In Jan, I rewrote an exercise as a story. The idea was to write a scientific fact as a fairy tale or mythology.
I loved the exercise, and used the last few days – spent in an isolated guesthouse in the Nilgris Mountains to recuperate from a severe bronchitis – to plot and draft 9 similar stories… based on various scientific processes such as photosynthesis, rusting, Newton’s Law of Gravity and so on.
Each story is under 600 words, and it was fun. But to be honest, I did feel a little guilty, as this was easier for me than writing original stories… still, my goal is to win the StoryADay Challenge, and no one said I had to write only original/contemporary stories a day, so am happy to be meeting my target 🙂
As a sample, here is the first story from the compilation:
THE MONKEY’S SPEAR
The monkey was healthy, handsome, and jealous.
He envied the fishes for their colorful lives in the deep blue sea. He envied the birds for their supple feathers and their graceful dance in mid-air. He envied the rabbit for his downy fur, the gazelle for his stunning speed, the elephant for his sharp tusks, the woodpecker for his drilling. He even envied the king of the jungle, who lived safe and sound in a cave, while the monkey had to shiver and hide on treetops.
The monkey was miserable, and his heart was filled with thick, green envy.
One day, his bitterness got so heavy that it his heart simply had to purge it, so it gave a mighty big push and let it all burst from the monkey’s eyes. For the first time, the monkey wept, his heart now empty and relieved of the heavy burden. His lush, viscous tears drenched the earth and slowly began to take shape of a spear. The monkey lay still and heaving on the ground, his eyes growing wider as the Spear grew taller. Soon, it spoke.
“Command me, father, and I will make you happy,” it said.
“Who are you?” asked the monkey in wonder and fear.
“I am your want. I am too powerful to be left idle; give me something to do, something to keep me busy for a long time. Tell me what you need, and I will get it done.”
Though the monkey’s heart had emptied of envy, the desire had not left his blood. Glad to have the help, he said, “I want to swim, and fly, and have a better, prettier skin. I want agility, protection, strength. I want a safe abode, and a place to call my own.”
The Spear gave a great bow and said, “Those are too many great wants for me to serve you immediately, Father. Will you be willing to wait?”
The monkey replied, “I can wait as long as it takes you to get what I want.”
“Then promise me,” said the Spear. “Promise me you will keep me alive till you are alive, promise me your children and their children and their children for all eternity will keep me alive, so that I can figure out how to get your wants fulfilled.”
The monkey promised and the Spear gave a big roar and re-entered the monkey’s heart.
For the next few months, or may be for the next few thousand years, the spear worked hard inside the monkey and his descendants. Their body became smooth and hairless, their limbs straightened, their face became flatter, their brain became sharper. Using their enhanced organs, they began to invent and discover tools to make and break, to kill and sew, to race and ride, to swim and fly, to build and destroy.
The monkey kept its deal. The more it became a man, the more bitter its tears were – tears of hatred, betrayal, prejudice and a thousand other sins, kept the spear watered and alive, the price it paid for its progress in this wonderful world of ours.