Amomongo and Iput-Iput

(The Ape and the Firefly)

(Fable / Pabula)

One evening the firefly was on his way to the house of a friend, and as he passed by the ape’s house, the latter asked him: My, Firefly, why do you carry a light?

The firefly replied: Because I am afraid of the mosquitoes.

Oh, then you are a coward, are you? said the ape.  

No, I am not, was the answer.  

If you are not afraid, asked the ape, why do you always carry a lantern?

I carry a lantern so that when the mosquitoes come to bite me I can see them and defend myself, replied the firefly.  

Then the ape laughed aloud, and on the next day he told all his neighbors that the firefly carried a light at night because he was a coward.

When the firefly heard the ape had said, he went to his house.  It was night and the ape was asleep, but the firefly flashed his light onto his face and awakened him.  The firefly was very angry and said: Why did you spread the report that I was a coward?  If you wish to prove which of us is the braver, I will fight you on the plaza next Sunday evening.

The ape inquired: Have you any companions?

No, replied the firefly, I will come alone.  

Then the ape laughed at the idea of such a little creature presuming to fight with him, but the firefly continued: I shall be expecting you on the plaza about six o’clock next Sunday afternoon.

The ape replied: You had better bring someone to help you, as I shall bring my whole company, about a thousand apes, each as big as myself.  This he said, thinking to frighten the strange little insect, who seemed to him to be crazy.  But the firefly answered: I shall not need any companions, but will come alone.  Good-bye.

When the firefly had gone, the ape called together his company, and told them about the proposed fight.  He ordered them to get each one a club about three feet long and to be on the plaza at six o’clock the next Sunday evening.  His companions were greatly amazed, but as they were used to obeying their captain, they promised to be ready at the appointed time and place.

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