Oban's Myths & Legends
The Monkey and the Crocodile
A tale from India retold by Oban
A long time ago a monkey lived in a great fig tree on the riverbank of the river Ganges at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. Life was good for him. He grew big and strong eating the tree's fruit.
A lot of crocodiles lived in the river and one of them watched the monkey for a long time as he ate and slept in the tree.
“That monkey's heart must taste so sweet from all the fruit he eats” the crocodile thought to herself. “I want to eat it”.
She turned to her husband and said “See the big monkey up there in that tree. Bring me his heart, I want to eat it”.
Her husband looked up at the monkey in the tree and then looked at his wife. “But the monkey lives high in the tree and I’m here in the river. How can I catch him?”
“I don’t care how you do it, just bring me his heart” yelled his wife, slapping the water angrily with her tail.
Her husband knew there was no way of talking her out of something, once she had made up her mind. She wouldn’t talk to him again until he brought her the monkey’s heart.
“Ok, Ok, calm down, I’ll think of something, dearest” he said.
The crocodile thought and thought and finally came up with a plan.
“I know what I’ll do” he said to himself. “I'll trick the monkey into riding on my back”
The crocodile swam closer to the tree. “Hello Mr Monkey. How are you today?” he called out, smiling and trying to sound friendly. He wasn’t too bright. When he smiled he showed all his big teeth.
“I'm fine, thank you” said the monkey, trying not to look scared as he stared down from the tree at the open mouth with all those big sharp teeth.
“Mr Monkey, why do you only eat the fruit from that fig tree when there are so many juicy mangoes on trees on the island in the middle of the river?” asked the crocodile.
“Because I can’t get across the river, the water is too deep” answered the monkey.
“No problem, you can ride on my back and I'll take you over there” said the crocodile.
The monkey didn’t trust the crocodile completely, but he was greedy and he wanted to taste all those juicy mangoes on the island. So he jumped down onto the crocodile’s back.
“Hold on tight and off we go” said the crocodile.