A fable about why we are not close to monkeys anymore
It is not always that monkeys would avoid people. Long ago, in the warmer parts of the world where they lived, monkeys and people used to get along together quite well. That's how cultures developed all those fun stories about monkeys fooling mankind; and playing games with him; and getting jealous over females and feasts, and so on. Monkeys were just as human as anybody you know.
While all this harmony was going on in the warm parts, up in the cold world, people were overflowing with problems. It got so bad, everybody was trying to get away from one another. And that was really awkward for them, since their climate made them depend on unity for comfortable living.
They needed close solid numbers for defense against sneaky animals, hungry neighbors, and most of all, the Cold.
To be warm, they had to organize companionships, hairy coverings, caught fevers, and assorted devices. Yet still, the Cold remained more prevalent than stale sweat. So discouraging it was, thermometers became a threatened species from all the fed-up looks they were receiving. Most times their mercury was seen in the tubes' round bottoms, just huddled up in little silvery balls, a-shivering and awaiting some warmth and affection.
Naturally, this situation made these desperate people very badly cherish and desire space, warmth, and freedom. So soon they were leaving their troubled land areas and heading for everywhere else. Like survivors of natural disasters, where ever the place was, it had to be more promising.
While they achieved their escapes, the folks they encountered were forced to marvel at their energy, and wonder at their awesome drive to possession. Eventually, after a consternating time of blood and pain from suffering this basic difference, native peoples adjusted to the New Order. They decided that the new people from the Cold were not the same. They owned where they squatted. They bought. They sold. The best they offered natives was detente. Which was better than blood loss, so it was settled.
All might have gone well afterwards. Except that happenstance went wild in the use of the chief representative of these new people in this warm and wonderful world in which they had settled themselves. This fellow, the Rep, had gone walking in a forest, and soon was noticed wandering about by a monkey family out swinging. Quick as a wink, a cheeky son-of-a-monkey swung low and greeted, "Hi sah, how sah, you sah?"
Not ever having seen a monkey before, the Rep.'s looking-up face went wide open with surprise and confusion. Into it the rude, young monkey quickly tossed this obscure, unfunny quip frequently employed as derision by silly youths - monkey and mankind alike. The simple-minded swinger said to the Rep, "How come you on the trail without yer proper tail? Couldn't keep yer eye on it?"
Only then was it realized how seriously these proud, new people took themselves. For by next midday, all out hostilty was declared on monkeys.
Being no physical fighters, the monkeys meekly retreated to distant high woods-protesting their unfair treatment only by never again speaking in the presence of mankind. This, of course, initiated the current embarrassing state of affairs where monkeys keep their distance when humans approach.
Some even scamper clean away!
Thus it remains the Great Tragedy that we may never more again share with them our primal commonalities.
* As ironic post-script to this fable, it has recently been discovered that the chief Rep. fellow had not [as we surmised] taken offense at the young monkey's insult. What had fired his angst was the shock that there were others, seeming identical to him, yet, who lived higher up than he in the branches of the breezy trees. And he just was uncomfortable looking up to others.
Moral: Conquerors are human, too.