I was sure I had heard a story about it. It happened the other day. It rained while the sun was shining,
“Oh look, it’s a Monkey’s wedding!”
Someone said. It’s a phrase I know but there were several there who hadn’t heard it before.
“Where does that come from then?”
I was sure, long ago, I had been told a story about it.
“India, I think, possibly a Hanuman story, he’s the monkey god… I know I’ll hunt it out and write about it for Folk Tales Corner.” I said. “Someone told me the story once, might have been my Mum.”
I checked my books.
It wasn’t there.
I checked the internet.
It was not there either.
I put out a request on the Society For Storytelling Facebook group. All I got back were the pages I had already found listing the various assorted creatures nuptials that are connected to ‘Sunshowers’ which includes Jackals, foxes, werefoxes, hyenas, leopards, witches, devils, a tiger and a fox, a monkey and a donkey, and the jackal and the wolf’s wife… but no story.
I put out another request, this time amongst my own friends, some of whom are quite scholarly and widely read. This brought me a couple of ancient collections of fokltales from India. I thought
“Now I’m getting closer!”
I was not.
I searched and skimmed through these great and wonderful anthologies reading any story with a monkey in it. I now know how red bottomed monkeys got their ruddy rumps scraping their behinds on a tree whilst escaping from the tiger, how baboons got their black faces and how the monkey got it’s tail… but still not why it rains in the sunshine when they get married. There are plenty of yarns about monkeys and humans setting up a wedding but the only ones that make it to their vows are the monkeys that turn out to be enchanted princes. Apparently a fruitarian diet puts most human brides off.
So if I ever was told a story about a monkey king who wanted the gods to bless his marriage and travelled to heaven; If I ever did hear how the gods offered him a bath with beautiful hot water that would magically flow when he called for it and how he lost track of time playing and relaxing in the heat, how he had just asked for more water when he heard the wedding music floating up from the world below and ran off in a tearing hurry, without telling the water to stop, so that all of heaven was flooded and the water ran over the edge and fell down on the wedding below while the sun shone… If that telling ever happened, it is looking likely that my mother (or who ever it was) simply made it up.
Well, a story has to start somewhere I suppose.
If only I could remember how it went so I could tell you.
…here’s to living happily ever after, until the next adventure.
The Travelling Talesman www.thetravellingtalesman.co.uk