Unfinished Monkey Story
Few days ago our granddaughter Vibha's teacher invited me to tell stories to her class. I went and told them some monkey stories that we commonly hear in India. One of them was the story in which the crocodile's wife wants to eat the monkey's heart. The crocodile reluctantly agrees to bring his friend the monkey to her. He invites him to dinner. The monkey agrees and rides on his back to go to his house. When they reach the middle of the lake the crocodile tell him the truth. The monkey apparently fools the crocodile by telling him that he had hidden his heart in the tree for safekeeping. The crocodile brings him back to the tree to fetch the heart. I ended the story by saying that the safe and happy monkey said to the crocodile: "Now go and tell your wife that you are the dumbest crocodile in the whole world." The children laughed.
But I have been thinking whether the monkey had really said that. Monkeys are very clever and wise animals. How then could he have said such an unkind thing to a dear friend? It does not make sense, does it?
So I racked my brain very hard to recall the truth of the matter. Finally, I realized that I had foolishly left out the crucial tail end of the story. To make amends, I have written it down for you. I apologize for the slip up and hereby send it to you.
The crocodile quietly left on hearing the monkey's unfriendly chastisement, but he returned the following morning to eat the jamuns.
The monkey was pleased to see his friend and said: "Friend, I apologize for my dumb, unkind remarks. You and your wife brought my life so close to an end that I was scared to death and driven out of my wits. In haste I assumed that you brought me back to the tree because you were fooled by my ploy. But after thinking with a cool mind I know it cannot be true. Being so old and pensive, you must be ten times wiser than I. How could my simple ploy fool you even for a second?"
"I know that crocodiles are carnivorous but I also know that you love me and never wish to harm me. It was your wife who forced you to seek my heart. To save my life you quietly pretended to swallow my ploy. Please forgive my bad behavior. I suggest we forget the whole incident and carry on being good friends. Come everyday for the jamuns. I will gladly give them to you for you and your wife."
July 15, 2006