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BOUND: BROTHER ANDREW AND THE GIBBON


In God’s Smuggler, Brother Andrew tells the story of his early life. One section deals with his hell-for-leather days in the Dutch army in Indonesia. While serving in that area, fighting against Sukarno in the late 1940s, he bought a young ape, a gibbon, which took to him. And Brother Andrew treated him as a pet in the barracks.


He hadn’t had the gibbon for many weeks before he noticed that when he touched it in some areas around the waist it seemed to hurt him. So he examined the gibbon more closely and found a swelling that went around his waist. He carefully laid the animal down on his bed and examined him. He discovered that when the gibbon had been a baby, someone had tied a piece of wire around his middle and had never taken it off. As the monkey grew larger, the wire became embedded in his flesh.


Obviously, it must have caused him a great deal of discomfort. So that evening Andrew began the operation. Taking his razor and shaving off all the monkey’s hair in a 3” wide swath around his middle, he cut ever so gently into the tender flesh until he exposed the wire. Eventually he was able to get down to the wire, cut it, and pull it away.


Instantly, as soon as the operation was over, the gibbon jumped up, did a cartwheel, danced around his shoulders, and pulled Andrew’s hair in joyful glee.


"After that, my gibbon and I were inseparable. I think I identified with him as strongly as he with me. I think I saw in the wire that had bound him a kind of parallel to the chain of guilt still so tight around myself--and in his release, the thing I too longed for."


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