The Old Man & The Monkey

General Fiction

By George Polley

Publisher : Night Publishing

ABOUT George Polley

George Polley
I was born in Santa Barbara, (California), and raised in Seattle Washington). I have subsequently lived in California, Illinois and Minnesota before moving out to my wife's country of origin, Japan. 

My work has appeared in the South Dakota Review, Crow's Nest, Expanding Ho More...



'The Old Man & The Monkey' is a stunningly beautiful story of a relationship which develops between an old man and a creature which is regarded as a dangerous pest in Japan, a snow monkey, in George Polley's moving allegory of dignity in the face of racism.

The story came from a dream I had in December 2006 about a big Hokkaido snow monkey. I woke up wondering where the monkey came from and what he was doing in my dream. I’d never paid Hokkaido’s monkeys much attention before & had only seen them one time, and that was at the Minnesota Zoo back in the late 1970s. But there he was, and when I woke up, he wouldn’t leave me alone. Being typically monkey-like, he pestered me until I asked him what he wanted. I went online, found a photo that fit what I thought he looked like, sat down, and said “Okay, monkey, what do you have to tell me?” The story evolved from there. Genjiro, the old man appeared as I wrote, as did the village and the other characters. I my experience, stories pretty much tell themselves. The theme — friendship between two different kinds of “people” — is something I have always believed in. I must have been thinking about it, because that’s right where the old monkey, Yukitaro, led me. The result is one of my favorite stories.

‘The Old Man and the Monkey’ is what good writing is all about: it makes you look within to find the best that you can be. I love this story. It gets better every time I read it and grounds me once again.” — Jean Sullivan, Seattle, USA


Reflects the rare values of unconditional friendship; love, trust, respect, loyalty and dependability. It also shows that being humane can bridge the differences between cultures or in this case, species. — Stella Evelyne Tesha, the Netherlands, author of ‘A Journey Into Life’ and "Voices from Tanzania" (to be published in 2011)


'The Old Man and The Monkey' brought me back to the days, when I would pick up a book and not put it down before I read the last word. The story captured me, made me curious about what the next page will reveal. — Bianka Wettin, the Netherlands


I was immediately drawn to ‘The Old Man and The Monkey’! Wow! Nothing short of monkey magic. Excellent work. Beu-tee-ful! —Thom Rutledge, Nashville, author of the book ‘Embracing Fear’


It is stunningly beautiful, one of the most amazing and moving pieces I have ever read. — Tim Roux, managing editor, Night Publishing

The sequence of events, from the very beginning, is so well-crafted that that ‘dream-like’ state of a story is sustained throughout. The economy of words used gives just enough information to make you understand and feel you’re with Yukitaro and Genjiro and, at the same time, leaves you wanting to know more. — Aneeta Sundararaj, editor, Malaysia:


‘The Old Man and the Monkey’ has a fresh and clear voice that invites the reader to look beyond the expected routine of small ritual and custom. It takes a monkey to waken the old man and his wife and the other villagers to the wonder of life and death and friendship. — Wendy MacLean, Canada, author of the poetry books ‘Spirit Song in Ancient Boughs’ and ‘Rough Angel’


This is simply wonderful! For any book lover, online versions simply cannot compare with the pleasure and feel that one gets by reading printed books while holding them physically in hands – Medieval Islamic Historian Meam Wye, on hearing the news that ‘The Old Man & The Monkey’ was to be published in paperback