in a mountain lake. From atop a high cliff, a broad waterfall poured down.
“What’s behind the waterfall?” the magic monkey asked an old gibbon.
“We’ve often wondered,” the gibbon answered. “In fact, we’ve said that if any of us were brave enough to pass through the waterfall and find out, we’d make that monkey our king.”
“Your king?” said the magic monkey. “I wouldn’t mind that at all!”
He scampered onto the bank. Then bracing himself for a swim, the monkey closed his eyes, crouched, and leapt through the waterfall. But he landed with a thud! He opened his eyes to see a tiny island with pine trees and bamboo and rare flowers.
From the other side of the island stretched a bridge of gleaming iron, arching over to a cave in the cliff. Halfway across was a stone tablet carved in ancient characters.
HEAVENLY CAVE OF THE WATER CURTAIN
The monkey crossed the bridge and entered the cave. It was huge, with many passages leading off. All about were stone seats and beds, and stone tables covered with stone plates and cups. The walls glowed with a light of their own.
The magic monkey rushed back to the waterfall and leapt through. “We’re in luck!” he cried, and he told the astonished monkeys what he had found. “It will make us a wonderful home! We’ll be safe from any kind of beast or weather. And there’s plenty of room for all!”
He leapt back through the waterfall, and this time the other monkeys followed. They scrambled over the bridge and into the cave. They all started grabbing the plates and cups, and pushing around the seats and beds, till they had tired themselves out.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” asked the magic monkey.
“Long live the king! Long live the king!” they chanted, and they all bowed down before the Monkey King.