Rachel Ann Harding | Rachel Ann Harding / Boulder, CO / Storyteller, musician, writer, explorer, ukulele trainer

Story: The Monkeys and the Moon

316px-Ohara_monkey-moonA few days ago I was in a teahouse and found this the book An Attempt To Scoop Up the Moon. I thought it was such a lovely story and could be a fun interactive story I went looking for the original.

It turns out it is a Chinese story and I found this as the source:

One night a monkey chieftain saw the bright reflection of the moon in the water below his tree. Thinking that the moon had died and fallen into the water, and fearing that the world would thus slip into darkness, the monkey called together his underlings and commanded them to join tails and together pull the moon out of the water. However, when the monkeys attempted this task, their combined weight was too great, the branch broke, and they fell into the water and drowned.

Whoa. That is a wee bit dark. So taking a cue from the book I came up with a story told something like this…

This is a story about monkeys. What do monkeys sound like?
(this lets the children know it is okay to respond – this ain’t tv kids!)
There once was a troop of monkey’s who had a king monkey.
The little monkeys would say what the king monkey would say – “I am the monkey king!” “No, I am the monkey king!” “I want a banana!” (have the children repeat a few monkey king lines).
One day they played outside until the sun went down and moon came up, golden and round in the sky.
The king monkey got it in his head that he wanted that beautiful moon and so he pointed and said loudly, “I want the moon!” And all the other monkeys said, “I want the moon!”
So, he commanded them to make a tower of monkeys to the moon. The biggest monkey sat on the ground and the others climbed on to his shoulders until there was a tower of monkeys swaying back and forth. Then the smallest monkey climbed to the top and reached for the moon. (Opt Cue: Can you show me how high you can reach for the moon?)
But the tower of monkeys swayed back and forth and back and forth until it fell over!
As the monkeys picked themselves up the king monkey saw the moons reflection shining in the lake and he began to shout, “We knocked the moon out of the sky and into the water! We must get it out!” and all the other monkeys shouted, “We knocked the moon out of the sky and into the water! We must get it out!”

So they formed a bridge of monkeys reaching out over the water. The smallest monkey climbed out and over the bridge reached down and into the water, but he could not pick up the moon! All he could get was handfuls of water. So he yelled he needed a bowl. The monkeys stole a big pottery bowl from the neighboring village, brought it back and passed the bowl out to the little monkey. The little monkey dipped it in the water and there in the bowl was the moon!
He gave it to the king monkey who was so happy that he said, “I have the moon!” and all the other monkeys said, “I have the moon!”
But soon other monkeys wanted to hold the moon and as the bowl was being passed around it slipped and fell to the ground breaking into pieces. The king monkey looked and all he saw were pieces of the broken bowl and water on the ground. He began to cry and wail, “I broke the moon!” and all the other monkeys began to wail, “I broke the moon!”
The king monkey threw his head back to have a good cry and there in the sky he saw… the moon! Big and round and back in the sky. He pointed and said, “The moon is fixed and back in the sky!” and all the monkeys cheered, “The moon is fixed and back in the sky!
From that day on the king monkey declared that the moon would be left in the sky for everyone to enjoy.

Bones Outline:
King Monkey repeat.
“I want the moon!”
Tower. Tower falls
Reflection in lake.
“We knocked the moon out of the sky and into the water! We must get it out!”
Bridge. Handfulls of water.
Bowl. Reflection in bowl.
“I have the moon!”
“I broke the moon!”
“The moon is fixed and back in the sky!”

If you like this you are welcome to use it! If you come up with a better version – let me know!


Picture: By Ohara Shoson, died in 1945 (Book scan) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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