How the King of Monkeys Became Their Slave

When the world was made all the various kinds of animals had their kings, but the monkeys were so foolish and disobedient that Skygod gave them a special king called Quilpu-nine.

Quilpu-nine was a bird with gray hair on his head: Skygod placed him in a hole in the ground where nobody could see him.

The monkey-people were afraid of the Thing-in-the-hole-in-the-ground; since no one had ever seen it and its voice was so loud and harsh, it was thought to be some powerful devil-god and all the monkeys respected and obeyed him.

It was the custom of those times for the animals to render tribute to their kings, bring their best food to them and honoring them with gifts; so Quilpu-nine lived well, growing sleek and fat on nuts and succulent fruits and the choicest of forest fare.

But there came a time of famine in the forest, and although many monkey-people tried to bring rich foods to Quilpu-nine as usual, they found this increasingly difficult to do.

In time the gray-haired bird came to feel the famine too, and one day when the older monkeys were away searching for last season’s nuts and withered fruit he came forth from his hole and stole the little food the monkey-children had.

When the monkey-fathers and monkey-mothers came back to their homes and children they were astonished to learn that their king was merely a gray-haired bird: they pulled him from his hole, and he was obliged to be their slave. One can often hear the monkey-people laughing in the forest, and that is because they still remember that a gray-haired bird called Quilpu-nine was formerly their king.