Two Eastern Fables - Page 2 of 6

by Dr. José Rizal

(London, 1889)

English version

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.

The tortoise meditated revenge.  She went to the river, picked up some pointed snails[1] planted them around the banana tree, and hid herself under a cocoa-nut shell.  When the monkey came down, he hurt himself and began to bleed.

After a long search, he found the tortoise.

You wretched creature, here you are! said heYou must pay for your wickedness; you must die.  But as I am very generous, I will leave to you the choice of your death.  Shall I pound you in a mortar, or shall I throw you into the water?  Which do you prefer?

The mortar, -- the mortar, answered the tortoise I am so afraid of getting drowned.

O ho! laughed the monkey; indeed!  You are afraid of getting drowned!  Now I will drown you.

And, going to the shore, he slung the tortoise and threw it in the water.  But soon the tortoise reappeared swimming and laughing at the deceived, artful monkey.

[1] A kind of spiral periwinkle, called susó in Tagal.

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