Once upon a time, there was a very lucky monkey. This monkey had found himself the head of a strong family, with a beautiful tree to call their home and many friends in other trees, all across the forest.
The monkey spent most of his day making sure the tree looked nice and the rest of his family were happy. He gathered ripening fruit and tended the new growth so that everyone who looked at the tree did so with admiration. It may not have been the biggest tree in the forest but it was one of the most loved and the monkey was very proud that he had seen the tree grow from a young sapling.
At every opportunity, the monkey would tell the other forest creatures about his tree. Every waking moment was spent thinking about how he could improve the tree and make sure it grew even bigger and more beautiful. The monkey loved his family and he loved his tree. He wouldn’t rest until everyone else saw how wonderful they’d made their home.
One day, the monkey started to get sick. He wouldn’t let himself believe that he was unwell, even though many of the other forest creatures told him that he needed to take a break from tending to the tree.
There were other monkeys in the family that were better at gathering fruit. Some were better at looking after the leaves and bark. There were monkeys who could tell more of the forest creatures about their tree. Some of the other monkeys even knew more about making sure the roots stayed strong and fast in the earth. And yet the head monkey felt he had to be there to see that everything was done.
When the illness became too much to ignore, the head monkey pretended that he could just spend one more day with the tree and then it would all be okay. The monkey thought he was always just one more day away from having his tree recognised as the best in the forest so he couldn’t rest. What if he fell asleep just as some piece of his tree’s fruit over-ripened? What if the leaves fell off his tree while he was playing in the river? No, the monkey had to be with his tree all the time.
As the monkey spent more and more time with the tree, he would sleep less and less. The less he slept, and the more he worked on the tree, the worse his health became. One day the monkey fell into a restless sleep and didn’t wake up at all. He could hear the voices of his family around him, talking about how the tree was still beautiful, still growing strong and tall. He could sense that the tree was around him but he couldn’t tend to it himself.
The monkey slept for longer than any monkey had ever slept before.
When he woke up, his closest family came to him and told him stories of how they’d kept the tree growing while he slept. They showed him the new branches and the bright new leaves growing on them. They took him down to the roots and showed him how they were as strong and as deep as ever. They gathered fruit from the sunlit branches that tasted juicy and delicious. Finally, the head monkey heard how the other forest creatures had been talking about their tree. How the strength and beauty of the tree was starting to become famous across the forest.
From that day on, the monkey always slept peacefully. He knew that the other monkeys were more than qualified to look after the tree when he played joyfully with all the other forest creatures. During his play, the monkey would often stop and look back at his tree, proud of how it had grown and even more proud of his family that kept it strong and beautiful.