The Storyteller Online

Youth
     Storytelling

Stories
< Back to Story Listings

China - The Monkey's Drum   Print Story 

The Monkey's Drum

As Adapted by Dr. Mike Lockett, The Normal Storyteller 

A long time ago in China, there lived a kind young man named Yan.  He was very respectful to his elders and especially kind to animals.  He lived alone and had no wife.  There was one girl that he found pleasing to his eyes.  But she was the daughter of a rich man who would not allow her to marry anyone who could not afford a large "bride price."

"No man will marry my daughter," said the wealthy man, "Unless he can bring enough jewels or enough money in a lucky red envelope as a wedding gift."  Collecting a "bride price" was a custom that the parents of the bride followed in China.  But, the price was almost always determined by how much money the groom had.  Most families were careful not to charge too much for fear of looking like they wanted to sell their daughters. 

Yan owned only one jewel.  It was in a ring given to him by his mother years ago.  He wore it around his neck.  Perhaps his wife one day would wear it, but he would not give it up to this greedy man.

Yan went to work for the rich man in hopes of showing him that he could be a good worker and a good son-in-law.  Still the man treated him very badly and made him work harder than his other employees.  He did not pay Yan as much as he deserved.  He did not want a poor man like Yan to marry his daughter.

One day, Yan was in the mountains chopping wood.  He worked hard all through the morning.  When he stopped for lunch, he laid his head on the ground in the warm sunshine and closed his eyes.  As he laid there, he began to hear the happy squeals of a group of monkeys that played in the nearby trees.  Yan wanted to see what the monkeys would do and laid very still and did not move when the monkeys surrounded him.

One monkey poked Yan on the arm and asked, "What is this?"  Yan did not move

Another monkey said, "It does not move like a man."  The monkey pulled Yan's hair.  But Yan did not move.  "I think it is a statue," said the monkey."

A third monkey lifted up Yan's eye lid.  But Yan did not move.

A monkey put a piece of grass in Yan's ear.  But Yan did not move.

A monkey opened Yan's mouth and pulled on Yan's tongue.  But Yan did not move.

A monkey put a finger up Yan's nose.  But Yan did not move.  "It's a statue," said the monkey.  "A human would have moved."

Then a monkey hit Yan in the stomache.  Air was forced out of Yan's stomache making him say, "Uhhhh!"

"I know what it is," said a monkey.  "It's a drum!"

He hit Yan once.  Yan went, "Uhhhh."

Twice, "Uhhhh, Uhhhh."

Three times, "Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh."

Then "Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh Uhhhh

        "Uhhhh, Uhhhh"

"What a great drum," said the monkeys.  "It's a Big Man Drum.  Let's take it back to our cave and play it.  We have a Big Man Drum."

"Uhhhh!"

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh."

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh."

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh Uhhhh - Uhhhh, Uhhhh"

"We have a Big Man Drum - A Big Man Drum.

Let's lift him in the air - And handle him with care."

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh Uhhhh - Uhhhh, Uhhhh"

The monkeys picked up Yan and held him over their heads and began to carry him up the mountain toward their cave.  One monkey sat on Yan's stomache and drummed as the monkeys moved along.

Please don't drop Our Big Man Drum.  Please don't drop Our Big Man Drum.

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh Uhhhh - Uhhhh, Uhhhh"

The monkeys began to cross a wide and deep ravine over a rushing river far below.  They held on carefully to Yan as they crossed on a vine bridge.  Yan kept his eyes closed tightly and did not move.

The monkeys ran up the mountainside and carried Yan into their cave.  They laid Yan on a table of stone inside their cave.

"The Big Man Drum is Ours.  Let's cover him with flowers." 

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh Uhhhh - Uhhhh, Uhhhh"

The monkeys began to cover Yan with flowers.  They put flowers in his hair and in his ears.  They even stuck a flower into his nose.  Then one of the monkeys saw the shiny ring that hung from Yan's neck.

"Oooh," said the monkey.  "Pretty stone."  Then he ran to his sleeping place and brought back red and green stones and laid them next to the ring.  Other monkeys ran off to find colored strings and chains and shiny stones.  Yan opened his eyes a tiny bit and saw that the monkeys were covering him with jewels and necklaces and bracelets of all kinds.  He closed his eyes and did not move.

Now let's play Our Big Man Drum.  Now let's play Our Big Man Drum.

"Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh, Uhhhh Uhhhh - Uhhhh, Uhhhh" 

The monkeys played and danced late into the night.  Then they all crawled off to their sleeping places.  When the monkeys were all asleep, Yan carefully got up and climbed down from the rock.  He carried all of the jewels he could and hurried back to his village.  He was very careful crossing the vine bridge over the rushing river.

He sold enough jewels to buy a farm and build a home for himself.  He used some of his money to help poor people in the village and he kept the rest of the jewels for the day when he might have a family of his own.

It only took a short time before his former greedy employer found out about Yan's new wealth.  "You have enough money for a 'bride price' for my daughter," saidthe greedy man.  "Shall I bring you a big red envelope so we can talk about your marriage?"

"No, thank you," said Yan.  "I do not wish to buy a wife when I decide to marry." 

But, the greedy man bothered Yan until Yan finally told him how he got his jewels and money.  As soon as he heard Yan's story, the greedy man went home for large bags to carry more jewels than Yan had brought home.  He left right away for the mountain where Yan found the monkeys.

The greedy man laid on the ground and closed his eyes.  In only a few minutes, he began to hear chattering of monkeys.  He did not move.  Soon monkeys surrounded him.  One pulled his hair.  Others poked fingers in his ears, mouth and nose.  Still he did not move.  "It's our Big Man Drum," said one monkey.

Then he hit the man once in the stomache, "Oww!"

Twice, "Oww, Oww."

Three times, "Oww, Oww, Oww."

Then "Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww."

        "Oww, Oww!"

"Our drum does not sound as good," said the monkeys.  "But, let's still take it back to our cave and play it.

"We have a Big Man Drum - A Big Man Drum.

Let's lift him in the air - And handle him with care."

"Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww - Oww, Oww!"

The monkeys picked up the greedy man and held him over their heads and began to carry him up the mountain toward their cave.  One monkey sat on his stomache and pounded on him as the monkeys moved along.  Yan remained still and only made sounds when the monkeys drummed on him.

Please don't drop Our Big Man Drum.  Please don't drop Our Big Man Drum.

"Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww - Oww, Oww!"

The monkeys began to cross a wide and deep ravine over a rushing river far below.  They held on carefully to greedy man as they crossed on a vine bridge.  But, the man opened his eyes and screamed, "Don't drop me!"

His shouting scared the monkeys, and they dropped him into the fast moving river below where the waters carried him away.

Back home, Yan gave his ring to the daughter of the greedy man.  With her greedy father gone, she became the loving wife Yan had hoped to find.  The two lived happily together.

The monkeys never found their Big Man Drum Again.  But they still pound on their tummies and sing,

"We had a Big Man Drum.  We had a Big Man Drum.

"Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww - Oww, Oww!"

Note: This story is adapted from The Big Man Drum, a Dai Folktale from China that was retold by Margaret Read MacDonald in Shake It Up Tales (Published by August House,2000)

 

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 3000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to Mike@mikelockett.com in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. More stories and information about storytelling can be found at www.mikelockett.com



Click on any story to read:
Appalachian Tales
 • Lazy Jack
 • Soap - Soap - Soap
 • The Gunny Wolf
 • The Journeycake Who Ran Away
Ballads/Songs
 • I'm Gonna Tell - R. Sorrels, adapted by M. Lockett
 • Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - performance
 • Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - traditional
 • The Wedding of Jack and Jill
Call and Response Stories
 • Did You Feed My Cow?
 • Farm Vacation
 • The Button Factory
 • The Man Who Saw a Crocodile
 • The Turkey Hunt - Call and Response
Fables
 • Androcles and the Lion
 • The Ant and the Pigeon
 • The Bat and the Weasel
 • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
 • The Cat, the Rooster and the Young Mouse
 • The Dove and the Ant
 • The Farmer and the Stork
 • The Frog in the Milk Pail
 • The Lion and the Buffalos
 • The North Wind and the Sun
 • The Ox and the Frog
 • The Panther and the Villagers
Folk Tales and Folklore
 • Africa - The Lion's Minister of State
 • Africa - The Sly Old Cat
 • America - Full of Bologna
 • America - How Man Became Master of Fire
 • Argentina - Fox's Warm Bargain
 • Asia - The Tiger in the Well
 • Balkans - Why Man Lives Eighty Years
 • Bohemia - Long, Broad and Sharpsight
 • Brazil, How Brazilian Beetles Got Their Coats
 • Caribbean - Anansi and the Python
 • China - Ow and Ouch
 • China - The Chinese Nightingale
 • China - The Magic Pillow
 • China - The Monkey's Drum
 • China - The Terrible Nung Guama
 • China - The Tiger's Teacher
 • Congo - Monkey and Rabbit Together
 • Denmark - The Wonderful Pot
 • England - The Baker's Daughter
 • England - The Cat and the Mouse
 • England - The Cat's Tale
 • England - The Little Gingerbread Boy
 • England - The Little Red Hen
 • England - The Pot that Would Not Walk
 • England - The Three Bears
 • England - The Three Little Pigs
 • England - The Three Sillies
 • Finland - Why Fish Cannot Talk
 • Flanders - How the Finch Got Its Colors
 • France - Half a Blanket
 • Germany - The Frog Prince
 • Germany - The Porridge Pot
 • Germany - Why Beans Have a Split Side
 • Ghana - The Story of the Tongue
 • Ghana - Why Spiders Have Big Rear Ends
 • India - The Blind Men and the Elephant
 • India - The Hare That Ran Away
 • India - The Hare that Ran Away Teller's Notes
 • India - The Jackal and the Alligator
 • India - The Lion Makers
 • India - The Magic of Friendship
 • India - The Monkey and the Crocodile
 • India - The Ox Who Won a Bet
 • India - The Quarreling Quails
 • India - The Tiger, the Brahman and the Jackal
 • India - The Turtle Who Could Not Stop Talking
 • Indonesia - Why There Are No Tigers in Borneo
 • Iran - The Singing Pumpkin
 • Iraq - The Gift of Stories - The Caliph of Bagdad
 • Jamaica - Why Dogs Watch People Eat
 • Japan - The Hare of Inaba
 • Japan - The Two Frogs
 • Korea - The Magic Moneybag
 • Korea - The Pumpkin Seeds
 • Laos - The King Who Hated Old People
 • Latvia - The Hungry Wolf
 • Mexico - How Lizard Beat Big Deer
 • Nigeria - How Rabbit Got Wisdom
 • Norway - How Bear Lost His Tail
 • Norway - The Boy and the North Wind
 • Norway - The Gertrude Bird
 • Norway - The Goats in the Gardern
 • Philippines - Saving the Moon
 • Philippines - Why Male Mosquitoes Do Not Bite
 • Phillipines - The Man with the Cocoanuts
 • Phillppines - The Seven Happy Villagers
 • Phillppines - Why Chickens Scratch the Ground
 • Russia - The Mitten
 • Russia - The Poor Man's Ruble
 • Russia - Two Goats on the Bridge -
 • Scotland - Aiken-Drum
 • Scotland - The Haunted Tailor
 • Senegal - How Moon & Sun Came to Dwell in the Sky
 • Siberia - How the Bee Got His Bumble
 • Siberia - The Girl in the Moon
 • South Africa - The Man and the Snake
 • Spain - Little Half-Chick (Medio Pollito)
 • Sri Lanka - Lizard's Duel with Leopard
 • Surinam - The King of the Birds
 • Sweden - Anders' New Cap
 • Sweden - The Boy and the Water-Sprite
 • Sweden - The Elves & the Shoemaker
 • Syria - The King Who Changed His Ways
 • Taiwan - Flies Who Paid a Debt of Gratitude
 • Taiwan - The Frog in the Well
 • Taiwan - Trapping Rabbits in Taiwan
 • Thailand - Why Elephant Has a Long Nose
 • Tibet - The Candy Man
 • Tibet - The Tiger and the Frog
 • Turkey - The Mouse and the Elephant
 • Turkey - The Three Hares
 • United States - The Cricket's Supper
 • Vietman - How the Tiger Got Its Stripes
 • Vietnam - Raven and the Star Fruit Tree
 • West Africa - How Mankind Got Wisdom
 • West Africa - Why Spiders Hide in Corners
 • Why Dogs Chase Cats
Historical Stories
 • A Leader Lends a Hand
 • Civil War - The Story of Taps
 • Civil War Story - The Fortunate Mistake
 • How Normal Became Normal
 • Nancy Mason and the Baby Fold
 • Private Joe Fifer
 • The Boy and the Book
 • The Gift of Stories - The Caliph of Bagdad
 • Ulysses S. Grant
Holiday Stories
 • A Live Christmas
 • France- The Wooden Shoe Christmas
 • I Heard the Bells of Christmas Day
 • The Christmas Rose
 • The Christmas Truce of 1914
 • The Legend of Babushka
 • The Legend of the Poinsettia
 • The Legend of the Robin
 • The Story of Francis of Assisi
 • The Story of Silent Night
 • The Three Purses
Humor and Short Stories/Jokes
 • Full of Bologna
 • Gettin' the Mule's Attention
 • Horse Sense
 • Pets at the Library
 • The Calling of the Bells
 • The Pig's Brother
 • Why Roses Come in Pink
Math Stories (great for math teachers)
 • Creative Division - Dividing the Geese (Russia)
 • Problem Solving Story - The New Shoes - (China)
Native American Tales
 • Hopi - Grandmother Spider
 • Hopi - Why Clouds Are in the Sky
 • Nez Perce - Why Bear Sleeps All Winter
 • Pueblo - The Musical Waters
 • The Coyote and the Turtle
Religious Stories and Bible Stories
 • Being a Good Neighbor
 • David and Goliath
 • Feathers in the Wind
 • God is Good
 • Joshua and the Battle of Jericho
 • Noah and the Great flood
 • Sword of Gideon
 • The Call of Samuel
 • The Love of Two Brothers
 • The Most Precious Thing
 • The Story of Esther
 • The Story of Rhoda
 • The Story of Ruth
 • Timothy's Head Start to Salvation
Scary Stories (but not too scary)
 • A Halloween Scare
 • Jack and the Goblins
 • Slimy Green Fingers
 • The Haunted Tailor
 • The Squeaky Door
Teacher Materials - Essays on Holiday Topics
 • Christmas Cards Remembered
 • Easter Customs
 • Thoughts on Candy Canes
Workshop Handouts
 • Moved to Articles Section of Website
    Site created by Creative Sites Media © 2005-2011 Heritage Schoolhouse Press.