Perched atop his favourite branch, in his most beloved tree, the Monkey Prince surveyed the land. His land. He had dominion over all that he could see. He had unchallenged authority over and unparalleled respect from every animal, from the lowliest insect to mightiest beast. It was his right to rule, and his responsibility to do so well. And so he did. He was a leader, a mediator, and confidant, and friend, worthy of the love and respect shown to him. With his guidance and control, every animal in this strange community lived in absolute harmony, with each other and the land. Certainly, this kingdom- his kingdom, was for all. In every way, it was perfect. It was his very own Eden.
The following morning, the Prince awoke with a start, retrieved from the depths of slumber by the excited buzz of a multitude of animals congregated in the clearing below.
Curious, he scampered to the edge of the branch. Below, he saw the animals were crowded around Gog, an ageing monkey who was famous for his great tales of adventure and travel. His stories weren't really believed, but he had returned with an exotic flower. The Prince was breathless, taken aback by its simple, archaic beauty. With its thin, green stem, and full, red petals that glistened with dew in the morning sun, and were raised, it seemed, in reverence to the sky, praising life itself, it was unlike anything he had ever seen. Gog explained that it was a rose, found in the cooler lands towards the north. As the multitude stared in awe, the old monkey passed the rose to his grandson, Magog, who solemnly vowed to keep it safe as long as he lived.
The Prince was in a state of shock, and, for several...