There once was an one-eyed ox, who lived on a farm with many other animals. There was a dog, a pig, a horse, and a little barn rat, with whom he was all close friends. The Ox lived a good simple life on the farm, with the other animals, spending his days grazing in the field. One day, out of the blue, the Ox glanced up from his grazing and spotted a golden monkey, smiling at him from the tree's. He blinked and moved over to the tree's looking up.
"Hello, how are you?"
But the monkey didn't answer, it only smiled and tilted its head.
"My name is Ox, what's yours?"
But the monkey didn't answer, it still only smiled.
The Ox snorted in confusion. "Can you speak? Why aren't you answering me."
The monkey smiled, and pointed, and the Ox turned its head to look, but there was nothing, when it looked back, the monkey was gone.
The Ox thought about the monkey all that night and all the next day, wondering where it had come from and what it had wanted to show him. He couldn't enjoy grazing, or sleeping, or lying out in the warm sun, he could only think of the monkey and its haunting smile.
He went over to the tree's where he had spotted it before, but there was nothing there.
He sought the advice of his friend, the rat, who was sniffing around the farmer's garbage. "A monkey you say?" she inquired, chewing on a kernel of corn. "How interesting, I've never heard of one out here."
"I saw one though, I swear."
She chewed thoughtfully, her pink eyes glancing around. "Hmm, well I haven't seen one. If you see one again, let me know though, I'd love to see a monkey someday."
He thanked her and went to ask his friend the horse, who was standing out in the pasture, enjoying the breeze and the blue sky. "I've never seen a monkey in my life," he said, nuzzling the Ox's head. "Are you sure you aren't just seeing things?"
"I know what I saw."
"I wouldn't know where to look," he sighs, looking up at the sky. "But if you needed help searching, I would help," he said.
The Ox thanked him and went to go ask his friend the Pig, who was sunning herself, lying on her back. "There aren't monkeys out here. They live in the jungles."
"I am certain it was a monkey I saw."
"You'd have to prove it," the pig said simply, rolling over to blink at him and snort.
He bid the pig farewell and went to talk to the dog who was nipping at butterflies in the meadow.
"There are no monkeys out this far. You're a liar," she yapped, pawing at the ground.
"There was too a monkey, I know it."
"I'd have to see it to believe it."
The Ox bid the dog farewell and trotted off to the edge of the field to be by himself and to think.
A dove flew down on and landed on his horn. "I have seen the monkey," she whispered in his ear. "If you follow me tonight, I can show you."
She nodded, flying off into the trees. "Meet me here at sunset Ox, and I will show you the way to him."
She disappeared into the sky.
The Ox was elated, and quickly went to tell all of his friends. "You see? Now I can prove there was a monkey. You'll see. Come with us tonight and you'll all see."
Though some were more hesitant than others, the prospect of traveling out of the farm and through the strange forest in the dark unappealing, the idea of seeing the monkey got the better of them, and come sunset the Ox found the Dog, the Pig, the Horse, and the Rat all waiting for him by the tree. The Dove was perched in the same place she'd been before, fluttering her wings. "We'll go slowly," she said. "Just follow my lead."
She took off, landing on a branch a little ways inside the forest, waiting for them to follow. The Ox hurried after, crashing through the brush. The rat scurried after, mindful not to be trampled, the horse after her, stepping gingerly and glancing around in caution, the pig with her short legs huffing and puffing, and the dog brought up the rear, her back arched as if she expected to be pounced.
"It's getting so dark," she fretted. "And this place is full of so many strange smells. How will we find our way back?"
"We can follow our tracks," the Ox explained.
"There are things in here, watching us," said the dog.
"No there aren't," said the Ox. "You're just worrying too much."
The dog growled under her breath, and suddenly reared up in surprise as something slithered out from underneath her. The snake, snapped up, biting the dog in the neck, who yowled in pain, throwing the snake off and bolting.
"Wait!" cried the Ox.
"You can go find your monkey, I want to go home," said the dog, and she crashed through the brush until she had disappeared from sight, only the sound of her whining left.
The other animals all looked at each other startled.
"Maybe we should go back," said the Horse, who was easily spooked. "Maybe we should look for the monkey in the morning."
"You will only find the monkey in the dark," said the dove. "We do not have much time, let's go."
So the animals steeled themselves and continued on, the pig now bringing up the rear.
"Slow down," she called. "You're leaving me behind, I can't go as fast as the rest of you."
She made a quick burst of speed, as the animals began to drift out of view, only to fall head first into a ditch, her legs twisting uncomfortably, and she squealed in surprise.
The other animals turned around quickly to try and help her. "Are you all right Pig?" they asked.
The Pig let out an unhappy sound, climbing out of the pit and limping quickly back in the direction of the farm. "I don't care about the monkey," she cried. "I want to go home too,"
"Oh Pig wait," the Ox called to her, but she'd already disappeared into the brush.
Now it was just the Horse, the Rat, and the Ox left, the Ox sighed and turned back to the dove. "Well let's keep going."
As they got deeper and deeper into the forest, the dark began closing in, becoming thicker and even the brilliant white dove was hard to make out in the blackness. The horse was becoming frightened, moving at a crawl as he glanced around in fear at the dark shapes of the tree's against the ever shrinking sky. "I should go back too," he said softly.
"No," said the Ox. "We're almost there. Please stay with us."
"A horse needs to see the sky," the Horse explained. "I'm no good in the dark. Please tell me about the monkey, when you come back in the morning." He turned and began trotting back in the direction of the farm, leaving the Rat and the Ox alone.
"It is just you and me," said the Rat. "Although I admit, this forest is frightening."
"Will you leave too?" the Ox asked.
The Rat shook her head. "No, but perhaps I should ride on your back from here. I fear being stepped on."
The Ox nodded, bowing his head and the rat scurried up, nestling up on the crown of his head, and they continued on their way.
"The monkey is only a little ways away," said the Dove after a while. "Right through here."
The Ox, felt excitement flare up in his chest, at the thought of seeing the Gold Monkey again, and without stopping to consider, he charged forward through the brush, leaving the Dove behind.
"Wait no! Stop!" the rat shrieked, but it was too late. The ground disappeared out from under the Ox's hooves, and he fell through the air with a startled shout. The foolish Ox had run off the face of a cliff in the dark, and he tumbled down, landing with a harsh thud, that shook the earth. His bones were broken, his horns snapped in half, his back bent in two pieces. Beneath his heavy weight, the rat laid crushed. And the dumb foolish Ox, with his final breath looked up to see the monkey, smiling at him, with sharp teeth, laughing loudly. It filled his ears and rang out in the night, as the Ox laid down his head and died.
I love you, now go to sleep.