The Monkey and the Crocodile
(Fable / Pabula)
One stormy day, a monkey was standing by the shore of a river, wondering how he could get to the other side. He could not get over by himself; for the water was deep, and he did not know how to swim. He looked around for some logs; but all he saw was a large crocodile with its mouth wide open, ready to seize him. He was very much frightened; but he said,
Oh, Mr. Crocodile, please do not kill me! Spare my life, and I will lead you to a place where you can get as many monkeys as can feed you all your life.
The crocodile agreed, and the monkey said that the place was on the other side of the river. So the crocodile told him to get on his back, and he would carry him across. Just before they reached the bank, the monkey jumped to land, ran fast as he could, and climbed up a tree where his mate was. The crocodile could not follow, of course; so he returned to the water, saying,
Time will come and you shall pay.
Not long afterwards the monkey found the crocodile lying motionless, as if dead, in a place where some Chile pepper bushes loaded with numerous bright-red fruits like ornaments on a Christmas tree. The monkey approached the crocodile, and began playing with its tail; but the crocodile made a sudden spring, and seized the monkey so tightly that he could not escape.
Think first, think first! said the monkey.
Mark you, Mr. Crocodile! I am now the cook of his Majesty, the king. Those bright-red breads had been entrusted to my care, the monkey pointed to the pepper shrubs.
The moment you kill me, the king will arrive with thousands of well-armed troops and punish you.
The crocodile was frightened by what the monkey said.
Mr. Monkey, I did not mean to harm you, he said.
I will set you free if you will let me eat only as many pieces of the bread as will relieve my hunger.
Eat all you can, responded the monkey kindly.
Take as many as you please. They are free to you.
Without another word, the crocodile let the monkey go, and rushed at the heavily-ladden bushes. The monkey slipped away secretly, and climbed up a tree, where he could enjoy the discomfiture of his voracious friend. The crocodile began to cough, sneeze, and scratch his tongue. When he rushed to the river to cool his mouth, the monkey laughed at him.