Once there was a monkey who lived on a jamun tree on the banks of a river. The jamun tree yielded fruit all the year round and the monkey spent his days happily eating the fruit and playing on the tree.
One day, a crocodile came out of the river to rest in the shade of the jamun tree. The monkey saw the crocodile and said, “Oh crocodile. Welcome! You are my guest. Please accept this humble meal of jamuns from my tree.”
The crocodile ate the jamuns and found them very tasty. He said, “Oh monkey, the jamun fruits from your tree are very tasty. Can I come back for some more tomorrow?”
“From today you are my friend. You may come and feast here any time you want.”, replied the monkey.
From that day on, the crocodile visited the monkey everyday. The two friends would spend the day chatting and eating the juicy sweet jamuns.
One day the crocodile took some jamuns home for his wife, so that she could also taste the sweet fruit and also told her about his friend, the monkey who lived on the jamun tree. The wife was overjoyed on eating the fruits. She thought to herself, “The monkey eats these sweet fruits everyday. If these fruits are so sweet, I am sure his meat would taste even better.”
The next day, when the crocodile reached home, he found his wife very sad and depressed. He asked her what the matter was. She replied, “I went to see the doctor today, and he told me that I have become very weak. To recover, I must eat a monkey’s heart, else I will surely die. You must bring me the heart of the monkey who lives on the tree.”
The crocodile was aghast. The monkey was his friend. How could he betray him. He tried to reason with his wife, but she would not listen, and instead stopped eating. The crocodile had to give in to her wishes.
That day when he went to the monkey he said, “My dear friend, my wife loved the fruits very much and she would like to meet you and thank you. So she has invited you home for dinner.”
The monkey was very happy to hear this and accepted at once. But,
“How will I go? I cannot swim.”
The crocodile said, “Sit on my back and I will take you across the river.”
The monkey accepted at once and they set off. As they neared the center of the river, the crocodile started going deeper into the water. This scared the monkey and he said, “Friend, go slower. If you go any deeper, i will drown.”
The crocodile said sadly, “I lied to you. The truth is I have to kill you. My wife is ill and the doctor has advised her to eat a monkey’s heart in order to get well.”
The monkey thought quickly and then said, “Oh! Why did you not say that earlier? I would have happily given you my heart to carry home to your wife. But I keep my heart at the top of the jamun tree where it can stay safe. Let’s go back and get it at once.”
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The foolish crocodile believed him and turned back. As soon as they reached the river bank, the monkey leaped off the crocodile’s back and climbed up high into the tree. He said, “Foolish crocodile, how can anyone take out his own heart. Go back to your wife and tell her her husband is not only foolish but also deceitful.”
The crocodile knew he had been tricked just as he had tried to trick the monkey and felt ashamed of his actions and went away.
Moral: A quick wit can solve most problems.
Choose your friends wisely.
You can purchase the complete set of Original Illustrated Panchatantra Tales by Visnu Sarma (Collector’s Item) at Amazon.