| Jataka Tales|
|by Ellen C. Babbitt|
|Eighteen fables from the Jatakas of India, skillfully retold and attractively illustrated. Includes The Monkey and the Crocodile, The Merchant of Seri, The Turtle Who Wouldn’t Stop Talking, The Foolish Timid Rabbit, The Banyan Deer, and others. Ages 7-10 |
THE MONKEY AND THE CROCODILE
MONKEY lived in a great tree on a river bank.
In the river there were many Crocodiles. A Crocodile watched
the Monkeys for a long time, and one day she said to her
son: "My son, get one of those Monkeys for me. I
want the heart of a Monkey to eat."
"How am I to catch a Monkey?" asked the little Crocodile.
"I do not travel on land, and the Monkey does not go into
"Put your wits to work, and
you'll find a way," said the
And the little Crocodile thought and thought.
 At last he said to himself: "I know what
I'll get that Monkey that lives in a big tree on the river bank.
He wishes to go across the river to the island where the
fruit is so ripe."
So the Crocodile swam to the tree where the Monkey lived.
But he was a stupid Crocodile.
"Oh, Monkey," he called, "come with me over to the island
where the fruit is so ripe."
"How can I go with you?" asked the Monkey. "I do not
"No—but I do. I will take you over on my back,"
said the Crocodile.
The Monkey was greedy, and wanted the ripe fruit, so he
jumped down on the Crocodile's back.
"Off we go!" said the Crocodile.
"This is a fine ride you are giving me!" said the Monkey.
"Do you think so? Well, how do you like this?" asked the
"Oh, don't!" cried the Monkey, as he went under the water.
He was afraid to let go, and he did not know what to do
under the water.
When the Crocodile came up, the Monkey sputtered
 and choked. "Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?" he
"I am going to kill you by keeping you under water,"
answered the Crocodile. "My mother wants Monkey-heart to
I'm going to take yours to her."
"Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?" he asked.
"I wish you had told me you wanted my heart," said the
Monkey, "then I might have brought it with me."
"How queer!" said the stupid Crocodile. "Do you mean to say
that you left your heart back there in the tree?"
"That is what I mean," said the Monkey. "If you
 want my heart, we must go back to the tree and get it. But
we are so near the island where the ripe fruit is, please
take me there first."
"No, Monkey," said the Crocodile,
"I'll take you straight
back to your tree. Never mind the ripe fruit. Get your heart
and bring it to me at once. Then
we'll see about going to
"Very well," said the Monkey.
But no sooner had he jumped onto the bank of the river
than—whisk! up he ran into the tree.
From the topmost branches he called down to the Crocodile
in the water below:
"My heart is way up here! If you want it, come for
it, come for it!"
HE Monkey soon moved away from that tree.
He wanted to get
away from the Crocodile, so that he might live in peace.
But the Crocodile found him, far down the river, living in
In the middle of the river was an island covered with
 Half-way between the bank of the river and the island, a
large rock rose out of the water. The Monkey could jump to
the rock, and then to the island. The Crocodile watched the
Monkey crossing from the bank of the river to the rock, and
then to the island.
He thought to himself, "The Monkey will stay on the island
all day, and
I'll catch him on his way home at night."
The Monkey had a fine feast, while the Crocodile swam about,
watching him all day.
Toward night the Crocodile crawled out of the water and lay
on the rock, perfectly still.
When it grew dark among the trees, the Monkey started for
home. He ran down to the river bank, and there he stopped.
"What is the matter with the rock?" the Monkey thought to
himself. "I never saw it so high before. The Crocodile is
lying on it!"
But he went to the edge of the water and called: "Hello,
Then he called again: "Hello, Rock!"
Three times the Monkey called, and then he said:
 "Why is it, Friend Rock, that you do not answer me
"Oh," said the stupid Crocodile to himself, "the rock
answers the Monkey at night.
I'll have to answer for the
rock this time."
So he answered: "Yes, Monkey! What is it?"
laughed, and said: "Oh,
it's you, Crocodile, is it?"
"Yes," said the Crocodile. "I am waiting here for
you. I am going to eat you."
"You have caught me in a trap this time," said the Monkey.
"There is no other way for me to go home. Open your mouth
wide so I can jump right into it."
The Monkey jumped.
 Now the Monkey well knew that when Crocodiles open their
mouths wide, they shut their eyes.
While the Crocodile lay on the rock with his mouth wide open
and his eyes shut, the Monkey jumped.
But not into his
mouth! Oh, no! He landed on the top of the Crocodile's head,
and then sprang quickly to the bank. Up he whisked into
When the Crocodile saw the trick the Monkey had
played on him, he said: "Monkey, you have great cunning.
You know no fear.
I'll let you alone after this."
"Thank you, Crocodile, but I shall be on the watch for you
just the same," said the Monkey.
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