A Lesson in Hats-

Narrated by: The Monkey Antiquarian

~The Monkey Antiquarian (Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin)~

“Many ages ago in an exotic and faraway land there was a travelling haberdasher from Begur named Avinita. Like his father Madhava, and his grandfather Vishnugopa before him, he would roam from town to town selling his handmade hats for a living. He was forever careful and never let his guard down as there were always those who would steal what others had with no memory of the past and no care for the future.

One hot day, after travelling for many, many miles, he stopped to rest outside of Lopburi under a tree with branches and shade. He placed his bag of hats next to him, and being weary, shut his eyes and fell asleep.

After sleeping for many hours he awoke and stretched his aching muscles. It was then that he noticed his bag of hats was gone. Desperate he looked around but could not find his hats or the thieves. “What am I to do?” he said to himself. “Without my hats I can make no Tical and with no Tical I cannot afford to marry. And if I do not marry I can have no children to carry on the tradition of my father and grandfather! Oh, my life is over!” He sat back down and begin to weep.

When he grew tired of weeping he slowly climbed to his feet and prepared to leave for home with no future and the past fading away into distant dreams. Looking around one last time he finally noticed the monkeys in the tree behind him. They were all wearing his hats!

He was extremely alarmed (they could damage his hats and cost him Tical!) but also relieved. He could have a future if he could get his hats back from these furry, pilfering robbers! He yelled at the monkeys and they yelled back. He made insulting faces at them and they returned the same insulting faces. He threw stones at them and they showered him with branches and leaves. Nothing he did could make the monkeys give him back his future. Finally, he threw his hands up in the air and said, “Oh Great Lord Hanuman please help me. Only you understand and can tell these little ones they have to give me back my hope of future memories!”

Of course Lord Hanuman, being the God of Monkeys, and having a sense of humor, sided with the little fuzzy thieves.

“How do I get my hats back?” Avinita wondered. After sitting for many hours without a solution to his dilemma he grew frustrated, took off his own hat and threw it on the ground. To his surprise, the monkeys threw their hats down also! Avinita could not believe his good fortune! He quickly gathered up his hats and hurried on his way vowing to never make the same mistake again and always remember this day.

Decades later “Young Mushkara”, grandson of the famous Hat-Seller Avinita, who worked hard to maintain the family business, was passing through the same jungle. He had carried on the family tradition and become famous in his own right.

One particular day after a long walk “Young Mushkara”, grew very tired and found a tree with lots of branches and cool shade to rest under. He was soon fast asleep.
A few hours later, when “Young Mushkara” woke, he realized that all his lovely hats were gone! He started searching for them and to his surprise found monkeys sitting in the tree wearing his hats!

He was frustrated and did not know what to do, but then he remembered a story his grandfather used to tell him about losing his bag of hats. He waved at the monkeys and the monkeys waved back. He blew his nose and the monkeys blew their noses. He started dancing and the monkeys also danced. He pulled his ears and the monkeys pulled their ears. He raised his hands and the monkeys raised their hands. “Young Mushkara” then took off his own hat and threw it on the ground fully expecting the monkeys to mimic his action. To his surprise, the monkeys didn’t throw their hats down as his Grandfather had said they would. Could his Grandfather have been wrong about the monkeys?

It was then that a monkey climbed out of the tree and sauntered up to him. The monkey stopped in front of “Young Mushkara” and looked him up and down for several moments.

Growing impatient “Young Mushkara” finally cried out to the monkey. “What are you staring at?” The monkey calmly replied,” You’re not the only one with a Grandfather and a memory!”