Dear Mr. the Rabmag: Last night I dreamt that I was in a green square in the city, where I saw a man with a dancing monkey. The monkey seemed almost mechanical, as if it could do nothing but dance in a tight circle, which it did to the accompaniment of music provided by a hidden orchestra. The man with it, however, was impeccably dressed, looking more like a senator or a judge than a street performer. Almost immediately he accosted me and began to insist that I take the dancing monkey as a gift. It would give me great satisfaction, he explained, and it would improve my standing in society. I told him I had no need of a dancing monkey, and indeed I began to see something vaguely sinister about the thing. But the more I protested, the more he insisted that I must have the dancing monkey, and moreover passers-by began to reinforce his insistence with their own, telling me that my life would be incomplete until I had the dancing monkey. By this time I felt certain, though I cannot tell why, that the people around me intended to gain some form of control over me by means of the dancing monkey; but though I refused to take it, they were not deterred, and forming an impenetrable ring around me, they began to dance in imitation of the monkey’s simple steps, all the while singing a song to the melody provided by the invisible orchestra:

You shall have fun
with the dancing monkey.
You’ll be the one
with the dancing monkey.
Second to none
with the dancing monkey.

Can’t you just see
What a hit you will be?

You shall be strong
with the dancing monkey.
You can’t go wrong
with the dancing monkey.
Please sing along
with the dancing-monkey song.

There were verses as well as this chorus, but this is all I can remember of it. After a bit of this I awoke, feeling greatly disturbed, as if I had learned something terribly important about my position in the world, although I could not specify exactly what. What do you think my dream means? —Sincerely, Albert J. Tamarin, Perry Hilltop.

Dear Sir: Monkeys are often a symbol in dreams, but, as you have not specified what species of monkey you dreamed of, it may be difficult to narrow down the symbolism. South American spider monkeys usually stand for riboflavin; the message, then, would be that the processed-food industry is attempting to poison you with toxic quantities of riboflavin in the guise of promoting your health. Capuchin monkeys, on the other hand, usually represent flood insurance, and you can see how this changes the interpretation. Dancing is often a dream metaphor for singing, and (contrariwise) singing for dancing; but since your dream includes both, we go around in a circle and come back where we started. It may be, however, that you were not dreaming at all, but merely experienced an event unusual enough to make you believe that you had dreamt it. Something very similar happened to Nergal-Sharezer the Rabmag, and he assures you that his dancing monkey has provided him with much amusement, and what is more has given him a comforting feeling of perfect satisfaction with the governing powers, which, though he cannot explain the reason for it, has contributed greatly to his peace of mind.


  1. Sean says:

    Obviously, the monkey represents the rather simian Mr. Ravenstahl who continuously goes around in circles insisting that taxes on nonprofits will boost our standard of living.

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