Uncle Len continues the Jathaka story series
The Monkey and the Crocodiles
In ancient India in the region of Kasi, there lived all kinds of wild animals and reptiles in the river running through the jungle. The river was infested with dangerous crocodiles. Among them, were a pair of crocodiles waiting to prey on humans who dared to step into the water.

In the forest, were many monkeys, who depended on a variety of succulent fruits. Not willing to wait patiently for humans, who never dared to bathe in the waters, the crocodiles were waiting for any animal to step into the water.

This pair of crocodiles somehow befriended a monkey who was too cunning to fall into a trap. In the course of time, the female crocodile became pregnant and the male was determined to go to any length to please her.

One day on seeing the monkey, the female crocodile had a desire to eat his flesh, especially the heart of the monkey. She told her partner that she wanted the heart of the monkey at any cost. The male agreed to somehow fulfill her desire. One day he approached the monkey and told him, that down the stream far away there were trees with sweet tasting fruits and offered to take him downstream on his back.

The greedy monkey, requested the crocodile to take him there. The crocodile told his partner that he had a plan to get the heart of the monkey, and if it worked, her desire would be fulfilled. So one day, the monkey was going downstream on the back of the crocodile, when midway, the crocodile told the monkey, there were no fruit trees down there and that he was trying to kill him and offer his heart to his partner.

The monkey was surprised that his confidence in the crocodile was so crudely broken. He thought for a while and made his own plan to save himself from the killer crocodile.

He told the crocodile that unlike other species, monkeys keep their hearts away from the body and that his heart was up on a tree close by. Pointing to a tree on the bank of the river, he said that if only the crocodile would take him to the bank, he would climb up and fetch his heart to fulfill the she crocodile’s desire. The foolish crocodile took him to the edge of the water close to the tree pointed to him, thinking the monkey would go and fetch the heart for him.

The monkey not to be outdone, got to the bank and up a tree and humiliated the crocodile for his ill conceived plan to kill him. The lesson is that one should use ones wisdom in case of danger. The story is from the Sun Sumara.

By Lenard R. Mahaarachchi

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