The Crocodile and the Monkey’s Heart
Narrated by Iyasu Origo
In a certain river there was a small island where the monkey lived, and she was happy because there was a tree which bore very sweet and delicious fruit. A crocodile one day came out of the river and begged her to throw one fruit for him. She threw it and he ate, and he said it was delicious.
“Give me another,” the crocodile asked the monkey, and she threw it to him, and the crocodile took the second fruit to his wife.
“Where did you get this from?” she asked him.
“A monkey gave me one. I ate it and brought this for you.”
“Let’s go to him. I want to see him,” she said.
“Please give us two fruits,” they asked him, and he threw the fruits to them.
Then the wife of the crocodile said, “Why don’t you come to our house? We’ll invite you for a good lunch.”
“No, I can’t go into the river. I’m used to climbing up and down trees.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll carry you and nothing will happen to you.”
So they took the monkey home.
As the three of them sat down the husband and wife were whispering to each other.
“We’ll have lunch now,” the crocodile husband said.
“All right, I’ll have lunch with you,” said the monkey.
Then he said, “First, you’ll eat lunch with us, then we’ll eat you for dinner.”
“Why will you eat me? Have I done anything wrong? I only gave you the fruits.”
“We’ll eat you because we want your heart which is the source of wisdom. We want to be as clever as you. We only want to eat your heart and throw the rest of your body away, because we have enough meat in the river.”
“Well, so be it. I agree with you. If you want wisdom. But I don’t have it with me. I keep it up in the tree. So let’s go there and I’ll give it to you.”
“Are you sure you keep it there?”
So they went to the island and the monkey climbed the tree and began laughing at them.
“How foolish you are to think the monkey lives without a heart. How can the heart be in the tree outside the body of the monkey? So now, come, climb the tree and get my heart.”
And he went on laughing.
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