The Monkey and the Tortoise
As told in English and Illustrated by José Rizal
Original text in English
The tortoise and the monkey found once a banana tree floating amidst the waves of a river. It was a very fine tree, with large green leaves, and with roots, just as if it had been pulled off by a storm. They took it ashore.
Let us divide it, said the tortoise,
and plant each its portion.
They cut it in the middle, and the monkey, as the stronger, took for himself the upper part of the tree, thinking that it would grow quicker, for it had leaves. The tortoise, as the weaker, had the lower part, that looked ugly, although it had roots.
After some days they met.
Hello, Mr. Monkey, said the tortoise,
how are you getting on with your banana tree?
Alas, answered the monkey,
it has been dead a long time! And yours Miss Tortoise?
Very nice, indeed; with leaves and fruits. Only I cannot climb up, to gather them.
Never mind, said the malicious monkey,
I will climb and pick them for you.
Do, Mr. Monkey, replied the tortoise gratefully.
And so they walked towards the tortoise’s house.
As soon as the monkey saw the bright yellow fruits hanging between the large green leaves, he climbed up and began plundering, munching and gobbling, as quick as he could.
But give me some, too, said the tortoise, seeing that the monkey did not take the slightest notice of her.
Not even a bit of skin, if it is eatable, rejoined the monkey, both his cheeks crammed with bananas.