"There is a sacred forest in the town of Ubud, on the Indonesian Island of Bali, where monkeys roam freely over the stones of a Hindu temple built centuries ago. The primates are long-tailed macaques, and many local villagers believe the guard the religious site against evil spirits. One macaque recently brought it's protective instinct to a more secular task - safeguarding a scrappy kitten that had strayed into arm's reach. With more than 300 macaques in four separate troops (territorial groups) living in a relatively small area, it's not surprising that they occasionally meet other animals pawing across the temple grounds. But to form a bond like the one that this particular macaque formed with this particular kitten seemed extraordinary to the people who witnessed it. Anne Young, who was on vacation and visiting the sacred monkey forest during the time, was one of these witnesses. "The pair had been together a few days, and whenever the park staff tried to capture the kitten, it would just run back to the monkey" Anne says. The macaque, a young male, would groom his feline friend, hug and nuzzle it, and even lay his head on the kittens head as if it were a pillow. Although this species of monkey is quite social - and often lives without fear in close contact with people - this one wanted to keep his pet kitty to himself.
He became wary of all the primates around him, and if other macaques or people got too close, he would try to hide his prize - once even using a bit of leaf to cover it - or climb higher or move deeper into the forest with the kitten in his arms. The kitten, meanwhile, had plenty of opportunities to escape the macaque's clutches, "but it made no attempt whatsoever", Anne says. It seemed content to be carried around in the bigger animals embrace.
Long-tailed macaques live in a strict social hierarchy in which males must prove themselves worthy of female attention, and this troop was no exception. The kitten-petting male was not an "alpha male", or leader, among his own kind, and was probably not getting a lot of affection from the other macaques. An he certainly wasn't getting much affection from humans, either, as macaques have become something of a nuisance in Ubud, where they wander into rice fields or villages outside of the forest boundaries and wreak havoc on private property. The kitten appeared to be traveling solo as well, and may also have been craving some attention and companionship. Fortunately for both unmated primate and homeless feline, they found what they needed in each other among the temple ruins in Ubud"
To conclude, this Christmas we were given the gift of "Unlikely Friendships" I'm no longer quoting this book, I'm writing about the gift of meeting Connie and Arno in a restaurant one evening and from there, it was an unlikely friendship that developed through merely giving strangers a chance. Sometimes we have to trust our hearts, follow our gut instincts and believe there is good people to love.
"If two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone?" - Ecclesiastes 4:11