How winter drags on. Dearest says “what can I say about the past week, except that it has been awful – days of cold, snow and burst pipes” I suggested she wrote about Pa and the monkey; how rich in memories are the stories of long ago. Pa was not the sort of person one would normally associate with monkeys, more a Labrador man.
However, just after the second World War, when he was in the army stationed in Malaya, he spotted a Malay on a bicycle with a tiny monkey on a wire chain, in obvious distress. Pa gave the man a dollar in exchange for the tiny animal, which was about eight inches tall; they became inseparable. During Pa’s time in Malaya, one of Pa’s duties was to patrol the jungle in search of Chinese dissidents. Each evening, the monkey would leave the headquarters and come to meet Pa. One morning, Pa and his men went out as usual on patrol into the jungle, splitting the patrol in half. After about an hour, Pa realised he had not got his compass, so he back-tracked to locate the sergeant and his group, only to find they had made camp with no intention of going on patrol. The sergeant was demoted and Pa never took him on patrol again as he didn’t want a bullet in his back. A week later returning to camp, Pa was surprised when the monkey didn’t come to meet him. When they arrived at base, the monkey was nowhere to be seen. Shortly after he was found on the sump, where he had been burnt alive. Everyone knew that the sergeant was responsible. Pa was told by one of this Malay men that there is a saying, that anyone killing a monkey in cold blood would not leave Malaya alive. A year later during what was known as the Bairtahairlog riots; three Europeans were killed whilst embarking onboard a ship for home. One of those killed was the sergeant who had thrown the monkey on the sump and burnt the little animal alive.
A faint echo of this story lingers in the air, this bitter-sweet event is a reminder of our love for all animals.
Winter is at last slipping away. March came in like a lion and hopefully will go out like a lamb.