Adaptation of the fable by Tomás de Iriarte
In a city in the south of Spain there was a very rich gentleman, very rich, who lived surrounded by all the luxuries and comforts one can imagine. His businesses allowed him to indulge in plenty of whims, like a house surrounded by gardens and servants who bowed to him at all hours. He owned horses, valuable works of art and his table was always full of delicacies and exotic fruits from the most distant places in the world.
Of all the possessions he had, there was one that he felt special affection for: a very nice monkey that a friend had brought him from Africa. Since he was a single man with no important occupations, he dedicated himself to taking care of her and playing with her all day. He spoiled her so much that he sat her down at the table with him, untangled her hair with an ivory comb and let her sleep by the fireplace on silk cushions. Not even the queen herself lived better!
As if this were not enough, the little monkey was very presumptuous, so the master often gave her brooches, bows and all kinds of ornaments to make her feel the most beautiful in the world.
The story tells that one summer day she went shopping and appeared at the house with an ideal dress. It was made of brightly colored fabrics and had two ruffles of lace that were breathtaking. The monkey excitedly put it on and ran to see herself in the mirror.
– Oh, it’s incredible, but I’m so damn pretty!
The very coquettish woman placed a little blue felt hat on her head and found herself so, so elegant, that she thought that everyone had to see her. Therefore, without thinking carefully about the consequences, he made a crazy decision: escape through the window that same night and cross the Strait of Gibraltar to reach Africa. His destination was Tetouan, the land where he was born and where his family and childhood friends still lived.
As he walked away from his comfortable life, only one thought ran through his head:
– I want everyone I know to see how beautiful and stylish I am! Thousands of compliments will be thrown at me and I will be the envy of all!
It is not very well known how she did it, but the fact is that at dawn, the monkey appeared by surprise in front of all her peers. As she had imagined, they surrounded her with open mouths and she strutted here and there like a peacock. Monas of all ages began to clap and exclaim in admiration.
– Oh, how beautiful she is!
– What a beautiful dress! It must be very expensive!
– What envy!… Us naked and she wearing an outfit worthy of a princess!
The proud monkey was delighted with the welcome. She noticed that she had caused a sensation and that they talked about her as if she were someone really important. Listening to continuous flattery gave her so much pleasure!…
– She must be a very famous monkey in Spain, because those clothes are not worn by just anyone.
– Yes, sure it is… How fine it is and how graceful it is when walking!
– He also seems to be very intelligent! Maybe it’s the president of Spain and us without knowing it!
The fascination she exerted over everyone was evident because even the males of the clan could not resist her charms either. In fact, one of them, the oldest and wisest monkey, had an idea that he wanted to share with the others. He climbed on a rock and raised his voice.
– As you know, today we had the honor of welcoming an outstanding member of the community who, by all accounts, has come a long way in life. Tomorrow we will all leave for the south of the continent and I propose that it be our illustrious guest who leads the expedition.
The applause was unanimous! What a great idea! No one could think of a better candidate to guide them on such a long and risky journey.
When it dawned, all the families of monkeys with their young on their backs began a long walk with the pizpireta monkey in front. Of course, she took command delighted to be the protagonist and she was taking them where she liked best: she crossed forests, valleys, deserts, rivers and muddy swamps, but the only thing she got was getting lost. His sense of direction was zero and he had no idea how to get the group to their destination.
What was going to be a trip of a few hours turned into a horrible journey of a week. The poor animals wandered for days from one place to another, without food, little water and with bruises all over their bodies. When they finally arrived in southern Africa, the families were exhausted and felt that their lives had not been miraculously lost.
The old monkey, like the leader that he was, returned to address the herd.
– Getting here almost cost us a dislike! We have allowed ourselves to be seduced by the beauty and elegance of this monkey instead of by her experience. We assumed that since she was a distinguished monkey, she was also an intelligent monkey. From all this, we must draw a lesson: appearances are deceiving and in the end, you always discover what you really are.
The monkey, embarrassed, took off her luxurious clothes and recognized her ignorance. Not because she was more beautiful and dressed in expensive clothes did she stop being a monkey like all the others. From that day on, he humbly joined the group and returned to the life that corresponded to him along with his kind.
Moral: Each person is as he is. We should all be proud of our qualities, but there is no point in trying to pretend that we have talents and abilities that we do not have. And the saying is rightly said: “Even if the monkey dresses in silk, she stays cute”.