So the son went to sell the caps. On the way – it was too hot a day, and he was still miles away from the place where he was going – he thought to have a little rest under a big Bo tree. He kept all his caps that he was carrying in a bag by his side and went to sleep – and of course, he was wearing a Gandhi cap himself, just as an advertisement.
He didn’t see that the whole tree was full of monkeys. The monkeys became curious about the cap, and they came down; the man was asleep. They looked in the bag and found the caps. So all the monkeys put the caps on their heads, and they were really enjoying themselves, and they were looking cute! When the young man woke up he found his bag empty. He looked all around: who had taken his caps? And then he heard the laughter of the monkeys. When he looked up, all over the tree there was revolution: the whole army of monkeys against the British Raj.
Now there was no way to get those caps back. He came back home very sad and told his father, “I was a fool; I went to sleep and this happened. All the caps are lost, I did not reach the place…and those monkeys made such a fool of me! They were giggling and laughing and making all kinds of faces at me, and there was nothing that I could do.”
The father said, “It happened to me in my young days too. It was my fault that I forgot to tell you. You forget about it. I will tell you the secret – the secret that I also had to learn the hard way by once losing all my caps. And then I inquired of an old man and he gave me the secret; and this is the secret. Tomorrow go again under the same tree. Put your bag in the same place and go to sleep at least pretend, even if you are not sleeping – and let those monkeys take your caps.”
And it happened. He went; he pretended to sleep. The monkeys came one by one, and they were very happy that this man had come again with the same kind of thing. Yesterday’s caps they had lost already: it was just a curiosity, it was nothing of any interest to them. They had played a little with them and when the man was gone they threw the caps. But again he had come – seems to be very stubborn!
But monkeys won’t accept defeat so easily; they again did their thing. And when they all had their caps, the man woke up – he had been simply pretending – and opened his eyes. When they giggled, he giggled louder than them. They were a little shocked: what had happened? Yesterday this man was just ashamed, afraid.
They tried to make faces, but the man made faces at them. They tried to scream, the man screamed louder. They looked at each other: “What has happened? Something strange….” And then the man in great anger took his cap and threw it away.
All the monkeys in anger took their caps and threw them down on the road! “What does this man think – only he can throw? We can also throw.” The man collected all the caps, and laughing, he left. The monkeys were really at a loss; they have been befooled.
But that’s the secret with all monkeys’ minds: Imitation.