In a forest glade, by the side of River Ganges,
high on the mountains there lived about eighty
thousand monkeys along with their giant monkey
king. And by the side of the clear gushing water
stood a tall shady tree bearing big beautiful
juicy golden fruits commonly called mangoes.
All the monkeys just loved these mangoes and ate
them off almost as soon as they had ripened.
Which was a very good thing as their wise giant
king had warned them not to let a single juicy
fruit fall into the river. Because if the
current carried even one of these fruits down
the river to the land where the men lived, they
would surely come in search of this delicious
fruit and destroy the peace in the land of the
It so happened that a branch of this tree hung
low over the river and a mango that was hidden
behind an ant's nest ripened and fell off
without anyone's knowledge. It was taken down
south by the rapid flow of the river and reached
the city of Benaras.
One fine morning when King Brahmadutta of
Benaras was bathing in the river between two
nets, a couple of fishermen found a bright
golden fruit caught in the mesh of the net. Very
excited they took it to show the King. The King
examined the fruit carefully and asked where it
had come from and what it was called. The
fishermen did not know much about it but guessed
that it must have flowed down the river from the
valleys of the far-flung Himalayas.
He then asked them to cut the mango and tasted a
slice. It was simply delicious. He shared the
rest of it with his ministers and Queen who
loved its divine flavour.
A few days passed, but the King could not get
this exotic fruit out of his mind. He could not
work; rest or sleep for want of some more.
Finally he could bear it no longer and set sail
in search of it. He organised a fleet of rafts
and sailed up the river accompanied by his men
and a few fishermen.
Many days and many nights went by and they
passed many valleys until they finally came to
the one where the mango tree stood. Mission
accomplished, the King was delighted and began
enjoying the mangoes to his heart's content.
Finally, that night, the King lay down to sleep
under the mango tree while his faithful soldiers
stood guard. Fires were lit on either side for
protection against wild animals.
In the middle of the night when the guards had
dozed off to sleep, the monkeys came and
finished off all the mangoes that were left on
the tree. The King awoke with all the noise and
ordered his guards to shoot at the monkeys so
that they could feast on monkey flesh along with
On hearing this, the monkeys trembled with fear
and escaped to inform their King. They told him
what had happened and he promised to save them.
But for that he had to come up with a plan.
So he climbed up the tree and swung across the
river with the help of a branch. He found a
bamboo shoot which he measured and cut
carefully, and then tied one end of it around
his waist. The other end he tied around a tree
trunk. He had decided to leap back to the mango
tree and help the rest of the monkeys across
over the bridge that he had made with the help
of the bamboo shoot.
But alas... he had not taken into account the
portion that he had tied around his waist. So
when the monkey king sprang back into the mango
grove he was just able to cling to a branch of
the mango tree. He quickly summoned his monkeys
to climb over his back and onto the reed in
order to escape to the other side. In this way,
eighty thousand monkeys climbed over his back
one by one and made it to safety.
But unfortunately there was one evil monkey who
hated his leader and wanted to destroy him. His
name was Devadutta. This mean monkey purposely
jumped hard over his poor king's back and broke
it, while he himself escaped to the other bank.
King Brahmadutta, who had been awake for
awhile, had observed this whole episode. He felt
extremely sorry for the monkey king and asked
his men to help lower him to the ground. He then
had him gently bathed and wrapped in a soft
yellow cloth and asked him why he had sacrificed
himself for his tribe. The great monkey answered
that as he was their guide and chief, they were
his children and it was his sacred duty to
protect them. He had absolutely no regrets as he
had ensured their safety. He also went on to say
that the King should always be mindful of his
subjects' welfare even at the cost of his own.
Saying this the monkey king died at peace with
King Brahmadutta had learnt a great deal that
day. He ordered his men to organise a funeral
fit for a King. He then built a shrine in the
monkey king's memory where he offered flowers
and lit candles and incense.
On returning to Benaras, he built another shrine
there and asked his people to pay homage to this
great soul. He always remembered the last words
of the monkey king and ruled his subjects with
wisdom and compassion. The people in his kingdom
were eternally grateful to the great-hearted