A long time ago, there was a Bo Luo Nai City in the State of Jia Shi. Outside the city was a large forest, where 500 macaques lived.
One night the 500 macaques wandered around and came to a ni ju lu (bodhi) tree. Under the tree was a deep ancient well. The water in the well was very clean and reflected the full moon in the sky.
The leading macaque bent1 over the well and watched carefully for a while. Then it jumped onto the edge of the well and said to the others: “Alas2! Today the moon has died and fallen into this well. Let us scoop3 it up together; otherwise the nights will be dark forever.”
All the macaques tweaked their ears and scratched their cheeks, saying:”The well is so deep. How can we scoop up the moon?”
The leading macaque had a sudden brainwave and said: “I have it! I will climb up the tree and grasp a branch, then another one grasps my tail. In this way, one following another in succession4, can’t we hang down into the well?”
When the other macaques heard this, they jumped with joy. So they linked their heads and tails together, extending5 longer and longer until they almost touched the surface of the well water. At this moment, the branch broke with a big crack and all 500 macaques fell into the ancient well.